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App of The Week: Duolingo For iOS and Android

Learning a new language can seem like a daunting task. It requires the ability to master conversational skills as well as the ability to read and write it. The Duolingo app for iOS and Android helps you conquer all aspects of learning a language. I know some Spanish since I studied it for years in high school and many of my family members speak it. However since I do not regularly use my Spanish skills, I have began to forget a lot of the vocabulary and grammar rules. In an effort to brush up on my skills, I downloaded the Duolingo app, and I have been loving it ever since!

When you download the app you select the language you want to learn. You can take a test to show the app how much you already know so you can test out of certain skill sets. Then the app will give you a large set of skills that you must master to become fluent. The app is structured like a game so each skill set is a level you have to pass to beat the game so to speak. You will be quizzed on a set of vocabulary words that will pop up multiple times throughout the level until they become familiar and easy to use. The levels that I have worked on so far have asked me to listen to phrases in English and translate them to Spanish as well as listening to Spanish phrases and translating them into English. There are also matching screens where I have a set of English and Spanish words, and I have to match the pairs together. There are also multiple choice questions. Some screens require me to use my phone's mic to speak phrases in Spanish that they grade for my pronunciation and accuracy. When you complete a level you earn points. You also have lives in each level represented by hearts. If you lose too many hearts by getting too many answers wrong then you fail the level and have to start again.

I have to say the app really does start to get a bit addicting. I do like learning languages, so I find the app to be fun. I get excited each time I beat a level. When I fail a level I am excited to try again and prove that I can master it. Duolingo encourages you to stick with it and can send you reminders to help you reach your goals. One common complaint about the app is that there are still a lot of languages that Duolingo does not teach such as Chinese, Japanese, and Arabic to name a few. However, there are still a lot of languages on there to master to keep you busy for a long time.

Duolingo is available for free for both iOS and Android.

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