Saturday, August 27, 2016

100 Days of Duolingo

Spain’s Coat of Arms
Motto: "
Plus Ultra" (Latin)
"Further Beyond"

This week I celebrated my 100 Days of Spanish anniversary. Can you call it an anniversary when it’s less than a year? Anyway: 100+2 days have passed since I started learning Spanish, using the Duolingo app recommended by another blogger (Janet). My last report here on my blog was after 40 Days, when I had made my way through all the basic Spanish lessons in the phone app. Since then I have kept on doing daily “strengthening skills” exercises though, and on my 100th day was also rewarded with a timely upgrade to the neat figure of 40% fluency (and level 16).

Besides repetitions of Duolingo I have also continued with the fantasy book I found for free in both Spanish and English on Kindle (El Despertar de los Dragones / Rise of the Dragons by Morgan Rice, also mentioned in the 40 Days post). I’m still reading each chapter in Spanish first, and then again in English to check my understanding. I’ve not been reading that book every day, as it still requires some serious concentration… But I’ve got as far as into chapter 9 (nearly 40% of the book), and I’m still set on finishing it (without cheating and skipping ahead in English). Being a YA fantasy novel in a medieval sort of setting, I think it’s rather a good book for the kind of basic vocabulary I’ve picked up (+ I have added a Spanish-English dictionary to the Kindle, and just have to put my finger on a word to look it up).

I have also worked my way through the French Duolingo exercises. Basically repetition for me, but over 40 years have passed since I learned French in school, and I’ve never used it much since. I found some lessons easy, others trickier. My passive understanding not too bad, but active use a different matter… 
(Duolingo now rates me as 38% fluent at level 12.)

I also tried a little Welsh, and a little Turkish. But both these languages are new to me  and very different, both  from other languages I know and from each other. After having tested daily lessons in both simultaneously for a while (just curious about my own brain’s capacity of coping with it!)… I think I have come to the conclusion to drop Welsh for now, but continue with Turkish. A Swedish Television channel just started running a Turkish drama series of 100 episodes… I watched the first five half-hour episodes this week (with Swedish subtexts) and noted that I did recognize a few phrases or words from Duolingo – just very simple things like “yes” and “thank you”, but still. Might be interesting to see what happens if I give that 100 days as well!

18 comments:

  1. Congratulations! I'm still working on my German at Duolingo.

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    1. I'm very glad you introduced me to the app, Janet! :)

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  2. You continue to amaze me!! I have said before how much I admire bilingual people, not to mention multilingual like you. This all makes me wonder just how many languages a mind can master!! Do you think there is a limit? One thing is for sure, you are amazingly smart and super memory and comprehension abilities.

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    1. Ginny, my guess is that what we fill our brains with is probably very individual and depends a lot on motivation and interest :) With Spanish I can often guess at the meaning because of similarities with English and French.

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  3. I am absolutely totally impressed. I know how hard it is because I tried and gave up. Congratulations and Keep On Keepin On now you have another language

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    1. Thanks Sandra. I'm sure it's harder if you haven't already got previous experience of learning foreign languages.

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  4. You are doing very well in developing your language skills. Watching the TV program is a very good idea. My husband was/is learning Indonesian. His tutor told him to watch the TV News in that language. Learning in a context that is relevant to daily life is usually effective. Do you get news broadcasts in Spanish or French?

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  5. No we don't, Louise. Not on any of the channels I have, anyway! But snippets of it may appear in the Swedish news when reporting from Europe, of course.

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  6. Congratulations, Monica!
    Like you, my passive understanding of French isn't bad, but using French to actually SAY SOMETHING is a different matter - I am so out of practice...
    My Italian could probably use sprucing up, too, as it's been a while since I last made proper use of it, and languages do develop and change over the years, as you know.
    If I understood Turkish (I know a handful of words only), I'd know more about my neighbours than I ever care to know - they often speak on the phone or to each other at a rather high volume, loud enough for me to hear each and every word.

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  7. Meike, I get your point :) (Perhaps not always an advantage to understand every language spoken around us!) As for Turkish, I doubt I'll be setting my ambition much higher than learning a few phrases and words - just enough to recognise which language it is when I hear it, perhaps. (The largest immigrant language in Sweden is still Finnish, as it has been all my life. I still don't know any Finnish apart from yes and 1-2-3, but I do recogise when it is Finnish I hear spoken, even if I don't understand what they're saying!)

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  8. Everyone i know who has tried learning Welsh without tutors and regular conversation says it is the most difficult language they have come across so I think you've done well to concentrate elsewhere for the moment.
    Congratulation on your 40% fluency already.

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    1. Thanks John. I believe you about the Welsh :) I find it very hard to take in because they seem to use a lot more words than English. So it's like one has to learn phrases rather than single words - and I find it hard to memorize like that when I can't identify the basic structure of the individual elements (the meaning/grammar of each). The Welsh Duolingo course also seems to me to focus on Welsh for people actually living in the area, as rather early on (from my "foreign" point of view!) they also bring in differences between north/south dialects, and also the difference between English and Welsh names for (English and Welsh) towns etc.

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  9. Hello!:) Congratulations on reaching level 16 in Spanish. Well done!:) When you have mastered Spanish, why not try Portuguese, which in a way is very similar to Spanish, easy to understand, but perhaps more difficult to speak. You are adventurous to try Turkish, but my husband learnt English by listening to the BBC, and watching films, so watching a series in another language is a good idea. Enjoy your weekend.:)

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    1. Hi B, thanks for visiting :) As I'm still very much a beginner with Spanish, I suspect it would not be the best idea to add Portugese into the mix as well - I would just be mixing them up. In an odd sort of way, I think Turkish is different enough not to cause too much trouble that way. (Especially since with that language I have no ambition to learn to speak it. Learning to understand a little bit will be quite enough.)

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  10. Hello Monica! Congratulations on your milestone with Spanish on Duolingo. I tried learning French on it but to no significant success!

    Thanks for passing by my blog and I'm looking forward into your participation. Have a nice week ahead. Cheers!

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  11. and oh, thanks for featuring my linky logo here on your blog! Much appreciated!!

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  12. I was getting oin well with my French Duolingo when I was having to take it easy after my operation but as soon as I became busy again and then went away the will-power to spend the time on Duoling vanished. It's a shame because it's a great programme and I need to get my French up to speed.

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    1. Considering your speedy recovery after the knee op and weighing in everything else you've been doing this summer, I estimate you may have spent about five minutes with the Duolingo app, Graham! ;) (Just kidding!!!) Don't worry. Should you ever find yourself inclined to take it up again, I'm sure it will still be there (and the time you already spent with it not wasted).

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