Last month I embarked on the journey of learning a new language from scratch: Italian!
I opted for an autodidactic approach, so I tailored the weekly units using online resources 1 and combined them with a touch of reality by watching shows, listening to songs and getting in touch with natives in my area. I also set up Duolingo to add a playful component whenever I have some minutes to kill, and that’s when the cross-cultural awkwardness began. This is me attempting to talk to a native after a few Duo lessons:
If you think I made these up, scroll down!
“I am a turtle”. Expat by day, turtle by night. Capisci?
“The monkey reads a book”. Monkeys are pretty smarty-pants at Duo.
“My snake eats your cakes”. Can you blame it? Your cakes are pretty delicious.
“Mario and Luigi are plumbers”. Badum-tss!
Click here for some ambiance.
And that’s not all! Here are some other screenshots that I have collected over the past few weeks. They range from funny to mildly distressing. Fair warning, Duo gets a bit insulting at times:
“You are the pig”. Remember, not just any pig. You are THE pig. Watch your manners.
“I speak with the turtle”. Wait, I thought I was the turtle!?
“You are mine until I die”. Bit possessive, aren’t we?
“Why do we die?” Duo gets philosophical in the late hours of the night.
“My sandals are in the hat”. Good to know you have your Diogenes syndrome in check, buddy.
Despite the somewhat useless but hilarious sentences that Duo throws at you every once in a while, I’m pleased with the app and the concept. I’m not going to get into detail, but here’s a trusted review of both Duolingo and Memrise. 2
I’m documenting my language progress on Twitter 3 using the hashtag #ilmioviaggiolinguistico. If you are learning Italian, join this linguistic journey!
What about you? Do you use language learning apps? To what extend have they boosted your language skills?