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Amazing Language Learning Tool - Duolingo.com
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Hannibal Offline
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Post: #26
RE: Amazing Language Learning Tool - Duolingo.com
I already repped Richie for the thread.

Since knowing about this website, I've recommended it to dozens of folks trying to learn a foreign language (or immigrants who try to get better at English). In all cases, if they had any internet literacy, it helped a lot.

It's another great tool in the toolkit for anyone trying to learn a language. From my experience, the best things (that are free) are :
1) Interact with the locals
2) Listen to music
3) Duolingo
4) reading newspapers and uncomplicated books

It's like khan academy for learning a language.

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07-14-2015 10:56 PM
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El_Mono Offline
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Post: #27
RE: Amazing Language Learning Tool - Duolingo.com
I think you can reach a decent level with Duolingo. But after you have finished the tree and repeated all the different tasks, you will get stuck with it.

But Duolingo is definitely a great way to learn the basics, if you do a few tasks everyday and keep learning it. I also recommend to read easy newspaper articles and do some listening tasks. I used the following page to improve my spanish by listening tasks: http://www.practicaespanol.com/en/
07-21-2015 01:49 PM
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Porfirio Rubirosa Away
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Post: #28
RE: Amazing Language Learning Tool - Duolingo.com
Has anyone used Babbel? Is it worth it?

Oh yes, I'm so privileged you literally can't even.
Interested in joining the FFL? I tried (and failed).
08-16-2015 12:42 AM
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Unfadable Offline
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Post: #29
RE: Amazing Language Learning Tool - Duolingo.com
Thank you to the original poster and those that bumped this post up, I'm moving in a few months and this should come in handy.
08-16-2015 01:45 AM
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RexImperator Offline
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Post: #30
RE: Amazing Language Learning Tool - Duolingo.com
Russian due out the end of this month.

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08-16-2015 06:01 AM
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Moto Offline
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Post: #31
RE: Amazing Language Learning Tool - Duolingo.com
You can even unlock the "flirting" section. Most of it is cheesy as hell, but there are a few solid lines in there in French and Spanish (with the right delivery).
08-16-2015 10:23 AM
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Tytalus Offline
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Post: #32
RE: Amazing Language Learning Tool - Duolingo.com
I found this program to be worthless for latin american spanish.

Unless I did tons of drills every day I had trouble remembering much of what I learned. Worse - I wasn't learning to speak Spanish, I was learning to *translate* Spanish and English. I gave up and got synergy spanish, a great investment for $67 USD - it teaches the same amount as Pimsluer does for a fraction of the price.

http://synergyspanish.com/
(This post was last modified: 08-21-2015 11:20 PM by Tytalus.)
08-21-2015 11:18 PM
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Rang off the Pipe Offline
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Post: #33
RE: Amazing Language Learning Tool - Duolingo.com
Duolingo isn't really great for teaching in the most powerful sense, but it's great to start out with if you're self-studying a language like I have.
08-23-2015 07:16 AM
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Tytalus Offline
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Post: #34
RE: Amazing Language Learning Tool - Duolingo.com
(08-23-2015 07:16 AM)Rang off the Pipe Wrote:  Duolingo isn't really great for teaching in the most powerful sense, but it's great to start out with if you're self-studying a language like I have.

No, it's a piece of shit because it doesn't teach how to say anything functional until you're well into the lessons and it takes weeks to get there.

La Mujer
El Hombre.
La Mujar comer la manzana.
El hombre comer una manzana.
Jo comer la manzana.
Tu comes una manzana. etc

The sentence builder isn't sophisticated and doesn't reuse much of what you learned before.

You can be 1/2 way through and get sentences like:

Translate "The shirt is red"

With synergy spanish, the first thing I learned was:

"Quiero ir a la fiesta." - I want to go to the party.

"Necesito ir al doctor." - I need to go to the doctor.

"Me gustaria comer su comida." - I like to eat your food.

I'm half through synergy spanish and am now learning things like:

Queremos viajar a Mexico, pero, necesitamos un coche manejar. - "we want to travel to mexico but we need a car to drive."

Duolingo has you doing useless shit like "The capital of Spain is Madrid." "Democracy is the power of the people."

Maybe you learn some vocabulary but you learn few functional sentences that a person would actually use.
(This post was last modified: 08-23-2015 02:02 PM by Tytalus.)
08-23-2015 02:01 PM
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MikeS Offline
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Post: #35
RE: Amazing Language Learning Tool - Duolingo.com
I'm not trying to learn Spanish but I am trying to find a more efficient way to learn Bulgarian vocabulary (I've had a very hard time memorizing vocabulary, at this point in time I'm still not able to have an actual conversation, while my grammar knowledge is relatively far along and my spelling - of the modest vocabulary I do have - is near flawless).

I read a little on the Synergy site and it seems they claim you should be able to start getting by with just a very modest vocabulary (they even mention a rather specific number of words - 138). Have you had any practical experience yet conversing with Spanish speakers?
I find that even though I probably recognize around 5-600 words by now and can say most of the practical stuff relating to shopping, dining etc., I usually get lost in an instant as soon as someone actually starts talking Bulgarian to me - even if they speak slowly. At best I will understand a few short sentences here and there, pieces of others, and being completely in the dark on others again.

Additionally my active use of my vocabulary is not good enough yet for quickly constructing new sentences on the spot - even when I know all the necessary words. But even if we ignore that and pretend that I can now fairly confidently use my very limited vocabulary, conversation is still going to be quite a challenge if I can only actually understand a modest fraction of what's being said to me.

How the hell do some people, knowing only a few hundred words or less, start talking with the locals (except for mostly cliched, pre-rehearsed sentences and answers for shopping, taxi driving etc.)?

In my estimate it's going to require a vocabulary of at least 1500-2000 words before you can have proper conversations with people over 10 years old. And even then there's likely still going to be plenty of words in a long conversation or text that will have you draw a blank - which may or may not affect overall comprehension much, depending on how many or how often such words come in clusters.

At the moment I'm attempting to learn 15-20 new words per day in Bulgarian. I've found that if I try to aim higher my retention drops like a rock - and I still need constant repetition, repetition and more repetition even with that modest amount.
This pace should theoretically make me familiar with 1500-1800 words in a mere three months. But I also know from my past two years living here (with less language efforts, but working slowly and steadily with pre-rehearsed sentences and books) that I won't realistically be able to use anywhere near all of those words in just three months.
(This post was last modified: 08-23-2015 02:53 PM by MikeS.)
08-23-2015 02:51 PM
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Tytalus Offline
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Post: #36
RE: Amazing Language Learning Tool - Duolingo.com
(08-23-2015 02:51 PM)MikeS Wrote:  I'm not trying to learn Spanish but I am trying to find a more efficient way to learn Bulgarian vocabulary (I've had a very hard time memorizing vocabulary, at this point in time I'm still not able to have an actual conversation, while my grammar knowledge is relatively far along and my spelling - of the modest vocabulary I do have - is near flawless).

I read a little on the Synergy site and it seems they claim you should be able to start getting by with just a very modest vocabulary (they even mention a rather specific number of words - 138). Have you had any practical experience yet conversing with Spanish speakers?


Duolingo is an ok way to learn vocabulary, but space repetition systems like Anki are probably a better way to go.

As for Spanish, I have been keeping track of my vocabulary and it is 203 words, so fairly small. I'm limited to simple, functional sentences and nothing very complex. Yet, I could say to my Venezuelan coworker a few simple sentences:

"Le gusteria trabajar con usted en un projecto." - I would like to work with you on a project.

"Tango que regresar a mi oficina pronto." I have to return to my office soon.

"En mis vacationes, voy a ir a Fiji por tres semanas." - "On my vacation I'm going to go to Fiji for 3 weeks

"Voy a estar aqui por dos meses antes de mis vacationes." I'm going to be here for two months before my vacation.

No rocket science, but way more functional than what I was learning from duolingo.
08-23-2015 04:20 PM
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MikeS Offline
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Post: #37
RE: Amazing Language Learning Tool - Duolingo.com
I'm currently using partially self compiled (from dictionaries) plain word lists of the most commonly used words - separate lists for verbs, nouns, adjectives, adverbs.

I also write sentences that make use of the words I find most difficult to memorize, as well as expose myself to the language through short texts (from news sites, downloaded movie subtitles etc.) and local TV. Plus what I hear around me of course - but with my local Bulgarian friends I have so far always taken the easy way out and fallen back on English, rather than attempting extremely basic conversations that would feel like pulling teeth. I'm not very patient with that outside of when I've set aside specific time for studying.

Aside from that I have a book that's teaching grammar and including some 40 conversations (text plus audio CDs) of increasingly complexity. But aside from doing a good job teaching the grammar, half way through the book the conversations ramp up severely in difficulty and I find that that it simply taxes my vocabulary memorization abilities too heavily.
That's why I'm currently trying to work with shorter texts and word lists.

I've been fluent in English for many years (my native language is Danish), but the base for that fluency was acquired over many years through the old fashioned school system. And I honestly can't remember if it was as difficult for me back then to learn and retain vocabulary.
08-23-2015 04:40 PM
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Post: #38
RE: Amazing Language Learning Tool - Duolingo.com
A technique that has helped me, once I know a few basics at least, is to download video (say a movie scene) in the target language and play it through VLC player at a much slower speed than normal, but not so slow that the words are slurred. Then I try to create a transcript of the scene in the target language. I'll use a dictionary and search for words that I don't know how to spell, or am unsure of. Using this transcript, and the visuals, I then try to figure out what is being said. Lastly, I run the transcript through google translate and see what it comes up with.

But my focus at first is always understanding over talking. This is not the order that most language teachers like, but I know a couple of languages, and have realised that for the ones I don't know well I can understand what is being said much better than I can express myself in that language. And this is a pretty typical experience. To me this indicates that understanding comes before verbalisation, and therefore if I were to wait for communication to catch up to understanding I'd be wasting time.

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08-26-2015 11:58 AM
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cycl0ne Offline
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Post: #39
RE: Amazing Language Learning Tool - Duolingo.com
I've always found languages difficult. I've always been a science type of guy and I've found my main problem is trying to understand everything, hence hindering my progression with the foundation
08-26-2015 03:21 PM
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JeanLucPrickhard Offline
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Post: #40
RE: Amazing Language Learning Tool - Duolingo.com
There's a free app for learning Chinese that is very similar to duolingo, it's called chinese skill. They have a survival guide that is useful, except for the flirting section which is very beta.
For example: Can I buy you a drink? and I can't live without you.
08-27-2015 05:04 AM
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Bad Hussar Offline
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Post: #41
RE: Amazing Language Learning Tool - Duolingo.com
(08-27-2015 05:04 AM)JeanLucPrickhard Wrote:  There's a free app for learning Chinese that is very similar to duolingo, it's called chinese skill. They have a survival guide that is useful, except for the flirting section which is very beta.
For example: Can I buy you a drink? and I can't live without you.

I have a feeling a novice is going to botch that and it's going to come out as "Can I buy you? and "I can't live without a drink".
08-27-2015 09:00 AM
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Thomas the Rhymer Offline
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Post: #42
RE: Amazing Language Learning Tool - Duolingo.com
(08-23-2015 02:51 PM)MikeS Wrote:  I'm not trying to learn Spanish but I am trying to find a more efficient way to learn Bulgarian vocabulary

There is an amazing website called memrise.com that is specifically designed to help you build up a vocabulary in a foreign language. There is a lot of user content and you can also build up your own word list.

For the Bulgarian stuff:
http://www.memrise.com/courses/english/?q=bulgarian

I personally find it easier to first learn some vocabulary before bothering with grammar. I've had a few basic conversations in a local African language just by learning enough words, and that's only by using memrise.com

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(This post was last modified: 08-27-2015 12:14 PM by Thomas the Rhymer.)
08-27-2015 12:14 PM
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Bad Hussar Offline
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Post: #43
RE: Amazing Language Learning Tool - Duolingo.com
(08-27-2015 12:14 PM)Thomas the Rhymer Wrote:  
(08-23-2015 02:51 PM)MikeS Wrote:  I'm not trying to learn Spanish but I am trying to find a more efficient way to learn Bulgarian vocabulary

There is an amazing website called memrise.com that is specifically designed to help you build up a vocabulary in a foreign language. There is a lot of user content and you can also build up your own word list.

For the Bulgarian stuff:
http://www.memrise.com/courses/english/?q=bulgarian

I personally find it easier to first learn some vocabulary before bothering with grammar. I've had a few basic conversations in a local African language just by learning enough words, and that's only by using memrise.com

Memrise looks like a good site for vocabulary. How do you find the clicks in some Southern African languages? Difficult to master, but sound very cool if you get the right.

Am trying to learn Swedish myself now, and one of their lists/courses may be a good place to ID the most important words. Thanks for posting.
08-27-2015 01:26 PM
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polar Offline
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Post: #44
RE: Amazing Language Learning Tool - Duolingo.com
I'm doing French, and have had University-level formal instruction in the past.

Partly due to its monetization strategy (selling text translation services which users provide while practicing), Duolingo is better for reading comprehension than conversation... Especially since it doesn't organize vocabulary by topic or present it in context (that might come at the end of the curriculum, but I think it should be integrated better into the lessons). Furthermore, it doesn't do a good job of teaching you grammar or conjugations. You learn to recognize patterns through translation, but its lack of a framework to teaching grammar structure will leave you lost unless you supplement your studies with a textbook or a professional instructor.

Memrise I haven't been doing for long, but I really like. The voice recordings are high quality. I've only been using it a few days, so I can't say much on how it organizes vocab (although I don't see a system yet, so it may be like Duolingo). Its angle seems to be of a flash card app focused on languages.

I also just started Mondly and Busuu, which both organize content by lessons and topic (a good thing if you're looking to speak a language, as you build up associations across related vocabulary).

Mondly seems like a freemium Rosetta Stone, the first lesson is free, the second lesson I needed to give it three emails (I sent them all to junk emails and then started a lesson from each one before it let me start lesson two). It has speaking lessons which are repeat after the native speaker and then listen to the playback. $15 flat to unlock all features, which in my opinion is small change. I'm not sure if it will throw up more paywalls down the road.

Busuu also appears to organize things by topic as well, but there are no quizzes in the free version and I don't think it's worth the $12/mo or the $66/year they want for the full version. Busuu has passable audio to match the vocabulary, but I wouldn't use it as more than a supplement due to the lack of effective review - getting questions wrong doesn't appear to have any consequences such as triggering extra, contextual review like in Duolingo or Memrise. In fact, I'll probably drop Busuu entirely.

Honorable mention goes to Babble, which is a Rosetta Stone clone with high quality audio, but it is around $12/mo or $85/year past the first lesson. I'll consider it after I get further in with Duolingo and Memrise.

My suggestion if you're serious but don't want to shell out would be 1. Mondly, 2. Memrise and 3. Duolingo. Supplement with Italki for real human instruction (haven't tried, but looks promising).

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08-29-2015 09:54 PM
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Charlemagne In Sweatpants Offline
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Post: #45
RE: Amazing Language Learning Tool - Duolingo.com
Bumping. Just got an email saying that Russian is now available on Duolingo. I found this app was a great resource for getting reintroduced to Spanish, but have not tried it for a language that I have no experience with.

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11-20-2015 10:30 AM
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RexImperator Offline
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Post: #46
RE: Amazing Language Learning Tool - Duolingo.com
(11-20-2015 10:30 AM)Charlemagne In Sweatpants Wrote:  Bumping. Just got an email saying that Russian is now available on Duolingo. I found this app was a great resource for getting reintroduced to Spanish, but have not tried it for a language that I have no experience with.

Its not available on the mobile yet app, but you can use it through the website. Hopefully the mobile one will be ready soon.

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11-20-2015 11:51 AM
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polar Offline
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Post: #47
RE: Amazing Language Learning Tool - Duolingo.com
My advice would be to use some other apps to get a good grasp on the alphabet and individual sounds before you start Duolingo.

Data Sheet Maps | On Musical Chicks | Rep Point Changes | Au Pairs on a Boat
Captainstabbin: "girls get more attractive with your dick in their mouth. It's science."
Spaniard88: "The "believe anything" crew contributes: "She's probably a good girl, maybe she lost her virginity to someone with AIDS and only had sex once before you met her...give her a chance.""
12-10-2015 01:41 PM
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Mr.Brown Offline
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Post: #48
RE: Amazing Language Learning Tool - Duolingo.com
been practicing portuguese with duolingo the last month, it seems effortless, it's a good start, a little bit of translating but a good time investing; i speak spanish and i see the similarities with the portuguese.
12-10-2015 11:22 PM
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RexImperator Offline
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Post: #49
RE: Amazing Language Learning Tool - Duolingo.com
Russian is now available on the mobile app!

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12-15-2015 04:37 PM
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Post: #50
RE: Amazing Language Learning Tool - Duolingo.com
Started learning French and Duolingo is a good app to use, especially for the basics but I think it should be supplemented with another instruction medium like Michel Thomas to see improved results
01-02-2016 04:11 AM
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