Ever since I was 4, I’ve always been a huge language-learning lover! At that age, I remember singing along an American song with my older brothers trying to get the lyrics right. Of course what I call now “singing” was in reality just baby talk. That childish attempt produced a good story for the whole family to recall in every occasion, which is fine by me 🙂 You see, since then, I had the opportunity to study in American schools and learn proper English as well as the Arabic language. Fellow adult Arabs would not hide their astonishment when they found out that I understood what they were saying in English, or in a certain event when I helped two ladies out by being their translator. I felt like I was their bridge of communication who helped in venting their frustrations! All that and much more helped in boosting my self-confidence as a kid, which enhanced my thirst for language-learning even more. As I grew older, I indulged in learning the French language with my mom. That didn’t go as planned since I wasn’t 100% committed to learning the language, however, at age 17, I finally took it seriously and progressed. I am now an English teacher who is learning Italian for the love of it. With the help of the Internet, I found many free websites that clearly explain grammar rules, YouTube videos that have helped me with my pronunciation and the best free app ever: Duolingo!
A genius yet simple idea has resulted in a massive-scale online collaboration that keep sending shivers down my spine every time I recall how this app came to life.
Luis Von Ahn, an associate professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University and former owner of the company reCAPTCHA, has always wanted to translate the web in every major language but that goal is unimaginably expensive. That’s what led him to this brilliant idea: Language-learning lovers from around the world can enjoy an addictive and fun app that aims to perfect their new languages by earning points for correct answers, racing against the clock, and leveling up! The lessons are super effective and forever FREE! By doing that, 60 million members (20 million active users) are fulfilling their dreams of learning a new language while helping in translating the Web! (A win-win case)
Here’s the link to the TED video where Luis Von Ahn introduced his ambitious new project: (gave me goosebumps):
Duolingo Website: https://www.duolingo.com/