Introducing KatyCatz, Duolingo's newest CM!
We're super excited to welcome KatyCatz as Duolingo's Senior Community Manager :)
Let's start things off with a little intro Q&A. Katy welcomes your questions too!
What's your Duolingo Username?
KatyCatz <-- Yep, total cat lady here.
Where are you from/where do you live?
I'm originally from the San Francisco Bay Area but have been living in Seattle for 12 years. I have also lived in Boston, Mexico City, San Luis Potosi, and Pachuca, HGO.
What are your interests?
Outside of language learning I'm a big fan of reading non-fiction, traveling internationally, and drinking sherry and scotch. Little known fact: I have visited scotch, rum, cachaça, mezcal, tequila, vodka, gin, sherry, cognac and wine distilleries and wineries in more than a dozen countries since 2012.
What languages do you know?
I speak Spanish by way of living and studying in Mexico as a teen but am currently interested in learning more Brazilian Portuguese.
Why do you love language learning?
I am always looking to meet and make new friends. Traveling and studying throughout Mexico as a teenager shaped me as I became an adult. Speaking a second language changed my life and even my career path. I have witnessed firsthand how language learning can open doors to opportunities and change people's lives for the better. The bonus is that knowing more than one language allows you to travel easier, make more friends, and help others, too! It's been such a blessing to know a second language and I'm grateful for all the friends and opportunities it has brought me.
What's your favorite part about working for Duolingo?
Working with insanely talented and creative people who want to bring free education to the world. There's something so inspiring about working for a company whose mission is to offer the opportunity to change people's lives - for free!
What do you have on your desk? What are your tools?
I'm a big fan of the Pomodoro Technique and frequently revisit The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
Got a language learning tip to share with the community?
Vowels! If you're learning a Latin-based language or even Japanese, reading and pronouncing vowels is much simpler than doing so in English. AEIO and U only have one pronunciation each, so long as you're omitting words with accent marks. So if you master how to pronounce AEIO and U, you can read in your learning language like a pro! Even long words like Parangaricutirimicuaro will be easy to read and speak.
What do you like to do in your free time?
When I'm not at work I'm enjoying playtime with my 5-month-old twin daughters Ava and Frankie. We play music and shake rattles, we go on long evening walks, and we are just starting to explore solid foods together. When the girls get older I look forward to introducing them to alpine skiing, kayaking, and hiking.
Tell us about a common mistake you still make in a certain language.
Learning Portuguese after learning Spanish has proven tricky for me. Some words are extremely similar while others are not at all. Some conjunctions are the same and some words in Portuguese mean something else entirely in Spanish. It's just a reminder that practice makes perfect and using Duolingo to study and brush up frequently is important.
Bem-vinda e boa sorte :)
I hope you will have a great time here! Congratulations and success with your new position!
I am sure you will do a splendid job :)
Hola Katy, what will be your role in Duolingo? Could you tell us what exactly will you do here?
Of course! Thanks to the addition of new language courses and expanded language trees, there are more and more people visiting Duolingo every day. And with that comes more visits to the forums, more people wanting to join the the Global Ambassador program, etc. So I'm here to assist Duolingo's Community team in managing and supporting people who use Duolingo in various capacities. I'll be a presence here in the forums and I'll help manage the Educator Network. I'm basically a conduit and a resource for users of Duolingo.
una gran mañana
disfrutar del día
Espero que tengas un momento agradable
Anyone else cat fan? I clearly am, the name Hollyleaf if you know. Anyone read the books? Cat fans that don't read the books prob won't know what I'm talking about lol.
I know what series you're talking about, Hollyleaf. I read the first three series and part of the fourth.
Important question: Will the additional forum cat affect the safety of the Duo bird?
KatyCatz, you sound like someone who knows what she/he wants and why she/he wants it, and you look it! Congratulations! And welcome aboard!
helloo.. nice to see you KatyCatz :) Hi, I am a newbie. By the way, i am curious, what the function of senior community manager?
Katy replied to a comment above that she helps the Community Team to support and manage people who use Duolingo in various capacities and manages the Educator Network. So, just helping out in the community, basically.
yo soy Mexicano me alegra que conozcas mi país, y ya que trabajas en duolingo y que tienes la llave de la bóveda de lingotes pasame unos XD , solo bromeo un gusto saber de ti chau
Good luck with the Brazilian Portuguese, what is your favorite regional accent?
I don't know enough BR Portuguese to choose a favorite but I'm mostly familiar with speakers from Paraná and São Paulo as those are the only two states I have visited so far. What about you?
Bienvenue! This is the first time I've tried my French out on anyone other than my family. Hopefully I spelled it right!!
I'm glad you're interested in Brazilian Portuguese – good course here. But spare a thought for the people who want to learn Portuguese Portuguese! We need a couple of units in the Portuguese course that cover European grammar and vocabulary. These would be something I could spend my lingots/gems on – I've bought the only two add-ons in the shop already!
Thank you! This is great feedback and I'll make sure to send it up the chain. As a small team and small company we have a long long list of to-dos. Adding more courses and of course more languages is always a goal of ours. Hoping we can make this happen sooner than later!
Ciao Katy. Once you've settled into your new and busy role, may I on behalf of the Italian "family", ask if you could somehow influence Duo to bless us with Stories? A mammoth ask, I realise, but there's no harm in asking. Tanti auguri.
Adding this to my feedback list! I'll see what I can find out in the coming weeks as I get settled. Thanks :)
Hello KatyCatz :-)
A few days ago, a new tree was released (to some users, including me) in French. There are several discussions; for example this one https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/29027127
and this one: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/29010358
The question that worries me is this (discussed in the first thread I linked to): Was this new tree created by staff? Were the volunteer contributors involved in the process?
The sentiment that I get from the discussion is that the volunteers were left out, and this would not feel right to me because they have created all the language-related contributions to Duolingo so far.
Would it be possible for you to give a clarification of the matter?
I'm sorry that I have to post this in this thread, but I couldn't work out any other possibility of contacting you. Many thanks! :-) Heike
Hello! I apologize for my delayed response as I have been in meetings throughout the day.
So clarify, the new French tree still includes all the content from the previous tree. The change is that our language experts have added additional content to the beginning of the tree in order to provide better coverage of A1 CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference) content. Our plan is to continue to iterate on the course to improve its effectiveness. We do this incrementally by starting with the latest version of the course and continuously adding new material to improve our vocabulary and grammar coverage an help learners reach a high level of fluency based on our test results and a rigorous scientific framework. Volunteers who helped create course content have been and will still be involved in improving the courses. In fact, much of their content will also still be used in the tree. As with all Duolingo courses, we are constantly testing and improving our content as we grow. Please rest assured knowing that our main objective is (and always will be) to teach people languages with the best possible content. This sometimes means we have to iterate on contributors' work by adding insights from our own language learning experts. It's collaborative. And while we have gotten (much needed and much appreciated) help from our volunteers, we do also rely on our own staff and their expertise as well. We couldn't do it without everyone involved and while we made the mistake of not announcing these course changes, we are grateful to everyone who has played part in this effort to improve Duolingo and the French course by offering a deeper and richer learning experience.
Hello Katy :-) Thank you very, very much. My more wordy reply is here: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/29010358$from_email%3Dcomment&comment_id%3D29042784
So what is your favorite single malt?
I love Laphroaig 10 and Lagavulin 16.
Coool to have you here! Good luck!
My favorite scotches all come from Islay, too. (Gotta love that peat!) But if I could be choosy I'd select Airigh Nam Beist from Ardbeg. It's my favorite release of theirs and is sadly no longer available. But I have a bottle at home! Along with about 250 other bottles of Scotch.
Oh, a fellow peat lover! Slainte! Another Islay sm I like is Ardbeg 10 and Islay single malts are generally my favorites. Maybe some day I have a whisky cabinet full of all kinds of tasty single malts. From Highland and Japan as well.
E você está aprendendo português brasileiro também, muito legal! Boa sorte!
Ever been to the Whisky Fringe in Scotland? We went once many years ago: 10 pounds for a snifter you get to keep and tastes of any whisky from nearly every distillery in Scotland--all in a gorgeous defunct church with pre-Raphaelite murals on the walls (by a largely unknown woman painter!).
The incredible venue: http://www.mansfieldtraquair.co.uk/history/
The price may have gone up, but if you love whisky, Edinburgh in August is the place to be!
Adding to my bucket list! Thank you so much for sharing. I knew about the annual festival on Islay but this sounds much much bigger.
certain rules with whisky enjoy http://jackelliot.over-blog.com/2017/05/whisky.html
All types! I've had both purebreds and rescues. I'm also fascinated by wild cats but prefer to keep them in the wild, of course. I'd also like to note that I'm a cat owner but do also love dogs. I just don't have the right lifestyle for dogs.
Yes. Dogs are okay. Cat lovers seem really scarce in my world, currently.
Hoi Katy! Good luck as CM! 53 lingots to help you on your way! But I'm curious; how exactly did you get here and why were you chosen over everyone else? (No offense with that last question, just general curiosity.)
How I got here: I'm a lifelong fan of language, began learning Spanish as a child, traveled to and lived in Mexico off/on for many years. (30/31 states, to be exact!) My mother is an ESL teacher and I found Duolingo a few years ago when working for the second time at a Brazilian-owned company and wanted to learn more Portuguese. Learning language has always been a hobby among all my family members so knowing about Duolingo and their mission to bring free language learning to the world was one that I aligned with well. Knowing two languages has changed my life so I wanted to be a part of a company that changes lives for that same reason. Fun facts: My twin sister is fluent in French. I am a Spanish speaker. My father also speaks Spanish, plus some Russian and Japanese. My mother is always practicing her Spanish but struggles to really become fluent and so she diligently uses Duolingo to improve. My brother only speaks "sports".
Why was I chosen: I wish I knew the exact reasons. In job interviews no one ever tells you why you did or didn't get the job. I can only surmise that I was either the best (or only?) candidate. I'd like to think the former! I have 10 years of experience managing online communities and so I hope that combined with my interest in language learning, it was enough to sway the interviewers in my direction. But really, who knows? I just applied, interviewed, and was asked if I wanted the job and said, "Duh. Heck yeah!". So here I am. :) Sorry it's not a juicier answer, I'm sure HR knows more about my hire than I do. I just applied and the rest is herstory.
Edit: I received a few dislikes. For what? For asking why you would say 'herstory'? I didn't say anything negative about women. I solely responded with a touch of surprise, because I am a lover of words, and behind every word there is a meaning; thus, when you used the word, "herstory" instead of the correct "history", I immediately noticed the meaning (the advocacy of feminism). Now, the debate upon feminism is such an old and on-going one, that to add my pinch of salt to the conversation would be redundant. But I would love for the world to know how fair the playing fields are for women in America alone. Really. Feminism worked (before the 1980's, when it was actually NEEDED), but now it seems like pure boredom.
Fun and cute! A sense of humor is a necessity in language learning! A key to success!
Play on words indeed. And also a little nod to a show I love where the word 'herstory' replaces history as a little joke. Was hoping someone might pick up on that. Just wanted to add something a little fun to the post. :)
The word has been around since the 1970s.
Wikipedia: Herstory is history written from a feminist perspective, emphasizing the role of women, or told from a woman's point of view. The principal aim of herstory is to bring women out of obscurity from the historical record.
Among the earliest works of herstory are the books of Ruth and Esther in the Bible, The Trojan Women, by Euripides, and the Buddhist Therigatha (Verses of the Bikkhunis, the women's Sangha).
We don't have courses in Biblical Hebrew, Classical Greek, Pali, or Sanskrit, but modern Hebrew, Greek, and Hindi will do to get started. Actually speaking a modern language makes it much easier to get a firm grasp of the ancient versions.
It needs to go to other nations as well, many developing countries, to say nothing of countries with a bad human rights track record, have unequal rights for men and women which goes unnoticed or unaddressed due to the sheer number of pressing issues.
I upvoted you because you are 100% correct.
There are rules in today's society which state it is illegal to discriminate someone on the basis of being male or female. Secondly, one (male or female) can hold whatever job they feel like - without discrimination on wage or otherwise. I earn more than my male colleagues on the same experience and profession, for instance. Thus, equality has been reached.
If the feminists were advocating for womens' rights in say, the Middle East, it would be an entirely different story, but they are mysteriously silent on this.
A downvote is not an argument.
I didn't want to say anything but here I am....
"[Feminism is] pure boredom" Yeah, no, that's not really correct by any stretch of the imagination...the fact that we have achieved full equality is also false...if we did no women would ever be raped or harassed or bullied because of their gender...you may have achieved full equality, congratulations, you don't speak for everybody else...
Look, I agree that it seems like the feminist movement is too much sometimes, complaining about things that don't need to be complained about. But as the Metoo movement has shown, our society still has some ways to go.
"They are mysteriously silent on this." Who has been silent on this? The feminists in the Middle East that are protesting the government? Just a day or two India overturned the "Talaq" law, where a Muslim man is able to see "Talaq" three times and get a divorce! Boredom? Not really!
Well-written and thought provoking responses (I couldn't reply to these two as I think the limit has been reached). I can't help but point out that these are cases of good law and not as good implementation. However good a law or policy, it takes time to be implemented and if it isn't effectively done, no matter how good it is it will merely be meaningless words and paper judgments. This takes time and the progress must be monitored. Furthermore, voices of advocates for rights of women in the Middle East and Africa, as well as in other places where equality remains unrecognised under law, either are too small in number or are not heeded by governments and key decision makers, if not outright suppressed. There remains much to be done and the accomplishments of past pioneers will be for naught if their successors were to rest on their laurels and assume there is nothing left to press on for.
I'm so glad to hear you make more than your male colleagues, but you are in the minority. I'm sorry, but your response lacks empathy and perspective, and you should really have looked at the experiences of others before you went out of your way to discount the larger societal problem.
I don't know how old you are, or what you do for a living (or even what country you're in), but in the US, women on average make around 80.5% of what men make, which impacts how much Social Security they collect later (in the US), and since they statistically tend to live longer, results in more poverty and vulnerability, since our social safety net is already woefully inadequate. https://iwpr.org/issue/employment-education-economic-change/pay-equity-discrimination/ We are also discriminated against for gaps in our resume over family care (which we are disproportionately expected to do), and ageism. That's very real. And as the other poster who responded to you noted, while men are also sexually abused and raped, it happens at a disproportionately higher rate with women and gender non-binary people than men.
Men in the highest offices in the country who have credible rape accusations against them (both Clinton and Trump). Clarence Thomas had credible sexual harrassment claims against him, and there was corroborating evidence to Anita Hill's testimony that wasn't even allowed to be given (and Joe Biden, who was part of the opposing party at the time, backed up that decision). And now it's happening again.
This isn't "political," women as victims and men as perpetrators come from across the spectrum. Gretchen Carlson having to go after Roger Ailes also comes to mind. It's only now that we are starting to question such things as being different from men being men.
Your experience notwithstanding, this is a very serious issue. A better way of addressing it might have been to say that progress is being made, from your perspective, because you are being paid well. You are in the minority. Don't throw everybody else under a bus because you happen to be lucky. Many other equally talented women aren't.
Gotta love concern trolls who think I'm "lucky" for where I am. No - I got to where I am because of my grit and because of my ability and merits earned through said grit. I didn't call myself an eternal victim and mope about - I did what needed to be done. Nor did I make mentally ill demands that I should be given free things "because of reasons".
To say that I "lack empathy" for what is common sense in society (ie: quoting fact, rather than snowflake logic and "feels"), is quite bluntly, laughable. Stop being a victim. I'd say that you are the one who lacks empathy and perspective, because you are quoting debunked statistics, debunked via being backed up by actual law that states that it is ILLEGAL to do so. Secondly, those "statistics" you quote - they don't take into account that women are far more likely to work part time jobs, due to their childcare and childrearing requirements, and secondly, the most dangerous jobs are paid more - which are almost always done by men. If you're going to look at the statistics, look at them properly, please.
If women were paid less - the entire workforce would be women (because it would be unprofittable to employ men). Given that men are a majority of the workforce - that throws that argument out the window.
By quoting the whole "muh women need to be paid more even if they're not working"- no. If you don't work, and don't have the adequate leave entitlements, you shouldn't be paid for it. Do you expect people to just be handed money? No. You set up contingency plans so that if something does happen, you aren't left high and dry - which I would have thought to be normal, reasonable behaviour from everyone, not just women. Apparently not, according to your logic.
That is so awesome! I was born in Brazil, but i was raised in Jersey! Im currently learning Italian!
Ah, thank you for the "ten years' experience" mentioned. Only just read that so ignore other comments. Good luck and you certainly have my support.
Thanks much! As with most CM jobs, I exist as a sort of bridge between Duolingo and the community of users that Duolingo has. I'm around to engage with folks on the forum, answer questions, and really just be a voice and advocate for the community to HQ; I can collect feedback and raise concerns that you may have with new features, new products, etc. I am also around to assist with anything relating to the Global Ambassador network, and beyond.
That's wonderful that they decided to create such a role. It has been much needed. Congratulations on your new job and best of luck.
En este momento tengo solo una gata y se llama Moxie. Tiene 11 años y de hecho, hoy es el aniversario de cuando la adopté!
Hi Katy, I was wondering what it was like to be a staff member of Duolingo.
So far so good! The company is full of creative and talented people. I feel extremely fortunate to be among people with such drive and to work for a company that has such a wonderful mission.
I have enjoyed Star Trek but cannot claim to be a big fan. If I were to attend a Star Trek trivia night, for example, I would let the team down. But I don't dislike Star Trek; I just have more interest in non-fiction than sci-fi or fantasy. Much to my husband's dismay.
In school we are reading Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. https://www.amazon.com/Narrative-Life-Frederick-Douglass/dp/0486284999 ^ Link to the book
Thank you. I enjoyed Boston very much despite not having much experience with such cold winter weather in the past. My mother is from Boston so it was nice to spend time there and learn more about where she grew up. I still have family there but haven't been to visit in about 3-4 years.
Hello, Hola, Glad to be a part of this discussion, very interesting. Good luck with your new language venture!
Bienvenue! Can't remember what 'welcome' was in Spanish!
Bienvenida, Katy. Le deseo todo lo mejor en su aventura de idiomas. Que vengan en su camino revelaciónes, risas, y muchas más experiencias inolvidables. ;) ¡Espero verla por el foro de Duolingo!
Muchisimas gracias! Que bonitas cosas para decir. :) Estoy super feliz de estar aquí.
This is a great question, Janie. We don't currently have a way for users to socially connect with other users who are on a specific level but I like the idea that it could be something people would want to do. Perhaps one way to look for people on/near level 24 Spanish would be by posting a Discussion topic about it in the Spanish forums. Are you using the Spanish forums at all? Here's a link to connect you. It's where conversations and discussions take place among felling Spanish learners and speakers. https://forum.duolingo.com/topic/2/hot
Aunque mi nivel del español en Duolingo no parece impresionante, hablo el español. Tengo unos catorce años de aprendizaje por mi propio cuenta. Vivíamos en México por casi seis años. Mi español no es perfecto, pero sí lo hablo. Buen día.
Seis años es mucho tiempo! En donde viviste? Gracias por compartir acerca de ti.
Hi, is CatyCatz a new user or just generally unactive with the forums? I've never seen her before...
First off, Congratulations!
Second, do you happen to know if Latin will ever be put as a language course on Duolingo?
Latin would be so so so amazing! Similar to questions raised about other languages/courses here in this thread, I don't (yet) have a specific answer to that question. Duolingo's goal would most certainly be to have as many language courses as possible for people to learn. But we have to make calculated moves that don't stretch our resources too thin. Quality trumps quantity when it comes to how we expand and when. So hang tight! I know lots of people want Latin and I hope to see it on Duolingo one day, too.
Welcome, Katy! Your vowel tip? You should try Hungarian! [laughs wickedly]
I'll eat it but I think despite how tasty it is, it makes the pizza too soggy.
Also, it's not an authentic Italian topping. I lived there 20 years and never saw it. Maybe some places do it now, but why not try the many authentic recipes? Quattro stagioni, mari e monti, capricciosa, rucola e grana, gorgonzola e noci o speck, prosciutto e funghi... yum, I'm making myself hungry! The only sweet topping I ever saw was sliced figs with mozzarella.
Of you like all those strong beverages you should try Dutch jenevers one day. I am curious weather you like them..
I'm originally Spanish and I'm studying Chinese since I just L-O-V-E the culture there.The language and history is awesome too. I've been recently motivated to learn it since my mom now starts watching Chinese dramas instead of Spanish telenovelas. How will you be helping the duolingo community? Oh my,where are my manners?!Welcome KatyCatz! Bienvenida! Huanying! ☺☺☺
Thanks for the welcome! The answer to your question about how I can help is rather a long one, in truth. Ultimately I'm here to facilitate a safe learning environment, to manage fun social engagements, and to generally help keep our forums a clean and fun place for people to "hang out" while they're learning (a) new language(s).
Great! I'm curious though. Who was the previous senior manager and what happened to her/him?
With a community of millions and a tiny Community team, it was finally time to grow the team! No CMs were replaced. ;P
Maybe you should include that in the post. I'm sure I'm not the only one who'll be wondering. Maybe change the title so it says first DM instead of newest DM, because it gets kind of confusing...
Totally agree. Wasn't sure what this position meant or why it was newly created or or or...
!Hola! Welcome! I am currently looking for a classroom to learn spanish in, sure, I don't know what it'll do but i know that it will help! ;P
Why is this disliked? :( That is very mean. Here is three lingots just to prove the other people wrong for disliking someone who wants to learn.
First off, there are other places to post this. This isn't a good location.
Secondly, I would recommend against joining a stranger's classroom, as it gives the "teacher" access to personal information. In some cases, they can even prevent you from certain parts of the course!
Hello and welcome! I am Alex, nice to meet you.
I am one of the long-standing Duolingo users, who has become alienated over the past few years. I used to actively promote Duolingo, I even made some YouTube videos about it...but I have mostly stopped using the site because I feel like it has no longer been useful to me after some of the major changes. For years I felt super grateful to Duolingo and wanted to give back to them in the form of donation, and was frustrated I was unable to do so. As soon as I was able to join Duolingo plus, I did...but that happened at a time when there were changes being made to the site that I really disliked. I subscribed for two months and then cancelled my subscription, feeling angry and betrayed. I have been mostly unhappy with the direction the management has been taking Duolingo in over the past two years, and from my perspective, the site is effectively broken for me because it no longer is useful for language learning the way it had been when I started using it.
I am always interested in sharing my perspectives, experiences, and thoughts with anyone who is interested in listening. I think it would be possible to address some of my concerns. Whether or not management is interested in doing so, however, is another question. But I'm willing to share my perspectives if someone wants to listen.
The lack of communication with the userbase has been one of my largest points of frustration, although I also have deep concerns with the product / system itself, and I think major changes would need to happen for me to come back as a user and advocate for Duolingo.
Hopefully you can help address what I see as one of the weakest links or largest deficiencies in the whole Duolingo system, the lack of communication between the paid staff or employees who run the company, and the users. I think if this communication could be improved, it might lead towards some of the deep deficiencies in Duolingo being addressed in the long-run.
And good luck with Portuguese. I saw great results with Duolingo's portuguese course, using it as my main resource when learning the language from scratch a few years ago. I found it yielded real-world results as measured by my ability to understand native speakers, understand video online, and converse in person! I don't know if the site or app is still as useful as it was to me back then...I no longer feel like it's helping me much in any languages, so I would be doubtful of its potential to actually work for you the way it did for me back then. But I hope you're able to see some progress with it anyway.
I was wondering what alienated you? I was very, very disappointed that immersion was dropped. It really was the only feature of duolingo that went beyond a B1 or B2 level. Probably half of my duolingo friends quit after that. They have gone to, and even created, alternative translation sites. But the sites are not the same. I hope some day duolingo will find a way to bring immersion back.
Another feature I miss is the activity stream. It was suddenly removed about a year ago. Luis stated that it had been slowing down the system. He promised that they would invent some sort of replacement, but so far there has been nothing. I found it very useful in communicating with my students and a couple dozen of duolingo friends.
I was also very frustrated when I lost my nearly 1,000-day streak in part due to a glitch, and despite writing desperate notes, emails and forum discussions, I never heard from any staff member. And in those days you could even buy a streak repair on IOS! I'm so OCD that I probably would have paid $40 to get it back. Or better, 5,000 lingots. ;)
I have only been on Duolingo for three or four months, but I have heard about this 'Immersion' from many speakers. Right now Duolingo is indeed up until B1, with possibly some B2 grammar, but after that you have to move to other media. I did, however, not see this as a bad thing. I currently have a B2 level in French and am aiming to reach C1. But once you have this level you can read French novels and watch French films, which is even more fun than learning via Duolingo. I mean, films for studying!! So now that I learn French by other media, I moved to my second language on Duolingo: Swedish.
I see that I get an English next to my name, but that was only because I simutaneously did the French -> English and English -> French courses.
You may not be able to reach that level with Duolingo alone, but I've found that supplementing it with a lot of practice can still get you there. Of course, there is no substitute for practicing with a live person, but consuming media is a very effective way to get to the level you seek on reading and listening comprehension.
Netflix is actually a great resource. You can watch many shows with closed captioning in the target language (i.e. Spanish with Spanish closed captioning for the hearing impaired). Yes, thee are times when the oral dialog doesn't match the closed captioning, but those are relatively few. Chinese language shows also have a lot of subtitles in the original language because of mutually unintelligible dialects and the sometime use of Mandarin and Cantonese speaking actors in the same program.
If you use netflix and rewind to the place you didn't understand, then put on the English subtitles, you learn a lot of interesting slang that you wouldn't otherwise find in any course. Doing this is getting me to the level you're seeking, and I regularly read the online papers in Spanish, French, and Catalan. I also regularly do Netflix with these languages (although there is far too little available in Catalan, there are more resources online, and both Merli and Benvinguts a la Familia are totally worth it). I do it in Mandarin occasionally too (be sure to check out the Disguiser if you like spy shows).
Best of luck in your studies!
Alex, thank you for your candid response. It's both great to hear and sad to hear. Great because I want this feedback and I want to change your experience. Sad because you've been unhappy and have scaled back your level of participation in the community that you once loved so much. Let's fix that! I'm going to be visible here in the forums for you (or anyone) to reach out to me.
We're looking for more than the "emotional empathy" generic replies you get from "customer service". We're here to learn a language. To understand our needs, the person who interacts with us should have rich foreign language learning experience and have used DL for years.
From your description, you have learned a language as a teen and currently, you are "interested" in another language. This does not fill me with confidence.
Thanks for your concerns regarding what you know of me after just a handful of days. What you have gleaned from a few paragraphs about my life are just that; a few paragraphs. It's important to me to note firstly that Duolingo thinks I'm up for the task at hand and all related questions or concerns about whether I'm qualified for this role have been satisfied by their staff. I am also not a brand new Duolingo employee, nor am I a new user.
I'd also like to add that I believe in allowing people to express as little or as much about themselves in public forums as they see fit. I am personally a rather open book but didn't feel it was necessary to bog down this thread with a complete autobiography. I'm not that interesting of a person, sadly!
That said, I'm happy to bore anyone with more details about my life if they are so curious.
-I began learning Spanish when I began learning English. My father is a fluent (albeit rusty) Spanish speaker. He participated in an exchange program to Mexico as a teen in the 50's and is still in contact with the family he stayed with to this day. As a result of that relationship, I have "family" in Mexico because the friends he made also had kids around the same time that my mother and father did. So I have been raised alongside those children and have visited Mexico no fewer than 30 times in my life. I also mentioned above that I have been to 30 of Mexico's 31 states. I spent summers, Christmas vacations, Easter breaks, and entire scholastic years in Mexico, depending on the year. The "teens" part of my life was just about the exchange program I participated in on my own, following that tradition my dad set in motion decades prior. Through this program I met a new family in a different state and made many lasting friendships that exist to this day. I also attended college in Mexico for 1.5 yrs in the city where I did my own exchange. My life from about age 12 (when I was comfortable flying alone) up until I was 22 was spent half in MX and half in the US. So no, I am not a hobbyist Spanish speaker. I have also not just been to Mexico, I have been to various countries in S America and Spain on multiple occasions.
-My first 3 jobs out of university were Spanish speaking only. I managed accounts and relationships with large customers in dozens of countries in Latin America. I authored emails, blog posts, and took long distance calls in Spanish all day long.
-I have worked for 2 Brazilian companies, as well. This is why I have an interest in Portuguese. I still worked in Spanish but my coworkers' primary language was Portuguese and having traveled to BR, I wanted to become a better speaker. The first job for a Brazilian company predates Duolingo's existence but the second job does not. So with that second company I took lessons with a tutor in my hometown and also used Duolingo to learn.
-I have a solid grasp on reading/listening to Italian and French but am not someone who wants to study too much at once because I prefer to master one thing before moving on. Similarly, I can only watch one movie/tv series or read one book at a time. So while I have interest and practice in Italian and French, I have not begun lessons in DL because I want to finish my 'in-progress' language trees that I have going already.
-I have Japanese relatives and as such, I have been to Japan a few times as well. These are actual blood relatives, unlike in MX. When visiting I quite enjoy brushing up on Japanese and learning phrases and words. Again, I don't study Japanese using Duolingo at this time because I want to go one language at a time. With newborn twins at home, my priorities have shifted. Combined with a full time job on top of being a new mother, I have limited time for my own hobbies.
I'm trying to think of anything else here but want to respect others' time as I know it's not terribly interesting to come to a language forum and read a random person's life story. If you have additional questions, I'm happy to answer them. I hope this helps you feel more confident.
It’s obvious why Duo chose you and I too want to study more languages but feel that it’s best to focus on one at a time, otherwise they all become just hobby languages. I have total respect for you for shifting your priorities, moms rock, and congratulations for the newborn twins and your new job!
"What languages do you know?
I speak Spanish by way of living and studying in Mexico as a teen but am currently interested in learning more Brazilian Portuguese."
You know English + Spanish which you learned when you were young (far easier).
People who know English and Spanish well can understand and read some Italian without much trouble.
Aaaand the white knights jump on you. What a surprise. I 100% agree with you. Vague platitudes are insincere at best, and outright patronising at worst. PS: To the white knights, downvoting my post is not an argument.
I'm sorry, I know you must be having a rough time, but after the lack of empathy in your response about gender inequality, I'm starting to see a pattern. It actually is possible for people to disagree with you substantively without having to be called names, or being called patronizing. This is supposed to be a community space. Why not try being a little kinder to people with different experiences? It seems to me that in a place that's promoting language study and ultimately, trying to foster more understanding and better communication between people, that would be more in the community spirit.
Hello Katy. Congratulations for the position at Duo :) and best of luck
Congrats and welcome to Duolingo! I'm also a cat person, and I love learning Spanish with a little bit of Esperanto here and there.
So cool! I ought to try a few Esperanto lessons one of these days. My wish list of languages to learn is scary long!
Hi KatyCatz, lovely to meet you!
I wish you luck, and I thank you so much for your part in this wonderful, free place.
You are definitely appreciated and we're looking forward to getting to know you better!
Best wishes! (ᵔᴥᵔ)
Welcome onboard. I hope that as part of your job you go through the different on-going discussions on new languages and give feedback. There used to be a list of links to requests for new languages to go into the incubator, but I can't seem to find it now. One such request for Basque can be found at: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/7674974/Let-s-make-Basque-happen. For over 3 years Crush and many others have been trying to get Basque into the incubator, and, despite meeting all the conditions, a draft course and an on-going letter writing campaign that has attracted the attention of a large number of fluent English/Spanish - Basque speakers, we have gotten almost nothing in response, which is quite frustrating to people. There have been discussions of allowing groups/governments to contribute funds toward the development of new courses, but nothing has been heard from Duolingo on this idea. Anyway, best of luck on your new position and I hope there will be more communication from Duolingo in the future. Regards RGB
I believe the number of requests for various courses and languages come in at such a high volume that it has not become possible to respond to them all. Which is a good problem to have, I suppose? It's hard to say 'no' so often because it's not for a lack of wanting to offer new languages. The long and the short of it was touched on above, however. Duolingo is extremely thoughtful and methodical about how/when to add new languages and while the plan is to have every language possible available to language learners, we have to go about that carefully. It's about quality of lessons over quantity at the moment. Please trust the process. I hope to see Basque on our language list one day as well, though! Also, fun fact... Did you know the largest Basque population outside of Spain is in Boise, Idaho? I was there on a work trip years ago and discovered that there are some 11,000 expats that have emigrated over the last many decades. There's even an entire neighborhood dedicated to Basque culture, businesses, food, etc.
Hi KatyCatz Thank you for your reply. One problem we have is that nobody seems to know what the process for adding a new language really is. What was put out does not seem to match reality. For a new language to be approved seems to depend on either the personal interest of someone on your team (which explains the two fictional languages) or the number of comments you get from existing members, which of course does not include all the people who do not use Duolingo because it does not offer languages they are interested in. I am glad you know about the Basque population in Boise. The university there also offers a minor in Basque as does several others around the world. Due to the large migration of Basque people in tthe 19th & 20th century, there are also a large number of communities in South America and letters from the heads of several Basque cultural groups have sent Mrs Awodey messages in support of a Basque course. Anyway I am glad we have someone who at least responds and hope that whatever system you have for approving new languages will eventually get around to approving Basque. regards rgb
I know. It's extremely frustrating not to hear back. And for that, I'm sorry. We can do better and I will personally try to be as transparent as I can be whenever possible. There are some company policies and procedures I cannot share and I hope you can understand that. Currently we are (fortunate to be) bombarded with thousands upon thousands of requests for new courses. More than we can possibly manage in a thoughtful way, in fact. And rather than respond to each of these emails and comments personally, we have a team focused on developing and building and supporting new courses. With +300 million users we rely on user data, the number of requests, and various other factors to determine what our next steps are when adding courses. This is not a team I work on personally so I don't want to speak out of turn or make assumptions, but I trust the process and know it's slow-going as we're currently still a rather small company with limited resources. If we could do it all and do it well, we would. But we can only go so fast while still maintaining the quality we demand of each course.
Hi KayCatz Thanks for your answer and please don't let negative comments get you down. It is great to get responses, even if it isn't what I want to hear. Hopefully Duolingo will allow organizations to donate money and resources toward developing new courses so you can offer more languages. Best wishes rgb
Great question! When I was a child we always had 1-2 cats in our home at any given time. In order we've had: Nicky, Chloe, Chessie, Paisley, Phantom, Phoebe, Riley, Sofi, Burlington, and then Weasley. As an adult post-college, I moved out of state and I got Moxie. She's 11 now as of June 29. She's a Pixie Bob from a rescue situation. I have also had an amazing cat named Peaty. Sadly, Peaty passed away in 2015 at 6 mos old due to complications from a botched neuter. We have decided it's best to give Moxie the solo-cat life as she did not completely seem to enjoy sharing a home with a second cat.
Everyone in my family is a cat person. By brother has a cat named S'mores and my twin sister has two cats: Penny and Persey.
Parangaricutirimicuaro, bela referencia de chapolin. Ele ainda faz muito sucesso aqui no Brasil.
Comecei com o Duolingo à 2 dias, muito bom ver ótimas pessoas na equipe.
If you need any help with Portuguese you can talk to me :) I live in Portugal, so it's not brazilan portuguese, just portuguese
I have been to Japan 3 times, so far! I absolutely LOVE Japan, am obsessed with the food, and can't wait to take my kids there. We've decided it will be our first trip abroad with them when they're a bit older. I have some distant cousins who are Japanese, actually.
Depending on the culture, this is a question that can be impolite to ask someone. If the concern is that I'm young, I assure you I am not. But thanks for asking nonetheless. Let's keep some things a mystery, shall we? ;)
Hello, my name is Mauro, I'm come from Brazil and I would like to much train with you... at the moment I am studying 6 languages in the same time: English, Spanish, Italian, French, German and Mandarin.. so, when you have a free time we can train together...
Que libros en español recomiendas? Para 'beginners'? Ahora, leyendo Harry Potter.
Que buena pregunta! Ha pasado mucho tiempo desde que leí un libro en Español pero leí el Hobbit y lo disfruté mucho. ¿Ves películas en español? Pienso que es una excelente manera de aprender el idioma también. Para mi, las de Pixar o Disney fueron las que me gustaron más. Mi película favorita que he visto en inglés y también español es Shrek. Para mí, es mucho más divertido en Español.
Muchas gracias por la repuesta! Voy a ver Shrek in espanol. Es un buena idea. Tengo el DVD, pero nunca pense a ver in espanol. Buenas suerte en tu trabajo nuevo.
You seem like a very nice lady. :D
Hello, Kate! I'm Yana. I'm from Belarus, Minsk city. And I adore Duolingo!
Hi Yana, thank you for saying hello and for using Duolingo. Glad to see you here in our forums.
Hello Katy, welcome to DL. While I am happy you are here, I have to agree with OGIK1, who said we are here to learn a language. Socializing is not high on my list. I need answers with grammar for instance, and people who speak a language fluently are not necessarily able to teach it. I speak fluently German, English and French but only learned how to teach, and answer language-related questions after a couple of university degrees. So my question is simply this: why did you write " tengo solo una gata" instead of using the adverb "solamente", or, if it was meant to mean, I have merely one cat, "tengo solo..." (with and accent mark), or even "tengo una sola (with accent) gata, I have an only cat... Those are the questions I would like to have answered, all the social talk is fine but not for me. Tettah
I find it ironic that you point out Katy's omission of the accent mark when you didn't or couldn't use it yourself. They are super easy to install on a Mac, and I'm sure Windows has also developed simple solutions. At any rate, she has explained that her role is to act as a liaison between the DL staff and community of users. As far as answering grammar questions, many moderators and advanced learners add their contributions to the discussions regarding individual sentences. The best points have links to online grammar sites. You might supplement your studies by regularly reading and working on one of those (for example, studyspanish.com). There are many. Do some research.
Hi - I did not point out any omission, I asked a question. And by the way, thank you for your info. T.
Hi Tettah -- you said, "So my question is simply this: why did you write " tengo solo una gata" instead of using the adverb "solamente", or, if it was meant to mean, I have merely one cat, "tengo solo..." (with and accent mark)." This is implying that she omitted the accent mark. You are correct, sólo is the same as solamente, i.e. "only," whereas "solo" means "alone." Wish I had more resources for you. SpanishDict.com is an excellent online dictionary with some grammar (and complete verb conjugations), and WordReference.com is similar with the bonus of having a searchable community forum. Best of luck in your studies.
Social talk will happen here in the forums whether you want to participate or not. The best way to avoid social conversations is by simply not reading or responding to threads that don't interest you.
I'm not here in the forums to teach language; that's what our app does. I'm here to facilitate in making connections between our users by hosting them and welcoming them to the forums so that their experience meeting other users is safe and fun.
I chose to type sólo instead of solamente because the words are interchangeable. The accent was omitted in my response simply because I forgot to add it. Even as someone who knows a second language I often make mistakes, too.
Hello Katy - I did not mean to offend, nor did I look to find fault. I am just learning Spanish and wanted an answer.
So you are not teaching, which is fine, but where can I find quick and reliable answers to my grammar question, without having to read twenty other "opinions" with no
assurance that they are correct??? That is all I want to find out. Thank you, T.
¡Hola Katy! Good luck. Your daughters' names are so cool and although this has nothing to do with Duolingo you're so pretty. A lingot from me to welcome you!
To everyone involved in execution of the curriculum kudos. It's great that you are using intensive teaching methods to teach language. Interesting and clever. Wish I could work with you! Keep learning everyone!
I know a little bit of German from my dad of which we have strong German roots. I am the 14th Generation that lives in the USA from that line. I am very excited to actually learn some more!
Sorry but I don't know where to post this, I've tried. How do you start learning a second (3rd) language? I've always been frightened of losing my main language info. How do you use red lingots and what are they for? How do you find out how many XPs you use in a day or accumulate? I use an iPad.
Thank you. And yes, doing my best to enjoy every moment! The time sure flies.