Being a person of a certain age, I need to exercise my brain, body and even spirit. You stay in balance that way.
I’ve been using Duolingo to learn Italian for a couple of years. I would have picked French but the wife speaks every language in Europe it seems except Italian. Those are the two best sounding languages so it’s been the one I chose first when exercising my mind.
See my travails below how I turned it into a competition to beat others and dominate.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve meandered my way from rookie to the Diamond league, where most people who stick with it will stay with it and work hard, just because of human desire I suppose. The reward for that is that everyone studies hard and you need to do more to stay in the league.
HOW IT WORKS
Of course you learn, but you can use it on your computer or mobile device. Each is different. On the phone, you have 5 hearts (tries) before you fail a lesson. On the computer you can keep going, but get a continuously lower score.
There is a 15 minute double points score available as a bonus for finishing each round of lessons. If you do a practice on a finished lesson you can get max points with no hearts loss. Sure, this is sounding like a video game but everything is a competition to me. I’m a man and it was born in me. I can’t help it and I don’t apologize. I accepted it and use it to fuel my desire to learn.
There is more, but that gives you an outline of how to game it, but this blog is about how I got wrapped up in something else instead of blogging. Oh, and how I slayed the competition.
As I stated, by the time you get to the diamond league, you are pretty well committed. Some are learning because they are in a new country. Some took languages in school. Others are near borders and naturally speak the language. Most have a reason to be in that league.
I’d taken German in high school so I added that language a few months back. It is good to learn Spanish because of the makeup of the country so I then added that. Just because I couldn’t stand not being able to do it, I picked up French. I’d already started Danish because of some in-laws so add that to the mix.
There is a pay version of the app and you can get points a lot easier and never run out of hearts (like having unlimited outs in baseball). It’s an unfair advantage to the free players but they paid so good for them. They can get points at twice the rate of us plebs, but it’s where I am at now. It makes winning that much sweeter.
There is always some inspired player who wants to win the league for the week and to do so you have to commit to really working. Sometimes it is a horse race.
HOW MY WEEK DEVELOPED
I always like to start out the week with a big score by doing the 20 point doubles. You can cruise the rest of the week and score enough to not get bumped down to a lower league. I then watch who is going to go for it during the week. Sometimes it’s early and sometimes people wait and put on the full court press at the end.
I noticed a trend a while back (read about me, I see patterns and trends in everything) that even though someone might want to compete, you can suck the will to win out of most if you put it out of their reach. They’ll fight for first loser (2nd place).
I did my usual big total on Monday and was in the top 3, but that isn’t unusual as I turn it to cruise mode once someone takes off. By Tuesday, I noticed the makeup of the group were people who weren’t aggressive and just did the same number of points a day.
THE PERFECT STORM
Once I put it together, I knew this was my week to give it a shot. I threw up 1000 points on Tuesday to see who the real players were going to be. Nothing happened. I tried it again on Wednesday. There was no response. I knew right then that if I killed it a couple of more days, it would be over. I didn’t see anyone willing to make it a race so I made it a run away.
THE ATTACK OF THE KLINGON’S
Early in the week, one of my relatives told me that Klingon was a language. I’m a huge Trekkie/trekker so I said why not. Points are free and easy at the beginning of every language to keep you going because it is a beta language. That means no penalty for missing. It’s like you paid for the pro version of the game. Free points just lit up in my eyes, plus I can say stuff in Klingon, only not yet.
By now, I was committed. As they say in Klingon, today is a good day to die (I haven’t learned it in Klingon yet and won’t put it through a translator, but watch any Klingon episode of Star Trek). I went for it and quickly stayed the week at double the score.
WHAT HAPPENED ALONG THE WAY.
For one thing, I didn’t blog much. I did learn a lot of Spanish, German, Italian and especially French. I learned a little Danish and some Klingon. I understood a lot of what happens in grammar, sentence structure and everyday conversation. I can ask for the bathroom in some languages and order a complete meal or talk about the house in others.
It was a good week. I’ll win because I never play for second. I told myself along the way it was for learning, but when the stars lined up, my inner self took over and I went hard at it. I killed any desire for the rest of the group to compete and I won’t get an opportunity to win but a few times in life. There are too many good people. I struck early and often and learned a ton along the way.
One day I’ll be fluent or can survive, at least in Europe.
Here’s a shout out to my German teacher in High School, Jane Phillips. She taught me well and was pretty hot so I liked her class.
If you look in my quote blogs, there is a lot about winning. I have a hard time sticking with anything very long before I drop it or figure out a way to the top or my desired destination.
It’s weird sometimes when you expect to win and you do, just like it is supposed to happen