As readers will know on this blog, I am a huge fan of duolingo. So when I found out that the Danish (from English) course was finally released, I was so happy!
It is still in the beta stage, which means it is only available on the website (not on any smartphones or iPad), but here are my thoughts so far…
Hints and Tips
During the course, there are really good explanations of how Danish grammar works. They are explained in a light hearted and digestible way and the great news is that for less technical learners of Danish, these hints and tips are optional to read.
Good choice of vocabulary
I’m about a 1/3 of my way through the skill tree so far and I am amazed how much real life Danish I am able to understand when I out and about in Copenhagen and reading street signs and adverts. This is a real confidence booster and it helps me keep my motivation while learning the language.
The TTS voice
Duolingo’s strengths generally are centred around teaching reading, writing and vocabulary. An often cited weakness of Duolingo are listening, speaking and general conversation skills. Sadly this could not be more true than with the Danish course. Not all of Duolingo’s robot voices are created equal (the robot voice in the beta version of the Italian course was particularly bad), and the voice on the Danish beta course is pretty bad. It can be understood by the Danes that I hang out with, but to my ears it really doesn’t sound anything at all like a native speaker.
The lack of ‘immersion’
I’m fortunate that I’m actually living in Denmark right now and have lots of real world Danish language exposure. But one of the things which I absolutely love about Duolingo is that with the immersion tab, you are exposed to loads of real life articles in the language you are studying. I’m sure this will change very quickly, but right now I’m not actually translating any Danish at all on the Duolingo website.
As you would expect from something that is in beta and obviously not finished, there are plenty of things to work on with the Danish course. However, it is structured really well and I have found this course to be a lot more informative than the other courses I’ve used on the Duolingo site. It’s working really well for me, and it is helping my Danish studies to be a lot more fun and enjoyable. Last but not least, along with all of the courses on Duolingo, it is absolutely free.