Even more language practice?

Here is truly an awesome idea. It sounds like it would work hand in glove with LingQ by providing a different kind of practice.


Wikipedia says about it, “As of May 2012, the site offers Spanish, French and German courses for English speakers, as well as English for Spanish speakers. They plan to add Italian, Portuguese, and Chinese.”

If it’s been discussed before, I apologize for the double posting, and please direct me to the thread(s). An “All Forums” search found no mention of it.

Okay, so let’s see what it’s like. . . .

Well, Imyirtseshem, that was certainly a lightning-fast evaluation.

Have you tried offering translations in German? That feature is what sounded like the most fun to me, for someone w/ experience in a language.

Myself, I haven’t figured out all of what is available there and am just looking around. The Spanish synthesized speech is perfectly understandable and is adequate for somebody like me, at least, who hasn’t studied or used the language for 50 years, although it is slightly jarring at times. The points system seems rather fluky, too, although probably I am just missed something, there. But I can’t expect to have it all figured out after just an hour, I suppose.

@Ernie Thank you for letting us know! Will try it for French and like the idea.

@Imyirtseshem You may turn off the mic and speaker in the site settings.

Ernie - Thanks for this suggestion and for contributing with something new.

Imyirtseshem - I found your evaluation a bit off-putting. Here is someone who is trying to contribute with a new thread and a new idea. That is always worth something and should never just be dismissed without at least acknowledging the idea. Do you have any ideas yourself?

You dismissed it full stop. It would have been nice to just say thanks for your idea or something like that. After all, it takes time, an above all initiative, to put something together for a new thread. It is easy to dismiss something someone else is suggesting.

I have not seen any threads started by you yet but maybe I have not been here long enough.

I think I explained it clearly: You dismissed an idea abruptly. I expressed my opinion and offered you a pointer for better style in future. I then asked you if you have many ideas yourself. You said you had plenty to which I responded that I have not see any threads opened by you yet though (with your ideas). But this may be because I have not been visiting this site for long enough.

There is nothing to back up as far as I can tell.

You may take my point here as just constructive criticism if you wish. Sometimes it can be good to know how a particular action was perceived although it was not meant that way. You may choose to ignore it of course. I think I have explained myself. I am not going to continue the dicussion.

This is nothing personal. It does not matter who it is.

But thanks for your point about sugar-coating (and I do mean that I am grateful for that criticism). On a forum all you have is bald text. You do not know what is behind it. Therefore it can be helpful to “sugar-coat” something in order to assure the person having taken the time to actually start a discussion (ie acknowledging the initiative first and then provide the criticism). It is much easier to shoot something down than to propose something in the first place. Do you not agree?

Why thank you, Marianne10 for coming to my defense. How kind of you. I must admit my initial reaction to Imyirteshem’s note was like yours. But perhaps I am more used to his sometimes abrupt manner of writing. And bulletin board postings sometimes do not come across as intended–I know mine sometimes seem curt and dismissive upon re-reading, when that was not at all what I intended.

Please do not argue on my account, the two of you. There are many too many interesting subjects we can discuss on this forum that are far more enjoyable than quarreling.

Speaking of which, see my next post.


Ernie - You are always very polite and helpful. Many good ideas too. Look forward to that post of yours.

Imyrtseshem, I tried out the French track, to see what I thought of the artificial speech w/ something I perhaps could judge better than half-century-old Spanish. You have a point, for absolute beginners. It would be tough to try to acquire a first-rate accent from the TTS samples there. It would be FAR better than learning purely out of a book, however. When I finally get around to German, I know I’ll be using LingQ sound files in order to introduce myself to the spoken German, and probably some old ba-be-bi-bo-bu sorts of recordings if I can find them. It would be nice if for the introductory stages duolingo provided recordings of native speakers for the initial stages, however, as you say.

But that’s only for the very beginners. For me, who’s heard both French and Spanish before, I found the sound files really helpful. They enabled me (or will enable me, I think) to work on some of the features of both languages that I have forgotten–written accents in Spanish, say, and all the silent letters in French, such as in verb endings or silent -e at the end of words. Spelling in general. Taking simple dictation. What a bonanza this looks to be. A limitless source of elementary drills.

And the translation “work” is also very good, if taken w/ a grain of salt. Some of their recommended translations (e.g.,79% of respondents . . . ) aren’t quite right. Nevertheless, it looks to me like I could spend plenty of time w/ it. I did this morning, for several hours! If you give the translating a try in German, let me know what you think.

Imyirtsetshem - I really liked that style :slight_smile: Do you really see that as ass-kissing. Is this not the tone we should all be using at work all the time. I think it helps getting by in many ways. And also, sometimes different cultures have different ways of addressing stuff and the abrupt way just does not go down too well. I think the way one expresses oneself is also part of language learning ( I know which style to choose when communicating in Chinese but in German I can be direct and no one takes offence for example).

I am sure you have good ideas since you think a lot about how you will achieve your future goals. You are actually quite a passionate and driven indvidual. Spending 6000 hours or however many it was watching Dutch/listening to Dutch proves that.

Ernie, thanks for sharing the site, I think it’s an interesting idea. I agree that translating would be great practice, above all to see how well you understand.

Marianne, I agree with you completely. In his heart of hearts, Imyirtseshem understands what you’re saying, even if he doesn’t admit it. Watch how he reacts when someone states a conflicting opinion he takes as attacking his.

I must say that I did not find any problem with Imy’s reaction to Duo.

I would agree with Imy. I prefer to learn from interesting content. I do not like to translate when I have little knowledge of a language, and for languages that I already know, I am not so keen to translate meaningless sentences. I did not get as far as the TTS.

They sure have gotten a lot of free publicity. Different strokes for different folks I guess.

Steve, you may be missing something. Else I don’t see how you can you call sentences from wikipedia articles, for instance, meaningless or uninteresting. I’ve translated 3 articles in French: one about a classical composer, one from a children’s encyclopedia about felines, and one about unpaid traffic fines in France. Well, I only translated part of that last one, as the subject did not interest me much. Doing so, I discovered quite a bit about what I do and don’t remember about French. Where the translation part of this site may fall down is that the consensus translations that I’ve seen are not always accurate (not that mine are always, either).

Perhaps the “language learning” side will grow too repetitive. So far what it offers that is useful for me is a structured review, an easy way to check my French “mechanics” for ten or fifteen minutes w/o having to proofread/check what I myself write, to see what I do or don’t remember how to spell, how to conjugate, etc.

As I said in my first post on this thread, this looks like a good supplement to LingQ, but certainly not a replacement.

. . . Publicity? The first time I heard about it was yesterday.

Ernie, I only saw sentences like “my name is George”.

In any case with the time I have available for language study I would far rather read and listen to things of interest in the language than translate articles from Wikipedia. I am not that interested in finding out about my language level, and more interested in learning about the history, politics and life of people through interesting content in the language I am learning. I also think that more and more exposure to the language, rather than translating, helps me to acquire the language faster. But to each his own. Writing is important, and I can see that for those with the time and patience to do it, translating articles there would be beneficial.

They have had a lot of publicity. The subject has come up on our Forums before. i have seen many references to it, newspaper articles etc. and the fact that there is a TED lecture on it confirms that they are well known and well publicized.

Aybee - Thanks for contributing to this tone of discussion :slight_smile:

I think it is important to recognise negative criticism and to be able to evauate it objectively rather than taking it personal.

I have found in my career that I am learning the most when I have received suggestions for improvement or negative criticism. Yes it hurts at the time, but this is the only way you can find out how one is being perceived.

If you close off to any criticisms I think one runs the risk of not developing and not adapting. In terms of languages, I definitely feel there is a tone that fits the language you are speaking. What is rude in one country, may be perfectly acceptable in another.

I only saw sentences like “my name is George”.

There are ones like that in the Basic course, but then you just go to translate from resources like Wikipedia (as you’ve mentioned) and The NYTimes.

What shall we do to have Steve on TED?

I only saw sentences like “My name is George.”

So I figured. Hardly an in-depth examination of the site from which to criticize it.

I am not that interested in finding out about my language level, and more interested in learning about the history, politics and life of people through interesting content in the language I am learning.

Steve, I won’t run this into the ground, but you are being illogical here. Do you really think that reading wikipedia and taking the time to be able to restate well in English what you have read does not assist in “learning about the history, politics and life of people through interesting content in a language”?

more and more exposure to the language, rather than translating,

There is a difference between the two? Maybe “more and more exposure” is equivalent to “skimming quickly over” and “translating” to inquiring deeply into what a word, phrase or sentence means and being able to express this in English. Translating can provide that last 10% of understanding that skimming ignores.

Don’t get me wrong: LingQ is a great site. It’s the ONLY language site where I have a paid subscription. It provides much more than skimming, and of course it is possible to get at that precision, that 10% of meaning, via LingQ. See evgueny40’s lesson, КАК РАБОТАТь С ТЕКСТОМ, for instance.

It seemed to me that people here might be interested in another, complementary approach. However, I was obviously foolish to broach the subject. So far this thread has only evoked a catfight, and half-baked, uninformed dismissals of what seems to be considered a competing site. Okay. Fine. This is disappointing, but so it goes. Let’s not discuss it any further, if this is the best we can do.

Ernie, your were in no way foolish in bringing up this site on our forum. That is precisely the kind of information that we want to see on this forum. This thread is not a cat fight. However, not everyone is going to find the same things interesting. Imy and I offered our reaction to the site, not to the fact that you brought it up. Unfortunately a lot of the discussion here has been about whether or not we should have phrased our lack of interest more politely, rather than in the substance of the question.

I did not get past “my name is George” because I was not motivated to do so. I did not so much criticize the site but rather said it was not for me. I have never enjoyed doing translations. Although I know that better language learners than me, like Luca, consistently do translations. I am sure others are very interested in the site.

As I said, I prefer reading and listening in the language.


"I’ve tried to only use LingQ to learn a language from the beginning. It simply doesn’t work. Anyone who says that it does, it out of their mind - in my opinion. "

“More live and let live is needed in the language learning community.”

I am a little confused. Do you believe in live and let live, or do you feel that people who disagree with you are out of their minds?

On the other hand I do agree, and have always had a small starter book (Teach Yourself or something) to help me, but in terms of time expended, I learned Czech from scratch at LingQ. However, if someone does say that they only used LingQ, you imply that they are either liars or out of their minds.