Monday, August 12, 2013

DuoLingo

One of my friends clued me into this website/app called DuoLingo

Supposedly, you can learn a second language using this site.  I decided to start doing it to refresh my Italian, but so far, I'm not that impressed with it.

First of all, it's not conversational Italian.  Most language courses start with phrases like

Hello
What is your name?
My name is...
How are you? 

and so on.  You know, stuff you can use. 

This one starts with "I am a girl", and  "That is a boy". 

"Enter the Italian word that describes these pictures (Hint:  it is the word for woman)", but if you don't already know the word for woman in Italian, how are you going to know what to enter? 

Then, there are the lessons where you have to listen to someone say a sentence in Italian and translate it into English.  But the Italian is so badly pronounced that sometimes it's impossible to tell what they are saying.  It's nearly impossible to tell the difference between words like E , ho, and ha

Their response when you point this out is "Well, you're just not used to hearing Italian."  Well, duh.  For someone trying to learn a language for the first time, no you aren't.  That's why words need to be enunciated clearly rather than mushed together in faster than normal speed. 

Besides that, I lived in Italy for three years, so I'm well used to hearing spoken Italian.  I never heard a native speaker pronounce it so badly. 

All this to say, I'm not sure I'm going to stick with it.  And I sure wouldn't recommend it to beginners.  There has got to be better language apps out there. 

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