Language Self Study and Duolingo

Language Study

Learning a second language is something that I have wanted to do for years. It is on my bucket list, to-do list, life list and today I think I may have made a small dent towards that goal. It started several years ago. I think I was around 29/30 and I discovered Rosetta Stone through their plethora of ads. I know. The most serious Polyglots would laugh at me and say that it was a waste of my money but during that time my resources were limited and I didn’t know what my options were. I didn’t go out and buy Rosetta Stone because that is a huge cost to drop all at once, especially for those who have a serious budget to stick to. I was able to find a website that offered bootleg versions of it though, (bad girl) and I ordered one in French and one in Dutch. At that time I wasn’t sure what language I really wanted to learn. I went with French and I am not sure why since I was terrible at it in high school. In hindsight I would have started with Danish since that is a country that I would seriously like to settle in someday. Along with it also being part of my heritage on my mother’s side.

I focused for a while and then I got pregnant with Merle. Along with that pregnancy came pregnancy brain and extreme exhaustion. Both of which seem to have hung around unfortunately. French studying came in waves and I fell out of it for a bit. I came back to it about three years ago after I discovered a website online where serious Polyglots hang out and share ideas, opinions, and their own experiences. It’s a really good and motivating resource. So I decided that I would do some research on the forum to see what my best options were. During this time my computer died and when we bought our new Mac it was no longer compatible with my bootleg Rosetta Stone. That was disappointing since I was working my way through the levels. It was around this time that I began to see online advertisements for Duolingo. It was being advertised as the new language learning tool and was completely free so I set up an account. Fun and addictive is definitely part of it and I kind of turned it into a little game for myself. Last New Years I made a resolution that I would do French Study every single day for the year. My minimum requirement was complete a lesson in Duolingo daily and anything above and beyond was great. I apparently set the bar low for myself ;) I was successful and made it the year, and this New Years I decided that I would keep it going until I finished my French Tree. Today was that day and after 485 consecutive days of working on it I completed my Duolingo Tree tonight.

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It was a big accomplishment for me to have followed through with this goal for the last year and a half. And while Duolingo will by no means make you bilingual it definitely gives you a lot of words and helps you with sentence structure and the use of verbs. Around the time I started this I also got an email from Rosetta Stone saying that they now had the monthly instalment option for Canadians. Well that right there is tempting isn’t it? It is a lot of money to pay all at once but when it is broken down into 6 instalments and you get it at a sale time it is easier to handle. Even though I know that there are better programs out there I couldn’t help but make the purchase so I got French levels 1-5 for my desktop computer. I am a bit of a language resource junkie. I cannot compete with most language learners out there with my resources but I am trying to accumulate self study guides with the hope that one will be the magic I need. This is my shelf of language guides (aside from the Rick Steve’s Europe Travel Videos which I am obsessed with) and I have some kids stories written in foreign languages that I ordered off Ebay. In addition I use Duolingo and Rosetta Stone which obviously is not on the shelf.

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In searching the language forums what I did comes across over and over as one of the best language resources were the Assimil books. The consensus was that if you could get the older editions they were meatier than the newer, easier to find editions. While I didn’t find the older editions online I was able to buy the Assimil New French with Ease book and CD‘s used but in great condition for $10 on Alibris Books (you can also get it off Amazon).  I started it over two years ago but lost some of my steam when we began to go through some serious financial and stressful things in our life. I found my brain could barely function daily tasks so taking on serious language learning wasn’t happening at that time. I feel like I am finally ready to resurrect that book and give it a serious go now though because a lot of people have talked about how that was the tool they needed to propel themselves into a higher level of learning a new language.

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My current plan that I hope to stick with working the Rosetta Stone levels daily and doing one lesson from Assimil each day. I might even do Duolingo again but with a different language to meet my multi-lingual goal. Danish maybe. I kind of feel like I need an accountability partner with this so if you are attempting to learn a new language and are looking to be accountable to your goals drop me a message or comment and maybe we can help one another.

 

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Sara

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