I do not consider myself much of a linguist and that is surely not for lack of trying. I have on more than one occasion attempted the Pimsleur Language Guides or found myself buying phrase books only for them to collect dust on my bookshelves. My best friend, who is a linguist, spent hours torturing me with language CD’s in her car on the way out to a party. So far I can say only one sentence in 5 languages. Great help that does for when I actually need to say something it will be ‘Hi my name is’ or ‘Where is the bathroom?’.
I was a bit reluctant to now have to attempt another language learning programme. Duolingo is an application for your phone that you can sync to an account you create with them to track your progress. You can learn English, Spanish, French, Italian, German or Portuguese. The course is designed to be fun and let me tell you that from someone with my language history, this app is Awesome! The course work is designed in such a way that each phase you do only takes a few minutes at most.
I decided to tackle Spanish and found myself really entertained and absorbed for about 20 minutes just trying to get past phase 1. You get little hearts that accumulate at the top for each question you get right. If you do not get enough then you do not advance. The course has a really incredible layout with such stunning graphics.
Phase 1 takes you through pictures where you select the correct words, every click on the answer will say the word out in that language. You can also have an opportunity to translate the sentence and it all is really easy. There is a section where you select the missing word from multiple choice answers or translate the sentence. If you do not get enough hearts then a very sad owl tells you that you did not make it.
By simply just scrolling through the course material you will be so excited to see how they have laid everything out. The course starts with basics and divides all the material into such interesting sub categories. If you feel you know the work there is even an option to take a shortcut and advance to the level that is best suited to your language experience.
I am now for the first time really excited to learn a new language and not feel like a complete moron repeating phrases over and over again. Duolingo is designed with such great imagery and an extremely fun way of learning. It has now become a game to advance to the next level in each language and I am so entertained doing it.
This app should be commended for making such a useful way of learning and for making it so much easier to understand. I look forward to the hours of fun I am about to have learning a language that seemed so difficult before.
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