Five months ago I wrote a list of thirty goals that I wanted to achieve by the end of my 20’s titled 30 Before 30; one of those goals was to ‘become fluent in a language other than English’. Around two years ago I began learning French on and off until I found that French just wasn’t for me. Put plainly, I sucked at it; I couldn’t wrap my mouth around the pronunciations and the rules did not click with me. I stopped French, but did not want to give up on the whole institution of learning another language altogether.
During the short amount of time I spent in Germany the way with which German’s spoke and the history and stories of the country fascinated me. This was verified when I watched Netflix’s new German series ‘Dark’; I watched it with German audio and English subtitles and was utterly consumed in not only the storyline but again, the language. I had a couple of other motivations towards learning German, including inspiration from Youtuber Evan Edinger, but these were the mains.
I did not want to fork out money to learn German and I simply did not have the time to attend classes; so being taught was out of the questions and teaching myself was my only other option. To be honest, if I actually did have the time and money I think I would still want to teach myself as self-teaching is something that I admire.
I started out using the website Babbel. Don’t get me wrong, Babbel is great and if it wasn’t for stumbling upon another option I would still willingly pay a monthly subscription to use Babbel, but after a couple of months it wasn’t for me. Babbel’s lesson structure starts with the basics but does not linger; it is very fast-paced. To give an example, I would complete a 15 minute module on learning numbers 1 to 10, and then move straight on to another module where I would learn the days of the week. It is not repetitive, and personally I need repetitiveness in order to properly grasp something.
I had heard of another website called Duolingo; a free language learning platform, and straight away thought it was too good to be true. I decided to give it a crack though and ended up falling in love. Yes, Duolingo is free but surprisingly there are no boundaries. It has a tree like lesson structure where you can’t learn something until you learn the basics of that something. It awards you with in-game ‘lingots’ when you make different accomplishments, it tracks your daily streaks, reminds you to complete your decided learning goals and let’s you follow the progress of other people. The factor that I love the most about Duolingo is that it is VERY repetitive; I’ve memorised more in the past couple of weeks than I did when using Babbel for months.
I am not saying that one is better than the other, but I am stating my preferences and why I prefer Duolingo over Babbel. I’ve been learning German for about three months now and I am loving it! The language is so intricate but it makes sense (for now). If you’re thinking about learning another language and trying to decide what one to go for, I highly recommend German! Give it a go!
Danke furs Lesen! Auf Wiedersehen.