The Awesomeness That is Duolingo
This site continues to amaze me.
Language is synonymous with culture and thought. If you can know a language, you will, by default, know how a people think and why they think it. The greater fluency in a language, the more you will attune to the nativity of the ideas that spawned it.
Thus Duolingo is far more than a mere free online second language tool- as if this were a small thing. By providing a resource that can give even idiots like me the ability to study and effectively learn a new language they have also handed us a golden key that unlocks the doors of Babel. Why do Germans say what they say? Why do Spaniards speak as they do? How does an Italian form ideas in their head? Hard questions for the monolinguist; but here, surrounded by green owls, are answers to these questions.
As we study these new (to us) languages, we begin to learn about far away places and the people that live there... and how they think. We begin to appreciate not only their speech but their land, art, history and civilization. You cannot speak a language without thinking within the confines of said language, which in itself communicates at a level far beyond what is spoken. Indeed, I would claim that most, if not all users here cannot study a language on this site without also engendering a study in the history and culture of the nation(s) of said languages nativity.
In short, we are not merely learning new languages here- we are learning new worlds... new places to explore and new ways of thinking to exercise. What makes this so astonishing is that not only have the staff of Duolingo found a method to make such learning easily accessible, enjoyable, flexible and effective but also offer all of this at no cost whatsoever. Such intellectual generosity should never be taken for granted.
Thus, allow me to chime in with many others and thank the staff of Duolingo, for they are doing so much more than providing an online language learning tool- they are showing us how the world thinks, lives, shares and grows.
You have our gratitude.
I agree with this. Every time I learned to speak a different language (first English, then Spanish), a new world opened up for me. Almost in a literal sense. If you speak someone´s native language, you connect with them in a different way. Borders will disappear and doors open.
Learning a language is a character shaping experience, and it has made me grow as a person. I can recommend it to anyone.
da big fella
Duo will make me rich beyond my wildest dream...."how so?" you ask. I've said this on here before....There is an old quote: "when you learn a new language you gain a new soul"
When I learn Portuguese, I'll have 2 souls! I'll sell on to the devil! Then learn German and repeat!!!!!
"Nyaha ha ha ha ha!" (evil laugh!)
Theo, Your note written in beautiful English makes me wonder what your first language is. Anyway, Duolingo has been a G-dsend for me in my attempt to learn Spanish. It has its quirks, but to know that any at time of day, I can open DL and hear the robot speaking Spanish to me is fabulous. I have thanked the staff for their efforts on another posting. I think Spanish is an interesting language because it is spoken by so many different nationalities, and Latin American Spanish is so different from Iberian Spanish. I have no way of knowing what they are teaching me on DL, but I am trying to absorb as much as possible. Good luck with your studies.
You guessed correctly, Talca- my first language is Klingon.
My wife Toni (Knoxienne) turned my onto this site. She has been a student of languages for 30+ years, and is conversant in about a dozen of them. This, of course, explains how she has so many levels in but seven weeks or so. Anywho, I have, for many years, collected historical video footage with a focus on warfare. A significant portion of my collection (about 25%) are newsreels from Germany circa 1933 - 1945. They are quite fascinating to watch... grandiose music, powerful narration and superb cinematography. The problem has been that I can't understand what the narrator is saying. Toni showed me Duolingo, and I decided on my 45th birthday (about six weeks ago) to see if this resource could help me learn German. Spanish I know pretty well- I am a native of Southern California and have been around and spoken LA Spanish 'til I was in my 30's. It's rusty now as I haven't had to use it in over a decade; thus it's also not a priority at the moment. After all, I'm not being immersed in Spanish videos presently (by the way... the language flags on Duolingo indicate the orientation of the teaching- a flag of Spain means the course is based on Castilian Spanish).
After a month and a half of daily work, I'm starting to understand bits and pieces of the videos. Indeed, just an hour ago, I understood for the first time a piece of what was being sung by a male choir on one of them. And what they were singing was highly disturbing! Bomben, Bomben, Bomben für England! ( Bombs, bombs, bombs for England! ) I never realized that that is what was being sung! Wow. That shows to me a new depth of meaning behind the film as it was intended, and it is both exhilarating and sobering. Exhilarating in that I can now understand this tiny bit as it was said 70 some years ago and for me this is an accomplishment; sobering in that I also understand the ramifications of what was said and how such propaganda techniques, regardless of their nation of origin, can make masses of people believe and do whatever their master desires... shudder.
So I suppose I'm saying that I'm hooked on Duolingo, and that I'm glad you are also. You gotta admit that the bait is quite yummy.
I just started using it recently and I have nothing but utter respect for the creators of this website. The learning experience is addictive AND effective, which is something only few can hope to accomplish with such a large project. I cannot thank everyone who contributes to the availability of this site enough . One should feel guilty for not taking advantage of such an opportunity.