Bonjour mes amis. Hands up if, like me, you wish you could learn another language? It just seems like it’s so time-consuming though, but maybe it doesn’t have to be.
One language I have always loved, but have always struggled with, is French. I love the way it sounds – it’s one of those languages where I listen to people speaking it in awe, wondering how it actually makes any sense to them.
I did French at school for eight years but I found it tough. It was the genders that caught me out. How do you know what gender a chair is for example? Do I just have to memorise it? Or what?
Tom and I recently changed our Christmas travel plans and we’re going to Paris instead. (DISNEYLAND!) I know that the majority of people I will speak to in France will speak English but I like being able to say basic things in the language of the place I’m going.
I’d like to point out that this isn’t a sponsored post or anything like that, it’s a challenge I want to set myself and I know lots of people would like to learn a language so I thought it would be a fun thing to do together because we can all spur each other on and the app I’m about to talk about is fun.
You may have heard of a language learning app called Duolingo. It’s a free mobile app and you can also use it in your browser. At the moment, the following languages are available for English speakers; Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Irish, Danish and Swedish.
Like most language learning software, Duolingo uses a mixture of learning techniques including listening, filling in the gaps, speaking (though you can turn this off if you are unable to speak at the time), writing and flashcards.
I’ve used Duolingo before and I enjoyed it and could feel my basic skills improving but I didn’t really make a conscious effort to use it every day for a decent period of time, so I can’t help but wonder how much skills might improve if I use it regularly for a few weeks, and longer hopefully.
The challenge I’m setting myself, and anyone who wants to join me, is to use the Duolingo app at least once a day and meet my points target during the 31 days of March to improve my French skills.
Talking of points; Duolingo uses gamification to keep you coming back for more by awarding you points when you complete sections. You choose your daily points target and reminders pop up on your phone telling you to practice and reach your target.
It’s not time consuming and you probably only need to spend 5 – 10 minutes per day to reach and exceed your points target.
There are plenty of times during the day when we might be just waiting and have nothing to do so let’s turn them into opportunities to improve our language skills:
- Waiting for the kettle to boil
- Waiting for toast to toast, cooking breakfast or any cooking that doesn’t require much attention
- Waiting for the washing machine to do the final minute that actually takes five minutes
- On public transport
- Waiting for someone
- During TV ad breaks
We can all spare 10 minutes throughout the day. No excuses, download the app or open up your browser and let’s do it!
I know it’s not quite March yet but I’ve already started – there’s no time like the presence.
Are you going to join me? If so, which language are you going to begin learning?