Monday, November 28, 2016

My 1 Year Review Of Duolingo

Peru, Spanish is by far my most used 2nd language.

      So I recently finally accomplished it, a 365 day streak of Duolingo. Those of you who follow this board know that I have studied around 8 languages, a few of which I use frequently and/or fluently. The others were learned for a trip, a speech, or whatever, and I have not studied since. When Duolingo was launched I quickly became a fan and user of the app. With life's daily inconveniences it took me a few goes, but finally I recently hit a 365 day streak or one year of learning Duolingo. I've been working on 3 languages there, Spanish, Italian and Russian. Here is my review of using it for one year straight.

  • Duolingo is a great tool, but it is by no means an end all be all to learning the language, I would say it's great for starting or mid-level. Now I have been using it for Spanish, Italian, and Russian. Russian is one of my weakest languages that I regularly use, and for one year I've only used Duolingo for Russian, while my Spanish and Italian have accelerated to the point where I'm reading novels in both and regularly communicating with people, Russian has only moved a bit from where it was a year ago. Using only Duolingo is only going to get you to a basic level.
  • Excellent for drills and grammar. But for vocabulary building, speaking, and listening I don't think the program is effective enough, you do speak and listen, and of course build grammar, but it's limited each drill. Grammar however is extremely well covered. You can build a great foundation of grammar from Duo that you can build further on by other means. 
  • Fun, Duo is fun, the little owl reminder everyday and the streak competition that you can do with friends or other people on the site makes it fun. It's also fun because you can put 5 minutes in a day or 2 hours.
  • Listening/speaking, here is where it's lacking, there's a drill or two to listen, it would be great if you could get a special option to practice only listening or only speaking.
  • Taking all 3 languages I've used it for I'd say if you use Duo in conjunction with another program, or programs, or even better yet practicing with a native speaker, it's well worth it's price tag, which by the way is free!
     So overall, it's a great way to learn, but it should be your side kick, not your main weapon to learn. Having a native speaker practice with you, a language exchange, a meetup group, or if it's in your budget an immersion trip is the best way to learn in my opinion. But if you don't speak it you won't learn. You have to force yourself to use your 2nd language and use English as little as possible to get to the next level. Which you will! Because if you are reading this without a translator it means you have already learned one of the most complicated languages in the world, and the next one is right at your fingertips (or tip of your tongue haha) if you want.
      So another great app I want to mention quickly here is HelloTalk, this is like the meet up square of the world for languages! You can meet people anywhere to practice communicating with, I won't go into detail of all the special features, but I will say that in a year when I review HelloTalk, I have a feeling I'll put it above Duolingo. And finally a great book to get you started on whatever language you are learning, Fluent In 3 Months by Benny Lewis the Irish polyglot is such a simple read yet so much information! Have a look on link below.

Have a great day!
 And if you don't speak English yet and maybe used a translator to read this, I hope to learn your language to communicate even better!

Choose the continent!!!!


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