DuoLingo: Learning A Language, Gamified

I wrote a post a little while back about my family’s Italian heritage, and the Order Sons Of Italy and all of that, but what I might have forgotten to mention is that my wife and I have been trying to teach ourselves to speak the language on and off for at least three years now.  I used to think my only hope was Rosetta Stone, because even programs as extensive as Berlitz were easy to fall out of using, and tedious to learn with.  Basic vocabulary is difficult enough to remember, even without introducing the vague concepts of verb tenses, I/you/we/they conjugations, and whatever other special little rules the language contains.

I’ve been having a pretty easy time learning what I have lately with this website called Duolingo.  They offer Italian, Spanish, French, German, Portugese, and English–all completely free–but here’s the kicker:  They’ve “gamified” it so you’ll actually continue to use it.  

Basic Home Screen. They Say You Can Be Fluent In 3 Months!

It’s everything you could ever want in a language program.  You don’t even really sign up as you sign in with your Facebook information–it’s like this site was just waiting for you to get off your duff and make use of it.  Their learning tree is simple and easy to look at, their mascot (an owl) appears in your email to keep you motivated to keep after your chosen language, and they hit every word and sentence type from several different angles at the time that you learn it.  That way, you don’t learn a word, then try to figure out how to fit it into different sentences later on, when the word has become fuzzy or forgotten all together.  Also, you can “invite” your friends to learn with you, and compete against them in a learning race.  It’s much the same way that Rosetta Stone’s method immerses you in the language…except it isn’t six hundred bucks.  It’s free.

I’m sure they are working on more languages as we speak, but for now, I’m happy that Italian was one of their chosen languages to launch the site with.  Pick out a language and start learning it!    


    • denise701
    • April 5th, 2013

    I’m on it!!! It sounds like a great website.

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