Since my last post about my journey learning Spanish, a lot has happened. I went on holiday, lost my 115-day streak in the Bornean jungle and underwent a brain scan. As you’ve probably guessed, I put Spanish on the back-burner for a bit.
Yesterday, I reopened my old friend Duolingo after a month of zero activity. I was delighted to see that I had lots more lessons available in purple, including useful conversation pieces such as travel, weather, adjectives, leisure and activities.
The BEST addition though is the new ‘Level Up’ function. The idea is that you are able to bypass the lengthy lessons and instead assess your skill in a more challenging and lengthy test. You can earn up to 200XP in one fell swoop when you graduate from Level 4 to the maximum Level 5! There is a catch though: you have three hearts which act as your lives.
Past users of Duolingo will recognise this system, as this used to be the standard for all lessons. Many forums within the app are filled with hatred towards these hearts as it is easy to lose all your progress in one level, despite not having come across some of the vocabulary or grammar construct before. However, I think they’re fitting for this new purpose. You wouldn’t take the shortcut if you didn’t know the vocabulary and grammar already as you’d soon be out of lives. Instead, it is a great way for someone who has already completed the tree to revise their skills in a more fun and direct way.
When you complete one of these ‘level skip’ lessons, you are rewarded with a Lingot (the Duolingo currency) for completing the lesson with all hearts left intact. You also gain a crown for completing the level. For me, these aren’t that important, but for a beginner who wants to buy streak-freezes from the shop or access the bonus skills lessons (Idioms and Proverbs / Flirting / Christmas), you are better off doing the usual lessons to supplement your bank account and reinforce your learning. After all, the app is designed to teach you Spanish through spaced repetition learning and is not meant to provide shortcuts as you won’t benefit in the long run.
The other change I noticed was the Duolingo outfits. They have finally updated the shop to include a superhero costume alongside the formal and sporty attire already available. He is now absolutely ripped.
In the Profile tab, they have finally rolled in your level to go alongside your XP, which I used to have to check using this chart. I can now see that I’m Level 22 without doing the maths or visiting the online version outside the mobile app. That said, you do need to consult the online page to see how far away you are from the next level. As you can see, I’m sticking to the name of the game and only trying to be bilingual for now!
Online, I saw that there are several new Podcasts available, along with their brilliant interactive Stories lab where you are tested on listening, reading, vocabulary and comprehension skills throughout each narrative.
If you use Duolingo, let me know what your favourite features are below in the comments.