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Ola, Duolingo!

I always believe that the #StayAtHome movement during this pandemic is really about survival, everything else come second. So all those memes about Dark Ages – Renaissance and “this-inventor-invented-this-during-quarantine” are really insignificant.

But I have to admit that in the lacks of any other activities I otherwise do in BC (Before Covid) times, I do have a lot of times in my hand. Even after rewatching several series in Netflix and (finally) playing those games I downloaded two years ago.

So after getting some weird feeling watching some non-English series using English subtitles, and watching some cool YouTube videos where polyglots easily switch languages as they speak, I decided to revisit my childhood dream: learning as many as foreign languages possible.

I downloaded this app called Duolingo, where its owl mascot has garnered its own memes. And turns out in my circle, I’m really late because some of my friends already used this app since 2013. But nothing to worry since they’ve already stopped using anyway so we don’t have anything to compare/compete for.

Okay, so now let’s talk about the language trifecta I’ve always wanted to learn: French (because it sounds sexy), Italian (because of Assassin’s Creed II) and Spanish (because of Breaking Bad). And among those three, I find French is the hardest to learn. Several factors to this are: pronunciation & genders.

As Indonesian language speaker, where we use hard “r”, I find that English “r” is a bit weird, but French pronunciation of “r” (or the lack of it) takes it to another level. Another rule that makes me scratch my head sometimes is the last consonant in a word is silent, except when the following word is started with a vocal, where it should pronounced as if both words are conjunctive.

Italian has their own share of weird pronunciation, like the Italian “g” that depends to its position in a word, but I find it a bit easier in general compared to French. And Spanish is the easiest of them all with somewhat consistent rule.

(Note that I learned French longer than the other two, so I don’t know if in future lessons I’ll find weird Italian & Spanish pronunciation too)

And for the word gender, French is the hardest by mile. All three of them have gender for their words, and compared to English, is more complex. But Spanish & Italian are more consistent, where you can guess a gender of most words based on whether its ended by “o” or “a”. French in other hand has no such rule and you have to memorize almost every words gender.

Related: The French finally decided that Covid-19 is female


All of that being said, I still enjoy learning those three languages because languages and their rules (grammar, tenses etc.) somehow affect how we think. So this learning process also allow me to have different point of view on how I thinking something.

And I will definitely try other language to learn, preferably ones with different writing system so it’ll be more challenging. Probably Arabic (so I can understand religious texts better) or Japanese (because of anime).

So what’s your favourite language? And what language that you’d suggest for me to learn next?

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