Part of my resolution to do things for me this year is getting my French back up to scratch. I took French as a third language in high school but over the years I haven’t kept it up. It was serendipitous that I received an email one day with the Duolingo app being featured. The app was for free, and Apple’s 2013 App of the Year, which convinced me to click on the link and download it.
The app itself is really simple to use. You sign up, choose the language you wish to learn (Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian or English), your goal (how often you want to practice), and get started.
You start off with the basics like key verbs and other words. Then you continue to putting phrases together. Each lesson includes translations (from French to English and vice versa) either verbal or written on the screen where you have to type it out or select the correct word from a selection below, as well as having the “teacher” say certain things in French which you need to replicate using your phone’s microphone. With each lesson you are given three hearts which are your lives. If you get a question wrong, you lose a heart. If you lose all your hearts during a lesson, the lesson ends and you have to redo it. If you have set a goal of doing 10 minutes of French a day, the coach will notify you if you haven’t practiced for that day so that you can keep on track.
What I really love is that at any time you can practice what you’ve already learnt. At this stage I have only missed one day since I began and I’m really enjoying it. I do think my years of school French have made it a little easier though.
If you’re keen to give it a try, head over to iTunes here and download it.