It’s almost the end of the year or start of the New Year, depending on whether you’re the type of person who sees the glass half full or half empty. LOL Anyway, I’m here to embrace the New Year and streamline my NY Goals list. I’ll share my template if you’re interested.
Anyway, one of the things I have been wanting to do is to polish my “Spanish”. If I knew that I would end up living in So. Cal when I grew up, I would’ve spent more time with my Cuban Abuela when I was young and would’ve listened when she was trying to “help” me with my Spanish whilst I was in college. I remember her sighing “Lo siento!” in frustration as I struggled to speak to her in my broken slang (informal) Spanish. Another reason is to exercise my brain and I read an article somewhere that says the best way is to learn a new languge, dance or musical instrument. I found this article “Learning languages is a workout for brains, both young and old” that explains how it affects neuroplasticity and the possible reversal of the damage done to our brain. If we are trying to take care of our bodies, why not pay attention to our mental health and acuity, right? Who do you know is not afraid of possibly developing dementia or Alzheimer’s as you get older?
Duolingo is an excellent language-learning tool for busy bodies no matter how old you are. Beginners will find that it’s so convenient and easy to learn a new language with its highly user-friendly and intuitive interface plus its software is fluid and well-run. It hits your reading, writing and speaking skills. Duolingo gives you an option of several short lessons (you can choose how many minutes) teaching you about different topics of your choice. The best part is it’s like a game which eliminates the frustration and/or boredom in learning a new language. It eliminates boring grammar lessons, but rather depends entirely on user interaction. You will will learn by simply translating hundreds of fun and relevant sentences.
This app’s game-like progress makes it easy for the user to get hooked to learn each new lesson. It motivates you to keep up by adding up all the days that you did at least one lesson. This is the addictive part… I don’t think you would want to lose your “streak”. It has a very clear goal-oriented learning approach, with each language divided up into levels, that is divided up into categories, which are then divided up into skills. Every time one completes a skill, ( by answering questions about your chosen language, translating from your first into your second language, and vice versa, and record yourself speaking your second language), your strength and proficiency in the language increases. A a cute little owl gives you a thumbs up and you earn points. This app provides written lessons and dictation and categorizes each new word learned in a special vocabulary section for easy viewing.
Now, there’s another thing you need to be familiar with that adds to the addiction. It’s called “Lingots” ([ling-guhts]). They are virtual currency on Duolingo which is used as reward for various accomplishments related to language learning and translation. Here’s some ways to to earn LINGOTS: Finishing a skill: Earn 2 lingots for finishing a new skill; 10 day streaks: Earn 1 lingot for every 10 days on a streak (1 for 10, 2 for 20, etc).; Inviting friends: Invite a friend to Duolingo and, if your friend accepts, you both will receive 1 lingot, plus more. Either finish a skill, have a 10-day streak, invite a friend, translate a document, upload one, or have someone give one to you.
There are 19 languages to choose from, and you can pick as many as you want to learn, These are some of the languages that you can choose from coming from English. It also gives options for Spanish speakers, Italian, French, Portuguese, Arabic, Chinese, Turkish, Russian, Vietnamese to name a few.
I was sure that I wanted to be more fluent in Spanish for at least 2 reasons, my heritage and it’s the 2nd most widely spoken language in the world. It’ll definitely come in handy. However, since I came back from Paris I just felt like I need to learn French, too. I have no idea what I’d do with it since it doesn’t even make it to the top 10 widely spoken languages but who knows, I might end up living in Paris sometime in the near future. 😉
This app shows you how much progress you’re making in percentages. In the beginning it will make you take a test to find out your skill level. Apparently I’m not so bad in French. haha
This app can serve as an additional learning aid for you to learn a new language which boosts cognitive functioning! And it’s FREE!!! It is one of those rare education apps that is truly free: no “free trial period,” no in-app purchases, no upgrade options. All of Duolingo is 100% free for everyone. It’s available in both Android and iOS app stores, and is functional for both phone and tablet.
Before I wrap this up, I’d like to share with you this post by La Casabloga that I found to be interesting and very informative, “8 TIPS ON LEARNING A NEW LANGUAGE” . Please check it out.
I have also decided to have a “My Duolingo — part 2” to share my experience.
LIVE LAUGH … BELLE PAPILLON
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