Four years and counting
Just wanted to take a moment and thank all the volunteers who have put so much time and effort into making Duolingo a fun way to learn another language.
Living in the US, there's not a lot of opportunity to speak anything other than English. So I start each day by doing a lesson, on the computer or phone, and learn something new. Then I'll read an article in another language. In the evening, I'll try and watch something in another language on the tv.
Merci à tous pour cette fenêtre sur le monde.
I agree! I stop in Duolingo each day and spend a little time. Then, I stop at Memrise to do flashcards. I read children's literature (currently reading J'Aime Lire Le Voyage en Torpedo in French. I picked up a book of short stories by Guy de Maupassant at a resale shop for a quarter! I'm planning to enroll in a 4th year French class at the local university in the Fall. I know my weakness is speaking so I plan to concentrate speaking more French. Best wishes to you and here are some lingots for your adventure!
I do Memrise as well. There are several intermediate French courses, one that has a vocabulary list that's quite intense. I'm taking a break from that one at the moment, now that I've started Spanish.
Taking a course is a great idea. Speaking French will be so much fun for you.
Thanks so much for the lingots and the kind words.
De rien, lunazee! I enjoyed the 7 French courses that the Memrise staff developed! Right now, I'm taking an intense Memrise course that takes 122 hours (7,239 words) to complete that includes Upper and Advanced Levels of French. It'll take me all summer to complete it! Also, I'm guilding my tree with the new Crowns! Have fun learning Spanish! I may try the Spanish course in a couple years! Meilleurs voeux à vous! https://www.memrise.com/course/323711/learn-french-7329-words-122h/
Merci encore, Nancy. That course looks great. Il devrait être amusant de le faire. :)
Keep it up Lunazee, I started learning French and Welsh at the age of 85 ,bound to find some french men in heaven!!
You've got me beat, FrankMelhu! I started learning French when I was 64. Ha! Ha! I hope your wish comes true in about 20 years!
Congratulations! I see you've begun Spanish. Why not try German? Bonne chance!
Merci! Sticking with the Romance Languages for now. Maybe, I'll tackle German one day. :)
Félicitations. J'ai du mal à garder une série de plus de deux cents jours.
I just lost a two hundred and ten days streak.
Ahora estoy triste. Espero superar trescientos sesenta y cinco días.
Quelle dommage!!! Je suis vraiment désolée. I always keep a streak freeze, just in case I forget to log in.
Look at all the languages, you are doing!!! Don't think you are lazy at all :)
muy bien hecho, has logrado dos cien dias. Lo siento, pero todo está todavia en el cerebro!
I came on line to leave a note of Appreciation, and discovered this topic had already been initiated! I'm glad folks recognize how wonderful it is that other folks are willing to spend their time helping us novices. I am sooooo very grateful for the kind, calm responses from folks. When learning something new, many of us lose our tempers when frustrated by something in a lesson. But the volunteers just take it in stride, and gently guide us. Merci Beaucoups; Muchas Gracias. Sincerely!
That's great! Duolingo is a great and fun way to learn another language. Keep it up!
Have 2 lingots. One for level 25 in French, and one for being here for that long.
I would love to learn multiple languages, but its hard for me to remember and memorize the different words. I struggle more with similar sounding words, and the different verbs and such.
But congrats on your progress so far! Keep learning :)
Me too. I admire people who have the ability to learn multiple languages at once. A few months after I began French, I thought it would be cool to learn Spanish and Italian at the same time. But everything became muddled. Now that I have a better handle on French, Spanish is complimenting it. Maybe one day, I'll try Italian again. :).
I think the key is to learn languages that aren't super similar, eg Spanish and Japanese instead of Spanish and Portuguese. I've also heard of people playing weird cognitive tricks like studying one language in the morning and one in late afternoon, or sitting in one location to study one and a different location to study for another. Can't vouch for how these work, but they're interesting. Also, it's good to not start two new languages close together, like I would say wait at least 6 months or so from beginning seriously starting one language before you introduce another. But do note of course that studying two languages will likely give slower progress in either one of them. That's why 95% of my effort is just going to French right now, I want to be able to make meaningful contributions with it, so I need to focus. Cheers! :)
Interesting idea about different time and place affecting studying. I'll have to try that. I was doing the 3 Romance languages at once and things started to get muddled.
Not long ago, I did try to learn Korean but was a total failure. I'm a graphic designer, so visually oriented, but just couldn't get past the alphabet. :)
Je viens du Québec. Les Américains oublient des fois que nous existons et manquent l'opportunité de visiter un pays francophone à même leur frontière. En boni, notre français est probablement encore plus français qu'en Europe.
"En boni, notre français est probablement encore plus français qu'en Europe."
C'est intéressant, pouvez-vous me dire plus ou me donner un site web qui explique pourquoi? Je suis une étudiante de la linguistique et donc je veux apprendre tout ce que je peux. :) Et aussi, j'aime vraiment le Québec. J'y suis allée 3 fois et j'ai sérieusement considéré aller à l'université de McGill.
Je sais que, pour l'anglais, l'anglais américain/canadien est la version la plus originale/vieille, au moins en pensant de la prononciation. Après les colonies étaient établies, les gens riches d'Angleterre ont décidé de reformer la langue et de la faire plus comme le français (en la faisant non-rhotique, pour être précis). Et donc, l'anglais d'Angleterre a changé, mais pas l'anglais des Ameriques. Ce sont des sources si vous voulez lire plus:
Bien sûr c'est un peu d'une simplification, mais le rhoticisme est très facile pour tous à observer. Je serais intriguée si une chose similaire a passée avec le français!
Ça fait plaisir haha.
Dans le fond, pour te résumer, la mondialisation affecte beaucoup les pays francophones. Par contre, étant donné que les francophones du Canada (et surtout au Québec) ont toujours été entouré d'un océan d'anglais et qu'ils ont vécu la majeure partie de leur histoire sous un colonisateur qui seulement récemment s'est montré tolérant et ouvert à l'inclusion du français dans la vie canadienne, les francophones du Canada ont toujours été très... paranoïaques de leur langue, la défendant coûte que coûte. Ainsi, le Québec a son propre institut de la langue française, L'office québécois de la langue française, pour réguler les nouveaux mots et expressions du français, alors que le français de France, dans son élan «glamour», mange l'anglais sans y faire attention. Ainsi, je peux de donner des exemples de termes ou expressions où la France inclut le mot anglais, mais le Québec le traduit:
France: Faire du shopping // Québec: Aller magasiner
France: Un smartphone // Québec: Un téléphone intelligent
France: Le week-end // Québec: La fin de semaine
France: Un toaster // Québec: Un grille-pain
France: Un sticker // Québec: Un autocollant
Et ces expressions ne sont pas seulement utilisées dans le monde formel, TOUS les gens les utilisent ici, peu importe la situation. C'en est devenu naturel. Tu peux aller dans les quartiers les plus louches de Montréal et les gens utilisent quand même le bon terme (avec des jurons, évidemment).
Jusqu'à un extrême, les compagnies internationales font même leur traduction pour plaire au Québécois. Le meilleur exemple serait KFC - Kentucky Fried Chicken, qui s'appelle PFK - Poulet Frit Kentucky au Québec (mais pas en France)
J'essaie de trouver des exemples, mais tu peux faire tes recherches (j'aime beaucoup la bande dessinée "Dessine Bandé" sur Facebook, tu vas aimer). Il y a aussi les journaux québécois (Le Devoir, La Presse, Le journal de Montréal)
Autrement, je sais que le français écrit diffère du français parlé, et que les Québécois poussent le problème plus loin, mais nous sommes les plus fiers de notre langue. Hehehe.
Merci beaucoup pour l'explication! Je comprends maintenant. C'est intéressant que les Québecois suivent les règles de l'office québécois de la langue française, au lycée mon prof on a donnés des exemples où l'académie français a fait une règle, mais la population française l'a ignorée. Si je m'en souviens correctement, un des exemples était une règle d'écrire "événement" et pas "évènement" ou quelque chose comme ça. Mais je suppose que les règles comme ça sont plutôt banal et plus facile à ignorer quand comparé à un besoin de défendre sa nation et son identité. Merci encore!
les sciences du langage
Cours libres en langue française
Ressource gratuite sur le site du gouvernement de Luxembourg
Office québécois de la langue française
Bonjour renato_f et merci beacoup por les liens! Trés interessant.
Je n'avais jamais entendu dire de "L’anglo-normand est une ancienne langue d'oïl" just une nouvelle chose pour example.
Je me coucherai donc moins bête que je me suis levée, comme dit une amie française.
Guillaume, Ne pas oublier tous les Américains. J'ai vraiment apprécié mon grand nombre de voyages au Canada, à Hamilton, Toronto, Frederick, Montréal et Québec. Mais quand j'ai visité Montréal, le Canadiens ridiculisé ma tente de parler français. Et maintenant, les Canadiens qui visitent la Floride sont ridiculisant mon français encore une fois, 20 ans plus tard. Les Français ont été plus d'acceptation de mes tentatives d'échanger dans leur langue.
Félicitations! C'est vrai que Duolingo est une super plateforme pour apprendre plein de langues. I'm french and i had to sign up in the english duolingo in order to learn japanese and other languages, because there are more choices. In the french duolingo, there is only english, spanish, italian and german. I am really glad to learn japanese, and maybe i'll try another language !
Le français est une langue quand même compliquée, je m'y connais ^^ Mais tout le monde peut l'apprendre si on est vraiment motivé !
Le français est une très belle langue et, oui, un peu difficile. But my brain feels happier when I think in french. :)
At the moment, English is the dominant language globally. Last evening, I was watching an episode of the Norwegian series "Occupied." There were characters speaking Russian, French in addition to Norwegian. But when they spoke to each other, English was the common language.
Lunazee, Duolingo is a nice theraphy, every day i take a space in my time and try to practice my different courses. Con seguridad vas a aprender español si mantienes una rutina, igual que con cualquier otro idioma. Au revoir....
Yes, that's the truth. If you practice, and have patience, things fall into place. Muchas gracias :)
Living in the US, there's not a lot of opportunity to speak anything other than English.
Setting aside the distracting incorrect grammar in the quoted statement (dangling modifier), my first thought was "what an odd statement."
This is a nation of immigrants who, collectively, speak a variety of languages. For example, my next door neighbor to the west is Vietnamese and usually speaks Vietnamese with his family, but he also speaks French and Chinese fairly well. My neighbor on the other side is from India, and speaks at least three languages: Hindi, English, and Bengali. (perhaps others).
In my city, the population is approximately 28% hispanic (mostly dominicans and puertoricans). I can find large neighborhoods in which the population speaks better Spanish that English. I can also find a neighborhood within a couple miles of my house where they speak German.
There are three Asian markets within five miles of my house. One owned by a Cambodian who speaks multiple languages, one by a Chinese couple, one by an Vietnamese woman, and one by Indians. I shop at them regularly because I like to cook, and I hear all manner of languages being spoken therein, many of which I cannot identify.
On my car radio, just with a regular stock mazda car antenna, I can find stations in at least three languages.
A bit more than two hours away, by car, is New York city, where I can hear about 40 languages being spoken just walking a stretch of about five blocks. I know that because I worked and lived there for a while before moving here.
Even in my own living room I can hear my wife speaking on the phone to her parents in her native language a few nights per week. I don't speak a word of that one, but it is not due to the fact that I live in the USA that I can't understand it, but due to my own laziness.
I'll grant that four years is a long to time to keep up daily language practice on Duolingo. The kudos for your tenacity are well deserved. I enjoy using this website as well and find it very elucidating, but (seriously!) get off the damned computer and get out there and meet people. You'll find out that a good many people in the USA--including many who are US citizens--speak some other language better than they speak English and would be delighted to have you greet them in their native languages.
Some people are financially or physically unable to travel even for 2 hours, and the US is a diverse country. Yes, many areas have lots of immigrants but others have very few. Take where my family comes from in upstate New York for example. The area doesn't have a lot of money, it's a very rural area, and it's just not a place people end up unless they're born there. I don't know where anyone comes from so I can't make any assumptions about their experience of America, but my family didn't have wifi until last year and had never heard what the German language sounds like. You're lucky to have the opportunities you have, I'm lucky to have the opportunities I have, but we can't assume others have them too.
angus390025, I get where you're coming from, but I also think it's possible an assumption snuck in there when you said: "but (seriously!) get off the damned computer and get out there and meet people" ;-)
I think it is wonderful and considerate to study the various languages on Duolingo so the international neighbors don't have to be subjected to every bit of language practice.
After all, it takes a lot of hours and often a lot of muddling until a language becomes comfortable and expressive.
That said, I was inspired to learn spanish because many of the voices I hear in my city are spanish, so I thought: what a great opportunity! I can study spanish, AND get to practice it. Little did I know how much it would enrich my life! I love understanding the latin music, movies, books and the soccer commentators, and talking to people around me.
If you have Netflix, there's a series called "Velvet" that takes place in mid-century Madrid. It was quite fun, if you're into fashion.
thank you, that sounds delicious! I do have netflix, I'll look at it! Merci beacoup, ¡eres muy amable!
I also think it's possible an assumption snuck in there
Camilla-danesa, Possibly I was being presumptuous.
But consider this: just today--less than half an hour ago--I ran into a fellow I have known for about two years. He's Columbian, and he and I generally speak in English, but he knows that I speak Spanish. He happened to be with his wife and his brother (who speak English well) and his parents (who do not speak English well.) I had never met his family so he introduced me to all of them, saying "¡Él habla español!" I spoke to all five of them in Spanish for at least 10 minutes, about clothing, beaches, fishing, and food, among other things. It was unexpected and delightful. My day has already afforded me the opportunity to speak Spanish with five Columbians (and it's only 9AM in the Eastern Time Zone.)
I'm at my office. I don't normally go to my office on Saturdays but I have some things to do. It's kinda small, but it's on the third floor and has two large windows, so I have a view of several blocks. Already I can see that people are out on the street, even though it's wet and miserable. They appear to come in all sizes, shapes, and colors. I'd bet that they are speaking many different languages.
Had I been in my pajamas at home on the computer--which is normally the case at 9 o'clock on a Saturday--I don't think my morning would have been quite as interesting. :)
crepe_obsession, Some areas are more diverse than others, no doubt, and some areas have high unemployment and few cultural opportunities. But even in areas as culturally isolated as, say, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan you can find streetsigns in Finnish and Finnish radio stations. In rural Iowa you can find Hindu and Buddhist temples visited regularly by people speaking exotic languages. In deeply-impoverished southern Louisiana, you can find public schools offering French-immersion education all the way from Kindergarten through the 12th grade. And in the poorest, most unemployed part of the USA, the "four-corners region" you can find a wealth of surviving ancient American cultures and hear them speaking a number of native languages, alongside at least two European ones.
Location, location, location.
I was up early, checked my emails, replied to some posts here, then got on with the morning.
This morning I watched a Pilated Woodpecker have a go at a tree stump in my yard, saw the Hummingbird at the feeder, then a large Tom Turkey and his mate hanging around the back woods, along with many other birds and chipmunks.
So no opportunity here to chat in another tongue, as there's no course in bird language on Duolingo. :)
Now I'm ready to log in and do my courses. Hasta luego Señor Angus/Elvis
there's no course in bird language on Duolingo
True, but as Charles Trenet used to sing,
"La pendule fait tic tac tic tic
Les oiseaux du lac pic pac pic pic
Glou glou glou font tous les dindons
Et la jolie cloche ding din dong"
à plus tard, mlle lunazee. :)
angus390025, that sounds like a wonderful day! Like you, I too am enjoying where I live and all the different people around me. It was also raining in my city, and I biked in the rain (being danish that's what I grew up doing), and so far today I have spoken 3 languages. Thank you for replying to me! :-)
I agree with Camilla-danesa, there are many assumptions in your comments, Angus. You are living in the part of the country that is a mecca of diversity; I used to live in Chicago and in the Mid-Atlantic states and found a similar situation. Not all of the US is that way, particularly more rural areas (I've lived across the country in many settings). But, putting that distinction aside, I will tell you that recently I sought out a couple of conversational French groups in Florida, because I really like the language. I was promptly told by the folks to go back to class, instead! So you see, not everyone is accommodating. On the other hand, I've discovered that a number of Spanish-speaking folks enjoy my faulty attempts to use the language in brief interactions. I hope this is not a cultural distinction; I'd like to think that French-speaking folks are friendly, too; my French is certainly better than my Spanish! Kudos to Lunazee for persisting without the friendly socialization of peers.
Hi PAMELA980522, I hope you find a really great class in Florida, and have much continued enjoyment from learning and speaking french!
This is definitely a ridiculous comment.
While you may enjoy looking at a stranger and deciding what language you think they speak, then attempting to speak in a language you are trying to learn, it may be an unpleasant experience for the person your bothering.
First, not everyone wants to interact with a stranger. If you approach a stranger and speak to them in any language, it might be a bother. I am just trying to get some milk at the grocery store, not teach you a language.
Second, you simply cannot tell at what level of proficiency someone is at in any language by looking at them. Specially in the US. Does a hispanic looking person speak Spanish - perhaps not. Does that elder asian man speak Mandarian, or is he not capable, and not even Chinese.
If an individual speaks a language, this may not make it there preferred language for interacting with you: Its a conversational strain to interact with a beginner, and without any kind of attachment to you or reason to invest in your interest in learning a language, your doctor / customer / etc. may prefer to do business in English.
I think its very reasonable to say that there isn't a wealth of other languages to speak in the US in that people are not walking around with Duolingo-Like language badges identifying their capabilities, and receptiveness to talking. Walking around finding every person speak a language other than English and stoping them to let them know that you speak 3 words of their language is poor form.
I think its very reasonable to say that there isn't a wealth of other languages to speak in the US in that people are not walking around with Duolingo-Like language badges
...as opposed to the fact that every one in all the other countries of the world does walk around with Duolingo-like badges indentifying their capabilities?? Okay.
(And what would Duolingo-like badges tell us anyway? That a person invited a friend to duolingo or has 3 followers? And what has any of that to do with this thread?)
I'm not sure what you're arguing against. I don't think anyone is suggesting that he can successfully guess anyone's proficiency in a language by a glance.
I'm making one and only one point. The evidence is obvious: the statement that one does not have the opportunity to find speakers of multiple other languages in the US is demonstrably false.
You seem to have not only misgivings, but also, I respectfully submit, some misunderstandings. I cannot imagine a person would rather speak to you in English if you can communicate in his or her language better than he or she can communicate in English. Language is for communication, after all. Especially if someone is trying to sell you something.
I have not experienced any disdain for attempting to communicate with someone in his or her native language, in those cases in which it facilitates communication. It is often the case that I speak Spanish, for example, better than the one serving me speaks English. When this happens, cashiers, housekeeping staff, waitstaff, etc., have shown nothing but relief (dare I say, even admiration?) when they see that they're not having to speak English. And it's not just happening to me. I've seen this happen to others as well. I've observed this phenomenon in Asian markets on a few occasions. Not that I speak Vietnamese or Cambodian, but when the Vietnamese woman who runs a little store not far from here starts speaking to the customer in broken English, and the customer starts speaking to her in Cambodian (which she speaks better than English), the owner gladly obliges.
No one is asking the shop owner to give a language lesson while purchasing milk. (It's not at all clear how your imagination hatched that idea from the comments in this thread. I know that I wasn't accusing any customers of asking for language lessons from a cashier.)
Walking around finding every person speak a language other than English and stoping them to let them know that you speak 3 words of their language is poor form.
At least we can agree on that, although it is not clear why you feel the need to point that out since no one is suggesting that it is good form. (some comment about a snooty French club in Florida aside, but I'm not entirely clear on the particulars in that situation, and I doubt you are either.)
You totally moved the goal posts.
You went from go outside and discover people who speak the language, and practice speaking with them in order to learn to you already know the language better than they know english, and have business with them that you are facilitating by speaking their language to ease communication.
What I was trying to point out is that you cannot tell (ANYWHERE) how capable someone is at a language. Walking up to the first stranger you hear speaking spanish, and bursting into their world, interrupting what they are doing to try to gain value from them (experience speaking) while offering them little (unwanted conversation in broken spanish) is not going to be a positive thing.
Walking up to people and greeting them in what you decide their language might be , might be considered a 'microagression' by some.
Your altered advice becomes much harder to use; Find a person speaking a language you already know better than they know English that you have preexisting business with, and facilitate that by speaking their language. This isn't even useful advice, its something everyone knows and the reason people learn additional languages. Your basically saying, once you have become a proficient speaker of a language you can use it to someone who is asking how do I practice speaking the language in order to learn it.
If I want to learn to speak chinese, I am not going to stop chinese people in the street in China Town and hope they speak chinese.
I used to live in Europe. Any border to the next language-area was within an hour or two by car. Hitchhiking through 5 or 6 countries on a summer vacation made it both necessary and useful to be able to decipher some basic spoken and written languages in whatever country I was in. If you compare that to the multi-linguaility within the US and the enormity of the country, there really is no comparison. It is pretty much assumed that when in France most people interact using french, in Italy, Italian, and in Scotland (oh boy, was I not prepared for the local dialect!) – while in the US most of the population is generally assumed to speak English. Am I overlooking something here? We are not talking about the need to wear a badge showing which language you speak. (Though I DID wear a language badge in the US on one particular day: I was the translator for Spanish and French voters at the polling place!).
I used to live in Europe.
I lived in Germany for a year and I lived in Amsterdam for part of a year. I'm well aware of how small some of those countries are, and how close international borders can be. I'm also well aware that most of those countries have official languages, defined by law, unlike the United States, where I get official notices in about 15 languages because we have no legislated official language.
Sure, parts of Europe are like the US in the sense that you can hear multiple languages spoken in one neighborhood. Other parts of Europe, like some parts of the USA, are not like that and are more culturally and ethnically homogeneous.
If someone said, "In Europe, one cannot find opportunities to practice other languages" I'd probably be struck by the inaccuracy of the statement. It's no more accurate than saying "I the USA you can't find such opportunities..."
What you might want to say is "In my little village in Southern France, I cannot find anyone who speaks English." Or, "In my part of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, I cannot find anyone who speaks French." That's a very, very different statement, because it doesn't make sweeping generalizations that are easily demonstrated to be false. I would not call that inaccurate if I haven't been to that French village or that Michigan village.
I appreciate that you have worked as a translator. I worked, for about two years, as a Spanish-English translator for an ABE/citizenship program (mostly used by Guatemalans and Mexicans) at my university, when I was an undergraduate student. I had taken four years of Spanish in high school and several semesters in college and I had been hired by that institute for other reasons (my BS is in mathematics with minors in physics and chemistry, and I was hired originally to tutor in science), but when an opening suddenly materialized and they learned I could speak Spanish they hired me immediately. I didn't have to wear any signs, but I know that it is a rewarding experience to help newly-arrived immigrants learn to communicate in English.
What you may or may not be "overlooking" I cannot say. My main (and only!) gripe here is that when people begin sentences with "In America..." or "In Europe..." or "In Asia..." (as though such large and diverse populations can be conveniently stereotyped), it is usually the case that what follows is inaccurate, and propagates more misinformation than wisdom.
let me understand, are you referring to that I began my reply with "I used to live in Europe" - and you have a gripe with that? I don't understand why.
Anyway, super interesting to read about your experience and life path.
Madame, prenez un lingot. Un joli morceau de cristal rouge pour votre ténacité.
I do not complain that you lived in Europe.
For the fourth time: I have only one complaint (alors, deux, mais l'autre est banal. n'est-ce pas?)
Here is the sentence in the original post to which I (albeit regretfully, now) have responded:
Living in the US, there's not a lot of opportunity to speak anything other than English.
It is gramatically incorrect.
It is demonstrably false.
That's it. I'm tired of arguing.
Monsieur, prenez un lingot vous aussi, je crois bien que votre tenacité doit bien surpasser la mienne!
As far as any regrets:
...in the original post to which I (albeit regretfully, now) have responded
No regrets here - I found the exchange very enlightening. Be well!
well done, and you are right, we have many helpful volunteers to be thankful for. All the best, keep learning, four years and counting is really a good solid habit! bravo!
I loved the description of the birdlife around you! We have a lot in common, I think!
Despite others' insistence here on refuting your statement :-), I would agree that there is not a lot of opportunity in the US to speak non-patois French with a native speaker. Not everyone is patient with or interested in accommodating learners. Just as I can't say I have an enormous amount of patience with listening to halting and garbled English :-D.
Just got into the habit. and made sure there was a freeze in place, which I've used 2 or 3 times. I was on for several months before starting the streak. It just seemed like a fun way to keep my practice going.