Fun With Duolingo

my levels on Duolingo
Lately I've been having a lot of fun with the website Duolingo. It's a gamified language learning website where you can choose one or more languages to learn, take placement tests if you know something already, and move up a learning tree lesson by lesson.

Before I discovered Duolingo, I used the website Livemocha. It also has many languages to learn (more than Duolingo) and has all sorts of lessons to go through. After Livemocha was bought by Rosetta Stone and revamped their website, though, I lost interest. Tied in with Rosetta Stone's business, it seems to have lost its focus on website accessibility and intuitive learning.

One area in which Livemocha still excels is in pairing learners with native speakers. (Duolingo has no equivalent.) Livemocha facilitates finding, chatting with, and getting feedback from native speakers of whatever language you're learning. You can also give others feedback on submissions in whatever your own native language is. It all goes back to the kaffeeklatsch ("coffee gossip") idea in Livemocha's name.

my progress with Duolingo Swedish
Nevertheless, for the time being I definitely prefer Duolingo. The learning progress you make is all clear-cut, with lessons you have to go back and practice later in order to boost the "strength bars" that fade over time.

Just recently I began Swedish on the website, and it's been very nice to learn and practice it a few words at a time. I did a Swedish learning CD years ago, and it seemed it just threw a whole bunch of words and phrases at the learner to be memorized, without explaining any of the language's structure or logic. Duolingo does explain things, gradually, and in many cases you can hover your pointer over words to see translations and explanations.

In short, Duolingo's an awesome website to start a language with, and a good one for continuing to practice a language you already know. I expect I'll keep using it well into the future, leveling up and keeping my strength bars up in French, German, and Swedish.

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