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One of My Favorite Things: Duolingo

Submitted by Bethany on Mon, 01/21/2019 - 10:00

It's Monday (again! how did we get here?!) and even though I just shared one of my favorite things last week, I can't resist sharing another one of my favorite things this week! This time it's my latest obsession on my phone: an app called Duolingo. 


Have you ever wanted to learn a language? Maybe you took one in high school and wish you remembered, well, anything? Or maybe you know how to ask what time it is or directions to the nearest bathroom, but wish you knew a little more. The app Duolingo is here to save the day! I have long wanted to be fluent in a second language, but since graduating college in 2007 I've never actually taken any steps towards that goal. 

Enter: Duolingo! This is a game-based language learning app that you can download for free on any smartphone. The gamification of it is what I think is so brilliant. You pick your language (I'm doing French so that's what I'll refer to) and then you start going through different learning modules. You start with the basics, translating from French into English and vice versa from multiple choice words, doing matching games, and listening to someone speak and identifying the words you hear. As you move through each module it gradually gets harder, and eventually, you are typing in answers rather than choosing from ones given to you. 

What really makes it gameified is that you earn experience points or XP as you go along. The XP you earn gives you a ranking in the league that you are in, where you are competing against other players. If you have a bit of a competitive streak like me this is super motivating. Last week I spent hours more than I planned to on the app because I was trying to beat out someone else for the top spot in the gold league. I didn't get number one, but I earned enough points to move up a league so now I am in the sapphire league!

The app also keeps track of your "streak" - aka how many days in a row you practice on Duolingo. You can start out with a goal of just 5 minutes a day, up to 20 minutes a day and the app will send you notifications to remind you about getting in your practice. I am currently on a 35 day streak - I haven't missed a single day since I started back in December! It's just so much fun that I look forward to practicing every single day. 

Now, I'll grant you, sometimes the sentences it has you translate are rather silly. I'm not sure when I'll ever need to tell anyone that I am a cat in French, but now I can! (Maybe on Halloween?! Meow!)

But overall it is useful and I have been surprised at how much French I actually recall from high school and college. They also have fun modules for things like idioms and flirting. This is one of the phrases from the flirting lesson. 

Overall the app Duolingo is a fun, free way to recall and practice a language you have studied before, or start learning something totally new to you. I'm hoping that one of our next housesits will be in France so I can start putting what I'm learning to use in real life!

Also, if you decide to download the app, please be my friend! Here's a screenshot of my account so you can find me. 

So, do you think you'll try it? Will you go for a language you've studied before or start from scratch? Inquiring minds want to know! And if you decided to learn French let me know, we can practice together! 

XOXO, Bethany