by James Glazebrook
As you already know, we’re really trying to learn German. What started as a vague desire not to be the expats with the shittiest Deutsch became one of our New Year’s Resolutions… and along with our new puppy, came a new goal: to be able to speak to six year olds in their own language about how “klein” and “süss” she is. But even with the Daily Deutsches and the weekly tutorials, we still find it hard to get regular practice. That’s where Duolingo, language learning software with a difference, is helping:
If you want to find out more about the story behind Duolingo, scroll down for founder Luis von Ahn’s presentation at TEDxCMU. Aside from his unique mission – using language learning to get 100m people to translate the web into every major language for free – I’ve already been impressed by the private beta version of Duolingo’s German program.
It’s simple, social (connecting to both Facebook and Twitter), works all your passive and active language skills – listening, reading, speaking and writing – and allows you to learn in manageable chunks, marked by a real sense of achievement. Plus, it pulls in real online content which is inherently more interesting than the usual textbook scenarios – so far, I’ve translated texts about Jeff Bridges, Ghostbusters and Nazis! Best of all, it’s totally free!
Duolingo are still gradually inviting new users – sign up over here.