Ciao a tutti!
Babbel. Duolingo. Busuu. Memrise.. The list goes on.
How does a person know which app to channel their energy, money and time into?
Today, I’m going to tell you of my experience with Duolingo.
Firstly, I love Duolingo!
But importantly I need to preface that Duolingo is NOT a language course.
It is a language tool.
Reason #1 – It is available on iOs, Android and desktop
All of a sudden, language learning is available anytime you have ‘dead time’. On buses, in queues, at a friend’s place while they’re busy or during your lunch break. The desktop version and app version are slightly different and you can find which one suits you more. The desktop version also has access to forums where people share everything from their favourite foreign films to explanations of grammatical aspects. The app is available with and without internet.
Reason #2 – It’s engaging
There’s a reason that adults are addicted to pokie machines.The high pitched noises and sense of reward are highly engaging. Duolingo uses affirmative noises when you are correct which taps into your brain’s reward centre. Also, the app is set out into modules which need lessons to be completed before the next modules open up. I constantly find myself saying ‘I’ll just do one more to finish the module’. Finally, at times is quirky and provides sentence examples that can be a bit silly. I enjoy these moments and find that it helps me remember the example.
Reason #3 – It’s free with no in app purchases!
Duolingo encourages users to maintain a ‘streak’ of practice. However, if you lose your streak by missing a day, they do offer to keep your streak if you make a small donation to the app. Personally, I think it’s fair and I wish it were available a few years ago when my streak was 100+ days and I went camping! Edit: They’ve just added an advertisement component to help pay for Duolingo. It’s done in a nice way that isn’t too invasive.
Reason #4 – Learning through context
Duolingo provides explanation of the grammar focus during each module or at the start of the module on the desktop version. But also, it’s up to you to make connections and discover the language patterns through the examples they provide. Language learning is about making meaning, so be prepared to do some of your own research during a module. Language learning is not a process for lazy people so don’t expect to have every single thing explained and laid out clearly. I believe that Duolingo provides just the right balance of explanation and discovery.
I finished my tree some time ago and found that I was at the perfect spot to move onto actually speaking and listening to Italian. It was then that I threw myself into watching Italian YouTube channels like Learn Italian with Lucrezia.
Duolingo is a fantastic learning tool but not a complete course. Use it in conjunction with lessons, music, videos, movies, face-to-face practise and books.
Flags against the fireworks on da capo d’anno New Year’s Eve in Sorrento on my first trip to Italy.