Привет! In January 2021, I did the super basic move of downloading Duolingo and promising to commit to learning a new language. Don’t we all do that at the start of the new year? In fact, I had done the exact same thing last year with Japanese, but then the pandemic hit and I got distracted. Anyways!
This January, I thought I’d invest in my pastime, and force myself to do something worthwhile. As you might remember, this was the same January where I also took a break from my social media apps. The Duolingo owl always says to me “15 minutes of Duolingo can teach you a language. What can 15 minutes of social media do?”. I took the little guy’s words to heart.
So, here I was in January. I paid for the premium Duolingo subscription (it’s just as good free, but if you think you might want to do it everyday, the ads get a bit obnoxious!), and have maintained my uninterrupted streak of learning Russian for 49 days now. That means for 49 days, every morning, I’d wake up, pick up my phone, and practice my lessons of the day. I’m by far not a pro, but I am trusting the process. Let’s see how I fare in a year, if I keep with it.
Why Russian, you ask? Well, I wanted to learn something challenging that involves an unfamiliar (read: non latin) alphabet. Like I said, last year I tried for Japanese, and after learning the Hiragana letters, I got overwhelmed and then the pandemic hit and … excuses, excuses. Russian felt like a nice middle ground. Foreign enough to sound cool and keep things exciting, yet potentially familiar enough where it’s still semi-recognizable letters (I’m looking at you: “аврмтнек…”). It was between that and Hebrew, but again, I guessed Russian would be a bit easier. Mind you, I live in the Balkans and so knowing the Cyrillic alphabet is also useful when traveling. As you can seen, I make all my decisions in a scientific way like this. #science
So, how far did I get in slightly below 50 days? We’ll I’m completely done with all 10 lessons in unit 1 (for context, there’s 5 units in total!). Not only am I done with all 10 lessons, I also have maxed out on all 10 lessons with 5 crowns in each. For those unfamiliar with Duolingo lessons, each lesson has up to five crowns (levels) you can earn. You could complete a unit by just reaching one crown on all lessons; but, no, (flex alert), yours truly finished all crowns! 👑
Do I feel like I know Russian? Нет. I can recognize sentences (in writing and spoken) and deduct meaning. I can also construct basic sentences if I do a quick reminder of the key things just before. However, I do still struggle with spelling out basic-yet-long words correctly without peeking somewhere. But, I struggle with that in English and German too, and I guess spelling accuracy is just something that comes with time.
Have you ever used Duolingo to learn a language? How did it go? Let me know!
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