My Initial Impression of Duolingo - A Review
There is a program on the web called Duolingo that helps you learn a foreign language at no cost. According to the video on the website, they are able to provide this service for free because they actually are able to use the work of the students who are learning to translate web pages all over the internet. I'm not sure exactly how they do this, but it's a pretty cool concept, and if it gets me free language instruction, I'm all in.
I first noticed Duolingo on Facebook, where it had posted that the person had just learned a certain new lesson, and there was a tagline about learning other languages for free. I love learning other languages, but I really need some ongoing instruction to get better at them, so I asked my friends on Facebook if anyone could tell me whether this was a good program, and my friends who use it said it was great, so that's all I needed to hear. I signed up!
It is great! You can chose from among 14 languages to learn--French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Irish, Danish, Swedish, Esperanto (I kid you not), Turkish, Norwegian, Ukrainian, or English, for speakers of other languages, of course. I wish they had Japanese and Serbian, so I could impress my husband and my best friend, but maybe they will get more languages eventually. The first thing you can do, if you have prior study, is take a placement test that will enable you to skip the very simple stuff. I decided to start with Spanish, and I placed at Level 5. I already felt very accomplished! The tests are very good: They give you a combination of written and spoken instruction. I translated Spanish phrases into English, and vice-versa; I listened to Spanish phrases and transliterated them, and I repeated a Spanish phrase into the microphone (you don't have to use the microphone function if you don't want to or if you don't have one).
It's easy and fun, and it's kind of like playing a video game, with different levels of achievement and whatnot. Also, if you sign up with Facebook (you can also use G+ or just sign up with your email address), you can see your other friends who are on Facebook and what level they have reached, so it gives kind of a competitive aspect that can be a good motivator, as well.
All in all, I would highly recommend Duolingo. Being able to understand other languages would be useful for all of us, and so far, this program seems like a whole lot of fun!
Image Credit » https://pixabay.com/en/board-school-blackboard-french-64271/ by geralt