I have been trying to learn Spanish since 2019 when we moved closer to the border and it just made sense.
All these past years, I have been dusting off my high school French on our European travels and we managed fine in French speaking locales. But now, with Mexico at my doorstep, I wanted to hablo español.
I took a community center class briefly but the maestra kept picking on me, calling on me when I hadn’t even raised my hand. I’m too old to put up with that mierda so I quit. Instead, I started studying with a few classmates where we coached and corrected each other. And we all improved.
Then Covid hit and the world shut down. I invited three others to meet twice weekly on our deck with masks on. Through rain and cold, our little troupe would meet and chatter in Spanish about whatever nothing we were doing. As you recall, we were all pretty much doing nothing for many, many covid moons. Lots of talk about comida (food) and recettas (recipes) and dónde puedo comprar papel higiénico (where to find toilet paper)!
One day, my sister in R.B. mentioned that she had been studying spanish all by herself using the Duolingo language tool. I invited her to join our grupo via zoom and assured her that we didn’t expect her to speak and could just listen. On her first zoom call, she jumped right in and started correcting people. I was stunned as were we all. And after that, everyone took up Duolingo! We are all “Duo heads.”
For those who don’t know, Duolingo is a clever little app/ desktop service that’s basically free. The lessons are short, the feedback is instant and the damn thing will keep bugging you to do your daily practice. I quickly discovered how much better my Spanish was getting simply by seeing the words on a screen, answering the little prompts, filling in blanks and earning rewards and awards. And if you make a mistake, Duolingo will keep shoving that concept in front of you until you have it down cold. Duolingo uses AI… so it’s muy intelligente.
I didn’t mention that Duolingo has a cute little mascot, the duo owl who swoops down at the start of each lesson. There are also talking cartoon characters who constantly check your replies and clap for you as you progress. The only problem I had is that the free version permits just a limited number of mistakes in a day and then shuts you out til the next day, halting your progress.
So, I upgraded to the paid version called Super Duolingo. In fact, I upgraded to the family version so others could also practice. However, the only person who took me up on this, of course, is my sister (mi hermana) who is now racing way ahead of me. I know this is a fact because Duo sends me daily reminders of her progress!Now my whole group is using Duolingo as a supplement to group meetings and other side studying.
This would just be another little blog post except that today, while watching CNBC business news, I discovered that Duolingo is a publicly traded company and their stock has been soaring (in no small part due to me, I’m sure). I’m so mad!!! I wish I had known it was a stock six months ago and not just a playful, helpful app. I coulda made some real dinero on this one. DOUL is now over $145/share!
Hasta la vista, baby! I’m off to practice mi español ahora con mi amigo Duo!
Duolingo — me gusto mucho and yo quiero comprar stock en el futuro! ( I like you a lot and I want to buy your stock in the future.”
#duolingo @duolingo @duolingoespanol
Good article. Informative, funny and motivating! Enjoyed reading it…mucho gusto! XX
Oh – I thought you were talking about Babbel – that one impresses me [the ads…]. I had fun with Spanish Duolingo back when the granddaughters were young, and the El Salvadorean nanny and I would learn English [her/she] and Spanish [me/I] from the same Spanish or English word. But the granddaughters are both teens now and those days are long gone. Also, I just had a silent little Duolingo app on my phone. – ok, now I’ve read your post. I started SF City College Spanish when the oldest granddaughter was a baby, and there was a branch of city college in the next block, but the instructor picked on her students – teaching Spanish was her ‘therapie’ – so I walked many blocks to another place where I took a few more classes – I learned very little but I now know way more than I did before. The last class was Spanish film – but with subtitles… The ‘bad’ teacher didn’t pick on me because I was older than she 🙂
LikeLiked by 1 person
Duolingo has come a long way! Market leader in language learning. Gracias por tu respuesta!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Been doing Duolingo French since the beginning of covid.
LikeLiked by 1 person