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https://www.duolingo.com/Ross793197

Can you learn a conversational language only?

I've recently installed the Duolingo app on my iPhone and I love the ease of use and learning structure. I would like to know if there's a way to use Duolingo to learn a language without having to learn the script. I like languages and want to learn little bits for conversational purposes only to get me by when travelling abroad, but certain lessons like Russian, Greek, Mandarin etc. are set up so that you have to read and type in answers using the alphabet script for that particular language. I don't have the time or patience (or need) to learn the written alphabet portion, so I'm wondering if the reading/writing part of the lessons can be bypassed and I'm able to concentrate mainly on sound recognition, pronunciation and common everyday phrases(oral conversations). Any thoughts?

2 years ago

6 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/wombatua
wombatua
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If you're travelling abroad, you do have the basic need to at least be able to read the Russian or Greek alphabet, which are fairly similar to Latin (Chinese, well, that's another thing; it's also important to read signs and the like, but I'd expect it to be much harder to learn). Having spent a good bit of time in Ukraine (which also uses Cyrillic), there isn't always much Latin transliteration with bus signs or things of that sort. The alphabet is the easy part to learn - it's the rest of the language that's difficult.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/iwc2ufan
iwc2ufan
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Agreed. Learning a new alphabet has always been faster for me than mastering basic phrases and grammar by quite a bit. I can see wanting Roman script for something really different, like Chinese languages, but for the ones where it is a true alphabet as well and not characters, it's pretty quick. Also, Duolingo doesn't have any of the languages with scripts that take years to learn yet, so that isn't an issue.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/iwc2ufan
iwc2ufan
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The Russian and Ukrainian courses do give the option for Roman script instead of Cyrillic when you start the courses.

That said, Duolingo takes a while to teach the kinds of things you probably want. Most courses start out with things like 'the woman has a dog' rather than 'I'd like a coffee, please'. There will be a few basic phrases, but you would have to get quite a lot further with the tree with to learn all the things you'd find in a phrase book.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ross793197

That's reasonable, wombatua, but I'm just wanting to ask for directions, order a meal, have conversational interactions in chance encounters on the street etc., for relatively short trips I'm not expecting to be doing any great amounts of reading and writing..... Is there no way to tailor the Duolingo lessons on just "conversational"?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/wombatua
wombatua
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Not to my knowledge. And I'm not denying the importance of the sort of conversational task you'd like to undertake - it's just good to be able to read the street signs to the potentially not-well-marked landmark that your helpful local has directed you towards.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ross793197

Thanks for that info iwc2ufan... I didn't realize that you can choose Roman script as well as Cyrillic. I've set it up and that works really well for me. TTFN

2 years ago