Project: Learn a language in 1 year!

von Eric Fendley

Phase 1: DuoLingo for vocab building and sentence structure

Stage 1 – The Basics

Date: 12.01.2020 ( I have been learning Spanish for 24 days now)

If, like me,  you have no word stock in the foreign languages that you want to learn, and you have no idea what the basic sentence structures are like, then how on earth are you supposed to get started and to move on quickly so that you can learn that language super-quick?

Well, I have set this as my challenge. I am going to learn Spanish – from zero to a conversational level – in 1 year, i.e. from Jan to Dec 2020.

I am doing it for both personal reasons, but also to see what tools can help me get there, thus helping me to develop in my role as a language teacher.

Now, there are a lot of apps available, and a lot of them are not that good, but one app jumped out and bit me on the nose. That app is called DuoLingo and it is simply the best app available for me to get started with.

So, DuoLingo will be my accompanier as I learn basic vocabulary and basic sentence structure. I have bought the pro version for just under €100 because I don’t want to be fighting with adverts, but that is of course a personal choice.

But why DuoLingo?

  • Firstly, the app is easy-peasy to use, looks good and is well structured
  • It starts off with basic sentence structures (to do) in all the forms that a language needs – positive, negative and question sentences.
  • It repeats all the words and structures, constantly looping back, re-practising and then moving a step further again. As a language expert, I know that this constant repetition is the clue to success when learning a language.
  • The app does not allow me to jump forward to things that I shouldn’t be learning yet – it makes me concentrate on the essentials.
  • The app allows me to make small typing errors, but as soon as the error is too big (showing that I haven’t grasped it), it highlights the problem and forces me to do the sentence again.

After 24 days I am very happy with the app – which I can also use on my PC too – and I truly have the feeling that I am making good progress. At times it seems a little repetitive, but I understand why – repetition embeds the information into our long-term memory, so that is fine.

I will continue and report!

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