Posts Tagged ‘Duolingo’

Hola!

Screenshot of the menubar

Screenshot of the duolingo menubar

Learning a new language opens up a new world. I read somewhere that the best time to learn a language is during childhood. However, I believe it is never too late to explore your language learning abilities. With this in mind, I have some interesting stories and insights to share. This is not just my attempt to learn hindi, then the so called national language but also a way, I discovered, out to learn any language. (FYI, India has no national language)

Back in those days, all the school going kids take up learning hindi in private classes as their hobby because of the parental pressure or maybe whatever. Passing through the levels such as Prathmic, Madhyama, Rashrabhasha, Pravesika, etc, you can finally acquire a BA (? I still doubt that but never cared to verify it) in Hindi. Regardless of the degree, I have seen how passing those exams are a matter of pride. I believe that a good institution and a right motivation can help in really learning hindi through those set of levels. I do know many people who are skilled in Hindi through this way of learning. However, I should also not deny the fact that so many people simply copy the text books and pass the exams only to get a certificate and advance to the next level. Obviously, nobody can see the point in that. After all, why do you want to ‘learn’ a language like that? I have been a ‘good’ student at school as I usually get into some top ranks.

Photo from Dewey’s Treehouse Blog

Until 8th grade, I was going to Hindi tuition yet learned for the sake of ..(well, I really can’t figure out that). Unlike my elder sister (Oh, she is always good at studies), I did not learn Hindi well enough to complete. I do not even care to which level I have my certificates.  😀 By saying so, it would be so unfair if I say I learnt nothing. It is only because of those private classes; I can read and write in Hindi and also converse a little (a little).

While my years in Bangladesh, I realize how I am capable of learning a new language. Again, I had to take up few Bangla classes but those are mostly to help us survive outside our university. It was a good start yet the real learning came from the environment around.  It was not only those Bangladeshi friends, but also the news channels from the neighbouring apartment, ricksaw wallahs (with whom we pretend that we are Bangladeshis too), shopkeepers, strangers on the road, field trip experiences, etc (sigh!) are the factors that contributed much to my Bangla. Eventually, I was able to go anywhere and get things done with my Bangla speaking skills. Although I did not learn enough to read and write the language, I am so glad to learn Bangla that always sounds sweet (now a lot nostalgic) to me. (sigh!!)

Bangla Letter. Photo from onkur.sourceforge.net

Yes, there were several moments that gradually taught me the way I can learn a language. Those self realization moments helped me understand myself better and accept the way I learn things. I think it’s by living with the people, one can learn not just the grammar but the funs intended with the words, phrases and intonations! I can feel I am among them. I am never offended or bored when people around me talk in their mother tongue that is not mine. There is nothing more intriguing to guess the meanings and assume what it is about. (Definitely, not eavesdropping!).

green bird

Screenshot of Duolingo logo

While my bangla learning happens naturally, I came across this initiation to teach foreign languages. That is duolingo with a green bird as its logo. If you think, learning, especially language, should be fun, then, duolingo is for you. I have known their work since their inception. Serving as a great example for edutainment, duolingo is absolutely free and is available as mobile applications. “Practice makes a (wo)man perfect” – how true! But, really, how many of us are bored to do our routines? Well, duolingo has implemented several techniques that can keep you inspired everyday to practice your language. It provides you a virtual environment where you can hear, speak, read and write the language. Awesome! Isn’t it? Also, you can earn and invest lingots into lessons that can teach you idioms, and flirting. 😀

Just as any other websites, duolingo requires a signup and that can be done ‘manually’ using your e-mail account or ‘automatically’ using your facebook or google plus login details. Although the latter method is not highly recommended when speaking of cyber crime prevention techniques, it helps you to find your friends who also use duolingo. As the whole purpose of the duolingo is for learning, it only allows you to follow your friend to get updates about her progress and, I guess, comment. After you sign in, you can choose the language that you want to study and the language through which you want to study.

duolingo leaderboard

Screenshot of your progress along with your friends in duolingo.

A set of lessons appear that you can start with. As you complete the basic lessons, new lessons will be made accessible for you. If you already knew the language and just want to check yourself and learn more, there are some test outs in between those lessons. If you complete those tests, you need not go through each and every lesson to unlock new ones. Once you complete the set of lessons for a topic, your strength bar will be full. However, as you learn your new lessons on different topics, with certain time lapse, the strength bars in some of the previous lessons will decrease. Definitely, there are a lot of logical thinking and programming skills going behind this technique. You may occasionally deal with fulfilling the strength bars in the old topics or you may simply move forward.

I can remember that I have used this app some years ago but only twice until April 2015. As much I know the importance of this app, I have also been lazy in practicing. The good news is that I have figured out my routine and I am on it now. Therefore, I use duolingo more regularly. I am not a fan of any virtual games (online/video games). And, competing with others is also not my way of getting inspiration to learn. Yet, I love to see my progress and achieve my vision.

duolingo dailygoal

Screenshot of my progress on daily goal

According to duolingo, I have reached level 9 of Spanish lessons and acquired 36% fluency in the language. Can’t wait to attain 50% by the end of 2015! I have set my daily goal as only 10XPs which can be earned with the completion of just one lesson or by strengthening once in an already learnt lesson. When I get more than a week of holidays, I planned to set my daily goal as 50 XPs. Although these past two months were my vacation, the real challenge is the upcoming months. I would like to stick with 10XPs everyday as it is attainable in few minutes, increases my streaks, thus, keeping me an everyday Spanish learner.

duolingo my profile

Screenshot of my profile in duolingo

5 out of 5 stars to Duolingo.com. Therefore, if you think you are someone who can only learn a language in its environment, then go and Duolingo! I would love you read your replies to this post if you have something or anything to say! Also, if you have any suggestions for websites similar to duolingo, I would love to try it out.

Muchas Gracias!