Last week, I mentioned an app that I’m loving; it’s called Balanced, and it helps me remember recurring tasks that happen on an irregular basis. Several of these tasks include Duolingo.

Duolingo is a free language-learning website and an accompanying app. I’ve been using the app off and on for a couple years.

I tried Rosetta Stone many years ago, and Duolingo has a slightly familiar feel at first, but ends up having more words and explanation than I remember Rosetta Stone having. Clearly, I am not qualified to tell you whether to use Rosetta Stone or Duolingo.

I prefer Duolingo for many reasons, including the wonderful fact that it’s free. It’s really easy to switch between languages, and the structure is fun. Well, crazy blog lady, what is the structure? you ask.

Well, it’s set up sort of like a game in that you start off with basic, easy stuff, and once you master those lessons, a new set or two of lessons are unlocked. And on and on it goes, getting more and more advanced, but still in nice, bite-sized pieces.

Once you’ve mastered a section, you still have to review it periodically. There are “strength bars” which fade with time when you haven’t reviewed the material. (There’s a nifty “review” button which will select at random one or two topics that you haven’t looked at for a while so that you don’t have to scroll through the whole page to find one to practice.)

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You also get XP (experience points) from the tasks you complete, and you can choose how much XP you want to accomplish each day. Really, that is what Duolingo is particularly great at: making language-learning a habit, something to do every day. It keeps track of how many days in a row you’ve accomplished your XP goal, and reminds you when you haven’t completed your goal yet that day.

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You can keep track of “streaks” when you have several days in a row of meeting your goal. (I made it to over 30 before forgetting one day on vacation, but I could have “purchased” a “streak freeze” using the “lingots” I’ve earned from completing lessons, so it’s really just my arrogance that led to this. *fake dramatic sob* Ok, enough of that. Moving on…)

There’s also a “leaderboard” where–if you’re more successful than I am at converting friends, acquaintances, and random strangers–you can see how you rank compared to your Duolingo “friends.”

Yup. It’s pretty awesome.

Downside? If you’ve already studied a language, you might find it kind of boring at first, or you might find the test you can take to “test out” of skills you know to have more vocab than you remember right now. I’d recommend trying it anyway, but do not start with the basics lessons. Start with testing out of that first section. Practice and review until you can do that. Keep doing that with other sections until you get to where you’d like to resume learning. To help recall vocab, just intersperse your new lesson-learning with some of those random reviews.

Have you used Duolingo? Are you going to try it? If so, and you feel so inclined, please head over to my profile and add me as a friend! Let me know in the comments so I can add you as well.

Oh! And a bonus: there are often weird sentences for you to laugh at as you learn. Here’s one of the not-so-weird ones.

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A valid question…

🙂 See you!

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