Duolingo vs Babbel or both?
I am a language nerd, and I like to admit that. My native language is German, but this blog is written in English, which is the first sign for my language craziness.
I love to travel, probably because my parents took me out of the country with them for the first time when I was just a year old, and almost every year after that. Granted, our family vacation was usually spent in Flandern, Belgium. But that’s still another country and another language.
But even more than just travelling, I love being able to be in another country and at least be able to order a coffee in the native language of that country. I love just sitting in a café listening to different people, different languages, and different accents. I love languages.
I am always trying to find a way to improve or learn new languages. Last year I made a friend who lives in England but originally comes from South Africa and speaks Afrikaans. I just couldn’t resist looking up a few words and throwing them into conversations. I also love how that makes people smile and light up.
For almost a year, I had a subscription on Babble.com. I had the „Complete Package“, which gives you access to all lessons, in all the languages they offer. I thought it would be a great idea to try and learn multiple languages at once. I started six different languages, some to refresh memories I had from school (Business English, French, Spanish), some out of curiosity (Dutch, Norwegian, Italian) and figured I could do one lesson of each a day (one lesson = about 10 minutes). It sounds crazy, I know, but I tried and it worked fine for a while, until work and life got in the way I had to give up.
But my subscription lasts for a year, so I still have it until Mai, and I want to make the best of it this year. I’m going to cut back on the languages though. I will try to focus on French and my resolution to become able to read a French book this year.
I’m going to try out something different too, it’s another language learning website called Duolingo. I’ve read about it on lots of blogs and wanted to give it a try. I registered this morning, and it lets you take a test to see whether you should start from scratch, and it put me straight up to level 5, which sounds pretty cool.
What I love about Duolingo so far: it feels like a video game. You don’t just work through lessons, no. You have three hearts (three lives) in one lesson. If you get something wrong, you lose a heart. If you lose all hearts, it’s game over and you have to start the lesson again from the beginning. It’s an awesome motivator. You also collect points and level up through doing lessons and tests, and you can unlock cool things by collecting coins by passing tests and completing things.
The one thing I might not like: it does not explain grammar. On Babbel, every lesson covers a grammar topic, and it’s explained (not thoroughly, but enough so you understand the basics) and you do little exercises and revisions on grammar.
I know lots of people hate grammar and are happy that it’s not forced upon them, but I’m the kind of girl that wants to know how things work and with language, grammar is a big part of that. Which is the biggest reason why Rosetta Stone software never worked for me, it just bored me after a little while of repeating words and sentences over and over. I know that they are building up to that one moment when it just clicks in the brain, but it never clicks for me when the big question ‘why’ is still bouncing around in my head.
Anyhow: Babbel or Duolingo, hopefully I can find out this year, for now I am using them both.
Do you have experiences with either of them? Which languages are you trying to learn, and why? And how is it working for you?