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anyone learning a new language at Duolingo?

 
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Burra's mention a while back, three years maybe?, of Duolingo for learning a new language got me started
It's free!
https://www.duolingo.com/

I took french in high school and then in college was briefly a french minor...you would think I would be fluent but no.

I did Duolingo's French course completely once through a couple years ago and then almost immediately began it again to keep refreshed.

There is an abundance of languages offered...and it's set up to hold a game players interest a little I guess? and seems appropriate for children who are able to read their native language well first.

My guy is doing the German course exclusively now but when I began I talked him into doing French at the same time so we could do some conversations.  He then added Irish and German...he's always been interested in languages.



   
 
pollinator
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My much better half is using it to learn Polish, and previously picked up some German. I think it's worth looking at, especially for the price.

-CK
 
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I've used it for Irish, and I always suggested it to English language learners. I think my kid was using it for Korean? it is easy to use and a great deal for the price. The phone app (at least a few years ago) was good to use as well.
 
pollinator
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I am using it for Spanish and French.  I use both the computer and the app.  I also use Tiny Cards which links with Duolingo. :)
 
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I got over their estimation of 50% fluency last year in Spanish then got a little too busy to keep it up.  Would like to pick it back up again.  
 
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I was using it a lot 6 years ago to learn the basics of Spanish. Then I moved to Spain and it helped me a lot!

I recently picked it up again and stengthen my Spanish fluency and started learning Catalan as well.

One of the best educational apps out there, hands down!
 
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I've really enjoyed Duolingo for learning Spanish. I took a little bit of Spanish in high school and college, but didn't really learn that much. I had been doing Duolingo for almost daily for about a year and really felt like I was really learning a lot. I've slacked off recently though. Maybe I'll start it back now!

Some other free apps I like are Memrise and Anki flashcards. It was really helpful doing a mix of all three, since it seemed like they each addressed different areas of language learning.

Duolingo- Seems to be good overall with a good mixture of forming sentences and vocabulary.

Memrise- Flashcards that can be worked through like a course and also features customizable flash cards. The course has a lot of flash cards with full sentences which I found really helpful for forming tricky sentences.

Anki- Flashcards that can be downloaded in already made sets for building vocabulary. You can rate each word flashcard on how well you know it, and it will present it to you at longer intervals to help with remembering it. Downloaded flashcards can also be modified and a custom picture can be added to them, which I found really helpful in memorizing.

I have two other languages I'm really more interested in than Spanish, so I may go for something totally new and switch over to them. It's just hard to switch when you're so close to almost learning a language.
 
Judith Browning
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I love it that so many are studying a new language!

I'm looking for a french/english dictionary to load onto the memory card on my tablet (not a kindle).  
It doesn't have to be free, just usable when I'm off line and more than just basic french.
I'm reading a couple books in french and could really use a quick way to look up a word while traveling without my big paperback dictionary along...the books are paperback but small and I always travel with my tablet.

I found this list of apps and wondered if anyone could recommend any of these?
8 French Dictionary Apps You Should Use in 2020

 
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Thanks for pointing out that website!
I really need to learn Russian. (Common language here)
 
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I use it - albeit sporadically - to learn several: Spanish, to refresh and expand, from my younger years, learning it on the street, plus Irish, French, Mandarin, and German. The toughest one? Irish!
 
Tereza Okava
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Judith Browning wrote:
I found this list of apps and wondered if anyone could recommend any of these?
8 French Dictionary Apps You Should Use in 2020


Judith, I have a few dictionaries on my phone but none for French. But even so, I think it's probably about the same for any language that you're using the same alphabet for- unless you're using it for really specific vocabulary (legal, engineering, etc) I don't think it's going to make much of a difference which one you choose. If you're using a roman alphabet you don't have to worry about it having some wacky search interface that will be inconvenient. I would try one of the free ones and see how you like it. I've used Larousse products before and they're good, but I don't think you should necessarily buy an app unless you really love it or have a good reason, when there are free options that work too.
To be honest, I put some dictionaries on my phone for when my internet is down and I can't use the online ones I prefer. But I found that instead of doing that, I end up getting out my big paper ones (which I understand is an option you would rather avoid). There is certainly some nostalgia involved in this process (some of these books I've had longer than my spouse, and they've been around the world with me)!!
 
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When I lived back east , I had an extended Italian side of the family.  I never spoke Italian (other than a few cuss words) but I did have a very good idea what was being said.
In fact I got my first Mechanic job at a Fiat dealership, simply because I could understand their Top mechanics.
In the 1970's Fiat imported all their head mechanics from Italy. Loaded their whole family's up on a ship and taught them (as best they could) English on the trip over.  Needless to say they had trouble being understood by the young american boys hired to be apprentices.
I shined on my first day... wasn't a very good mechanic yet,(at all)  but by the end of the day, I was the go to guy to understand them and translate!  Loved that job learned bunches, by being quiet and listening/watching the tops work!

I never gave a thought to learning Italian , until you guys brought Duolingo to my attention !
I am now learning Italian, 45 years after working with the guys who would have taught me easily if I had cared enough to ask... Of course any of my uncles or aunts would have been happy to do so as well. Strange how priority's differ from 16 to 60...
 
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Cool, because of this thread, I've started Hindi on Duolingo, because when I tried Rosetta Stone for Hindi years ago, I found it lame. (I do speak the language of the region I live in, but I've never learned the lingua franca of the country very well, so I thought I'd give Duolingo a try).

I'm doing it on my laptop, but these things keep coming up and I wonder if they are a bug, or if somebody at Duolingo thought these exercises have value(???)
Duolingo-Hindi-lesson.png
[Thumbnail for Duolingo-Hindi-lesson.png]
Duolinguo Hindi lesson: 'Which of these is "Egg"' (with pictures provided?!)
 
Sebastian Köln
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Rebecca Norman wrote:Cool, because of this thread, I've started Hindi on Duolingo, because when I tried Rosetta Stone for Hindi years ago, I found it lame. (I do speak the language of the region I live in, but I've never learned the lingua franca of the country very well, so I thought I'd give Duolingo a try).

I'm doing it on my laptop, but these things keep coming up and I wonder if they are a bug, or if somebody at Duolingo thought these exercises have value(???)



I actually found that quite helpful when you are given completely new words. It gets more difficult over time, but in the next stage they still provide a build in dictionary. After that you are on your own.
 
Judith Browning
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Rebecca Norman wrote:Cool, because of this thread, I've started Hindi on Duolingo, because when I tried Rosetta Stone for Hindi years ago, I found it lame. (I do speak the language of the region I live in, but I've never learned the lingua franca of the country very well, so I thought I'd give Duolingo a try).

I'm doing it on my laptop, but these things keep coming up and I wonder if they are a bug, or if somebody at Duolingo thought these exercises have value()



The images with words are part of the lessons...only in the early ones though.  I wonder why you find them unhelpful? They seemed useful as Sebastion says, for new words in the beginning.

I imagine you could proficiency out of several of the early levels though since you already know the language?
When you click on the lesson  there is a box that has options...instead of 'start' click on the above right icon that has a 'key' and that will allow you to take a test to go to the next level.  I used that when I began the lessons a second time and skipped right along...

There have been some changes since I began and I expect more...they are open to input (there is 'discussion' below each answer and I think it's fairly active.  Steve uses it and I do not.  


I think we all have different ways of learning...this one suits me although I could probably live without the owl telling me what a good job I'm doing

I work from my PC and sometimes my tablet so I don't know what the mobile version looks like...could be it has many differences?  We also noticed that different languages varied in how they presented some stuff.

I like it a lot though and maybe have gotten used to how it works.
Between all of us who use it here we should be able to answer any questions.
 
Tereza Okava
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okay, I confess I haven't used it much lately, but I was around when it was first launched and supervised people who worked in the app correcting texts and I think it is a combo of factors-
first, yes, the initial exercises often are dopey and make no sense (I recall seeing the same nonsensical phrase over and over again... the spider eats bread! I can guarantee that is a phrase I will never, ever say in Irish, because.... spiders don't eat bread?) But it's an algorithm in a free app, I need to lower my expectations...

But I see why you're frustrated. i wasn't too thrilled with how they addressed writing in Japanese either. [I used to teach high school Japanese so I may perhaps have a bit of baggage here] Their approach was both coddling and glacial, and if I were still teaching I wouldn't recommend it til after they have the phonetic alphabets down, since there wasn't really much logic there. I suspect with the hindi maybe they're just trying to associate the written word with the english word? although maybe they could make it a bit larger?? I agree with you, it's hard to see what their point is with this.)


I think the app began with them thinking it would be like Rosetta, mostly English speakers learning foreign languages (and they were limited at first), and they weren't prepared for demand from the world abroad. There was a mad rush to translate the user interfaces, which initially were all in English, as English teachers learned about this great free resource for their students. Then the focus switched again from foreign learners learning foreign languages (polish learning hindi, japanese learning russian). They do seem to be trying to adapt and evolve.
 
Rebecca Norman
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I see, I guess it makes sense to introduce new words along with images. But it was presented as a question, with a picture, about English, in English, with Hindi as a much smaller and lighter font.

I don't know much Hindi -- only enough to make misunderstandings. I am fluent in the regional language where I live. But Hindi is very different from that language. Perhaps because of certain social structures in India, I haven't had very much opportunity to communicate with Hindi speakers who a) are less comfortable in English than in Hindi, and b) whom it would be socially acceptable for me to chit-chat with frequently (the non-locals in my region are mostly men, or highly educated Indians who are fluent in English)
 
Tereza Okava
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Rebecca Norman wrote:I don't know much Hindi -- only enough to make misunderstandings.


ROFL. I feel that way in several languages. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing!!

I just went and did some poking around and found two interesting things-
1) if you want the polar opposite of Duolingo, you can find the old Foreign Service texts for learning Hindi. I had an old set of books for Japanese and they were.... somewhat different from the usual language texts (Take me to your village leader!) I used to flip through them randomly to find something interesting. They were super intensive. It looks like for Hindi you need to get the text down first,  at least the ones I pulled up on a random google trawl did not have phonetics (although if you have someone to act as a tutor you could probably get around that easily). The good thing about FSI texts is that they are all over the internet, and you might be able to find copies with phonetic resources.
2) UT Austin has a Hindi program. I have the utmost respect for UT Austin, which through their free online goodies they generously provide were entirely responsible for my Portuguese fluency (I came to Brazil speaking Japanese, English, and Spanish). They really, really know their language stuff and are known for their fabulous and very well thought out resources (their Portuguese for Spanish speakers program, Tá Falado, is unequaled). I see that for hindi they have a bank of voice mail messages, worksheets, readers, podcasts.....  click on the resources tab. http://hindiurduflagship.org/
 
Rebecca Norman
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Thanks!
 
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I started just yesterday. German and Spanish. I used to know both at intermediate level more or less, but I forgot... it's only two days but I like it!
 
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In my experience, Duolingo is great as a SUPPLEMENT to language learning. I have used it to gain some basic literacy in a couple languages (Portuguese, Italian), but it only really teaches you the basics. It’s a good start and good practice, but I wouldn’t rely on it by itself.
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