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Archive for May 2nd, 2021

So, after a little less than three years, I recently finished the Portuguese course on Duolingo. Yes, even the dreaded subjunctive tenses. I started because I had studied it in college and wanted to knock the rust off. How would I evaluate the results?

Reading: Pretty good. I can work my way through newspaper articles and short stories without being stumped too often. A dictionary is required, however. Buying Portuguese-language Kindle books has been a great help.

Writing: Good, but not great. Prepositions are tricky (in any language), and my vocabulary is still small. But, practice will help.

Speaking: BWAHAHAHAHA… (takes breath)… BWAHAHAHAHA!!! Duolingo is not a site for speaking or listening comprehension; their electronic voices are awful. My pronunciation is okay, because I learned from guy from Rio, but I plan to take online lessons from a tutor in a small-group setting. That should help.

So, would I recommend Duolingo? Well, yes and no. If you’re willing to put the work in (an hour a day online, maybe doing some extracurricular research), you’ll get to an intermediate level. Its main advantage is that it’s free. Its main disadvantage is that you have to be very self-motivated and willing to put up with some frustration*.

Still, I think it was worth it.

*(I’ve referred only partially in jest to their pedagogical methods being “learning through frustration.” The answers database can be sloppy, not containing answers moderators say are acceptable, or even having flat-out errors. This would be fine if they were fixed promptly, but some have gone unrectified for years. They also have a bad habit of giving you sample sentences to translate that contain grammar or syntax you haven’t been taught yet, which means you have no chance to get it right. Since their system is set up to reward getting as much right as possible, that can be… “annoying,” let’s say.)

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