https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wilbward

The duolingo revolution

Only a year ago, I thought it would be absolutely incredible to learn two languages. And after 10 years of Spanish classes, I was pretty sure I would only know 2 in my lifetime... Maybe 2 1/2. I think that's all that was accessible to many people two years ago, even if they were dedicated linguists.

A realization just hit me, and I'm sure a lot of people here are realizing this as well-that it will soon be very doable to master a LOT more than 2 or 2.5 languages- thanks to all of the work going into duolingo. Think about it... Duolingo opens the possibility to train millions and millions of polyglots for free. The only cost being motivation. (That's how it should be, right?)

What an amazing revolution, especially in our age of globalization, for anyone with a smartphone or computer to have access to really good language education. In today's day in age, our world is so interconnected and complex, this may be one of the most important times in history for Duolingo to emerge. What better way is there to understand the vast, complex beauty of our world, than to learn a language, and witness the world for ourselves, first-hand.

Duolingo is virtually creating a platform for the human race to be more mutually intelligible and united.

How beautiful. This gives me so much hope for the future.

Anyways, has anyone else had any thoughts about how Duolingo is making the world (and will make the world)... awesome? I can't contain my excitement :P

June 28, 2014

47 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lauryswagner

I like to think that Duolingo is a kind of byproduct of the interconnected world in which we now live. People are now able to easily(and sometimes inadvertently) meet others who speak a foreign language, so a product arose to fill the need. And I'm so very glad that the product was something that was made with the learners' best interests in mind. As you say, how beautiful. :)

June 28, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jack.Elliot

The revolution comes from within

Motives vary

People and Duolingo evolve

Share and gain and prosper

Enjoy the day

a new day and perhaps a new word

slow but sure

June 28, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BorealOwl

Jack, you could switch your word to world and it would still work very well! :D

June 28, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jack.Elliot

the sense is for the original posting which was about learning words

So one word a day would be amazing for many students and after a year and a half would have about the 500 words needed for simple conversation and survival in that country.

one word could be one step ... stolen from the thoughts of mao tsetung

the wee red book

One step would lead to the end of the world and back again

or even to Mars

June 28, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/azureskye

I totally and completely agree. Duolingo is opening doors for people who could never learn without it

June 28, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/readingsophia

Duolingo seems to be creating culturally-informed people who can speak multiple languages, which is amazing. This is my second day on this site and I absolutely love it! I can tell this will help me change for the better! Anyway, au revoir!

June 28, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MultiLinguAlex

Don't know if you know this right now: The fancy flame next to your language icon is a streak icon showing how many days you have been learning consecutively on DuoLingo. There are already 3 DuoLingoists whose streak is longer than 500 days. Beware! DuoLingo is highly addictive ;-)

June 28, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mari-chan980

I agree. If it wasn't for Duolingo, I don't think I would have given language learning another chance.

June 28, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ikamjh

Duolingo doesn't give enough to master any language but it gives a solid base (the hardest part of a language to learn) that can be built on.

It was really cool this last week when I talked to my Brazilian cousins in Portuguese at a family gathering. Not everything I had learned was from duolingo but the first 6 months were 100% duolingo (although already speaking Spanish was a great help in learning Portuguese)

I also have family living in Taiwan (my uncle moved there a few years ago and married a Taiwanese woman. I recently got to meet my cousin (there child) at this gathering) I hope to be able to speak Mandarin (and read simplified characters) with them. Hopefully duolingo comes out with such a course soon

June 28, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NancyMihalich

Your enthusiasm is inspiring, wilbward! I remember two months ago when you finished your tree! I'm so glad you're still here! Hugs!

June 28, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wilbward

Thanks Nancy!! I'm impressed that you remember that! Hugs !

June 29, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Grumpycat1

well, I would curb the enthusiasm, because, yeah, psychology and sociology........there are milions of us........let´s say, being naive, more than half are decent people, who will use languages for goodness.....that´s great, but still not enough, even if 1000 of us would become opinion leaders, that would make a difference, but not end the crisis in first world and feed the second and the third so, yes, learning languages can be the first step, but it is not a panacea for xenofobia and ignorance

June 28, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wilbward

I'm sorry if I implied that Duolingo would solve all of our first world, second world, and third world problems. As jackelliot said, its all a slow, evolutionary process. Small steps. I'm saying that Duolingo is an important step in the right direction-providing people in our world with previously inaccessible language education, that will help them to communicate with people they never before would have been able to communicate with, and understand things they were unable to understand.

I think that's revolutionary.

Revolutionary≠Solving all world problems

June 28, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Inspired1982

I fully agree with you. Duolingo does as well in particular help people from developing and under developed countries, as it provides them "I am one of them, so it provides us" 100% free access and usage to education to learn many languages.

Also, that process is going even further, as I read that Luis has signed an agreement with the government of Guatemala to help teaching languages in 97 public schools and train 250 teachers, to provide better education for everyone not just for people who can afford it.

Does this help financially poor countries and people? HELL YES! should we underestimate the goodness of work and its wonderful impact on individuals and the society as a whole "also the impacts are tremendous, as socially, such as motivating people to work and volunteer for the improvement of people not just for MONEY"? I really believe, no.

Respect and love to Duo, its team, and community. Take a lingot : )

June 29, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Grumpycat1

"yes, learning languages can be the first step, but it is not a panacea for xenofobia and ignorance"

what did you two (wilbward and Inspired 1982) not understand about this sentence? wasn´t I clear enough? didn´t I say first step?

btw, Luis´s good will and filantrophy is the engine for these things, not language education per se.....many world dictators speak foreigh languages....did it made them emphatic towards other cultures?

education, as academic knowledge, is as important to teach as law, soft skills and, most of all, ethic!

do you know what is happening in my home country, member of EU and ,,first world"?
1. people have generally good education, young ones know languages 2.unemployment is freaking high among graduates and people above 40 3. people who work cannot feed two children with two salaries 4. everybody who can, works abroad....people just run away

so, most people in Slovakia have knowledge, but they know nothing about democracy, citizenship or ethics....they are literal slaves for western companies, never ask for their rights, for fair salary or working conditions, they do not know how! but yeah, they speak foreign languages...

I will be crystal clear: just learning languages makes only decent people better as characters......the others will misuse it for greed, power....etc. every coin has two sides and one egde, people.

June 29, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/asandroq

Yeah, you are completely right! Now let's ban Math because evil and greedy people can use that too! No, seriously, what a flawed argument.

June 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jack.Elliot

I quite agree with both of you

So true

Duolingo is a power for good

Lingots for both

thanks

June 29, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Inspired1982

Thank you for your generosity! very kind of you : )

You are an inspiration as well! 4 languages, and 293 streak..actually, I am following you!: )

July 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/annika_a

I am struggling to think of how one could use widespread language learning for evil... (I guess that makes me one of the naive ones :-) )

June 28, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dbzlotrfan

Curse words, about all some people care about.

June 28, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/annika_a

True, those are usually the first words people teach you from their own language! Still not really evil, though...

June 28, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Grumpycat1

what about some plain manipulation and brainwashing? what do you think, people would trust more an english material or the material in their first language? first thing that comes to my mind fresh from web: translated ads (badly, but still) and spam.....most simple people will not spot the errors, but will trust it more beacuse yeah, first language

June 29, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/annika_a

No, I don't think people will trust a message more if it is in a foreign language, I think they will trust it less.

The world is full of spam, mostly in English, and very few people believe in it. And those who do, would do better from learning more and thereby becoming more critical of what they read, not by being kept in ignorance.

July 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Grumpycat1

annika_a I wanted to say people trust more their mother tongue, of course! and as I repeat, I live in a country where people actually believe conspiracies and spam.....even the educated ones!

July 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/_luso_

Few xenophobes or ignoramuses take the trouble to study a new language. If they fear or hate what is foreign, they won't try to learn about it.

June 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/shivani25

@lusofone Well said, hate and fear stem from ignorance. Learning languages and culture would allow us to embrace differences and put and end to hate. I don't really understand grumpycat's argument. If you don't really believe that learning languages is a positive force then why are you here?

July 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Grumpycat1

I have seen many times these people being forced (by others or situation) to learn languages or even trying to speak with foreign people.......not very nice sight. In my country there is police deprtment for foreigners.....they do not speak even english there (really)!

June 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/shivani25

Grumpy indeed

June 29, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wilbward

Hahahaha

June 29, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PhilboPenten

Duolingo has made me realise that learning another language can be fun.

I got my secondary school French qualification (GCSE) not out of an appreciation for the language, but because I needed to pass the exam. Until a few weeks ago, I hadn't even thought about learning another one, which is where this came in and I'm actually enjoying learning Portuguese.

To answer your question, I think this site is allowing people to more readily communicate with others that speak a different language. For example, there's a YouTube channel that seems to attract a large proportion of Spanish and Portuguese/Brazilian people and (while I'm not a very good Portuguese speaker) I can at least understand them. I think everyone should learn a second language, if only to the level that they can understand others. It makes the world seem... bigger, somehow.

June 29, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Geo_Dude

Personally I think that DuoLingo won't work on its own for learning a language--a grammar book is needed, at the very least, and a dual language dictionary on the phone with out-loud pronunciation damn sure doesn't hurt--but it's a great starting point, and being free definitely doesn't hurt.

June 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/aldittli

I agree it addicting. I finished my tree about six weeks ago and I'm still here. However, finishing the tree didn't make me a master of the language. I am not fluent in German. I can communicate simple things in familiar settings and sometimes I even understand what they are saying. Understanding spoken language is much harder than understanding written language. I think duolingo could be improved to make the time spent more productive. I'd like to make suggestions to duolingo but not sure this is the place to make them.

June 29, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/killary45

Duo has its own vision about how it should operate. Luis Von Ahn does not believe that we should be taught any grammar, when asked about it he said, "The very honest answer is that I, personally, don't like vocabulary, grammar or verb conjugation. My dream in life is to be able to teach you a language without you needing to read textbooks about indirect objects. In fact, I consider the use of grammar to be discriminatory against those who unfortunately didn't have a very good education in their own native language (which is the majority of the world's population). I think slapping 30 pages of grammar before every lesson is the easy way out -- instead we should strive for something that everybody can consume."

I love Duo but think that it would be so much better if there were clear explanations about things like indirect objects, followed by carefully selected exercises so that the patterns are made clear. At the moment most people who are using Duo are having to find other sources to learn about those things. I believe that it is much easier to remember something when we understand it, and at present we are exposed to a lot of sentences in Duo of which we have no understanding at all as to why they are the way they are. This is particularly true in German. Grammar does not have to be taught in a formal way - but it does have to be taught.

Remember that the mission of Duolingo is to translate the internet - so it is inevitably going to be based on the written language rather than teaching us to speak to one another.

June 29, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/annika_a

I'm trying to express in lingots how much I agree with you!

And I can't understand how learning the grammar of your own language would be a prerequisite for learning the grammar of a different language... It certainly never was for me: I was taught the basic concepts of grammar as a part of foreign language study years before I was taught any grammar in my mother tongues. And to this day, I have never been slapped with 30 pages of grammar before (or even after) a lesson. The point of grammar is to describe the language and to aid learning, not to torture the wretched students learning the language.

June 29, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/killary45

Wow, thanks for the Lingots. I shall have to be as generous as you are in giving them to people whose posts I like.

I am really glad that I have found Duo because I am able to make good progress in languages that I have been learning on and off for many years. But I am even more glad that I already had been taught quite a lot of the grammar, because I am sure that I would have given up by now.

I learned so much from the Michel Thomas audio courses. They are not perfect, but the way that he explains the grammar, without ever assuming any previous knowledge of English grammar at all, and without using any technical terms, is brilliant. He worked on the principle that if a learner understands a language pattern he will remember it without any effort. I suspect that one of the reasons why we forget so many of the Duo sentences so quickly is that we did not really understand what was going on in them. Our brains are not good at holding on to random information.

June 29, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/_luso_

That contempt for grammar discredits Van Ahn—and shows were his priorities really lie. I'm not sure if he's rationalizing Duo's lack of explicit grammar instruction, or just unaware of how vital grammar is for those who want to express their own unique thoughts. People who want to transcend cliché and form original locutions—ones that spring from their own sensory experience of the world—need grammar, and need to think about how they are using it.

June 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/annika_a

I think this is the place to make them, if you feel like sharing them, that is. Well, not this particular thread, but maybe in a separate thread.

People often make suggestions on here about how Duolingo could be improved, and then they (or other people) complain that no one is listening to their suggestions. I believe, however, that the staff does read these discussions, and take into account what is suggested and favored.

They probably won't comment directly on the ideas, because often it is not as simple as "yes, we will do this" or "no, we won't", but more of a "ah, I've seen this suggested by several users and it received a lot of upvotes, maybe we could consider it in the future but maybe not quite as the user described it but slightly tweaked", which is hard to communicate on a discussion board. So if you have good ideas, why not share them?

Oh, and congrats on hugging the golden owl (as I hear finishing a tree is called nowadays)... :-)

June 29, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Grumpycat1

What I mind here is the word revolution. Revolution is always bloody or repressive towards someone, in revolution are winners and losers.........I have A level in history - there was never a revolution that would not harm anybody. Did Duo ever harm anybody?

Duo is free for everybody literate speaking english or other "bigger" language with an internet connection. That is a big deal, yes, indeed. It is even good for people with various difficulties. That is a bigger deal, IMHO. School systems are not preparing kids for jobs properly, which is a problem in developed countries. Thses kids have the big window of opportunity. These kids can develop understanding for other cultures, see alternatives, become flexible. That it the big deal.

So many people have great education now, travel a lot and have good knowledge in social sciences.......is the world becoming better? No. Why? who exactly knows.....

July 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/killary45

I love Duo and spend a lot of time on it, but it does not turn people into polyglots.

It gives them a great way of practising basic language skills, but you cannot master a language just by using Duo. As Luis Von Ahn says in a recent article in Time http://time.com/2902109/duolingo-online-education-moocs/ " The idea that a piece of software could make a person fluent in a foreign language in mere hours is, in his words, “bull—t.” “If you really want to become perfectly fluent, probably what you need to do is move to that country,” he says. “Learning a language is something that takes years.”

June 28, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/annika_a

It does not in itself turn people into polyglots, but it makes those first levels of language learning (A1 to A2/B1 on the European scale) so easy to achieve that you're hardly working up a sweat. In most real life language learning settings, most people will have given up way before that. (Of course the retention rate of Duolingo isn't 100% either.)

And once you're at that level, you are almost ready to tackle the language "in the wild", which is where you'll learn to really use it and to finally become fluent, if you choose to keep at it. Duolingo won't hold your hand all the way to fluency, but it is very efficient at teaching you how to crawl and walk. And you can't really learn to run before that, can you?

June 28, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MultiLinguAlex

Beautiful metaphor ;-)

June 28, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/annika_a

Thanks! A bit mixed, though, but that's what you get when you use about five languages a day ;-)

June 28, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wilbward

beautiful indeed :)

June 29, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Intifadanow

think about it, no more languafe extinction. there wount be only 8 languages spoken in the world like socilogist thought 5 years ago, now every one can learn any amount of languages they like

June 29, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/_luso_

I suppose the opposing argument could follow as well: "English will be locked in even more securely as the global lingua franca because millions of people can now learn it so easily."

June 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Intifadanow

English learning would indeed be more easly done, but so would be German, Franch, Irish, Japanese and any other language. I think that Duolingo will bring the end to lingua francas. Perheps not in the next 10 years, but thinks about how Irish though to be going extinct, and now it wount and probably will flourish

June 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WarmFoothills

Sugar comes from Proto Indo-European *ḱorkeh-, meaning boulder, gravel.

July 1, 2014
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