Language Learning Update

Just finished the Spanish course on Duolingo

This week I finally completed the Spanish course on Duolingo. I’ve been using it to improve and refresh my Spanish, as I have studied the language with various courses before. I can now understand, read, write and speak a lot more Spanish than before, though need to practise speaking and writing it more.

I first took a placement test on Duolingo to see how much Spanish I already knew, and didn’t start from the beginning. Then I skipped through each level using the tests, rather than working through each lesson individually. Had I done that, it would take a lot longer. For now, I’m not studying Spanish actively anymore, but will use it whenever I get the chance.

Over the past two and a half years or so, I’ve studied languages every day with Duolingo (current streak = 767 days). I’ve completed courses in Spanish, Russian, Swedish, Danish and Esperanto. I also completed the Romanian course, then they added lots of extra levels, and I haven’t gone back to work on those. At the moment I’m focussing on Czech, and will continue to do so, working through every lesson, so it’s going to take quite a while. I don’t plan to start any other languages until I’ve finished the Czech course.

In the meantime, I’ve also been studying Czech, and Russian, on Mondly – Czech for 226 days and Russian for 153 days. I really like their courses and am learning a lot from them.

On Memrise I’m studying Russian, Danish and Swedish. When I started using Memrise nearly two years ago, I already knew some Russian and Swedish. and started Swedish from level 2. I started Danish last year from scratch, although my knowledge of Swedish, and German and English, certainly helps. I’m currently doing level 6 courses in Swedish and Danish, and level 5 in Russian.

By the way, if you sign up to Memrise by 16th September, you will get a 50% discount, and I’ll get a small commission.

I find these apps with the streak counters really encourage me to study every day. It has become a habit to do so, and one I plan to continue for as long as possible.

Apart from these studies, I keep my French and Welsh ticking over by speaking them regularly, and other languages by using them occasionally.

How are your language studies going?

Do you prefer to focus on one language at a time, or to learn two or more simultaneously?

What courses, apps and other resources do you use?

2 thoughts on “Language Learning Update

  1. I really have time for only one at a time, but I’m mightily tempted by the new Duolingo Latin course.

  2. For 14 years a friend and I have been reading Classical Persian (Hafez, Rumi, Sa’di, Nezami, etc.) For a decade or more we did this six days a week, but dropped to three days a week a few years ago. During the middle of that period for several years we read Medieval Arabic (specifically in order to read 1001 Nights; we made it through about 2/3 of the volumes) and Japanese as well. We satisfied ourselves with the Arabic and Japanese (we could do it, but it was quite hard) and now do just the Persian. On my own I recently wanted to improve my German reading. Since March I’ve read 7 novels and am on my 8th (Otto Ludwig’s “Zwischen Himmel und Erde,” 1856), and that has certainly helped my German. I might be able to attain what I would call reading fluency after another 20 or so books. I’m also now enjoying Italian and Dutch, which I knew virtually nothing of before a few weeks ago.

    After decades of on-and-off language studies, I’ve become convinced that I am only interested in learning languages for reading, and that the books I’m reading must be very enjoyable; most are literary classics or mysteries. I do not use any classes, tutors, graded readers, children’s books, instructional books, etc. I just use a dictionary and a grammar…with one recently explored exception. For a harder language, such as the Polish I recently took an exploratory dive into, it works well for me to start with a book of tales (think Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, etc.). I did it with Italian, too, using Italo Calvino’s books of tales. After reading through about eight of them, though, I could not resist switching to a genuine novel. The best tales are not really for children, they are simply traditional, short, with straightforward sentences, a limited vocabulary, and a somewhat predictable plot.

    My latest tool is Google Translate. I find it quick and (usually) pretty accurate to just type in a word, phrase, sentence, or paragraph in order to understand what I cannot get on my own. (I have found it pretty easy to type in many keyboard layouts. Most European languages seem to use some variant of QWERTY.) This works much better for me than using a translation into English to check my understanding of the target language. And, by the way, if you are wary of Google Translate, and have not used it lately, try again. The quality is improving by leaps and bounds as artificial intelligence performance grows.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *