“When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”
(Si fueris Rōmae, Rōmānō vīvitō mōre.)
I do not always agree with this proverb as it advocates conformity to the masses however, when it comes to language, I do agree. When residing in another country, it is common sense as well as common courtesy to address people in their language, if at all possible.
We will (probably) be heading for Spain, so we should speak Spanish. I speak several languages fluently, but Spanish was unfortunately not one of them. That is about to change.
I have tried a few different ways of learning, after all, we live in the age of the world wide web, but ever since discovering duolingo, I haven’t been using anything else. It’s a marvelous site!
It’s structured like a game, users collect XPs (experience points), there are different levels, it’s completely free, and a lot of fun! You can use it on the web, or you can get the app. You can also setup a daily goal to push yourself towards a certain daily minimum. All the suggested daily goal levels can be reached in no time.
The efficacy of Duolingo’s data-driven approach has been reviewed by an external study commissioned by the company. Conducted by professors at City University of New York and the University of South Carolina, the study estimated that 34 hours on Duolingo may yield reading and writing ability of a US first-year beginners’ course college semester, which takes in the order of 130+ hours. — Wikipedia
Learn a language, with ease… and a little bit of stubbornness
Duolingo currently (as of March 22 2015) offers the following free language courses: Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Irish, Swedish, Danish, Ukrainian, Turkish, Hungarian, Esperanto, Norwegian, Russian, Romanian, Vietnamese, and Polish.
There is also a virtual currency called lingot which allows you to “buy” additional tests and courses in the virtual store, however it all remains strictly virtual!
You can’t buy lingots, you earn them through learning and you can invest them into other fun add-ons for your language learning experience.
I highly recommend the site to anyone who is, or has ever been, interested in learning a new language or strengthening their existing language skills. No more excuses.
As for me, my Spanish is now at level 6, and I will do my best to learn as much as I can before we embark on the upcoming journey!