Turkish is more popular than I thought
So I was just glancing through the list of courses on DL, and noticed that there are already 30,000 people who are learning Turkish from English! And apparently there are about 2,550,000 Turkish speakers learning English on here right now!
And by looking at the numbers for the other courses, I'm absolutely blown away. I knew DL had a lot of users, but never would of guessed that they have that many. It's amazing and wonderful to think how a free site created by volunteers is teaching millions of people all around the world how to speak a new language.
It is the same with me. I would not have thought of learning it if I were not on Duolingo. I am really interested in the culture of Turkey and the surrounding countries though, so it is nice to learn. I want to learn another West Asian/Middle Eastern language in the future, maybe Farsi, maybe Arabic if I want to challenge myself with another non-Indo-European language (or both? After all I would need to learn the modified Arabic script to learn Farsi).
Though I have most desired to review and revive my Arabic studies via the long-awaited (alas!) "Arabic for English speakers" Duolingo course, it still is a beautiful thing getting introduced to Turkish in this format. The textbooks I've looked through are too intimidating: they impel us to ingest a new alphabet, piles of hard-to-memorize vocabulary, a grammar that isn't very intuitive for native speakers of Indo-European languages (or even Arabic!), as well as that vowel harmony! And that just happens in the first pair of chapters!
IMHO, Duolingo was born to teach Turkish in the easiest manner possible. First of all, one gets all the time needed to lay a good foundation (I'm at level 25, I'm only half-way down the tree, but I am still going strong!) , and the repetition required to attain the power to recognize at once which of the two or four vowels must fit in a certain suffix without wasting time consulting a mental chart of endings all the time. The exercise questions change often enough to keep it interesting. Even the most unfamiliar terms, where one's English,French and Arabic offer no clue, will assimilate with enough persistence and patience--even when it's hard at first to remember say, new postpositions and adverbs. This would not happen at all using a textbook. Moreover, a book just can't provide the opportunities to interact directly with the experts when a more detailed explanation is required--take a bow, Alex, you wise young owl, you!
So yeah, it's no surprise to me that so many of us have hooked up with this particular course, perhaps an effort to understand a people with a cool, bad-ass history as the openers of Constantinople, the rescuers of so many of Spain's Muslims and Jews after the 1492 catastrophe, and who might yet, if they play their cards right, become for Islamdom what today's Germany currently is for the European Union. As for me, once I've finished the tree, I hope to use what I've learned as a springboard for the study of Ottoman Turkish so I can spend my retirement years as a researcher in the service of my son, whose field is Islamic History.