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Old 27.12.2018, 00:13
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Are apps like DuoLingo, Babbel, Rosetta Stone, any good?

I've dabbled with some apps (trying to learn German), but they don't really teach you much actual language structure, they seem to mostly just show you words and phrases. I know that's easier and more "natural", but is that effective?

I was wondering if anyone here managed to progress significantly using any particular app...
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Old 27.12.2018, 02:53
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Re: Are apps like DuoLingo, Babbel, Rosetta Stone, any good?

Duolingo is excellent for learning vocabulary and very basic grammar, which is explained in more detail in the threads attached to each section. The 'German with Jenny' podcasts on youtube, largely follow the German language syllabus taught in language schools, so are a great supplement for learning Accusative, Dative and Gentive cases. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClB...2sFxOuvH4o5H9g

Combine all this with a really good online dictionary, such as Pons, and you'll make reasonable progress, but to be completely honest, nothing beats attending a class and really studying the language with a good teacher. There are times when you go mentally and verbally 'blank' in a new language, then the familiar voice of your teacher comes into your head, and everything clicks back into place.
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Old 27.12.2018, 04:30
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Re: Are apps like DuoLingo, Babbel, Rosetta Stone, any good?

Okay, thanks for your input, I will keep using Duolingo!
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Old 27.12.2018, 04:54
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Re: Are apps like DuoLingo, Babbel, Rosetta Stone, any good?

What about other apps besides DuoLingo? How do they compare?
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Old 27.12.2018, 07:57
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Re: Are apps like DuoLingo, Babbel, Rosetta Stone, any good?

No they are very bad- Go to a school!
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Old 27.12.2018, 12:00
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Re: Are apps like DuoLingo, Babbel, Rosetta Stone, any good?

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What about other apps besides DuoLingo? How do they compare?
There are people who swear by Rosetta Stone, and those who swear by Babbel, but we all have different 'learning types' / biases, so we need to learn by using as many senses as possible. Personally (and I do mean personally because we all learn differently), Babbel was a waste of time and money. Rosetta Stone is good for audio material, but my personal bias is for kinesthetic & tactile learning, and it's a very strong bias in my case.

You're biggest challenge is that learning German on your own in Switzerland, is like trying to learn the Queen's English by watching Geordie Shore whilst living in Belfast. No matter what you learn with an app, the moment you step outside, much of it becomes pretty useless in understanding conversations around you. No app is going to explain that the Swiss use different 'helping verbs' for some very commonly used verbs. No app is going to explain the polite ways of asking a question that will get you a far more receptive response from Swiss people.

Without a teacher or language partner, you will save money, but you'll waste time. The best advice I can give (that I didn't receive when I arrived) is, if you do an intensive German course which is 2hrs per day, Mon-Fri, it takes 4 weeks to complete each level. I knew I'd be back and forth to the UK for the first year or so, so I didn't commit to a language class. In hindsight, that was a mistake.
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Old 04.01.2019, 00:20
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Re: Are apps like DuoLingo, Babbel, Rosetta Stone, any good?

I attended an intensive German language course in Germany. I jumped in the deep end and joined the c1 group without having any prior knowledge. It was difficult but i got the second highest exam score at the end of the 3 month course. I became bored and only attended classes for the first 2 months. I was travelling a long distance every day to attend the classes.

The advantage - i have all of the resources to learn by myself at home and now i actually find the exercises very easy.

The disadvantage - for most of the class you will have to role play with and listen to others who are foreigners and make a lot of errors.

My tip - live in Germany and only speak German. Or live with housemates who only speak german.

If you want to attend a quality course attend the Goethe Institute in Germany. In Göttingen or München.

There are also cheap intensive courses held at the Volkshochschule in Germany. I attended this 3 month intensive course in Freiburg. It cost me €600.

The Migros school is not worth attending.
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Old 07.01.2019, 20:08
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Re: Are apps like DuoLingo, Babbel, Rosetta Stone, any good?

Different people learn languages differently. Some people like to learn the "rules", ie grammar as the basis of their learning; others like to do it by learning words and phrases; and others by the sounds, maybe listening to audio a lot. So when someone swears by a particular method it's great it has worked for them but it may not be the way you like to learn.

Many of these apps can be tried for free and you're bound to progress with them all, but give them a try to see what works best.
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Old 07.01.2019, 23:17
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Re: Are apps like DuoLingo, Babbel, Rosetta Stone, any good?

I suggest you look at Memrise. Unlike Duolingo, which has TTS (ie synthesised) voices, some Memrise courses use real native voices. Take care, because as well as the official courses on Memrise, there are many user-developed ones, which range from excellent to not.

Also, this site is probably worth trying: https://www.allemandfacile.com/

Their French version is really good - the look is out of date, but the content is more interesting than a lot of what's available online. I guess the German one would be similar. But maybe in Switzerland it won't be the right kind of German?
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Old 08.01.2019, 00:01
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Re: Are apps like DuoLingo, Babbel, Rosetta Stone, any good?

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I attended an intensive German language course in Germany. I jumped in the deep end and joined the c1 group without having any prior knowledge. It was difficult but i got the second highest exam score at the end of the 3 month course. I became bored and only attended classes for the first 2 months. I was travelling a long distance every day to attend the classes.

The advantage - i have all of the resources to learn by myself at home and now i actually find the exercises very easy.

The disadvantage - for most of the class you will have to role play with and listen to others who are foreigners and make a lot of errors.

My tip - live in Germany and only speak German. Or live with housemates who only speak german.

If you want to attend a quality course attend the Goethe Institute in Germany. In Göttingen or München.

There are also cheap intensive courses held at the Volkshochschule in Germany. I attended this 3 month intensive course in Freiburg. It cost me €600.

The Migros school is not worth attending.

Oh darn, I live in Switzerland!
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Old 11.01.2019, 17:59
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Re: Are apps like DuoLingo, Babbel, Rosetta Stone, any good?

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I've dabbled with some apps (trying to learn German), but they don't really teach you much actual language structure, they seem to mostly just show you words and phrases. I know that's easier and more "natural", but is that effective?

I was wondering if anyone here managed to progress significantly using any particular app...
I used Busuu for both my German and French. At the end you can get a certificate of up to upper B2 at no extra cost. I learned Sherman from 0 to almost B2 in a month (lots of hours spent speaking and making mistakes) now I'm almost 2 months into my French and I have B1, but that's with less than 3p Mon a day.

Check it out. I believe that's the best resource if you have the self discipline to do it by yourself
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Old 11.01.2019, 21:55
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Re: Are apps like DuoLingo, Babbel, Rosetta Stone, any good?

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Oh darn, I live in Switzerland!
Get a German speaking housemate who doesnt speak any english (preferably a German or at least a Swiss) and dont speak english.

Preferably live in a German speaking canton (ie Schwyz, not Zug or Zurich).
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Old 11.01.2019, 23:01
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Re: Are apps like DuoLingo, Babbel, Rosetta Stone, any good?

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Oh darn, I live in Switzerland!
You can also attend the goetue institute courses in Germany. That is why i mentioned them. Switzerland is only over the border. You can chose courses from as short as one week and they provide accommodation in their hostel.

I wouldnt call ayone who had learnt from an app fluent. They are mostly vocab based. Language schools tend to be grammar based and very boring. I like learning by life experiences, because it is more interesting.

The most effective and cheapest way would be to learn from living the language and doing some grammar exercises with some friends. Maybe have a study group and discuss what you learnt that week. You could make topic .... Eg you might have gone hiking, - where or where to ? Etc etc etc

The more ways you process a new concept the more likely it is to stick in your brain - writing reading, speaking, listening , using it in real life. Just clicking on pictures in an app lacks this aspect.
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Old 12.01.2019, 02:09
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Re: Are apps like DuoLingo, Babbel, Rosetta Stone, any good?

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I used Busuu for both my German and French. At the end you can get a certificate of up to upper B2 at no extra cost. I learned Sherman from 0 to almost B2 in a month (lots of hours spent speaking and making mistakes)
Can I please ask which examination board issued your certificates?
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Old 12.01.2019, 10:29
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Re: Are apps like DuoLingo, Babbel, Rosetta Stone, any good?

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I've dabbled with some apps (trying to learn German), but they don't really teach you much actual language structure, they seem to mostly just show you words and phrases. I know that's easier and more "natural", but is that effective?

I was wondering if anyone here managed to progress significantly using any particular app...
As mentioned by many already.. there is no substitute to learning in real environment.

Since you were asking about apps, I use Pimsleur app, it has a different teaching method and encourages you to speak sentences..

Last edited by psp; 12.01.2019 at 10:53. Reason: spellcheck
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Old 12.01.2019, 15:29
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Re: Are apps like DuoLingo, Babbel, Rosetta Stone, any good?

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As mentioned by many already.. there is no substitute to learning in real environment.

Since you were asking about apps, I use Pimsleur app, it has a different teaching method and encourages you to speak sentences..
Precisely.
I'm currently doing an intensive course in German and the estimated time from 0 - C2 is 18mths. Each level (A1.1, A1.2, etc..) is a 4 week block, and that's just the right rate of learning that I can handle.

When I had a laborious M25 commute in the UK, Pimsleur's Greek lessons were my main in car entertainment.
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Old 12.01.2019, 19:32
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Re: Are apps like DuoLingo, Babbel, Rosetta Stone, any good?

IMHO forget about language schools, that's a real waste of your time! There's an abundance of excellent materials out there. In my experience the key is not to try to master things as your progress with your self-learning materials, just go on with a steady pace. When you don't understand something well, don't stop, go on with another lesson, the understanding will come later. When you achieve the ability to actually communicate in the new language, ~B2 level, pay students or other tutors for conversations. There's a period between knowing a language and being confident you know the language. You need a patient mother goose to talk to you a lot, engaging you and patiently trying to understand you. I paid CHF 20 per hour to have such support, found the people via tutor24.ch, but you can look elsewhere. Language exchange is common in Switzerland.
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Old 12.01.2019, 22:46
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Re: Are apps like DuoLingo, Babbel, Rosetta Stone, any good?

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IMHO forget about language schools, that's a real waste of your time!
IMHO, and after wasting almost 3yrs faffing about with apps and online tutorials, it's the best decision I've made. I've got a fantastic teacher and have met loads of interesting people.

I studied German for 3yrs at school, and again for a year at college when I was 29, so I wasn't an absolute beginner. Every app I tried fell short of my previous classroom experiences.
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Old 13.01.2019, 23:20
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Re: Are apps like DuoLingo, Babbel, Rosetta Stone, any good?

duolingo is fine as an accessory but won't do much alone.

I suggest Anki to learn vocabulary (make your own list if possible, although there is a ready-made german one). Learning words is important for german IME, as there are a lot of words that only exist in German and whose meaning cannot be obtained from context.
It also can be used during any 2 min pause during your day, so this doesn't take any committment or effort.

If you're starting from zero I think you cannot do without a good and fairly intensive language course.

I think you need a basis before you can learn spontaneously, because you're not a kid who can look out the window and tell "mom, the train!" for a month, and a course where you also learn the rules formally can provide that.

Once you have a B1 you should go to a language exchange so that you're forced to have some conversation in german, or a do a tandem. It gets easier with time.
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