1. Tom Morris  🏳️‍🌈: Duolingo is amazing. Learning how to deny being a horse ("yo no soy un caballo") before learning boring stuff like checking into hotels or getting a taxi at the airport is precisely the sort of surrealist approach to language education I appreciate.

    @tommorris after starting learning German just with Duolingo, my approach with new languages (currently French) is to do the Duo and Memrise courses in parallel. I like the approach. Duo has more complex sentences and better grammar help even if the vocab is a bit random, whereas Memrise has better audio (on the official courses at least) and the vocab is much more goal-oriented.

  2. After four months I completed the Duolingo German tree!

    I have thoroughly enjoyed using Duolingo and would recommend it to anyone who wants to learn a language it supports. Having said that, there are many things it will not teach, for which I recommend and am using these additional resources:

    • The Memrise Beginners German (A1) course — the vocab complements the Duolingo course, is more strict about umlauts, and has proper native speaker audio
    • The Your Daily German Online Course is a collection of articles which explain a lot of interesting grammar points you will have absorbed from the Duolingo course. They also do a “word/prefix of the day” blog series which is extremely helpful. Don’t be put off by the weird, long-winded writing style, it’s a lot of fun and contains a lot of excellent explanations.
    • Deutsch, Warum Nicht? from Deutsche Welle, is an old radio course which I’ve been using to improve hearing comprehension. As well as being a good course, it has nice classical music breaks and endlessly amusing details. Anyone who enjoys Look Around You will love Deutsch, Warum Nicht.

    Online Deutsche Welle CEFR placement tests put me at A2 right now. Good thing too, as I’m headed for Germany later this month…

  3. Google Translate’s statistical origins show themselves in interesting ways:

    it translates “marching with our spades” into German as “ziehen mit dem Spaten”

    but translates “marching with our shovels” as “marschieren mit unseren Schaufeln”

    I’m 95% certain that the use of “ziehen” and “dem” in the first example rather than “marschieren” and “unseren” is due to “und ziehen mit dem Spaten” being a lyric in Die Moorsoldaten (the peat bog soldiers).

  4. Being around people who speak many languages is so inspiring. Must resist the temptation to learn Spanish and French immediately, refocus energy into getting good at German first…

  5. Travelling around Europe always leaves me with intense motivation to learn languages. Currently riding the wave by getting back onto icelandiconline.is (low priority but I’m immersed every day) and starting German on Duolinguo (higher priority but no immersion at the moment).