At the recommendation of a friend, I tried out Duolingo. If you don’t know what Duolingo is, it’s a free website/app that teaches you another language, for free! There aren’t a ton of languages there yet, but it does have a handful of popular languages.
I had two reasons for checking out the site.
First, I had taken Spanish is high school, and Japanese in college, and was pretty good at each language at the time. However, not practicing them has made me nearly a beginner again. Therefore, I was liking the idea of a free language lesson that could refresh my memory in the two languages.
Secondly, my friend told me that the site actually teaches High Valyrian (which is why she mentioned the site to me in the first place, so that she would have someone to practice the language with). That’s right, High Valyrian! And for those of you who aren’t into Game of Thrones, they also teach Klingon on the site. Personally, I’m really hoping they’ll do Tolkien’s Elvish, then there would really be something to bring all of us nerds together!
Well, turns out that the site is still working on the Japanese lessons, so I can’t start that one yet, which kind of sucks. But, on the plus side, it will make it easier for me to learn High Valyrian if the only other language that I am attempting to refresh myself on is Spanish, so it’s cool. Especially since High Valyrian is turning out to be a bit more difficult than expected…..
Anyway, the site is awesome. Each lesson is tailored with pictures and little translations to help you out. After you finish a lesson, you can move on or stick around and do some extra lessons to help you memorize your new language better. There’s also a section that includes flash cards, and not just for languages. There are also flash cards for a number of other topics, like history and such. I am currently working my way through a set of flash cards that will help me learn the amendments of the Constitution.
I reiterate, the app/website is COMPLETELY FREE to use, so take a minute and check it out! Personally, I have added the site to my homepages, so every evening when I come home and start up my computer it reminds me to do a lesson. Each lesson only takes about five minutes (for High Valyrian, the Spanish lessons are going much, much faster since I already studied the language once), and they’re interesting. Studying a little bit each day gets me slowly closer to being able to communicate with the language (or at least be able to watch the Astapor scenes without subtitles), and there’s nothing more exciting than learning something new.