Yep I am behind the times and nearly everyone had heard of it or was using it long before me! I heard about it from Charlene who is self teaching Dutch whilst living in Amsterdam.
I finally got round to downloading it and my goodness its colourful and uber modern. Definitely smartphone friendly but apparently there is a website for computers too (I haven’t used that). I started off doing to “level checker” which is supposedly quit and intelligent and interactive game which asked questions depending on the level of the previous question for example if you get the easy questions right they will increase the level until you cant do it thus determining your starting level. Now I don’t think I was paying much attention at this point and was very much feeling my feet. Imagine the shock when the cute little owl popped up saying it was unable to determine my level! After I got over that I set it to 25 minutes a day.
Once I got cracking on it I really did get into it and it wasn’t long before I was achieving basic skills levels etc. For those of you reading this who haven’t used Duolingo before I would recommend it even after only using it for about and hour. It is colourful, diverse and covers enough questions to ingrain certain phrases into your mind. It is great for being on the go as all you need is your phone, headphones (if you are in public) and enough battery power. There is a really good mix of question styles such as translating Dutch to English and English to Dutch, matching photographs, listening to a sentence and writing down what you hear and many others. I really like it. I have taken a few screenshots to show you what it looks like. You get “lives” in the form of little hearts on the top of the screen and if you complete a round with any left they become “points” I wasn’t really too clued up on all this but I know the less you get wrong the better (which is pretty much commonsense don’t you think?!) There is some amazingly stupid translations too! Such as Pardon, ik ben sen appel <- because yeah I’m going to be saying that often!