morwen: (Default)
[personal profile] morwen
Way back in January, I signed up for Duolingo, a free language-teaching app, to do some French revision. I have a French GSCE, 'C' grade, but calling it rusty would be to imply that any iron content was present in the first place. Even at the time, I have no idea how I passed.

So, revision. I ran into the same problems I faced before: spelling in French is about as complicated as English, without the benefit of learning it as a child; and the fucking gender. I have problems with gender in language, too.

I decided to give Spanish a go over the summer. I made pretty good progress, even if I do say so myself. The spelling is pretty regular (although stuff like the b/v distinction still sometimes gets me), and the even genders are a bit more sensible, because of -a -o endings at least provide a default rule you can learn exceptions to. (It helps that "el" and "la" are far more distinct than "le" and "la").

I have got pretty far! Level 11, with just a few more modules to go. The problem is, it's not really teaching me Spanish. It's teaching me how to pass Duolingo Spanish tests. I'm picking up a fair bit of Spanish along the way, but there are various unfortunate tricks that I've spotted (when you get presented with words to form a sentence, the first one is going to be the one with a capital letter, right). So I kind of stalled.

HOWEVER, it turns out there is a thing called "adult education" still, despite the government's best intentions. I signed up with a "Beginners B" Spanish course. It seems to be about the right level for me - I would have sailed through the absolute basics course - but I'm just not fluent enough to do much more. There have been a couple of gotchas. I need to learn my Spanish alphabet. And the numbers. Duolingo wasn't teaching the alphabet at all; and not teaching the numbers systemically.

Still, good fun, going to keep plugging away at it. Very weird to be in a classroom environment after so long. I swear I am not doing this just because I got into Community. Honest.

Date: 2014-11-19 10:17 am (UTC)
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
From: [personal profile] liv
Thanks for reminding me about Duolingo. They have recently beta-released a Swedish course, so I'm poking at that a bit. And yes, it's definitely easy to get good at passing Duolingo tests rather than actually learning Swedish. Anyway, I'm ewerb there, if you want to add me.

It's really cool that you've moved on from Duolingo to an actual Spanish course, I hope that goes really well.

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Abigail Brady

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