I'm just curious, but does Duolingo have any statistics regarding the age of users? I was just thinking about how people say that children learn new languages faster than adults, and found myself wondering how many parents are letting their children use this program to do so. I know we have high schoolers, but what about elementary school students?
Isn't it? This is something that has always bugged me about the American school system. Children learn new languages better when they're younger, yet we wait until at least middle school to try to teach Spanish. What if it were possible to teach a child 5 languages through this site by the age of 12? Perhaps a bit unrealistic, depending on the age they start at, but so what? Even if they only managed one, that would be an easy A by the time they reach high school, and a life skill that would help them greatly as an adult.
Please excuse me, I've been on a bit of a TEDTalks binge. I still believe, though, that at the very least this data is worth looking into.
I agree with you. For example, when I was 9, my family went to England, and I learned fluent English like in 6 months, but a something we have to take into notice, is the immersion. We were forced to speak the language. But yeah, it does prove your point, kids learn way more faster than adults.
It's not just an American school thing, we Brits are useless at using common sense with regard to languages as well. I don't know if the people in charge think it is too much to ask of young kids, or whether they just don't give the idea enough credence, but the bottom line is that by the time they decide it is mandatory for us to study a language, it is already well past the optimum time to teach it - IE the phase when you are still very open minded and just go with the flow - so it just feels like some sort of punishment and humiliation. It's like saying everone has to learn how to fry an egg, and then supplying them with a toaster, I mean what the ferociously rabid badger.
I'm 51, my wife is 48. We have two middle-schoolers aged 13 and 11. I started using Duolingo two weeks ago to brush up on my (high-school level) Spanish, as my work increasingly involves contact with the growing Spanish-speaking population in my area. I suggested that my children use it because they just aren't challenged enough by the Spanish classes at school. My wife decided to learn German because her mother was a German native, so I started learning it with her so she'd have someone to study with.
Our children have no problem with the Duolingo program, and they certainly seem to see fewer crying owls than I do. I expect them to start the German program soon, because they can't stand the thought of their old Dad learning anything faster than they can. ;-) It will be most interesting to me to see how they handle learning two (or more) languages at once, and how they deal with separating them. At my age, I tend to lapse into 'GerSpanglish' at times, which is very frustrating. (Yo no esse die frutas? Ugh.),
I graduated high school. I'm 18. There's a Kids version on the App store which only has English, Spanish and French. I know this one is mostly meant for adults for some of the vocabulary it uses.(beer, wine, alcohol) Along with the social media-like appearance on the app.