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[personal profile] abigailbrady
Way back in January, I signed up for Duolingo, a free language-teaching app, to do some French revision. I have a French GSCE, 'C' grade, but calling it rusty would be to imply that any iron content was present in the first place. Even at the time, I have no idea how I passed.

So, revision. I ran into the same problems I faced before: spelling in French is about as complicated as English, without the benefit of learning it as a child; and the fucking gender. I have problems with gender in language, too.

I decided to give Spanish a go over the summer. I made pretty good progress, even if I do say so myself. The spelling is pretty regular (although stuff like the b/v distinction still sometimes gets me), and the even genders are a bit more sensible, because of -a -o endings at least provide a default rule you can learn exceptions to. (It helps that "el" and "la" are far more distinct than "le" and "la").

I have got pretty far! Level 11, with just a few more modules to go. The problem is, it's not really teaching me Spanish. It's teaching me how to pass Duolingo Spanish tests. I'm picking up a fair bit of Spanish along the way, but there are various unfortunate tricks that I've spotted (when you get presented with words to form a sentence, the first one is going to be the one with a capital letter, right). So I kind of stalled.

HOWEVER, it turns out there is a thing called "adult education" still, despite the government's best intentions. I signed up with a "Beginners B" Spanish course. It seems to be about the right level for me - I would have sailed through the absolute basics course - but I'm just not fluent enough to do much more. There have been a couple of gotchas. I need to learn my Spanish alphabet. And the numbers. Duolingo wasn't teaching the alphabet at all; and not teaching the numbers systemically.

Still, good fun, going to keep plugging away at it. Very weird to be in a classroom environment after so long. I swear I am not doing this just because I got into Community. Honest.

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Abigail Brady

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