So, it happened. Last/this night I finished the German course at Duolingo (: It is a bit strange, because I didn’t think that this moment would come when I started the ‘quest’. At that time I was just concerned about activating my German as quickly as possible and also desperate to somehow get myself inspired about learning that language (this last issue, though, got solved by itself, as I wrote).
I was surprised, when I found the site in September, that I hadn’t had a clue about it earlier. It seemed a nice way to restore my language learning habits or at least to activate them in another way, also – a good chance to reactivate some of the tongues I’d studied a long long time ago.
Duolingo is a free language learning page organized a bit like a quest-game. You gather points/experience (XP) and reach levels. You gather also ‘jewelries’ with which you can open and learn ‘special skills’ like idioms, Christmas and dating vocabulary. Different skills are organized in thematic ‘circles’ containing from 1 to 10 small lessons, each of which consist of around 17 (or more in case of making mistakes) sentences or words to translate and/or repeat. A show-up dictionary is available on putting your mouse on a word. The skill-circles are not opened all at once but ordered in some kind of a hierarchy, which means that you can’t get further until you’ve covered the previous group of skills. A good option is that you can test out directly every topic if you feel confident enough, without passing through all of the small lessons in it (in this case, though, the dictionary is not available). There is also an option to test directly several skills at once, I think there were 3 or 4 such limits in the course lines. All non-beta courses also provide Invasion-sections where you translate real texts (from wikipedia, magazines etc.) from the language you are learning (into English, as the majority of the courses are offered in English); you receive XP-s by this, too. Your translations also are could be voted, corrected and discussed. As far as I am concerned, again the non-beta courses provide with a list of the words learned so far, as well as flash-card word check option.
The German course itself was good. It mainly helped me in getting along with the vocabulary. I can’t say anything about the grammar, because I was acquainted with it earlier (i.e. I didn’t learn it with the help of the course). I very strong feature are the audio sections where you write what you hear, repeat or just translate orally in German. There are also discussion pages and report forms which really help the system to be open for more than one correct solution in certain situations.
Now, after having ‘conquered’ that, I am going further to some books I have brought with on ‘Intermediate German’. I may try myself with the DW free evaluation test soon, aiming at B1 (still not confident enough to try B2) and probably go with one of their courses online.