I’ve been out of commission for a while, and got back from a hospital stay last night to a very useful inbox message from a friend who knows about this project. She suggested checking out Duolingo.
It offers lessons separated into subject fields, such as “Basic phrases”, “colors”, “animals”, and so on, a bit like I’m doing here, and it involves translating small sentences first of all, such as “He eats an apple”, as well as listening to a phrase in the language, and typing it in the foreign language, or in English. It guides you through nice and slowly, and there is a level of repetition that can sometimes get a bit monotonous, but on the other hand, it allows you to transfer the knowledge into long-term memory and recall it more easily.
There are various speeds you can go through the material, for example, if you have no knowledge whatsoever, you can take all the lessons within Basics, for example, and then move on to Animals. But if you already know quite a lot of animals, you can take one lesson for that segment with everything condensed into one test. Again, if you feel you know enough about various topics, you can jump ahead to a shortcut point and take a condensed test there to save you going through multitudes of lessons you already would know by heart.
Right now, the site offers French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese (in beta). My friend mentioned that apparently they are now working on Chinese, so it’s safe to say they will expand into other languages (I’m personally hoping for some Slavics!). I recommend checking out the site if you’re learning any of these languages. I feel rather silly using it for my German, for example, but it can’t hurt to keep on top of basic vocabulary that you’re not necessarily using frequently (for example, I took a very long to recall what “bowl” is in German!).
Fingers crossed that Duolingo expands to include more languages, and especially those I’m learning on the project. I’m sure many people will find the site useful, and I know I certainly am!