Tag Archives: polyglot

Duolingo Language Test Drive to Begin

I’ve finally decided to get that language test drive started. I’m going to start off with a couple languages I’ve already taken a look at, then move on from those.

First up is Irish. I can already say that the grammar is different than English. Second will be Esperanto. It’s an easy language, but it isn’t spoken by any particular country. Following them, I’ll work my way through the available languages and post my impressions after I’ve done five language lessons. Ukrainian and Russian have alphabet (Cyrillic) lessons, which I’ll go through first, then do five language lessons.

This is the order I’m going to do them in:

  1. Irish
  2. Esperanto
  3. Norwegian
  4. Italian
  5. Dutch
  6. Portuguese
  7. Swedish
  8. Danish
  9. Turkish
  10. Ukrainian
  11. Russian

Ukrainian has the better Cyrillic lessons than Russian, so I’ll do that first. Turkish is supposed to be quite difficult, so I’ll leave it until later, as well.

There are other languages that will be available soon, including Polish. Once I get far enough along with Spanish, I can try Catalan from Spanish.

Which ones are you looking forward to hearing about?

Test Driving Languages

Studying languages has been an interest of mine for quite some time, but I hadn’t really focused on learning more than just French and Japanese.  Now, I’m studying Spanish and German in addition. But that’s not all I want to study. I’ve decided which languages I’ll do after these, but I’m going to do something a little different at first. I’m going to test drive some languages.

On Duolingo, there are 25 levels for each language. It’s basically like a game. The more XP you get, the higher your level. I’m currently at level 8 for French, 5 for Spanish, and 4 for German.  I’m going to do each language available on Duolingo up to level 2, just to try them out and see what they’re like. After achieving level 2 (which is only 50 XP or 5 lessons), I’ll write a post with my impressions of the language. It should be interesting.

As for French, I’ve studied it before, so I can’t give a first impression. I do have to say that I’d forgotten a lot of it, but it seem somewhat easy to pick up again. The difficulty for me is verb conjugation for some verbs, as well as pronouns.

Spanish is the first new language I’ve studied since I started Japanese in 1997. I’ve heard that it’s supposed to be the easiest Romance language to study. So far, I haven’t had many problems. Just the same issues as with French: verb conjugation and pronouns. I also don’t study it enough to really remember things well. I’ve been focusing a lot more on French.

German is the third language I started. I’m not really focusing on this yet, but I’ve found it interesting. It’s kind of similar to English, since it is a Germanic language, so some things are easy. However, I’m having issues with the verb conjugations and pronouns. The noun capitalisation has been easy, though.

So, I will be trying out the following languages (in no particular order): Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Irish, Swedish, Danish, Turkish, Norwegian, Ukrainian, Esperanto, and Russian. Coming soon are Polish, Hungarian, Vietnamese, and Hindi. I could also study Catalan from Spanish.

Which do you think would be the most difficult language?

Survey: Which Languages Do You Want to Learn?

As you probably know, I’m studying some languages on Duolingo at the moment: French, Spanish, and German. If it had Japanese, I’d definitely be going through that course, too. Eventually, I’d like to study every language that’s on Duolingo.

But I’d like to do a quick survey. If you could choose any three languages to study, which would you like to study? Please select three languages when you vote. These are the currently available languages on Duolingo for English speakers.

Thanks for voting! Please leave a comment below explaining your choices.

My Roadmap to Learning Languages

Having started studying various languages at Duolingo, I have to make sure I don’t get myself in over my head. I need to pace myself and limit the number of languages I learn at one time. Duolingo isn’t the only thing I’m going to use, of course, but it’s one of the best ways to learn core vocabulary and grammar for free and efficiently. What it doesn’t help with is speaking and listening. Those can be learned in other ways.

At the moment, I’m working on French, Spanish, and German, and I’ve taken a look at Irish. French is what I’m focusing on, as it’s mostly a refresher. Since it isn’t new material to me, I’m tackling another Romance language at the same time, Spanish. I’ve heard Spanish is easier than French to learn. And then there’s German, which is my third main language to learn, but I’m not working on it as much as the others.

So, for now, I will concentrate on French and Spanish. As I finish the language tree for French, I will then change my focus to Spanish and German. Spanish should finish soon after French, so I’ll then switch to German and Irish. But what do I do next?

I’m thinking that after German, I may work on either Italian or Norwegian. However, there is another language that’s starting up in the next few days, Russian. It’ll be released into Beta soon, and I’m intrigued by it.

So, why would I learn Russian? My grandfather was born in Russia, and some members of my family are trying to trace his roots and find as much information about his ancestry as possible. If I learn Russian, it may be useful if I ever try to communicate with anyone in Russia or even visit my grandfather’s hometown to do a little searching on my own. I’ve heard Russian is a difficult language, and it’ll be my first Slavic language to study. Up until that point, I will have worked on mainly Germanic, Romance, and Celtic languages, as well as Japanese. A Slavic language means learning a new alphabet. That should be interesting.

There is one other thing I may work on while I’m doing the other languages, and that’s Esperanto. While it’s not a widespread language that has a home country, it has been found that if you study Esperanto, it can be easier to study other European languages. I think I’ll give it a shot.

In the long-term, there are other languages I’ll work on, including Portuguese, Swedish, Danish, Turkish, Ukrainian, and Dutch. Those are all available on Duolingo now. In the future, I’d love to try Greek, Welsh, Polish, Arabic, Hindi, Korean, Finnish, and Mandarin Chinese.

Too ambitious? What do you think? Do you have any language ambitions?

Learning More Languages

Last week, I posted about duolingo, a website dedicated to studying language and doing translations. I said I was working on a few languages:

  • French (now up to level 5/25) – This is the main language I want to study, as I studied it for 8 years in school, and want to brush up on it before going back to Canada.
  • Spanish (now up to level 3/25) – This is a next logical step after French, considering how widespread the language is. And I heard it’s fairly easy to learn.
  • German – I’m part German, and I’d like to learn it.
  • Italian – I’d love to go to Italy, and this would be useful.
  • Norwegian – Not necessarily useful, but I’d like to learn it, as I am part Norwegian.
  • Irish – Not the most useful language these days, as there aren’t many speakers any more, but it would be wonderful to help expand the number of people who speak it. Also, I’m part Irish.

Well, I’ve since added two more:

  • Portuguese – Since it’s very closely related to Spanish, this should be quick and easy to learn.
  • Turkish – It’s different. It’s something I may never have to use, unless I visit Turkey, which I’d love to do.

In addition to these, I’m always trying to improve my Japanese, something I need to work harder on. And also, I still want more languages! Duolingo has some languages that aren’t quite ready for studying, but I would like to add Greek and Russian when they’re available.

Are you studying any languages? What can you speak? What do you want to study?

Are You Multilingual?

I studied French from grade 4 until grade 11 in school.  I challenged the grade 12 French test in grade 11 and passed without studying.  So basically, I have credit for nine years of French education.  That was twenty years ago.

In university, I studied Japanese for one semester and learned how to read and write hiragana and katakana. I had some basic grammar, as well. That was in 1997.  In 2005, I moved to Japan, started studying Japanese, and passed the 3-kyuu Japanese Language Proficiency Test in 2008. I can speak Japanese at a survival level, but not great. Unfortunately, I’ve been spending most of my time speaking English, something I regret.

So, I’m fluent in English, can understand about 30-50% of what I read in French (forget about speaking), and can understand the topics of conversations in Japanese, and I can usually understand most of what is being said at work in Japanese.

My daughter speaks mostly Japanese, though understands English. She will be fully bilingual, plus she’ll be learning French in school in Canada.

How about you? Can you speak more than one language? Are you monolingual, bilingual, trilingual, or a polyglot? Or just fluent in one language with some ability in others? Let me know in the comments below.