https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3

language you never thought you'd learn...

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until Duo :)

You hear of Duolingo. You join with a specific language in mind. But then you scroll through the list of available courses, and a new world unfolds before your eyes: there's a good, easy, convenient way to learn THAT language!?!? You'd never have dreamed it. You'd never given half a thought to it before, but now you're soo there. Anybody else have this experience?

For me it was Catalan. I'd never really given it two shakes. It was that funny-looking language I'd seen on an airport sign, a bus or two, and some pamphlets when I was in Spain, and now I can read it with some ease (at least Wikipedia article-type things with a good deal of familiar vocab) and my comprehension of the spoken form has gone from 2/3ish to maybe 90. And I have thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed it. You go, Duolingo!

2 years ago

38 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Ferret513

That's such an inspirational story! For me, it was just language-learning in general. I never had any interest in becoming bilingual before Duolingo. I had to sign up with Duo for my French class at the time, and, even though that class is long over, I'm still addicted! I love French and I'm planning on learning another language after I've completed my tree!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3
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I never had any interest in becoming bilingual before Duolingo.

I think that right there makes yours a far more inspirational story :) Very best of luck to you!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DragonPolyglot
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Swedish was like that for me. I mean, the IKEA names looked cool, but I didn't really know it sounded so nice until I took a shot at the first lesson. Now I can understand quite a bit of written Swedish and some basic words when they are spoken. And now I think Swedish sounds rather dreamy and I say those IKEA names out loud for fun.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3
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Swedish for me has long been on the, "I'd love to learn that, but there's just no way" list. Yeah, there's a way now :) Definitely on my to-do list!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/slogger
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Same here, piguy3. My father was of Swedish descent and my mother of Russian. So, if I ever get Russian ship-shape, I'll take up Swedish. And I'm really looking forward to it. I can't imagine it will be more enjoyable than Russian, but it ought to rank right with it.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
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Yes! I discovered that I loved how Swedish sounds too! :D

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/garpike
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I completely concur. Swedish was the language that drew me in to Duolingo, but before that the very idea of learning Swedish had never crossed my mind; I really didn't know the first thing about it—this was the only reason I started to dabble. In retrospect, however, it was an excellent first choice.
Duolingo is wholly responsible for my enthusiasm for and appreciation of Swedish; thank you both to Duolingo and to the Swedish team who created such an excellent course!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/grey236
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For me it was Dutch. I kinda just saw it and thought "Hey, that looks cool", so now here I am. In the future the weirdest one I will try to learn is probably gonna be a Native American language, any one really.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3
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Guaraní (as Native American as Duo gets for the moment) for me has sparked something of the same love affair as Catalan. But I didn't fall for it just seeing it listed. I had to do a lesson or two and hear it.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/gingerninja3148

I installed the Duolingo app with the intention of studying French on it yet as I scrolled through the courses available I selected German instead although I had always planned on returning to it eventually. However, Portuguese and Norwegian are languages I never thought I would study until Duolingo. I have never looked back and love both language with a strong desire to travel to Norway and Brazil in the future.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3
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I know someone else in this thread that Portuguese had that effect on ;) My affection for it does pre-date Duolingo, however. It was actually a TV commercial for a phone card that did it if I remember correctly!

Having recently added Turkish and Dutch, I'm at a strict majority of languages I never thought I'd study myself. Funny how that happens ;)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LiterateKat

I also signed up originally to learn French, but after a few weeks I swapped over to German and have found it much more fulfilling!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/zymte
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I'm very new to Duolingo - I joined at the start of the month - but it's already inspired me to give Greek a chance. I joined to learn Turkish, but I decided to give Greek a try purely by luck: I was finding one of the Turkish lessons difficult and wanted to procrastinate for a bit, so I scrolled up and down the course-adding page and randomly selected Greek.

All I knew about it beforehand was that it was written with some letters that look like triangles (Δ!)... but I'm already hooked! It's such a beautiful-sounding language, I always imagined (for some reason) it would sound like a cross between Arabic and French - two languages that are, IMO, pretty unpleasant to listen to - but it actually seems to have a more Spanishy feel to it and I'd be happy just listening to it being spoken all day.

I'm not planning on focusing on learning Greek, it's very much a side-project, but eventually I would like to know it pretty decently and completing the course on here is definitely going to be the first step... and I never would have even thought about Greek if I hadn't started the course.

Thanks, Duo!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3
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Welcome! It looks like you're off to a fast start and have quickly figured out about reverse trees (English from Turkish it looks like in your case). How's the experience of doing the forward and reverse trees at the same time as a new-to-Duo person? I think people often only find out about this strategy after they've been around a while.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/zymte
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Thanks! I found out about the reverse/English course while browsing the discussions, I was seeing if there was any way to increase the amount of typing in the target language - the reverse tree does seem to work petty well in that respect. So far I'm actually finding it pretty useful to do both courses at once, as the extra practice from the TR>EN course helps to reinforce all the new grammatical patterns from the EN>TR one. I'm definitely glad I started doing the TR>EN course pretty much straight away, if I had stuck to the "normal" one I think it would take much longer for everything to sink in. I'm really lagging behind on learning the vocabulary, even with Memrise, but if I only pay attention to the grammar (initially) I'm hoping to have both courses completed relatively soon.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3
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The direction-of-translation thing is an ever-present thorn in the side. Figuring out what was going on on that count probably played a big role in my actually starting Catalan. I joined to work on my long-stagnant Russian and was befuddled as to how I was supposed to retain any of this new vocab if all I ever did was type the English equivalents (yeah, me, you and everybody else, right? :) so I figured I had to figure out if it was similar in other courses (I had a friend learning German who said it wasn't so much the case there, but I think the difference was really that she was using the app, where the balance isn't so overwhelmingly lopsided). When I found out it was in Catalan, too, at least I figured I wasn't crazy! And when I set out to refresh my Portuguese I went so far as to not even bother with the forward tree :) [my high Portuguese level came later from Immersion] Worked like a charm, although I wish there were an option to eliminate the drop down e.g. English verb agreement exercises in strengthening.

Now that I've embarked on completely new adventures like Hungarian, Turkish, Greek I do have a bit more sympathy for those "too much English" lesson translations, though!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/p_skully

I had never thought of trying to learn Vietnamese, until giving it a go on Duo. Then, I found a 5,000 yen round-trip ticket from Niigata to Hanoi.. And now I'm going to be spending eight days there during my summer holiday!

So, with Duo I've found the inspiration to not only learn another language, but to also travel to another country in about five and a half months..!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3
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I hope your studies prepare you well!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/p_skully

Me too! Tôi cũng vậy!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
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I'd never thought of learning Korean. But, now that Duolingo is working on it, I've had a chance to learn the alphabet and how to use it on my keyboard. I've also learned that some of the particles are very much like Japanese particles. :D

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/frnnh

Mandarin Chinese! Though duo doesn't provide a Mandarin course currently, I found the duolingo knock-off app HelloChinese.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ryannichols7
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and hellochinese is a really excellent app too - super effective

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Grandmumm
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For me, it was every language I've studied after Spanish and German. I am more amazed how quickly I absorb languages now. I think my brain has developed new pathways. :)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lavendeltee
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I was invited to Duolingo by a friend who is a professional linguist and is fond of educational software. He just wanted to show me how it works, so I picked a random course from a range of the languages which were more or less motivating, it was Swedish, and now I am fully into it. I have stopped redoing the tree and switched to Lang-8 where I am improving my writing skills thanks to my amazing correctors.

There is one more story though. It has nothing to do with Duolingo as it happened long before it existed, but it refers to the topic and it is funny, so let me tell it please :) Some years ago I moved to another country to study and was in desperate need of new contacts. So I decided to take a language course at the university to meet some new people and to kill time. I thought to choose a language I had no idea about, and, as you say, would have never, never in my life have come up to idea of learning it. It was Dutch :D I have been learning it for a year and then quitted as the university became demanding. And this year - imagine! - I have gotten a chance to spend a month in the NL doing an internship for my studies! So I opened the DL tree and have refreshed my mega rusty skills, and at the end of the day it was so helpful, as I could speak Dutch to the colleagues there!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Hyllning

I had the same feeling for Welsh. I didn't think I'd learn it until I saw it on Duolingo. I did some research and reading, and now I've grown to bleed Welsh and I adore it entirely.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/chilvence
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I really enjoyed the Catalan course as well, it feels really like it is somewhere right in the middle of Spanish, Italian and French. I probably don't remember half of it, since it's fallen down the wayside.

I can't say that Duo has given me any sense of mastery of these languages, but the doors of my mind have been blown wide open, I am at a point where I am almost surprised and confused if I encounter some writing I can't read.... I was also just trying to kill some time while they came up with either a Chinese or Japanese course, so I guess I can thank them for taking so long to get around to that:)

I was also smoker a long time ago, and although I am comparing apples to oranges, Duolingo does have a whiff of that same kind of cathartic feeling you get from using it. You can use it to kill five minutes or relieve boredom, with the difference that you're expanding your horizons instead of .. well, slowly killing yourself.

The thing is, before Duo, I probably never would have bothered with any of the languages I have looked at here. I failed miserably at school French even though I loved to read and speak it, barely paid attention in German (honestly, they lost me at 'Der Die Das' ), I once picked up a Russian textbook from a library, because how cool is Russian, but I just didn't get along with it at all. I am still of the mindset that all of the methods are completely and utterly wrong on every single level.

In contrast, duo just happened to come up with a critical hit. Simple, unassuming, methodical, accesible, easy to pick up and put down, entertaining, polished, intelligently designed and most importantly, TALKATIVE. There are a lot of ways that it could be better, to be sure, but that is quite easy to say while glossing over the many simple, basic things it gets absolutely spot on compared to other offerings that are out there. It raised the bar, and things have noticeably improved everywhere else since, because competing with free is quite a challenge.

Duolingo clones are coming out of the wazoo nowadays, which is ok, if a bit unimaginative, but it is also much easier to make the case that this journey of language learning should primarily be fun, instead of the normally repellent paint by numbers exercise that it is in the classroom. That is the magic ingredient, and they need to keep pressing that advantage. It can almost replace the habit of checking facebook or whatever. Do that, and you have won the world over.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/XD29
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I have always been interested in learning languages. But I actually found out about Duo when I was looking for a program to study some basic Italian prior to a vacation in Italy. Since then, I've finished quite a couple of language trees on here - even Guarani, about which I didn't know anything before it entered the incubator! I am currently working on the Vietnamese tree, this is also a language I didn't think I would ever study.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/elvper
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I never thought I would learn R, javascript, VBA.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ChukyBlairBass

woooooot? Are these already in Duoloingo? Cause I need them really bad, LOL

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Garnetskull
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I started using duolingo to learn German, but thanks to duolingo I started learning Esperanto (a language I never even knew existed)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Theron126
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I came here to learn Russian. I also decided to review my rusty French. I never expected to take up Norwegian...

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/NtateNarin
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For me it was Esperanto! I never thought I would be interested in learning an artificial language. I can't believe how much easier it is! Granted, it's more for fun, so I'm not going through it as fast as the other languages I'm studying.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MissCamden
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i joined already having a passion for languages but duo certainly took it in unexpected directions. the forum in particular has had a huge impact as the excitement over freshly released courses got to me and led me to try some languages i had never considered before. hebrew is one of them. romanian is another. it went from not even on my radar to pretty high on my bucket list just like that. thanks, duo. i certainly wouldn't know the first thing about guarani if it wasn't for duo. by far my weirdest language experience to this day. my brain is in a perpetual wtaf??? state as i go through my duo lessons. definitely the toughest climb to the first checkpoint and i am nowhere near there yet. i guess duo also made me aware of conlangs in a way i wasn't before. and made me realize conlangs are not my thing at all. to each their own, there's no wrong way to be a language nerd after all!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3
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The two "basic" phrases skills the Guraní tree hits you with right at the beginning are nasty, nasty roadblocks. (and at first they were in a lamentable state of "one answer only"ness when many words had a number of potential translations, a situation which I hope is better now) The path does get a lot smoother! Too many Spanish borrowings, but that does make it much easier for starting out.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/astroguy16

Definitely Esperanto for me. When I first saw it appear in the incubator, I thought "Pff, what's the point of speaking an artificial language that hardly anyone speaks." Then after a bit of researching, I realized how cool Esperanto really is. When I finally started the course, I was hooked. I think that learning the language and being connected to the Esperanto community also made me realize how important it is to speak languages with not that many speakers. You are able to gain access to a culture that not many people know about, and you get to feel enlightened by it. That's why, in the near future, I am planning on learning Irish and Welsh. I probably would have never heard of Esperanto if it weren't for Duolingo.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ChukyBlairBass

Moltes felicitats! Com a catalana que sóc, em fa molt feliç que hagis après la meva llengua :). La majoria de gent no li presta massa atenció. No saben el que es perden! hahah. Continua així i arribaràs molt lluny ;)

Bona sort! You made my day!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/emmars9

Portuguese maybe? As a spanish speaking person I never really thought of picking up a language so so similar to mine, but here I am, as a beginner, in hopes of understanding more each day :)

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lolatoto
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Duolingo seems to 'know' how well I am going, or otherwise on any given day. It is a wonderful teacher and that wise owk keeps reminding me when I get slack. Vietnamese is a wonderful language and I cant wait to hear it all around me in a few weeks and will be brave enough to pump out a phrase or 4 now, thanks to all who made this awesome app RECOMMEND TO YOU FRIENDS THAT ARE CURIOUS BECAUSE IT ROCKS

2 years ago
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