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DuoLingo Review: A Game Still Won’t Help You Master German
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DuoLingo Review: A Game Still Won’t Help You Master German

I’ve been toying around with DuoLingo for the past few days, and I’m not too hot for it.

DuoLingo Review: A Game Still Won’t Help You Master German
APP REVIEW

I’ve been toying around with DuoLingo for the past few days, and I’m not too hot for it.

 

Touted as the next big thing in language learning, Duolingo is a free language-learning and translation platform. While the user progresses through his or her language lessons, they concurrently translate websites, documents, and other web-based foreign language materials. Unlike Rosetta Stone and other language-learning programs, DuoLingo is envisioned as a game, or gamified language lessons. Although the idea seems cute at first, in practice it quickly falls apart.

 

The lessons are divided into a sort of skill tree, gradually progressing from the Basics to more complex concepts like cases and conditional verbs. Incorrect answers cost you hearts, while correct answers net you experience points, which allow you to progress through the levels and which you can compare with your friends’. The first snag is the loose translation criteria: sometimes it’ll miss out on a word you translated correctly, other times it will forgive a blatant error. There is also an aural component, with pronounced words and phrases for you to type out or translate, but both the audio quality and pronunciation are appalling. Is it Teeloeffel, or Die Loeffel? I can’t understand you, DuoLingo.

 

Granted, it’s fun to see yourself progress through the levels and bag tons of XP, but you can do that in Final Fantasy, too. DuoLingo’s trying to teach you a language, and like every learning tool before it, it doesn’t really succeed. Props to the team for trying to make language-learning fun, but nothing will ever top an actual person to catch every mistake and suggest changes in the learning program that’s right for you. Give DuoLingo a spin, but don’t cancel your German classes just yet.

 

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