In this video, four Americans were challenged to learn French for 20 minutes a day for 60 days using the free Duolingo app. Take a look at the video below:
Whether they realized it or not, Buzzfeed demonstrated the struggles of learning a language: losing motivation, problems with language apps, needing real practice and getting what you put in. Let’s examine some of these problems.
Duolingo Is Not Enough
Did you notice that after seven days of using Duolingo, the four learners didn’t have any remarkable breakthrough with their French? One lady in the video mentioned that she could only read but her pronunciation wasn’t good. I think Duolingo is a great language learning app, as I’ve mentioned before. It teaches you basic sentences and vocabulary, but unless you’re focused, you probably won’t remember much. While using this app, it’s quite easy to go through the motions, but not really concentrate on what you’re learning. Also, if you don’t use this app very much you spend most of your time reviewing what you’ve already done and not spend time on learning new things. This app is a wonderful addition to whatever methods you’re already using. It’s another tool in your language learning box, but it shouldn’t be your only tool. That’s why even after 30 days most of the learners couldn’t complete their quiz. Another learner mentioned that talking to somebody who’s fluent in French might help because then you know if you’re on the right track – which brings me to my next point…
Real Life Practice
Going out in the world and practicing your English can seem very overwhelming, but it’s vital to do so. As you can see in the video, the learners weren’t sure if they were making real progress or not. The native French speaker was able to correct their pronunciation that perhaps Duolingo couldn’t pick up on or properly explain – i.e. the difference between ‘tu’ and ‘vous’. When the native French speaker came back on day 45 to give them real life practice (ordering in a restaurant) the learners were able to actually use their French in a realistic setting. When they had their final dinner party on day 60, one learner commented that he learned more that day than the entire learning journey. Speaking with your friends, or other English speakers makes a huge difference. But whether you have a friend or not, there are many different ways to get real life English speaking practice. Click here for more ideas!
Did you notice that after only 30 days most of the learners stopped using Duolingo every day? The fact is, that excitement you felt when you first started learning a language fades quickly. And in turn, you lose the motivation to continue learning. We usually start to learn a language with a specific goal in mind – these four learners didn’t really have a goal. They were asked to do a challenge and they thought it’d be cool. How could they stay motivated if they didn’t have a real reason to do it in the first place? And this brings me to my last point…
You Get What You Put In
Obviously learning French wasn’t on their list of priorities – you could tell that they didn’t really care, and they didn’t put in the extra effort needed to learn a language. If they worked harder – put in more time, focus, and concentration – they would have had better results. So if you work hard at improving your English, you are guaranteed to see results.
Learning English – or any language – is no easy task. This video demonstrates how easy it can be to lose motivation and not put anything into our studies. But with your hard work, and with the help of your teacher(s), you can master the English language!