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How good is Duolingo at helping you recover a forgotten language?

May 4, 2012



This is a great question and I can answer very fast... I haven't got "Spanish" in my school right now, but I will chose it for the next year. It is so great to learn "Spanish" before the other guys in my class do this in the next year lessons. The reason because i learn it at the moment is simple, I will live in France for six month ( I am from Germany ). You should know, it is a Voltaire programm i have accepted and i will miss the connection to the Spanish stuff ( grammar, vocabulary etc. ) which the other have learn by the time i was in France. It will be hard for me to repeat so i must learn before. :-) But i love it. ♥ And for my France exchange it is also very good. I will refresh my French, so i can understand they better and learn other words. :-) Duolingo is awesome. I will learn all the languages.


To answer the topic is: It's great. All those words have been stored away for decades and they are beginning to resolve themselves into recognisable forms after a very short time. I love the fact that the information is still there. I can almost feel different parts of my brain getting a workout from each of the languages I'm recovering :)


I have only just started the French but I found the Spanish very good. It is also good for updating with words for the internet and so on. You need to persevere until it gets harder.


I've learned German during my entire scholar period, but didn't like it much at that time. Now I'm trying to catch up what I've missed and, why not, become fluent after some time. For now, it's working quite well, but I'm only starting so...


It's been pretty good for me so far. My mother tells me I spoke beautiful Chinese as a child, but I had to let it go because it interfered with my English.

Even though I've forgotten many words and their meanings, the tonal aspect of the language stayed with me. I still can distinguish between somebody with a horrible accent vs. a dialect that I'm not familiar with vs. some other tonal Asian language.

Now, Duolingo is helping recover the forgotten meanings of the sounds that I remember. Some lessons go very fast (like food and family), but a few I have to struggle with.

Some of the idioms come back easily to me.

Fortunately, Chinese grammar is simple so I don't have to struggle with noun-verb-tense agreement as I have to in so many other languages...

One weird thing I do notice, is Duolingo will teach a word (sound) in isolation which doesn't have any meaning until I see/hear it in context of a phrase.

The writing system is a bit of a challenge, but since I've seen a number of the symbols before, it's a bit easier. But since Duolingo doesn't make you write out the characters, I'm not learning that part as much but I am using pinyin to make myself a vocabulary list.

Furthermore, I'm far more motivated to recover my Chinese, as it feels like the words are just within reach.

This compares favorably to trying to learn other languages where it's a real struggle for me.


I made good progress (compared to Spanish). I'm at level 10

I've progressed pretty quickly when it comes to "baby words". But, with words and grammar that I'm unfamiliar with, I'm struggling more.

Overall, I'm fairly motivated because it's been a lot easier to relearn Chinese than to try to take on a new language altogether, but I feel like I'm starting to hit a brick wall....


I have a related question:

Is it better to speed ahead and try to re-acquaint yourself as much as you can while skimming over the troublesome (newish) words


be as thorough as possible with unfamiliar words?

I don't seem to remember enough to place out of levels, but some lessons are really easy while others are a bit tougher.

I do find I'm far more motivated to learn my recovering language vs. other languages because I'm making such great progress.

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