From a young age I was really in love with Germany in general, as a country, as a people and also as a language, I think that this love started way back when I was little, since the first time that my father told me the story that involved him going to Germany. First of all I’m Sudanese, and I was born in Saudi Arabia, since my dad moved there in the 80’s, he lived there for a while as the living quality in my home country is really bad (and it still is), so he moved there to get a better life for himself, he came back to get married and then he went back there, and until this time he’s still living in Saudi Arabia.
So before he went back to our home country to get married, he was on the verge of going to Germany, he completed his immigration papers, and he booked a two point flight to Cairo first and then to Berlin, but till this day he doesn’t know why but when he reached Cairo and sat there waiting his next flight, he felt that it’s not right, so he came back to Saudi Arabia, maybe if he continued all the way to Germany, I would be born German, although it’s my dream to visit and ultimately live in Germany.
Anyway for a while in my life I felt like I wasn’t doing anything with much benefits, maybe it’s a wakeup call (Thank for Allah) to take back control of my life, to learn good and beneficial habits, and leave bad habits that doesn’t do me any good, and on my journey doing that, which is still in the start and I still have a long way ahead, Notion was a really help for me in doing that, with couple of productivity oriented channels on YouTube from awesome people, and from great pages on Facebook, Instagram and twitter and I will write about Notion one day, but one of the apps that helped me in the pursuit of improving myself and making a really good habit, is Doulingo, the language learning app, and the good habit that I was trying to learn was learning a new language everyday for 15 minutes per day, and of course the language that I chose was the German language for the reasons that I talked about it earlier.
Doulingo is a famous language learning app that has been around for a while, a lot of websites and technology enthusiasts view this app as one of the best leaning language apps of the time, if not the best ever, I have seen this app before, and I think that I’ve downloaded it once or two, but I never really used it, I was always getting to delete it, but this time after the changes that I made in my life, and my way in changing my life, and learning new habits, I decided to force myself to stick to it, and learn the language that I admire much more than any other language, of course not more than my native language which is Arabic, so I started using the app and boy I’m glad that I forced myself to use it.
So I started using the app, the first thing that you encounter is of course the account, if you have one you can just log in, or you can create a new one, basic account creations nowadays, now after that, you would choose your native language, which it was Arabic for me, and then you would choose the language that you would want to learn, which I chose German. When I searched about the app, I discovered that it supports up to 19 distinct languages, and it varies depending on your native language, for example if your native language is Arabic, you can learn up to 4 languages, but nonetheless, it’s considered really big.
First of all let me give you a walk through the app, it contains 4 main tabs, the first is Learn.
This tab has all the lessons from the language that you’re learning, it has different skills(Lessons), which it will be opened one by one when you advance more in your learning. at the top of the page, you have a button for the languages that you’re learning, but I don’t recommend learning more than two, you also have a button for the crowns which you can acquire every time you finish a level in every skill.
Next to that you have your streak counter, which counts the days that you studied in, but it can only count if it’s continuous, luckily if you missed a day, you have a streak freeze feature that you can use once every time, which means that you can miss only one day, and to keep the streak counter counting, you have to take at least one lesson or training per day, and finally you have hearts, which is a counter for how many times that you can make a mistake, you have only 5 hearts, and it gets renewed every 4 hours, so every time you make a mistake inside a lesson, you lose one heart, if you lose them all, you can’t continue with studying, until you have one new heart, also on this tab you have a counter for the XP points that you acquired through the day.
After that you have your next tab which is your Account, which has your profile picture, you can also connect your Doulingo account with you Facebook account, it helps you also to find your friends on Facebook who are also using Doulingo.
This tab also has your information including your streak days, you overhaul XP, which is the points that you earn while learning, your current level, a counter for the times that you got in the first 3 spots (which I will explain more in the next tab) and a counter for the words that you’ve learned, also you have your settings on this tab, as you can edit various things on the app from this button, including your info, your general settings, notifications and your accessibility settings. On this tab also you’ll find your list of friends, the people who are following you and the ones that you’re following.
Also you got your achievements tab, which includes various achievements that you can acquire in time while using the app.
The third tab is the League tab. In a way of the app developers, to make people who are using the app more competitive, they’ve introduced the League tab, which is a small competition that has a duration of only a week, you enter by taking a lesson, and every XP you acquire from taking the lessons, increase your position on this competition, it has 3 main sections, the first part is the people who get advanced to the next level, which you can get to this section by acquiring more XP, the middle section are the people who will stay in the same level after finishing the competition, and the last section, are the people who gets downgraded to the lesser level, for not acquiring enough XP points, from my point of view, it’s a really great idea that will make people compete for more XP points, which at the end it will make them take more lessons and more training hence the original purpose of the app.
The last tab is Market, which contains the main currency of the app which is blue Gems (although the desktop version of the app has its currency which called Lingot), this currency will allow you to buy, streak freeze, more hearts and costumes for Du (the Owl), although I have to say that if you don’t want spending real cash money on acquiring more gems on the app (as the regular nowadays on any app) I suggest that you try to be conservative about these gems, because for once you’ll need it to complete every skill (lessons) in order reach to the legendary level on every one of these skills, and it can be helpful for buying more hearts.
The ways of getting these gems are limited, you can acquire it through watching ads, which can be done only one time every hour, or you can use the betting feature which is a feature on the market that will let you bet 50 gems that you can take at least one lesson every day for a week which can return with 100 gems, or you can also complete the daily goal of acquiring a certain number of XP points which will earn you a handful of gems, or you can buy it with cash if you don’t mind.
I think I can say that this is a summary of the app, of all of its features and quirks, but let me give you my opinion about the app, it’s generally good, but there are things that annoyed me, for once when I started the app I thought that it will start with the letters, as when you learn any new language, you need to learn the letters, their way of writing and their pronunciation, which is a must for learning any language, and you have also to learn the numbers from 0 to 9 (the basic), but that is not the case with Doulingo, this app is more of a kind of the books that you’d buy when you go to a foreign country and you don’t know their language but of course you need to communicate with them, so you get this book that will teach to say different sentences in their language, like how to say (hi) or (what is your name?), so the app will teach you that, it’s a way of learning the whole language, as after you complete the whole skills, you’ll end up learning a new language, but I’m used to the old way of learning the letters first then the numbers, then you dive into the language.
Until now I can’t say anything about the grammar, as I didn’t get any sort of any kind of grammar of the language, and of course this is an important part of any language to learn the grammar of it, to learn how to write it and pronounce it in a particular way. I’m still at the start of the German language, as I had to learn the letters elsewhere and I’m going to learn the basic numbers, and after that I’m going to dive much deeper into the app, but if you want my opinion, if you want to learn a new language, Doulingo is a great helper at this mission, but to tell you the truth it’s not enough, so you would need other sources, to learn the new language that you intend to learn, and you would need a good dictionary, as I’m having a little difficulties with certain words and there meaning. It’s a good app that can help you learn the new language with ease, it’s easy to use, and it can count all the words that you learned in your journey of learning the new language, and I’ve discovered that if you log in into your account on desktop, there you can check out all the words that you’ve learned, and from there you can practice on them. But I think the app excels in making you want to learn, with all the notifications, and the levels and achievements, and competing with your friends on who can learn more and more, it gives you the drive to learn the new language much quicker, and with more excitement.
To use Duolingo: