Learning a new language is a wonderful thing. It´s not just about getting to know new words – you literally dive deep into a new culture. And your brain is also happy for some relief. But sometimes barriers are high. Classes can be expensive and exhausting. And it takes sooooo long to master a language. But does it really? Maybe not. There is a way, that you can simply learn dozens of new languages with an intuitive learning method. Simply on your Smartphone. For free. It´s called Duolingo.
German, French and Swedish at the same time with Duolingo
So there we go. Our new path to a new language or even some new languages leads us to the Playstore. Duolingo is the world’s most famous app when it comes to learning a new language. It´s free, all you see from time to time are a few commercials. But it´s not really a disturbing factor. After downloading the app, we create a profile. Like everywhere. And like everywhere, I take a shortcut with my facebook login.
The app is now asking me to choose a language. I can decide upon a common one like French, Spanish or German, but I can also go for a more “exotic” language like Turkish, Vietnamese or Hebrew.
I took French, because I already know some. So easy start was my thinking. Now you can start from the scratch or make a short test. I try the test. Let´s see, how I´m doing so far in live with my few words in French. Turns out: Not so good. You have different exercises, no matter if you go for the test or the normal lessons. You either tap pictures for the right translation, choose different words to construct a sentence, you speak (and normally repeat what another voice is saying) or you type in the correct words or phrases. At the end of each lesson, you´ll get rewarded with experience points and gems (so called lingots), which you can use for buying extra stuff like fancy avatars or bonus lessons, like a lesson that teaches you to flirt in French. Tu as l’air doux, chouchou. But you have to earn these gems, no way of In-App-purchasing. So try hard with the basics, before you can appeal to some French men or women.
You can level up and after a few lessons, Duolingo shows you how fluent you are in that particular language. You can now even link your performance to your LinkedIn profile.
If you already have some knowledge in that specific language, you can even take a so called shortcut. But now boss mode is waiting for you, cause Duolingo wants to know if you deserve that shortcut. You get several questions from the previous classes, that you just skipped. And you have three lives to waste. So if you are three times wrong, you´ll better go back to the previous lessons, because you have still something to catch up with.
Compete with your friends
There is even a chance that you can compete with your friends. Just invite them on Facebook or Mail and you can see how much they are progressing. And here is my challenge to you: Invite me (Denny Ehrlich) and propose a language. Let´s start and try to learn for 30 days. One requirement: No or hardly any skills in that language yet. (And please: No German, because you would lose;-)) I accept the first three invitations to the challenge. If more people are proposing the same language, we have a battle with more people. Let´s see who wins. The price is a tremendous skill boost in the language of your choice ;-).
How effective is it?
To my mind it is very effective. They way how it is designed always keeps you going and it is the perfect replacement for things that keep me side-tracked like Facebook or Twitter. So rather than being bored, you can always learn a language instead. A study reveals that Duolingo quicker and more effective than in an ordinary language class. Whether that is true or not. The fact that it is completely free, that I can learn anytime and anywhere and that my brain is constantly rewarded, is making Duolingo a decent alternative to traditional learning methods.
Don´t be surprised if you meet a lot of Swahili speakers in the future
Duolingo is a community app. Which means that people can also ask for different languages. A small team of voluntary contributors is working on the courses afterwards. And guess what: Duolingo is launching a Swahili course soon. They have now reached a 99% hatching rate. A beta test is following afterwards. When passed, you can also learn Swahili with that app. And a lot of people will. Even a language like Welsh has 350.000 learners. And I´m pretty sure that more people are willing to learn Swahili than Welsh.
You can even help the team and apply as a contributor. Check the following page to get more