I received no compensation for this review of a product. It is my own personal opinion.
I recently discovered a language-learning program called DuoLingo!
This is probably one of the greatest programs I’ve ever used. They give you the option to learn Spanish, German, French, Portuguese, and of course, Italian. And of course they have the option to learn English from each of those languages. You can complete it on a computer or on an iPhone (not sure if the app works on Androids too…). I highly recommend it to anyone who has the desire to begin learning a new language. It’s even helpful for people who have been studying the language for awhile.
When you first make an account and choose your language of choice, you have the option of either starting at the beginning or taking a test if you feel you can start further along. I chose to start from the beginning. My biggest problem in Italian is that I don’t know enough vocabulary to successfully communicate what I want to say. This app is really helping me build up my vocabulary, and it also mixes in the grammar lessons easily – which is a nice refresher for me. There is a nice mix of question types: multiple choice, fill in the blank, choose from given words to translate the given sentence, simply translating the given sentence, etc. The best part is that DuoLingo even forces you to speak. In every section, there are usually at least two questions that require you to simply repeat a given sentence.
Apparently you can even sync up with friends to compete, see who can make the most progress in language learning. I am not currently participating in that, partly because I just want to focus on completing the program without going on a crazy, competitive bender. Which has been known to happen.
The fact that I can use the program as an app is great, because it means I really have no excuse not to work on it. As my iPhone is always with me, the program is always ready for me to squeeze a quick section in. I think this app could also be great for people who are planning vacations abroad. The first few sections are just the very basics of a language, which could go a long way in helping people get around in a new country.
Depending on how well my Italian is once I finish the program, maybe I’ll start learning Portuguese next… That’s me – learn the less-globally used languages first, worldwide useful languages last.