Appdicted: DuoLingo

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Fangirls! I don’t ever seem to find any apps that are actually helpful. I’ve tried time and again searching through the “Productivity” category in the app store and I never have any luck. Last week, I discovered this app after someone I follow on Twitter posted a screen shot from it. I was curious, so I downloaded it, seeing that it was free. And oh man, Fangirls. If you ever wanted to learn a language in a fun, easy, not overwhelming, on your own time, but effective way; Welcome to DuoLingo.

Now, first, I must get my disclaimer out of the way. I can’t yet say if this app is awesome for people who are looking to begin learning a language with it, because that’s not how I use it as of right now. I can’t imagine this app being unhelpful when starting to learn a language from scratch, and I hope to use it to do so in the future. But I want you all to know that I’m using this app having already studied the language I use it for, so this review is from that perspective. I took German in school for 5 years, and spent a month living there in the Summer of 2011. Since then, my German speaking abilities have started to fade away, and this app is an excellent way to refresh & retrain myself. In addition to German, DuoLingo offers Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese. You can also learn English from any of these languages.

With this app, you work your way through different skill sets, and within those levels are sets of instruction. Each set has a certain amount of lessons that you will complete.

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The lessons are kind of like little quizes, but with helpful notes included in them. The object is to complete this quizes without losing all of your hearts. You’re typically given three or four hearts, and you lose one when you answer a question incorrectly. The nice part is, it tells you why you got the question wrong. You’re given different types of questions, and they’ll often ask the same question in a different format, which I find to be very helpful. With some, you are asked to simply translate a sentence. They may give you the words you need, along with some you don’t, or you may be asked to just write it out yourself.

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The app also speaks to you. It will read all of the sentences and words you have to translate, and in certain questions you have to write what you hear or speak back to the app. This is really great for making sure you understand the pronunciation of the language, coming from both your mouth, and others.

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This app is great with helping you out. When a new word is introduced, you can click on it for all of it’s translations, and things that apply in certain situations. When it speaks to you, you can click it as many times as you want to listen to it. This app is all about going at your own pace, which I think makes all the difference when learning anything.

So then, once you complete those sets, you can test what you’ve learned in them. Each test includes what you learned in the previous set(s), and the one that you’ve just completed. There’s dozens of sets to work through, and it seems that you can get a pretty great understanding of the language as you work your way up. I’ve started at the beginning to refresh my brain before I learn anything new, and I’m currently at level 3!

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After looking around at the different lessons, I can see that things in this app go beyond what I learned in school. Which blows my mind. I think learning new languages is a wonderful and sometimes very important thing. Knowing that there is an effective, interactive, free way to bring a new language to people brings a giant smile to this Fangirl.

You’ve simply got no reason to not download this app, Fangirls. Refresh your brain on your rusty language abilities, or start fresh with one of the many options it offers. I think this app helps out with any learning style, and it’s fun! So get to downloading, Fangirls!

All images are copyright of their respective owners.

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