Life as I Know It

Review of Duolingo

Disclaimer: I am not paid to endorse this. I am writing this to tell people who might be in the market for a free language app about this.

I have referred in the past my level of the French language. I took French in the seventh grade, and first semester freshman year (I dropped the class at the beginning of second semester). What French I do know is what I retained from those classes, and from the French movies I watch. Despite the fact that some of these French films are subtitled badly (from what I have seen from comments on IMDb), I get the general idea.

I downloaded a different app from Mind Snacks when I first got my phone, and for $14.99 I could get the whole course. This started you at the basic level, with colors and numbers. It was poo. They went through a remodel, and not much had changed. Except now the app costs $4.99.

Duolingo is awesome. French immersion is immediate, and I receive an email every darn morning telling me to take a lesson (which is annoying). Plus, it’s totally free. It reads the French aloud to you, and you can click on the words to see their meanings in English.

The only downside to this app is the level of French. There is no teaching or a warm-up aspect: it is total immersion. I was conjugating the verb “to drink” without knowing what the conjugation translates by being me, you, them, or a group. It’s confusing, but my schooling in French and Spanish has given me some help with that. You’re not learning basics like colors, numbers, days of the week, or what clothing is what. You just learn as you go. I guess it’s kind of like being in France, and learning the language as you go.

I am past what they consider the basics, and am now learning foods. It’s nothing like learning that eggplant is aubergine in French. It’s learning things like: The woman eats a cucumber. It’s not easy, and I mess up, but through the mistakes, I learn. It’s also more fun than what Ms. Browning was teaching in high school.

The languages offered within the app itself (they aren’t separate, like other apps): German from English, Spanish from English, Italian from English, and Portuguese from English. There is also an English from Portuguese and English from Spanish for the non-English speakers.

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