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My Duolingo Addiction

 

I am addicted to Duolingo, the language learning app. I liked it well enough when I was using it on my desktop, but now that I have it on my smartphone, it’s my nightlight and my blanky all wrapped up in one. This could explain my recently developed wrist and hand pain, but I can’t give it up. I love the little trumpet bursts when I’m successful, and I love when a previously red or green circle turns gold, because I have (temporarily) mastered a skill. I do a little bit of Spanish, French, and Hebrew every day (who am I kidding, I do A LOT). I have to force myself not to add a fourth language to my training program (Italian? Russian? Yiddish? Do they even have Yiddish?).

B - and I'm getting sleepy

Cricket is, of course, fascinated.

It’s hard to know how much I’m really learning and how much I’m just punch drunk with the positive reinforcement. I was never much of a video game player as a kid. I tried Pac Man and Miss Pac Man and Frogger, but I never bothered to compete for high scores or move on to the more intense role playing games. But if I’d had a smartphone programmed with Duolingo and Typing Tutor (one of my old time favorites) and other learning games, I would have been a goner.

 

pac man

I always identified more with the ghosts than with Pac Man.

I’m pretty sure Cricket is learning by osmosis, just hearing all of these languages pouring out of my phone. But if she’s mastering any of it, she’s keeping it close to the fur. So far her primary language remains barking, and no matter how long she tutors me in this complicated communication system, I still can’t seem to master it. Clearly she needs to create an app for that.

IMG_0510

Cricket could be reciting her theory of how to achieve peace on earth.  I’d never know.

My long term goal with Duolingo is to improve my language skills to the point where I can actually use them, with people, but for now, there’s something so calming and low stress about it. Especially compared to all of the other learning tasks I have at the moment. Read two hundred pages and distill it all down to two paragraphs with citations, by tomorrow! Observe a group, without taking notes, and then produce a verbatim account of two hours of dialogue, and don’t forget anything important!

            The more stressed I feel, the more time I want to spend doing Spanish exercises. I am at risk of getting to the point where there aren’t enough hours in the day, and I’ll have to decide what’s more important, getting my school work done or fueling my addiction. I’m sure I’ll come to the right decision when the time comes. Well, mostly sure.

IMG_0238.JPG

“Do the right thing, Mommy.”

 

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About rachelmankowitz

I am a fiction writer, a writing coach, and an obsessive chronicler of my dogs' lives.

88 responses »

  1. That sounds like a much better use of your time than stressing about graduate school. I am not familiar with the app, so I will check it out. My granddaughter wants to learn French.

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  2. ramblingsofaperforatedmind

    Duolingo is fun for me as well…..

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  3. I was not much good at Pac Man, or Tetris or Super Mario. Poor hand-eye coordination I guess, despite much coaching from my son. And had 13 years — that’s Years — of French and I can’t speak conversationally, though I sometimes dream in it. You are very smart, I asked Cricket.

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  4. Thanks! I don’t know this app. Looking forward to trying it out. 😊

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  5. My husband just recommended this app to me!

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  6. Remember me telling you about that smart-ass kid telling me a new smartphone would have a 6-month learning curve? Imagine me telling him, “Oh, and by the way, I want to install the Duolingo app on it, also.” He would probably die laughing. I might have to borrow Cricket so she could set him straight with her barking. Three languages? Rachel, I am so impressed!

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  7. Duolingo is big in our family too! Keep at it.

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  8. Do the right thing. ☺️

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  9. Entonces, Cricket puede ladrar en español ahorra.

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  10. Thanks for the reminder. I just remembered that I haven’t had my lesson today 🙂

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  11. Italian is easy 😉 But you’re probably juggling enough languages as is.

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  12. I keep telling myself I’m going to learn Spanish, but I don’t think I can download more apps on my phone. Maybe if I consider a critical app like Dragon Warrior – hmmm…..

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  13. I like positive reinforcement I get in Bejeweled lool. At least your learning something!

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  14. I just discovered Duolingo and am completely addicted, too! I’m zeroed in on Spanish. The idea of becoming bilingual is really exciting.

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  15. I have never heard of this app. I’ve been thinking about picking up a few languages so I know what I’ll be downloading tonight.

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  16. I’ve got to download this game, it sounds great!

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  17. I should tell my humom to download that so she can use her brain for better things like learning new languages instead of watching TV!

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  18. Love “Do The Right Thing Mommy” pic.

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  19. Max is bi-lingual: English and Japanese. He seems to handle either one with equal facility.

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  20. Sounds like a healthy addiction.

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  21. Thanks for this, I have been looking for something that will help learn another language

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  22. Just downloaded it. I have been wanting to learn Spanish for a trip we are taking to south west Texas, right on the border. Thanks for letting us know about it.

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  23. I’ve never heard of it until now. . . Thanks! Now if I can just remember the things I’m taught this should go smoothly. My record is 0-4 so far (Spanish, Japanese, French & Hebrew).

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  24. Wow sounds interesting! For some reason I have stayed away from the apps and games craze but this I feel like trying out! 🙂

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  25. how fun! beats watching tv to de-stress! is it free?

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  26. I love duolingo too 🙂 Only have it on my PC – as am still a dinosaur phone-wise !! Am attempting to learn Italian 🙂

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  27. I tried Duolingo too, but somehow I couldn’t stick with it. I’m now using Memrise, which seems a better fit for me because I’m forced to review previously learned words before moving on to the next level hehe

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  28. Hi Rachel. Thanks for liking my blog today. Cricket is a cutie. I saw yarn to knit Pac Man socks and I didn’t buy it when I saw it. I still regret it. Seemed pricey at the time. I am going to go and check out Duolingo and wanted to tell you so. Best, Ruth in PIttsburgh

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  29. Your fourth language may be Afrikaans! 😁

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  30. One of my friends uses duolingo for Italian. She goes to Italy each year to help harvest olives. She enjoys practicing her new skills on the natives.

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  31. I’m glad you reminded me of Duolingo. I was keeping up with Spanish and then let it drop. I’d love to get back into it. I agree that it’s very nice having that validation.

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  32. Maybe a Doggolingo for Cricket?

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  33. I was doing Ukrainian on duolingo. The only annoying thing was transliterating the cyrillic. I always wanted to do it differently than Duo did! Just to warn you…if you are considering Russian.

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  34. Morning Rachel – I too join you in your addiction. So far on my travels I have not had opportunity to use my Duolingo phrase ‘The cats are eating the beetles’ but you never know! Don’t think my pea brain could manage anything more than one language. Must dash I am off for my daily fix. Tschuss Mxxx

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    • Each Language has its own very strange repeating themes. I’m not sure if it’s a comment on the majority of users of that language, or just the preoccupations of the people who wrote the exercises.

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      • You are spot on. I have a friend whose daughter harvests languages. She is a systems person and once she has those patterns she is away. You are also right about the virtual Cyrillic keyboard another friend is learning Russian (another Duolingo convert!) and has down loaded one. Love Mokex

  35. Duolingo is an excellent app. I started using it for Italian and it pays off. You reminded me to keep on using it, by the way… Oh and your dog is adorable. Sending love and best wishes, Rachel ❣

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  36. I’d never heard of this app, but now want it. I’ve got five weeks till I go to Tenerife, Do you reckon there’s any chance I could pick up a decent amount of conversational Spanish before then???

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  37. I really enjoyed this post and relate so much 🙂 I’ve just moved to Israel for a ten-month teaching fellowship and am definitely using Duolingo as a crutch. I’ve got to say it’s helping keep me on track and is the most consistent learning tool I’ve found offered online for free so far, so I’m sticking with it! 🙂 Just came across your blog and am excited to read more about your experiences in Israel.

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  38. My kids and husband are loving duolingo at the moment, I never seem to get time to join in. You have convinced me to give it a go.
    My goal is to learn French as we want to live in France, escaping post brexit Britain!

    Reply

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