Discovering a world of languages
Hola, Hello, Ciao, and Salut are four totally different words, but they mean the same thing, a simple greeting. I must confess that I have always been interested in languages, and in this case, I took the four languages I like the most; Spanish, my native language, and English, my second language, but Italian and French were always my pending subjects. Since I was a child, my parents always insisted that having good English would be key for my future. Today I think they were right, but also, I think that Mandarin Chinese will soon be something to talk about.
Learning different languages can be a lot of fun, regardless of the reason why we do it, for curiosity, for work, or why not, for a trip we are planning. Currently, there are applications that allow us to translate our voice automatically; I even dare to say that artificial intelligence will only enhance all these tools, but, at a certain point, we lose that gratifying feeling of learning it, of feeling it. The fact of being in another country and being able to communicate with each other will logically make everything easier, but learning a language is also acquiring a small part of the culture itself.
I learned English during my school years and perfected it during my university studies, and at one point, the university proposed to me an adventure to study Mandarin Chinese, and of course, I took the challenge. I discovered that this language has four different accents and that the Chinese symbols or characters, on several occasions, have different meanings; to understand a little more, I looked at some of the thousands of tutorials on the net to learn it, the least I wanted was to get frustrated in these small steps towards the Asian culture. Doing some more research, I found a solution that helped me a lot, Duolingo (NASDAQ: DUOL). A mobile application that is designed for everyone, with courses that are progressive, starting from the most basic to the most complex. One particularity that I consider very important is that it contains pronunciation exercises, something very important in a language that contains four different accents.
Of course, I passed my introductory exam in the Chinese language, and the application was very helpful; I had fun pronouncing the four different accents, and now we can add one more greeting, “你好”, these symbols may seem complex, but it is a simple, hello, Nǐ hǎo, it is the easiest way to see and pronounce it without the Chinese characters. Maybe at some point, I will travel to the Asian continent and test my language and knowledge. But if we are talking about travelling, my dream is to get to know the old continent, more specifically, France and Italy.
No one can deny that the sensuality of the French language is very attractive, but Italian is not far behind; both are full of culture. Duolingo (NASDAQ: DUOL) allowed me to do just that, to delve into other languages after taking my Chinese course. I thought it was just me practicing several languages simultaneously, but a study conducted by the creators of the application confirmed that I wasn’t; Duolingo has more than 100 courses available in 40 languages, quite a wide range. And the data showed that users in Finland and the UK are learning three or more languages at the same time.
Technology is undoubtedly facilitating all kinds of learning, making it didactic for the youngest, but it can also raise the level for those who wish to do so through a monthly subscription; by the end of 2022, more than 4 million users have subscribed to this improvement offered by Duolingo (NASDAQ: DUOL).
Traditionally, pencil and paper were used to practice a language, writing sentences or texts and then reading them, but technology is changing that, or rather, the artificial intelligence that Duolingo Max uses. This is a more real experience that allows users of the app to interact with the AI, engage in more fluid conversations and allowing them to practice a language in a more natural way.
It’s always interesting to learn a new language and acquire a bit of culture, and doing it in a fun way makes the process more bearable; at the moment, I can speak fluent Spanish and English, the basics of Chinese, and a few words of Italian; here’s a hint of my next adventure in Duolingo (NASDAQ: DUOL).