Two days ago, my friend found a site called DuoLingo.com and shared it with me. It’s a language-learning site that offers language explanations and practice in the form of point-earning games. Well, they aren’t quite games, I’d say, but you can complete little challenges and such. I’ve only been on it for a couple days at this point, so I don’t know a lot about how the site works. What I do know, though, I’ll share below.
The site currently offers courses in the following:
In addition, a number of language courses are being prepared.
- Turkish – 99% complete as of today
- Ukrainian – 94% complete
- Hungarian – 93% complete
- Esperanto – 88% complete
- Norwegian (Bokmål) – 71% complete
- Russian – 69% complete
- Romanian – 27% complete
- Polish – 16% complete
- Vietnamese – 15% complete
Needless to say, I’m excited about the vast majority of them. Already I’m brushing up on the French I haven’t studied since the 10th grade, and I’m staring Irish, too. If I stick with it, I hope to start… well, pretty much every single language they plan to offer.
You can choose from a number native languages. Obviously, I chose English, so my lessons are explained in that. If you speak another language and want to use DuoLingo, they provide many options. Check it out!
Additionally, when you choose a target language, you might not have to start from the basics. If you know some of that language, you can take a placement test. I tried for French, but since it has been so long, I didn’t end up passing and started from the beginning.
Ok, now I’ll give some screenshots now of what the site looks like and tag on explanations.
This is your homepage. You can see at the top my profile name and the flag of the language I’m studying. Beside it is my day streak – so far I’ve logged in 2 days in a row. To the right of that are lingots, a virtual currency you ear by completing lessons. You can go to a lingot store and take challenges and buy things, but I’ve not explored that much yet.
Underneath that bar, on the right, is the Daily Goal section. I’ve set my daily goal of 30 points, which is pretty easy since each lesson completed gives you 10 of those. It shows your streak and how many hours you have left in the day in case you need to get that day’s lessons in to maintain your streak. Then there’s a button to review what you’ve learned, though I’ve not used it yet.
To the left you have the little themed clusters. I’ve completed the first three for Irish, and the first four for French. Each circle has a different number of lessons. You can see that food has 5 and Animals has 3.
This is the Food group. You can see the five lessons and what words they teach. When you complete one, you get a green check in the right corner. You also have the option to test out of the theme you chose (in this case, Food.) If I was more advanced in Irish and knew all the lessons for this group, I might take the test and complete it all at once.
When you scroll down beneath the individual lessons, you’ll find Tips and Notes. In the Food group of lessons, they are teaching me “to like”, and they give a conjugation chart. Sometimes there is more information and sometimes less depending on the grammar point. So far, I’ve found the explanations very easy to understand.
Translate the text is one of the ways you practice. It starts you right off the bat with this, which seems strange when you haven’t learned the word. However, you can pretty much always hover over the word or words, and it will give you a definition. Sometimes you can even click for a more detailed explanation. (See below.) New words are in gold.
I won’t add any more screenshots of the games and practice, but they include:
- Translate Target language > Native language
- Translate Native > Target
- Mark all correct translations – Target > Native
- Mark all correct translations – Native > Target
- Audio recording – Repeat Target
- Audio recording – Native is given, speak it in Target
- Choose the word to fill in the blank – Native
That’s all I’ve seen so far. I haven’t experienced any Audio options with Irish to this point, whereas French uses them a lot, so perhaps not all courses use all of these. Also, don’t fear the audio. It can be frustrating sometimes, but usually if you get most of the words, it’ll count it as correct and show you what was right and wrong.
There are other nuances and such that I won’t get into here (especially since I don’t know much about the site yet), but I’m enjoying it so far, and I recommend it to anyone interested in learning a language.
Teachers! There’s also an option for using DuoLingo for your classes!
If you use DuoLingo already or test it out, leave a comment telling us what you like, don’t like, find useful, don’t find useful, and so on!