Über site teaches ‘lingo’ for free: web tool proves useful in class

Duolingo is a free language learning website that helps people to learn Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian and German. You can sign up with your email address or Facebook account.

The way the website works is that you can pick the language you would like to learn, or improve from its options and start the sections.

The goal of the website is to get you fluent enough in a language so that you translate Internet articles, with the concept that the web is universal.

“I would recommend it to students because it provides visual and audio,” said Professor Youngmin Zhu, who teaches English as a Second Language.

According to Zhu, the website “will facilitate learning by taking advantage of the media.”

Duolingo uses picture and audio cues to help people learn the language and to help them remember what they learn. It also has people translate sentences from their desired language into English. Once they have a better handle of the language, they translate English into their desired languages.

“I like how it doesn’t hold you back. You can blaze through the things you know,” said Duolingo user and student Farhad Saied.

If you are one of those people who want to improve on a language, you can take a placement test and Duolingo will jump you forward based on your score. Or you can test ahead of a session.

Duolingo also has an app that you can use to take on the go. The app is much like the website except the website has more features.

For example, on the website you can talk with other Duolingo users if you are having trouble figuring something out. You can also access a glossary of words you have learned to go back and refresh your memory.

“It doesn’t replace the in-person experience of an actual class with human interaction,” said Nancy Whitman, an LMC language teacher.

There is no better way to learn something than by a professional in a room full of people on your level to converse with and share information.

“An actual class will also probably teach you about culture, which is something Duolingo doesn’t do,” said Whitman.

“I would use this for my students for the reading,” said Laurie Huffman, an LMC language professor, referring to the articles Duolingo provides for students to read and translate.

Translation of web articles is how the website makes its money. Duolingo helps people get fluent enough in a language so those people, in turn, will help make a reliable translation for all people so that way even more is accessible by people on the internet. For these translations, Google pays for its services.

No matter which language you choose or why you decide to learn a language Duolingo can at least help you accomplish the goal and, again, the best part is that it’s completely free.