Duolingo

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Faisal
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Duolingo

Post by Faisal »

Has anybody used Duo lingo successfully to learn a language? I am looking for cheap and yet effective ways to learn French.

As a reference - https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/04/smar ... e-app.html
runninginvestor
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Re: Duolingo

Post by runninginvestor »

I didn't care for it as much. Check your local library, most local libraries I've been a part of have e-resources (and of course books) that are similar to Duolingo.

Edit: I tried it to refresh a language I already knew, and didn't care for it as much.
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nisiprius
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Re: Duolingo

Post by nisiprius »

I haven't used Duolingo (much), but I used a somewhat similar computer-based system, Rosetta Stone, to learn Spanish.

I would give an emphatically mixed review. I think Duolingo would be about the same. Maybe not as good, because one difference is that Rosetta Stone actually has a speech-recognition function which checks your pronunciation when you speak, and I don't think Duolingo does.

What I found was that Rosetta Stone was very valuable, and rather exciting and motivating because it got me fairly quickly to the point of understanding very simple Spanish in a very intuitive, automatic, immersive way. However, the extent of that learning was limited, and misleading. A typical exercise say "The man is drinking" and ask you to pick a picture that corresponds--and the four pictures will show a man drinking, a woman reading, a boy eating, and a girl running... so you can identify the correct picture without fully understanding what was said. The illusion that you are "understanding Spanish" fades considerably when you are talking to a live person in a less restricted context.

Also, I got to a point where I really ached for just a little bit of grammar explanation in English. You can overdo the immersive technique. I remember a completely baffling lesson in which they were using the imperative, and just a few sentences saying "this is the imperative and in Spanish the negative imperative is a different verb form from the positive imperative" would have put me straight.

I don't believe any system of this kind is complete. I think it is very good when used together with live, human instruction. Which, yes, is somewhat costly. But it certainly is a good way to get started, and it is something you can do on your own in between live lessons.

In other words, brace yourself: I think you "can learn some French" that way, or "start learning French" that way--but you probably can't "learn French" that way.
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Exchme
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Re: Duolingo

Post by Exchme »

Since it's free, you can try it and see if you enjoy it. DW and I have been spending 20-30 minutes per day on Spanish, it's enjoyable, but that's not really enough time to make a lot of progress. It starts with super simple sentences, common concepts, words that look the same in both languages and then builds. It's almost all learning by answering questions, very little instruction or memorizing vocabulary or conjugating verbs.
Iorek
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Re: Duolingo

Post by Iorek »

I saw a review somewhere that duolingo consciously designed the program to err on the side of making gamified/fun vs enabling you to use a new language while you travel.

Libraries often offer rosetta or mango which are focused a bit more on teaching conversational skills but have their own pros/cons.
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Bogle7
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Memrise

Post by Bogle7 »

The absolute second best way to learn Français is thru the https://afusa.org in your city. But, not cheap. The teachers and methodology are great.

For less money
https://www.memrise.com works for me.
Pro is $30/yr if you start out with the free version and then wait for the 50% discount offer.
Renewal is then $30/yr
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mindboggling
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Re: Duolingo

Post by mindboggling »

I've been studying Latin for the past two months using Duolingo. The Latin course is not as fully developed as their courses for modern languages. I think I'm learning a bit, but grammar is not covered systematically. Grammar is real important for Latin! Latin is mostly for reading, so conversation is not that important. I'm about half-way through the course and trying to figure out what to do next if I want to continue after I'm done. Also, the "gameification" they use on their website seems a bit childish.

A few years ago, I tried Rosetta Stone for Spanish. I'm not sure I believe in their method.
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Calli114
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Re: Duolingo

Post by Calli114 »

Duolingo is fun but doesn’t teach one any grammar rules or cases - I used it for Russian for months but don’t feel I would be conversational as a tourist just from doing that. It does help with pronunciation and flow of speech but I think at this point if I wanted to be conversational in another language it would require 1:1 online lessons which can get pricy.
BeneIRA
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Re: Duolingo

Post by BeneIRA »

Faisal wrote: Thu Apr 01, 2021 3:07 pm Has anybody used Duo lingo successfully to learn a language? I am looking for cheap and yet effective ways to learn French.

As a reference - https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/04/smar ... e-app.html
I did Duolingo French and Spanish for several years. For a while I only did French. Using it in Paris was slightly helpful. I can use restaurant French to order food more or less. As far as conversations, no, I still can't. I had better luck in Quebec than I had in France. But in France, the people in the countryside were much more patient with me and willing to work it through with me as opposed to Paris, where I was mostly (and probably rightfully so) met with disdain. Everyone in Quebec played along with me as I fumbled my way through a conversation. One big unintended benefit of Duolingo was being able to read Spanish and French better, but that has minimal value for me, sadly. I really only wanted to converse in the language.

In summary, it is good for very basic and cursory language, but fluency? Definitely not.
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beernutz
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Re: Duolingo

Post by beernutz »

I have had a duolingo account since 2015 and am currently on a 660 day-in-a-row Spanish streak. However I've completed only 3.5 of the 8 checkpoints for Spanish, in part because you have to jump through many advertising and other hoops for each lesson.

For example currently each lesson is about 20 screens where you translate from English to Spanish or vice versa. After each lesson though I have to clear about 4 more screens about duolingo options before finally being shown an ad. What has recently irked me is that the ads which in the past could be bypassed after 5 seconds now sometimes require 20 or 30 seconds before you can bypass them.

This is for EACH LESSON. One category consists of about 20 lessons and each of the 8 checkpoints has about 25 categories.

I still do one lesson a day to keep my streak going and I am certainly more fluent than I was 2 years ago but I could probably only hold a conversation with a 1st grader.
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JerseyJim
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Re: Duolingo

Post by JerseyJim »

I have been using Babbel in my quest to be able to speak a little Italian. I've had better results than I did with Duolingo.
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Re: Duolingo

Post by bloom2708 »

Duolingo can maybe get you 20% there.

It gets you the basics and a few thousand words.

I do like it though. Currently doing Finnish (Minulla on suuri Boglehead). I completed Swedish a couple years back. Certainly not fluent

I use the free version. Ads play after each lesson.

Load it on your phone or tablet and try it out.
Last edited by bloom2708 on Fri Apr 02, 2021 9:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Elsebet
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Re: Duolingo

Post by Elsebet »

I have been taking Spanish for a few months using DuoLingo. For me it's just so I can use some Spanish phrases at the Mexican restaurants where we eat regularly and give the native speakers a good laugh. I had hopes that my husband would join me and we'd try to speak Spanish with each other but he isn't interested.
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oxothuk
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Re: Duolingo

Post by oxothuk »

By itself I don’t think Duolingo is all that effective. I got a lot more benefit from the Pimsleur program - expensive to buy, but probably available from your local library.
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queso
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Re: Duolingo

Post by queso »

I've been using it during COVID and have been pretty happy with it, but by itself it won't get to where most people want to get - conversational fluency. I have found it a great refresher on vocab and my reading and writing Spanish is getting much better, but I had years of Spanish in both high school and college so I already had familiarity with the language, sentence structure, verb conjugation, etc. Honestly, I think I would be pretty lost without a background in the language. I work with a couple of people who speak Spanish so what I do is augment Duolingo with conversations and chats (Teams/Zoom) that we do in Spanish and that helps a lot with the conversation side. Once you get into it a bit, the "stories" kind of replicate a conversation, but you still have the written text in front of you as a crutch so you aren't really thinking on your feet like you would in a real conversation with no visual aids. IMHO, you could probably use Duolingo every day for years and still never be able to watch Narcos without the subtitles. :happy
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Re: Duolingo

Post by Cycle »

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Re: Duolingo

Post by whereskyle »

Faisal wrote: Thu Apr 01, 2021 3:07 pm Has anybody used Duo lingo successfully to learn a language? I am looking for cheap and yet effective ways to learn French.

As a reference - https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/04/smar ... e-app.html
Not a bad way to practice at all. Can even be fun. But actually learning a new language requires immersion: reading, listening, and conversing with people. I say use it to learn the basics, but expect to need more and different practice as well
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InMyDreams
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Re: Duolingo

Post by InMyDreams »

I've borrowed Pimsleur from my local library to brush up on Spanish - and find it quite useful. I borrow using Overdrive. Pimsleur for learning French would work the same way.

But I also recommend a multiprong approach. When I was taking Spanish lessons, I used the series Destinos at the same time.

French in Action might provide a similar dual-track experience
https://www.learner.org/series/french-in-action/
gtd98765
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Re: Duolingo

Post by gtd98765 »

My advice as someone who learned and used 3.5 foreign languages as an adult (former diplomat):

If it's fun for you, try it out. But if you want to be able to use a foreign language in actual conversation with non-English speakers, you should sign up for a course of some kind, e.g., at a community college, Berlitz, or something. Or perhaps on-line instruction via videoconference with an experienced teacher abroad. In-person instruction is essential if you want to have unstructured conversations.
brewbaker
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Re: Duolingo

Post by brewbaker »

I'm a big fan of Pimsleur. I took German in college a million years ago, then ended up with an assignment in Germany that I thought was in the International (English speaking) area, but, surprise, was in the German speaking part of the firm. I got through about parts I-III of Pimsleur German and immersed myself when I was there. After three weeks or so I was pretty good in meetings. My colleagues did take pity on me and held some meetings in English even if I didn't ask. (I got Pimsleur from the library)

I also used Pimsleur for Dutch, but there are far fewer lessons. I added Duolingo and it helps, but it is not fast. I also use Drops for vocabulary. Five free minutes a day.

When I take up French I will again use Pimsleur as their French goes to five levels and I will add Duolingo and Drops as adjuncts.

Bottom line, Duolingo won't get you there by itself. Also, I second the user above on getting practice with a native. The difference in speaking speed and accent is huge at first.

Good luck and enjoy a new language!
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Bogle7
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Babbel

Post by Bogle7 »

Some of you may be interest in this deal from Babbel - Babbel Language Learning Lifetime Subscription (All 14 Languages): $199
https://www.macobserver.com/link/babbel ... uages-199/

I have never used Babbel.
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runninginvestor
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Re: Duolingo

Post by runninginvestor »

gtd98765 wrote: Fri Apr 02, 2021 8:49 am My advice as someone who learned and used 3.5 foreign languages as an adult (former diplomat):

If it's fun for you, try it out. But if you want to be able to use a foreign language in actual conversation with non-English speakers, you should sign up for a course of some kind, e.g., at a community college, Berlitz, or something. Or perhaps on-line instruction via videoconference with an experienced teacher abroad. In-person instruction is essential if you want to have unstructured conversations.
This is a good idea, and there are also probably free open online courses from universities available online as well.
sailaway
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Re: Duolingo

Post by sailaway »

It will give you a decent base, but you will have to supplement it with something. Last year I used Hindi and was able to get through some basic children's books with what I learned plus a dictionary. I still haven't really learned to look things up in devanagari, so I have to transcribe to Latin script. And I stopped soon after I completed the course, so I have probably lost a lot of it already.

Common languages like French and Spanish are better than less common because they have stories built into the app. I was so disappointed when I got advanced enough in Swedish and realized there were no stories to unlock :(

I don't particularly trust the voice recognition. I am pretty good at languages, but sometimes it blocks me when I am pretty sure I have done well and passes me when I stutter or otherwise misspeak.
The Stone Wall
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Re: Duolingo

Post by The Stone Wall »

Much like an exercise bike, it only works if you use it. I've used a number of methods including Rosetta Stone, Pimsleur, and Duolingo. I found Duolingo to be my preferred method. I am approaching a 600 day streak in Duolingo and that follows a 300 day streak. I have raised all lessons to level 4 throughout the 'tree' in Duolingo. I am now to the point of also reading Spanish literature on my Kindle. I can read with a minimal amount of dictionary usage. With that said, I have a lot of difficulty with listening and speaking skills. I can follow some news programming and slow novelas on Spanish TV, but it is a struggle.

The reason I like Duolingo over the others is that I like using it. Much of the time, however, was with an android phone. The interface with android is totally different than an Iphone. It was more "game-like". With the android phone, I would bring up the Duolingo app whenever I had any downtime (waiting for a meeting, a plane, etc). I don't like the app as much on the Iphone, so I use my Windows tablet. This is mainly because I find it to use the keyboard for the higher levels. I don't have the same experience with so many advertisements that others have described. I have the base version and can move from lesson to lesson in a matter of seconds.

This weekend, I will begin raising all lessons to level 5. Given the number of lessons, I suspect that will extend into the fall.
langelgjm
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Re: Duolingo

Post by langelgjm »

I'll link to a previous post I made on tips for learning a new language (I made a number of specific recommendations for French).

If Duolingo is your only tool, and you go all the way through, you will probably learn enough to make yourself understood, and understand others, in limited contexts with interlocutors who are patient and speak clearly. And you'll probably get the gist of simple texts. This is a level that is sufficient for travel.
TravelGeek
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Re: Duolingo

Post by TravelGeek »

beernutz wrote: Thu Apr 01, 2021 8:03 pm I have had a duolingo account since 2015 and am currently on a 660 day-in-a-row Spanish streak. However I've completed only 3.5 of the 8 checkpoints for Spanish, in part because you have to jump through many advertising and other hoops for each lesson.
Looks like we are at a similar point. 600+ day streak in Spanish, 2 checkpoints, and duome.eu thinks I will complete the course by November of this year (unlikely). I currently do one or two new lessons per day and fix all my broken lessons (the re-learning feature). I complete all topics to “Golden” level, but usually have five or six in progress. I opted to pay, for one because I don’t want the advertising and hearts restriction, and also because I want to support the development.

I am far from fluent and could/should probably augment it with some structured grammar learning to help myself along, but I do notice that I am making progress.
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beernutz
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Re: Duolingo

Post by beernutz »

TravelGeek wrote: Fri Apr 02, 2021 11:31 am
beernutz wrote: Thu Apr 01, 2021 8:03 pm I have had a duolingo account since 2015 and am currently on a 660 day-in-a-row Spanish streak. However I've completed only 3.5 of the 8 checkpoints for Spanish, in part because you have to jump through many advertising and other hoops for each lesson.
Looks like we are at a similar point. 600+ day streak in Spanish, 2 checkpoints, and duome.eu thinks I will complete the course by November of this year (unlikely). I currently do one or two new lessons per day and fix all my broken lessons (the re-learning feature). I complete all topics to “Golden” level, but usually have five or six in progress. I opted to pay, for one because I don’t want the advertising and hearts restriction, and also because I want to support the development.

I am far from fluent and could/should probably augment it with some structured grammar learning to help myself along, but I do notice that I am making progress.
Yes I think we're pretty close in usage and proficiency. If duolingo had not allowed free accounts to buy more hearts with diamonds, of which I have about 32k, I would probably have given up on my daily lesson or two and on the app altogether.
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TravelGeek
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Re: Duolingo

Post by TravelGeek »

beernutz wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 11:26 am Yes I think we're pretty close in usage and proficiency. If duolingo had not allowed free accounts to buy more hearts with diamonds, of which I have about 32k, I would probably have given up on my daily lesson or two and on the app altogether.
I have 32209 diamonds. Wish there was something I could do with them.
Iporante
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Re: Duolingo

Post by Iporante »

I'm also attempting to learn French through Duolingo. Duolingo is limited, but it's free. I bought a grammar book, installed Google Translate, and listen to Podcasts to supplement what I'm learning through Duolingo. The podcasts Daily French Pod and Journal en Française Facile have been great.

My "big picture" take is that it is ok and if I were living in a French speaking country, I think this approach would suffice. Since that's not an option right now, the going is slow, but my polyglot wife says I'm getting much better. 8-)

I think for most people immersion is key to learning a language quickly. I've successfully learned two languages as an adult, one with some initial classroom time and then independently and the other solely through independent learning. The key to both was visiting or living in countries where the languages are spoken, and thus having to use them every day for weeks or months at a time.

Good luck and let us know how it goes!
Swimmer
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Re: Duolingo

Post by Swimmer »

I’ve been learning Spanish on Duo for 225 days. I’ve found it fun and have been disciplined not to miss a day. More importantly, as a senior who never learned any foreign language, I’m fascinated to learn something completely new and REMEMBER the words (well, most of them). I really believe it is a great brain exercise.

Post pandemic, I plan to attend a conversational class. Now, at least I can interpret signage, menus, and speak some friendly phrases. It would have been very helpful to have gotten this far when I was in Spain.

I’ll keep chugging away at it. There are so many ways to waste time but I don’t think Duo is one of them.
Gotta admit I also hate the ads. I need to bite the bullet and pay for ad free.
Californiastate
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Re: Duolingo

Post by Californiastate »

I used it for a planned trip to France that COVID postponed. I’ll never use it enough to have the tongue or understand locals talking fast. I’d like to be able to at least read a newspaper or menu etc.
kbjeffrey
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Re: Duolingo

Post by kbjeffrey »

I find it very useful for learning basic vocabulary and grammar. I did the French course before I visited Paris and it did give me a the head start I needed to be able to learn enough French while I was there and talk with people at a basic level. I did the same thing. when I went to Italy. I did already speak Portuguese and Spanish though...
jrmillions
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Re: Duolingo

Post by jrmillions »

There are many ways to learn a second language and Duolingo is just a tool in the tool box. There are other free apps out there. I use Memrise and have used Drops to learn basic words.
Pimsleur is another great tool too. It helps with listening and speaking. I borrowed Pimsleur Spanish on CD from the library and found it to be helpful.
But the best way to acquire a language is through immersion. Not necessarily moving to another country but by reading and listening to your target language. This is backed up by Stephen Krassen PhD. You can watch him on YouTube. Also on YouTube are polyglot channels where they talk about learning languages. According to them, there are many ways to learn. Just find a method that you enjoy.

Bonne chance
ivgrivchuck
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Re: Duolingo

Post by ivgrivchuck »

bloom2708 wrote: Thu Apr 01, 2021 8:51 pm I do like it though. Currently doing Finnish (Minulla on suuri Boglehead).
Minulla on suuri Boglehead = I have a big Boglehead
Minä olen suuri Boglehead = I am a great Boglehead

I believe you meant the latter. Good luck with your studies :beer
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bloom2708
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Re: Duolingo

Post by bloom2708 »

ivgrivchuck wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 8:37 pm
bloom2708 wrote: Thu Apr 01, 2021 8:51 pm I do like it though. Currently doing Finnish (Minulla on suuri Boglehead).
Minulla on suuri Boglehead = I have a big Boglehead
Minä olen suuri Boglehead = I am a great Boglehead

I believe you meant the latter. Good luck with your studies :beer
🤓

I actually meant the first one. On purpose.

Thanks Duolingo!
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Topic Author
Faisal
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Re: Duolingo

Post by Faisal »

Thank you all for your comments. I will start using the app and supplement with actual classes. I will also look at Pimsleur and other options mentioned. Once again thank you all for your invaluable advice and inputs.
AnEngineer
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Re: Duolingo

Post by AnEngineer »

Some corrections to others:

1) Duolingo has speech recognition (may depend on language).

2) Duolingo does teach you some grammar, but it is somewhat hidden. Go into the 'tips' before a set of lessons and it gives you a snippet of rules.

It's free and the gamification may help you keep at it. Interface seems to vary depending on how you use it. On a phone it seems to mostly give you word options to select, while on a computer you end up typing more.

I think it's best use is probably for vocabulary. I also like the "stories".
GG1273
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Re: Duolingo

Post by GG1273 »

JerseyJim wrote: Thu Apr 01, 2021 8:49 pm I have been using Babbel in my quest to be able to speak a little Italian. I've had better results than I did with Duolingo.
will check out Babbel - I get some ads for them from time to time :!:
slowbutsteady
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Re: Duolingo

Post by slowbutsteady »

beernutz wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 11:26 am
TravelGeek wrote: Fri Apr 02, 2021 11:31 am
beernutz wrote: Thu Apr 01, 2021 8:03 pm I have had a duolingo account since 2015 and am currently on a 660 day-in-a-row Spanish streak. However I've completed only 3.5 of the 8 checkpoints for Spanish, in part because you have to jump through many advertising and other hoops for each lesson.
Looks like we are at a similar point. 600+ day streak in Spanish, 2 checkpoints, and duome.eu thinks I will complete the course by November of this year (unlikely). I currently do one or two new lessons per day and fix all my broken lessons (the re-learning feature). I complete all topics to “Golden” level, but usually have five or six in progress. I opted to pay, for one because I don’t want the advertising and hearts restriction, and also because I want to support the development.

I am far from fluent and could/should probably augment it with some structured grammar learning to help myself along, but I do notice that I am making progress.
Yes I think we're pretty close in usage and proficiency. If duolingo had not allowed free accounts to buy more hearts with diamonds, of which I have about 32k, I would probably have given up on my daily lesson or two and on the app altogether.
Another 600+ Duolingo days "streaker" here. 52k lingots - not sure what to do with them either.

I like Duolingo. It's fun and has helped with basic sentences and decent reading. I finish the 5 stages of each lesson before moving to the next, I play/review for lives (not those auto refills), and I don't refill more than 3 hearts so I get to practice again if I make more than three mistakes. I'm at heading towards checkpoint 6 now. Android user.

But agree its not enough for fluency. I add a podcast - coffee break, read children books, and read some news. Like others said, to be fluent you need some immersive speaking experience. The brain needs it I believe.
The tortoise wins every time I read that story.
zeusrock1
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Re: Duolingo

Post by zeusrock1 »

I've been going through the Spanish lessons on Duolingo. It's great, just a beginner, but I enjoy the lessons. I use a laptop, tablet and phone and they all act a little different - the laptop is hardest because you have to type responses, but I think the best for learning. Read the tips before starting every lesson set, that is where you learn the grammar rules. I'm working up to the stories and podcasts, they even have many classes available with actual speakers for small donation, but I haven't tried it yet.
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Peter Foley
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Re: Duolingo

Post by Peter Foley »

I am a former college level Spanish language and literature teacher. As I read through the thread I notice a few people had tried to learn more than one language. One resource I found very helpful was the book Five Languages Made Simple. It covers French, Italian, English, Spanish and German. It helps identify parallel sentence structures and cognates.

You can get some limited success from some of the apps mentioned, but it is better to supplement with interactions with native speakers. I progressed greatly in French by exchanging language lessons in Spanish for lessons in French with a native speaker.
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Faisal
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Re: Duolingo

Post by Faisal »

AnEngineer wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 3:40 pm Some corrections to others:

1) Duolingo has speech recognition (may depend on language).

2) Duolingo does teach you some grammar, but it is somewhat hidden. Go into the 'tips' before a set of lessons and it gives you a snippet of rules.

It's free and the gamification may help you keep at it. Interface seems to vary depending on how you use it. On a phone it seems to mostly give you word options to select, while on a computer you end up typing more.

I think it's best use is probably for vocabulary. I also like the "stories".
Thanks for the PC tip. I am actually typing out my answers on the PC which is really helpful. I would prefer to do all four - read, write, speak and understand.
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