Friday, December 22, 2017
Review of Duolingo Language App
Lately, I have been using the Duolingo Language App for studying the languages Spanish and Greek. It’s an app on your phone or computer for practicing foreign languages when you have a little bit of time to kill. I had initially shied away from doing the Spanish because I already speak a lot of Spanish, but I was happy to find out you can do a placement test that puts you deep into the course. A lot of it was still review for me, but the app goes really advanced on the grammar, and there was a lot of vocabulary I didn’t know. After using Duolingo for just a few weeks, I felt a lot more confident speaking Spanish, so I definitely got something out of the course. I finished the entire course in Spanish, meaning I turned the whole “tree” gold and got the trophy.
Duolingo was beneficial for me as an intermediate Spanish speaker, but it’s also great for absolute beginners. Even if you are advanced, it is worth taking the placement test and just blowing through the course to increase your vocabulary and fill in any gaps in your knowledge.
Most language learning apps cost money once you get past the first few beginner level lessons, but with Duolingo, you get the entire course for free. I use the app an iPhone, but it is available for Android phones as well. There are a couple more fun features on the iPhone versus the Android version, but there’s really not that much difference since the words and grammar you are learning on the language tree are identical in both interfaces.
One of the best things about Duolingo, is that the course is broken down into such small parts. Each lesson takes only about four minutes. If you do it on a computer it goes even faster since you are typing on a regular keyboard. I can finish a lesson on the desktop in about 2 and a half minutes. You can set a daily goal for yourself, and the app will remind you to practice and keep track of how long of a “streak” you are on.
Progress sharing allows you to see how your friends are doing, so the accountability factor helps encourage you to stay with it. The app is updated often, so by the time you finish the course, there could be some new vocabulary or new features to keep things interesting. Over time, your language tree deteriorates if you don’t keep repeating the lessons. This is because Duolingo keeps track of how long it has been since you have gone over certain vocabulary and grammar concepts. Spending a few minutes each day to make sure you keep each skill “golded,” will ensure that you retain your current level of fluency.
Using the Duolingo app feels like you are playing a game since you are earning points called “XP” and working for jewels called “lingots,” which you can spend to get various extras in the course. Other than keeping your tree gold and earning points and jewels, you are also working to reach a higher level and increase your fluency percentage, which are stats displayed on your dashboard. I’m still working on turning the Greek tree all the way gold while doing a little work each day in Spanish to maintain full golding in that language. I give Duolingo an A+ due to its ease of use and the fact that it’s free.
Here's a sermon called "Greek: the Language of the New Testament"