Fang Talks

Be mindful of who you bare your fangs at, son.
12 10 13

Duolingo

Have I posted about this yet? I feel as if I have, but it appears not so. Well, I should, so here goes.

Duolingo is a website for learning languages. Currently they got Spanish, German, French, Italian and Portuguese. You can learn those languages as an English speaker, or learn English as someone speaking those languages. They take a game-like approach. You have your very own skill tree in which you can learn “skills” (parts of vocabulary, like food, animals, possessives, etc). In doing so you earn coins which allow you to level up. Leveling up, obtaining streaks and completing a part error-free rewards you with Lingots, which can be used to purchase (in my opinion sort of useless) perks.

You learn words in context using sentences. You get to translate to and from the language you’re learning. There’s listening exercises and speaking ones, too. The interface is nice and functional. It lacks a couple of important features like the ability to go back after a lesson to look at your mistakes again, but stuff like this is supposed to be in the works right now.

They also have a “translations” tab. People can put text of web pages up for translation, and the community will have a go at it, earning coins as they do. To be honest it’s a bit underwhelming. Most of the stuff on there isn’t exactly doable unless you’ve got a decent grasp of the language, so it’s pretty inaccessible to newer users. And even if you’re capable of properly translating an average sentence, good luck finding one. Most things on there get translated really quickly from what I’ve seen.

All in all though it’s a pretty fun way of learning a language. They keep streak records, and since I have trouble breaking those things I can’t go a day without at least a practice lesson. The ability to add and “compete” against friends also is a nice motivator.

In case they don’t support the language you want to learn, they’ve recently launched the Duolingo Incubator. The community can use this to create new courses. Pretty promising stuff, let’s hope there’s a decent amount of people willing to put some effort in.

There’s plenty of other sites for this out there, but here’s one I’ve been using for a while now. Give it a try, you really have no excuse not to try learning another language now.
~ Fang

Comments

  • 12/10/2013 (11:09 PM)

    This sounds pretty good and it’s very well timed actually as a friend of mine is struggling learning French so I suggested we both try and learn it together.

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