by Cheryl Sklar
Do you want to learn a new language, or brush up on a foreign language that you kind of learned a million years ago in high school or college? Are you planning a trip to another country in which it would benefit you to know their native tongue? Do you have clients in your law firm or patients in your medical practice who speak a language other than English? Duolingo is here to help.
Duolingo is a great, free app that offers language courses in Spanish, French, Italian, German and Portuguese.
I discovered this fun app and thought it would be neat to dust off the archives of my brain and rekindle my French. Mostly for fun but also because I’ll be going to New Orleans soon (see my previous tip about the Field Trip app) and wanted to be able to benefit from its rich French culture. My daughter, who takes Spanish in school, has been interested in learning French, too, but cannot work it into her school schedule anytime soon. She found this app, independent of my telling her about it because she’s a teenager and doesn’t listen to me, and is very excited about using this “game” as a fun way to learn a new language.
The way it works is simple. You start with the basics and the app breaks the learning down into small, manageable lessons. You learn phrases, 5 or 6 common words at a time, in a practical and memorable way. You hear the pronunciation, see the way it is spelled and get to repeat the pronunciation. You also can choose the sentence structure from a grouping of options. Once you master one level, you move up to the next. It teaches Food, Animals, Plurals, Clothing, Adjectives, Colors . . . to name of few of the levels that you learn, one at a time. After you advance through a few skill levels, you test out to move forward to the next. In addition to the bright and colorful icons, the cute little owl is very encouraging and positively reinforces your progress, with helpful tips along the way. I’ve also received email reminders to let me know that I’ve done a (10-minute) lesson each day for the past 5 days. . . keep up the good work and don’t miss the 6th day.
It presents itself really like a game, enabling you to earn Lingots (virtual Duolingo currency) that you can use in their virtual store, as another means of encouragement. It is also a very effective way of learning. An 8-week study was conducted comparing 34 hours of Duolingo as a language learning tool to 1 semester of university placement Spanish language. The difference in the initial testing and the final test results showed that Duolingo was actually more effective than learning in the university class.
So if you want to try something new and hone your language skills in a fun and productive way, try Duolingo.
Cheryl Sklar With over 25 years of experience in sales, marketing and general coordination, Cheryl uses her varied organizational skills to enhance the behind the scenes workings of Network 1. She strives to help things run smoothly wherever she can.
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Network 1 Consulting is a 16-year-old, IT Support company in Atlanta, GA. We become – or augment – the IT department for law firms and medical practices. Our IT experts can fix computers – but what our clients really value are the industry-specific best practices we bring to their firms. This is especially important with technology, along with regulations and cyber threats, changing so rapidly. We take a proactive approach to helping our clients use technology to gain and keep their competitive advantage.
I checked out Duolingo on my Windows phone and see that there is a charge for the app. There are many apps it seems. One for each language and some seem to charge for each chapter. Those that rated it gave it 1 or 2 stars. 🙁
Babbel is Free and seemed to have many stars (4 and more_) for all the languages:
Italian, Portuguese, English, French, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Polish, Turkish, Indonesian.
I’m going to try the Spanish one.
Thanks for leading me there.