When I travel, I like to brush up on the language of the country I'm visiting. I like to learn to speak beyond a simple hello, goodbye, and thank you, so I spend some time brushing up on a language a few weeks before the trip.
Currently, I'm planning a trip to Costa Rica, which is the perfect time to improve my Spanish speaking skills.
In researching language apps, I quickly settled on Duolingo. Since it’s launch in 2012, Duolingo has grown to 100 million users. They must be doing something right!
Duolingo is free and has 23 languages to choose from. English speakers can learn Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Irish, Swedish and Danish.
Using Duolingo, you develop a “tree” of skills, going from one challenge to the next. Duolingo perfected this method by examining how users react to learning one skill, for example verbs, before another, such as adjectives, and figuring out what is the most beneficial.
After mastering the highest level of achievement, you will not be fluent, but will be able to communicate in familiar situations. Just the amount of immersion I want.
Here’s how to get started with Duolingo:
Step 1 - Choose a Course
Step 2 - Set a time committment goal from five to twenty five minutes a day
Step 3 - Take a placement test to determine your level or start from the beginning
Step 4 - Start learning!
Duolingo is so much fun that you feel like you are playing a game.
The lessons include:
Translating sentences and words
Speaking or typing phrases you hear and see
Duolingo reinforces learning by using several methods and applauds you after each lesson.
You earn lingots after completing a lesson and can use them to:
Access bonus skills
Change your Duolingo character's clothes
Duolingo does not replace talking with native speakers, but is a great place to start learning a language with minimal time commitment. I'm sure you can find snippets of time in your day to do something for yourself--learn a new language!
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