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Hola - In Case Anyone is Interested........
Old 08-18-2015, 08:26 AM   #1
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Hola - In Case Anyone is Interested........

I've never seen a reference to a website that is my current obsession on this forum, so I thought I'd throw it out there if anyone is interested in furthering/enriching their lives. The site is called DUOLINGO and it is a free website devoted to learning a second (or third or fourth etc) language totally free. I should quickly add that I am in no way affiliated with this site and stand to gain nothing other than the thought that someone else out there might be interested in learning a new language, gratis. I've had an interest in learning Spanish for a long time, because DH and I go to Mexico every winter for an extended stay. My second language in high school/college was french so I have zero skills in Espanol. I mean Hola, Gracias, Por Favor, Si and Bueanas Dias has been the extent of my ability to communicate with the local population for 10 years. I have at times felt like the insensitive American when in Mexico, while pretty much 100% of the population there has some knowledge and in most cases extensive knowledge of English. What has always stopped me from taking a course in the past is the idea of dragging myself to a class from 1-3 times a week. I decided to look into Rosetta Stone and other popular on line courses and that is when I discovered Duolingo. They offer 21 different languages. https://www.duolingo.com/courses After some research on the best on line courses I decided to try the best rated Free course first, to see if my interest and attention level would hold. I figured why not? What I have found is that Duolingo is a great format for learning a language and I have been progressing through the different levels quickly but at my own leisure. I use the site daily and have been at it for 60 days. The method of instruction also incorporates a system of prompting the user to refresh skills and vocabulary that have already been learned. It keeps track of your weak skills and reinforces practice of those words daily. They have a nifty reward system that inspires the user to move on, by earning rewards that unlock special units and timed tests. There is also a flash card section, vocabulary section complete with verb conjugation and an immersion section where one can read articles in Spanish and attempt translation. The user can even upload their own articles and earn rewards when they are used. I am thrilled with it and I think it offers much to many types of learners. I am looking forward to our trip this winter and being able to converse at a very basic level with all kinds of different people, from waiters, cleaning staff, property administration, shopkeepers, farmer's markets, the local citizenry in general as well as being able to read, menus, signs, maps, grocery labels (especially grocery store items) etc. I just thought I'd mention this great free offering in case others out there would like to increase or sharpen their foreign language skills.
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Old 08-18-2015, 08:43 AM   #2
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I brushed up on French recently with Duolingo. I took French in school and was surprised at how much I remembered.


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Old 08-18-2015, 08:49 AM   #3
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Thanks for the tip. It looks like a great site for ER world travelers!
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Old 08-18-2015, 08:49 AM   #4
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I brushed up on French recently with Duolingo. I took French in school and was surprised at how much I remembered.




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Hi Ally;

I plan to do that as well but don't want to confuse myself at this point. I find that I frequently make mistakes by using a french word instead of spanish - like le instead of el for the masculine article. But I also notice on the plus side that many words I intuitively understand when first introduced because the french and the spanish are quite similar.
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Old 08-18-2015, 08:51 AM   #5
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Thanks for the tip. It looks like a great site for ER world travelers!
Hi Global; Yes I think so to. I can see myself looking at the Italian before the next trip to Italy.
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Old 08-18-2015, 09:15 AM   #6
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I'm at level 21 in German on Duolingo. I use it almost daily. It's kind of a fun game, where you learn by listening, reading and writing. Your progress is encouraged and "measured" (although I appear to be stuck at "50% fluency"). For speaking, you'll need to find a partner- there's no help in learning pronunciation. I supplement by watching Youtube German videos (with and without subtitles) and reading books and websites in German. I guess my next step would be to find an online "partner", though it seems to me that could be awkward/creepy.
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Old 08-18-2015, 09:32 AM   #7
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I have it on my phone for future use (immediately after retiring). My nephew raves about it, which got me to look at it. S1 says that a number of his cohort in San Fran and the Valley are using it as well.

The concept behind it is intriguing, as is the revenue model. Founder is definitely a world-class thinker. See Duolingo Is a Crowdsourced Translation Service that Teaches French | MIT Technology Review and Luis von Ahn: Massive-scale online collaboration | TED Talk | TED.com and, finally, DuoLingo, the free language-learning app that’s addictive and fun.
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Old 08-18-2015, 10:11 AM   #8
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I'm at level 21 in German on Duolingo. I use it almost daily. It's kind of a fun game, where you learn by listening, reading and writing. Your progress is encouraged and "measured" (although I appear to be stuck at "50% fluency"). For speaking, you'll need to find a partner- there's no help in learning pronunciation. I supplement by watching Youtube German videos (with and without subtitles) and reading books and websites in German. I guess my next step would be to find an online "partner", though it seems to me that could be awkward/creepy.
I'm at level 21 as well and am at 50% fluency.
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Old 08-18-2015, 10:53 AM   #9
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I'm at level 21 as well and am at 50% fluency.
Cool! That has taken me several years to get to 21. Have you found someone to practice conversation with? Ideally, it would be someone who speaks german natively. I've been toying with registering on wespeke .
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Old 08-18-2015, 11:46 AM   #10
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i haven't thought of that yet. My son is fluent but is not home often.
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Old 08-18-2015, 11:48 AM   #11
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That is really interesting. Thanks for posting about it.
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Old 08-18-2015, 07:05 PM   #12
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Thx. I am just starting to try it. Always wanted to learn. But if Spanish.


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Old 08-18-2015, 10:22 PM   #13
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I have been studying Spanish (as a New Year resolution) using Duolingo for about 8 months. Dulongo says I am at 51% proficiency. I just came back from Cancun. I could read a lot of things, especially with the aid of a small dictionary. However, I could not understand their spoken Spanish.
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Old 08-18-2015, 11:13 PM   #14
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Thanks for the info. I just tried it out and love it! I am doing the Spanish. Let me know if anyone wants my Duolingo username....I am not sure how exactly friends work on that website though.

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Old 08-19-2015, 06:32 AM   #15
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Cool! That has taken me several years to get to 21. Have you found someone to practice conversation with? Ideally, it would be someone who speaks german natively. I've been toying with registering on wespeke .
Oops -I misspoke. I just passed level 12, so I'm not at 21.
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Old 08-19-2015, 06:35 AM   #16
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I have been studying Spanish (as a New Year resolution) using Duolingo for about 8 months. Dulongo says I am at 51% proficiency. I just came back from Cancun. I could read a lot of things, especially with the aid of a small dictionary. However, I could not understand their spoken Spanish.
Flying away. Right I can't understand those who speak at "normal speed" either. I think that's natural though. At this stage I will just be happy to be able to make the effort with waiters/taxi drivers/ staff at the condo that we rent. And they make the effort in return to slow down their speech. I will also appreciate the ability to shop in a supermarket and ask a few questions of the staff when looking for items. I have found it frustrating trying to differentiate between beef hot dogs and pork or chicken, or finding butter vs margarine.
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Old 08-21-2015, 11:09 AM   #17
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Reuters has an article on this, and how Rosetta Stone is feeling the pressure.

Mobile language apps help millions learn less, more often | Reuters

After reading about Duolingo here on ER, and now this article, I'm going to give it a try.
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Old 08-21-2015, 11:45 AM   #18
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The breadth and timing of topics on this forum again astound me. I am about to sign up for a Spanish traveler course or a French travellers course at the local community college, however, still unsure of which language to learn. I was thinking of of supporting the course with something online. Thanks for the information.
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Old 08-21-2015, 01:19 PM   #19
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Even Bill Gates said he tried Duolingo, but gave up. The ability to speak and understand another language is something you can't buy with an infinite amount of money. I'm at an intermediate level, and it took a ton of work and a very long time. (but really, Bill- free software? Loosen up a bit and hire a tutor!)
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Old 08-21-2015, 11:53 PM   #20
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I find Duolingo too random for me, without teaching me enough grammar to construct a sentence on my own.

I took 2 months of Spanish at the continuing ed department at University of Texas-Austin, finally understood some basic sentence construction and how to conjugate some verbs. It helped a lot during our last vacation in Puerto Vallarta last month.

I will be taking some more classes in the fall.

Everyone learns differently so try what works best for you.


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