Duolingo Team Stories: Meet Kerley & Myra
Every week we share stories about our incredible Incubator volunteers in a series called, 'Incubator Stories'. Catch up on the latest stories here. And we're going to continue sharing these!
We recently introduced you to Karin and Monica from the Duolingo Incubator team in a post, and today we'd like to introduce you to Kerley and Myra who are Duolingo Language Experts and Incubator Mentors for several teams.
Duolingo Team member, Language Expert, Incubator Mentor
Where are you from? Porto Alegre, Brazil
What languages do you speak? Portuguese (with a south Brazilian accent), English, Spanish, and some Hebrew.
Why do you love language learning? I think I love language learning because it makes me feel like I am in an international setting even while living in the most remote city in Brazil. This is not a reference to the city I live in, what I mean, is that by being in touch (learning or teaching) with another language that is not your native one, you are put in touch with many different worlds.
What do you have on your desk? What are your tools? I am a “dry skin freak”. I always have an “intense relief hand cream” and a ChapStick on my desk. I also have a notebook, a pen, and my cell phone. And probably a glass with sparkling water or diet Pepsi (yes, I do prefer Pepsi to Coke). Most of my tools are online dictionaries!
What's a language tip you can share with the rest of the community? Don’t be shy, speak. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know the words, the pronunciation or the grammar. Sometimes people wait until being fluent to risk a conversation, but it is like the story of the egg and the chicken and which came first? How can you expect to be fluent in a certain language if you don’t practice it?
What's your favorite part about working for Duolingo? I get excited every time I think about how I am part of an international community sharing knowledge in the spirit of helping others. Being an incubator mentor has been a great experience. I just love to interact with so many amazing people from every corner of the world!
What do you like to do in your free time? Going to the movies, going to a local flea market every Sunday, napping.
What's a common mistake you still make in a certain language? Prepositions (in, on, at) and Possessives in English are still a headache to me...<h1>Meet Myra</h1>
Duolingo Team member, Language Expert, Incubator Mentor
Where are you from? Marburg (Germany), Chicago and Pittsburgh
What languages do you speak? German, English and a little French
Why do you love language learning? Languages teach us about culture, history, psychology, logic and the human experience. Language learning is exciting to me, because it holds the promise of connecting people with different backgrounds and experiences. When you learn someone else's language, you not only learn how to communicate with them, but also gain insight into how they think, what they value and maybe even what they think is funny :)
What do you have on your desk? What are your tools? Besides a stack of grammar books, style guides and dictionaries (I'm old school like that), I maintain a respectable collection of fun pens and owl themed knicknacks. Other "tools" include music, podcasts, chai, fruit, nuts (and crunchy snacks when I feel like annoying Rémy).
What's a language tip you can share with the rest of the community? Kids make great conversation partners if you're not quite fluent and feeling self conscious about your new language. They might laugh at how funny you sound, but can be more forgiving than adults. Or talk to anyone who is curious about foreigners and eager to help you learn. The key is to go somewhere, where your target language is spoken in the wild!
What's your favorite part about working for Duolingo? The incubator community of course! I also love the team here. The Duolingo team is from all over the world and have so many different skills and interests, so things never get boring. What we all have in common, is our passion for solving real problems and making something great. It's been such an honor to be a part of Duolingo for the past 3 years and witness its progress towards those goals.
What do you like to do in your free time? I enjoy reading and being outdoorsy. I also like to play music and cook with/for friends.
What's a common mistake you still make in a certain language? Pains me to admit, but I still mess up "it's" and "a lot" when I'm typing fast.
To get involved in the Incubator apply here: http://incubator.duolingo.com/apply
Did you miss previous Incubator Stories? Get caught up here: Meet ElOtroMiqui and DXLi, Meet odoinn and Nitram15, Meet MThoriqMalano and ckhadung, Meet AlexinIreland and GunnyTunes, Meet Sofiadcs and Rhynn, Meet bjarkehs and runem, Meet johanneswilm and yonoleo, Meet Libragold and jojomotion, Meet KaiEngle & Wilvandal, Meet jitengore and Damascene, Meet Selcen_Ozturk and Lavinae and Meet Frankyska.
Great to get to know you guys better @Myra and @Ker! Thank you for all your help in the incubator and for the amazing courses you guys have created :) (Btw, you're dog is really cute Myra!)
Great to know the people- whom we bother with questions continuously - better :)
OMG what a cute dog! Nice to meet both of you, @Myra and @Ker! Thanks for all you do!
Great to know more about you, Ker and Myra!
In these days of online avatars, it took me a few milliseconds to realize that Kerley was Ker, an avatar I knew more about :)
Myra, a few years ago, I was holding Spanish classes for neighborhood kids and I definitely liked talking to the Chinese kids in my broken Mandarin and hear "I can understand what you say, but you sound so very funny!" And then they would burst into laughter :) From grown ups, unfortunately you tend to get only politically correct feedback :(
Keep up the great work at Duolingo!
@Kerley, you're so fancy walking about with that beautiful Duo sticker on your forehead :) @Myra, such a cute dog! What's his/her name?
Thanks Mr.Aaren! She is actually my grandma's dog, which might explain why her name is "Wee Annie of the Gales". Her friends all call her "Annie" though ;-)
Thanks for all of your help with German Myra :D I love German and so glad I got the chance to learn it for free.
Wee Annie of the Gales, that's adorable! That's the best dog name I have ever heard of! :)
I thought that might have been Bunny for a moment until I realized that Bunny is smaller and all white on the face. They are both adorable though :D
So good to get to know everyone more through these stories :)
I really agree with both of your reasons for learning languages. Being in an international setting and talking with people from Brazil, Turkey, Tunisia, wherever is one of the coolest things we have in this modern world. I definitely agree with Kerley's point on shyness and speaking.That excitement of speaking in another person's tongue erases all fears I may have, which has helped me be pretty good at Spanish. Thanks for your work here.
Hey Myra and Kerley!! Nice to know some more about the both of you. And I want you to know how much we appreciate your help and support!
Myra, I didn't know you lived in Marburg! I studied there for a semester last spring and loved it there. Die Oberstadt is such a cool place with all those Fachwerkhäuser.. I miss it...
Kerley and Myra, thanks for helping us out all the time!
You guys are so patient.
@ Ker: I love flea markets! I've collected quite a few treasures and gems from visiting flea markets year in, year out. Some of these actually turned out to be antiques, worth quite a bit of money... (¬‿¬)
@ Myra: I prefer 'old school' resources too, based on a (probably ill-founded) belief that there will be less mistakes in books. Books should be near perfect, right? My book shelves are starting to bend under the weight of all these heavy dictionaries, though. Hm.... print language sources vs. bookcase... :|
I love these team stories. Great to get to know you guys better!
Kerley, sounds like you'd be a great choice as a mentor for the Hebrew course!
The kids tip is great! Probably the most fulfilling conversation I had when I was in Japan was with elementary school students. They were totally unafraid to hold back, but also spoke more simple Japanese than the adults.
It's good to know more about you Myra. Thanks for all the helps for my course. It's been nearly half a year to know you in Incubator :D
Great to know you both! Now I know who accepts my correct translation suggestions for Portuguese. Thanks a lot, Kerley!
P.S. Forgive me for some wrong translations I had previously suggested. :P