Tuesday, 13 March 2018

When Duolingo takes over

I roiginally started playing around with Duolingo in 2015, but didn't get into it. Then this year I decided to pick it up again to improve my French and to check if they had Finnish because knowing even basic Finnish would be so useful at work. They didn't have Finnish but I got started on French, all the way from the beginning. Now I have completed the French skill tree, but I do the strengthen skill exercises almost every day, and it has actually helped. My pronunciation is still atrocious but I understand almost everything and I can actually construct sentences in conversation without stuttering or stumbling over the words. So gold star to Duolingo.

But then I thought that I know the basics of Spanish too so let's improve that too! And so I started on the Spanish skill tree. Spanish is also going well because I had all the most basic basics hidden away in my head from before. Haven't completed the skill tree yet, but there isn't much left.

Then I realised that with all the Italians we get at work in August and September that Italian would also be really useful at work. So I started at the Italian skill tree without any previous knowledge of Italian. But with the combined knowledge of French and Spanish grammar I soon figured out Italian too. Though I do mix up some Spanish and Italian words now and again. Not even close to finishing the Italian skill tree, but it's going better than I thought it would.

And after we went to Germany I decided to add German too. Because hey, there were so many things in German that I could understand or figure out what they meant so German should be easy, right? I was so wrong. German is by far the hardest language I'm practicing on Duolingo. And it shouldn't be, right? I mean Swedish and English and German are from the same linguistic tribe. German should be easier than all those Latin languages that aren't even from the same tribe. But no. German makes absolutely no sense to me, and yet I struggle on, because somewhere down the line the workings of the language should click into my mind. It always happens at one point or another.

Then I discovered that they had Japanese and so I decided that it would be useful to practice and improve on my Japanese too. Even if it's just an excuse to keep the language fresh in my mind (as it is with French). Curiously enough the Japanese skill tree isn't as long as the others. Might be because it's still in beta?

And then yesterday I discovered that they had Korean. When I was in Seoul in 2010 I decided to try learning Korean and I did get as far as learning their alphabet (hangeul) so I can read but I have no idea what I'm reading and I'm so slow. But that's when I decided to add Korean too.

I feel like I'm going to regret doing so many languages at once, and I'm considering removing German because I'm so spectacularly bad at it. But at the same time, these languages keep me busy during low season at work and it feels like a useful pastime rather than just standing around scrolling through Facebook or Tumblr or Steam.

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