Monday, January 30, 2017

duoLingo (free language software)


I have wanted to get back to learning French for a long time and recently decided to actually do something about it. ;-)

I started by checking out a few kindle books that promised a lot but did not actually deliver much, after browsing carefully through these books. I also knew it would be a LOT easier if I could actually hear the pronunciations of words as I progressed, not just to focus on writing the language, which is a rather limited way to learn any language, including French.

Then I started looking at language software available online and found:


And after less than 10 days of using this language software, I can happily share that it's been a great experience to date! And according to the duoLingo site my progress as of yesterday has been that I am already 18% fluent in French. :-) I think that's stretching it a bit, but it still is encouraging.  

Except for a smattering of French that I remember from high school and some  lessons with my first mother-in-law who was oh, so French (born in Quebec), I don't know much about the language at all. But determined I am, to learn how to speak and write French at a fairly good level, by the time I complete my studies. 


So, what do I like about duoLingo? 


Well, first of all there's the price, it is totally FREE!!! 

I haven't found any other language software that offers what they do, without a price tag attached.

And there are no add-ons, pop-ups or annoying emails day after day, with this service either. You CAN sign up for a reminder email each day or week, but it's not mandatory. They let you decide.

The lessons progress in an easy to follow way. Starting with some basic words and phrases and building on each module as you progress. There are also some mini reviews to help you retain what you've just learned, if you decide to use them after a particular lesson of the day.

I've been averaging a couple of lessons each day along with a review and it seems like the right amount of material to cover, without totally forgetting it all, before the next time I study! No point if the retention isn't there, right??

This site also offers many other languages, and again all for free. Spanish has the most number of students right now, with French being second. I noted German, Esperanto, Russian, Portuguese and many more. There are also quite a few languages that are being considered for addition to their site.

About the only thing I don't like about the course is that it is not always able to hear the pronunciations of the words, at a slower rate. They only have that feature on limited numbers of pages in each lesson. For me, it is SO helpful to be able to hear the pronunciation of each word, slowly and in a more pronounced way, to begin with. That is something I would like to see changed. 

But overall, I am just loving this new learning experience. I am already looking forward to trying another language, when I complete the French course, I'm thinking Spanish or German next! ;-)

If you've been considering learning a new language, are heading to foreign country for a trip soon, or just need a refresher on a language you already know, give duoLingo a try. I think you'll be glad you did!

Overall rating for this product: Very Good. 4 out of 5

27 comments:

  1. Excellent review. This software makes learning a language easy and fun. And as far as negatives, I agree about the slower pronunciations, that helps a lot. I hope they change that too. Otherwise, it's great.

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    1. I agree, it is almost perfect. Hopefully they'll do a bit of tweaking re the pronunciations.

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  2. That's nice to know about. I tried to learn Italian a few years ago but it was so hard for me. I took French in school...a 'few' years ago! But I have such a Southern accent that it's harder for me to be understood...no matter what the language! lol Good review! Hugs!

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    1. If you are still interested in learning another language, give douLingo a try Diane.

      I love Southern accents!!😂

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  3. Excellent and up front review Geraldine!
    You do sound very pleased with only the one complaint.
    My daughter took French in high school and loved it!!!
    I can't help but to think of Julia Child when someone speaks French or have French food. No, french fries don't count ;)

    Hugs 🍟

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    1. Oh, not a good representation of such a beautiful sounding language Jan, Julia Child always made me cringe.😂 But your comment made me laugh.

      I do think French fries are the best of all things French though. Lol

      With French being an official language here, I thought it was a good one to pursue. I also think it's a good one for travel to a lot of other countries.

      Hugs and french fries back to you, what a cute graphic.😄

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  4. I so agree, hearing pronunciation is vital to learning a language. I never tried French, German and Italian were the ones I wanted to master. I got so far...... need I say more?

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    1. I hear ya Val, it is a learning process that takes a lot of time and determination, for any language. But I am determined to keep at it, this time!!! And having this kind of program that is actually FUN, makes a big difference. :-)

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  5. It sounds great, Geraldine! And if you need help with French, I am fluent in the language (even though my mother tongue is English). And so true that pronunciation is so important! Wonderful review, thank you so much for sharing!

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    1. I just might take yo up on your kind offer.😄 thanks for your encouragement Linda.

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  6. I am going to look at it. We have lots of friends from Quebec, so it would be handy.

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    1. Hope it's helpful Sandy. Are you blogging again? I will stop by to check soon. :-)

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  7. Darn it lost my comments when I moved from Montreal to Aylmer near Ottawa most people spoke English or some kind of French i could never understand like, peux-tu me passer l'ashtray....so confusing..te passer quoi? in French it's cendrier....anyway bought a FRENCH to ENGLISH dictionnary and watched only American channel, eventually I became fluently bilingual as I studied communication all In English aced it and worked in Communication all my life and then as a CAREER ADVISOR I WAS THE RESUME DIVA lol but to this day I still can't pronounce 'drawer' it would be like an English person trying to say huit (8) eight they say wit...which is not accurate, but hey as perfectly bilingual as I am I still and never will be able to pronounce 'drawer'

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  8. But what counts the most is have fun with it, it's the best way to learn, you can learn any thing. Took a year of Spanish, loved it..Unfortunately not enough people had signed for it so they did not offer it,great disappointment to me lol

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    1. Spanish is next on my list Lorraine but I've got a long way to go with French still. But in the meantime, I'm having fun AND learning, so how can you lose?? ;-)

      I agree about the pronunciations, I think my French "accent" is getting a bit better but no comparison to a native-speaking French person like you.

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  9. You may not know this but a person who is English and has an accent when speaking French sounds really wonderful so don't worry

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  10. I've been using Duolingo for more than two years now to keep my German fresh. Highly recommend it.

    Greetings from London.

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    1. Thank you so much, that's great to hear from a happy and long time douLingo user.

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  11. Amazing what you can get for free, this product sounds great not to mention educational.

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    1. Some of the freebie software is actually better IMO, for many types of these products and programs.

      I agree, it is amazing what is available for free online, a really generous spirit in this overall.😂

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  12. french is such a beautiful language, it flows eloquently. i would have to agree that hearing a language as you learn it would be most helpful. it sounds as though you have stumbled upon the perfect solution - douLingo - and free - well, you can't beat free!!

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    1. I love how French sounds, so beautiful, I agree.

      I love freebies, who doesn't? And when I compared this to the paid Babbel speech program, this seemed better overall. I'm certainly enjoying it so far.

      Adding Google Translate today, also free, to add to my learning options. 😄

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  13. I find it wonderful that you want to learn a new language. Awesome that you found a way to do it that works for you! Have fun.

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    1. And I plan to add another language after this one Tammie, I'm enjoying it that much.

      I was told years ago by a fluent French person that I have a real aptitude for the language, maybe they were right.😂 lol

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