I’ve tried to learn languages at school; Latin, German and
French. And Russian from a book. 9 years of Latin and I was none
the wiser, 1 year of German and I was temporarily motivated by the
holiday romance with a German Girl (we’re 15) … then French.
Another disaster until I took it on myself do go on a French
exchange – this and immersion in my gap year then working in France
all helped. But I never thought to have lessons. 20 years back in
the UK I am having great fund with Duolingo – fixing some of my
rubbish written French, remembering what I know and hopefully
moving in the right direction for both spoken and written fluency
which is what I have always wanted. Ten years ago I had tangential
experience of a language learning e-commerce start-up, today, with
in Masters in Open & Distance Education I am somewhat wiser
about what may, or may not work. This will work.
I’ve been practicing for one week now with Duolingo – German. Pretty funny, especially thanks to the companion iPhone apps! You alternate between free translation, ordering words for translation, writing down what you hear, selecting a multiple choice answer,… You win “skill points”, learn words, and go from one level to another along a skill tree.
You can get a daily reminder (iPhone notification and email) to keep up the motivation level.
The other specific feature is the “real world practice” where you translate sentences from “real” web articles. I tried a few ones, but I’m wondering about the final quality of this crowdsourcing approach.
Now, let’s see how much I remember of these first lessons on the mid-/long-run…