After 389 days of Duolingo (and counting) and 11 months of Lingvist (I finished the app last Thursday, doing Lingivst Spanish now), I think I’ve become fluent in reading short declarative sentences in French nonfiction.
UPDATE: Apparently I knew 1,422 words on May 2. Nine and a half months ago.
Hi everyone – long time, no see – it’s so frustrating not to have more time to write (!)
I’m putting this post up on the fly.
I’m using Duolingo to study Spanish at the same time. Possibly a bad idea, but there it is.
Spanish is the language I’ve studied longest, and I’ve always wanted to finally be able to understand Spanish-speaking people, so … although I’ll be spending 6 weeks in Paris, I didn’t want to ‘give up’ my Spanish. So I’m doing one Duolingo “Experience” in Spanish each day along with 6 Experiences in French. Plus 100 French cards on Lingvist.
Oddly, the only serious interference between French and Spanish I’ve experienced so far involves the word for ice cream. What’s odd about that is the fact that I don’t remember how to say “ice cream” in either language, so why should not remembering how to say “ice cream” in Spanish interfere with remembering how to say “ice cream” in French ?
Whenever I’m asked to supply the French word for ice cream, I recall instead that the Spanish word for ice cream begins with an ‘h,’ which makes me think the French word starts with an ‘h,’ too.
After that my mind becomes a complete blank.
Ice cream in Spanish: helado
Ice cream in French: glacé
Why helado-starts-with-an-h should obstruct glacé-starts-with-a-g, I don’t know.
I have no idea whether fanning out among multiple apps is wise. I was thinking that using different apps might give me a slightly different take on the language, or perhaps different points of entry to each word, which might make the words easier to remember.
I don’t know that I’m getting different perspectives on French, and it’s impossible to tell whether multiple apps speed up my recall of the same words.
But I’m definitely getting a whole new perspective on Estonia, the home country of Lingvist’s creator.
Lingvist takes a more sober view of French than do either Duolingo or Memrise. I mean that literally: Memrise teaches you how to say “Bottoms up” in the first 10 words.
Which is kind of funny when you think about it, since nobody says “Bottoms up” in English.
Lingvist’s sobriety is a lot of fun after all the green owls and health bars and space cadets and whatnots of the other two. Nevertheless, I frequently find Lingvist amusing.
For instance, according to Lingvist, I know 1,422 French words (I think that’s 1,422 words, not word families, but I’m not sure) which would allow me to read 77% of the words of any text.
To read fluently, you need to know 98% of the words of a text, so I’m months away from my reading goal. Yet Lingvist thinks it’s important for me, at this stage of the game, to comprehend the following:
Ce qui représente entre six et huit réalisations par an
Which represents between six to eight realisations per year
I have trouble envisioning myself ever wishing to say anything of this nature in French.
All the more so given that I don’t know what a realisation is in English.