The Duolingo Experience

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Image Courtesy: http://www.cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2012/june/images/duolingo_300x200.jpg

I stumbled upon this site as a result of casual browsing on Quora (lately, I have become a quora-addict, it has too many interesting things to read :D), and I cannot be grateful enough for that. I had always wanted to learn Spanish, but either due to the lack of time or due to unavailability of resources, was not able to pursue it. I had tried to learn it through a book, but most of the times it felt like I was merely trying to memorize the words instead of understanding the language. So I gave up the pursuit and planned to learn it when I completed my studies.

Duolingo was recommended by a lot of people, so I decided to try it. I didn’t expect much. I was already preparing myself for a lot of motivated commitment and perseverance. I created my account, then went on to navigated the site. Impression Factor #1: Beautiful design, easy to navigate and locate stuff. It is really very easy to find anything on duolingo. The design is minimalistic yet creative and the colour scheme is subtle.

Next, I went on to the lessons. Here I found the Impression Factor #2: A skill tree is made that almost briefs the amount of time (depending on the time you devote per day) it would take to learn the course at a basic-intermediate level. That also helps you plan your input per day.

Clicking on the first lesson of the first level, I found that the basics were clearly stated out before you started on to learn the language. Impression Factor #3: These basics made the learning very smooth. Once you got hold of the basics, it was easy to grasp whatever words came next.

Soon I finished my first lesson, but did not feel as if I had put in any effort. Impression Factor #4: The lessons are designed in a fun to learn way. Not only your daily and weekly progresses are recorded, you are also rewarded with lingots and points. Points add up to complete a certain level. Lingots get you cool stuff from the Duolingo store. Plus, a bonus lingot if you have done the lesson without any mistakes 🙂

The best part is it is an interactive course. You don’t have a video in which you are instructed; rather you are taught a word and then you are asked its translation. Impression Factor #5: The interactive system helps you learn the right pronunciation. Even though you don’t get to interact with natives, you are not at zero level when it comes to speaking.

There is so much more to explore. Every day, when I am tired of working, I log into duolingo.com and play for a while there. These guys really know how to make learning fun! And, it is all offered for FREE! Could we ask for more?

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Forever

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Image Courtesy: http://www.mostphotos.com/preview/636602/colored-satin-ribbon-in-the-sky.jpg

If only I could keep you forever
If only I had my way
You would be my precious treasure
That I’d protect everyday

I’d bind you lightly, with strings
Of love and joy, comfort and care
And a sense of security that always clings
Just so that I could keep you near

These are but the yearnings of a heart
No matter how much I brood
In time, we must go apart
Bondage never did any good

For winds of change will surely blow
And afflict its nature upon you
Slowly you will grow
Into something different from what I knew

Perhaps, the strings will tighten
Choking your existence
Or so much would they slacken
Losing you in distance

Both the ways, I suffer
You’ll be beyond my reach
Living this life would be rougher
My soul would incessantly screech

Yet, those strings I’d softy tie
To you, and give them their chance
To grow and shrink, to dip and fly
With you, as you advance

No, I’ll not hold the ends of any linking
You are free to soar and shine
I’ll quietly rejoice thinking
For a moment, you were mine