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Published on January 11th, 2014


Woo-Hoo – I’m Back In the Spanish Saddle Again!


Likely the quickest ‘n dirtiest TL post I’ve yet to peck.  But a single “WW” to share, and it is truly WOW Worthy!

Given that I’ll soon be (finally!) in a land that speaks a language I halfway know (Ecuador), I thought it best to begin brushing up on my (long ago, tour operator for 20+ years in Costa Rica) Español!

Just this week I stumbled across THE most fun (not to mention effective) site:


Did I mention F.U.N.? Seriously. Too very.

Did I mention E.F.F.E.C.T.I.V.E? Well I’ve only been at it for a couple of days now, but suffice – already I feel like I’m easily back in the Spanish saddle.

Did I mention IT’S.UTTERLY.FREE???

The truth is, I am just SOOOOOO excited about my move to Ecuador – after more than 2 years of nonsensical gibberish (Vietnamese, Thai) swirling around me daily – I’m verily OVER-THE-MOON with the thought of actually living in a place that I can halfway communicate in the local tongue.

Bottom line of this quickie WW? If you ever wanted to even halfway try learning a 2nd language (presently DL offers free courses in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German and Italian) – do check out this site.

P.S. That you can apparently help create a new Duolingo course (if you happen to be bi-lingual) – only makes Duolingo that much way kewler.

About the Author

Off-the-beaten-path travel is my passion,and I’ve always lived life “like-a-kid-in-a-candy-store” – eager to sample as many flavors as I can. Indeed, my life motto has long been: This ain’t a dress rehearsal, folks!

16 Responses to Woo-Hoo – I’m Back In the Spanish Saddle Again!

  1. Thanks for the tip, that’s a great resource for nosotros los estudiantes de español – for review at least. When I get into new material I will optimistically give this one a try, but have not liked other such learning tools that present without explanation. Still, optimism is the only way to go.

    For those who don’t want to be forced to learn spelling, the Chrome browser has a setting to auto detect misspelling in all the languages google recognizes.
    Four Letter Nerd kindly contributed to world literature by posting…A Sharp Dressed Man?My Profile

    • Dyanne says:

      Actually Chrome has another nifty language learning helper, FLN: a free language immersion add-on:

      I’ve not (yet) used it for Spanish, but have for Vietnamese. Lots of customization options – you can turn it on and off at will, and set it to whatever level you like, and it will randomly sprinkle L2 words throughout EVERY web page you surf. Optionally, you can set it to highlight the L2 words and audio speak them when you mouseover.

      The idea of course, is simply to get the L2 language of your choice in front of you as much as possible. With the add-on, slowly but surely you can progress to surfing entirely in Spanish!

      Yeah, right – in my DREAMS! 😉

  2. Patti says:

    Your excitement is oozing from your page, it makes me smile. I’m looking forward to following your new adventure – especially the teaching aspect as I am a retired teacher.
    Patti kindly contributed to world literature by posting…See the U.S.A. – 9: On the Road to NOLA ~My Profile

    • Dyanne says:

      “oozing” is right, Patti – I must admit – I’ve never been accused of lack of enthusiasm. 😉

      So you’re a retired Teach, eh? I never taught in the U.S. but completed a CELTA and taught EFL in Vietnam (where, I might add, they paid me handsomely given that you can live quite comfortably in Vietnam on peanuts). You can read all about it (incl. some fun lessons and my “Deviled Eggs” cooking class), under “Teachn” in the menu above.

      And though the EFL teach pay is fairly pathetic in Latin America (e.g. little more than 6-7 bucks is the norm), I’ll probably try to teach in Ecuador ‘cuz A. I love teaching, and B. it plugs me into the local community. I might also teach EFL online. We shall see…

  3. Neva says:

    I’m always looking for freebies and learning Spanish is something that I’ve put off. Thanks for the info.
    Neva kindly contributed to world literature by posting…Spongebob Squarepants Birthday CakeMy Profile

    • Dyanne says:

      de nada (as they say in Duolingo) 😉

      Yes Neva, do give it a try. Great fun, and I’m learning lots!

  4. Graefyl says:

    Saw that earlier – but didn’t know it was free, will go back later. Tried Berlitz Spanish course, but it seemed way out of date. I find you need someone to speak the language with and it appears all or most of the Spanish left London ages ago, so I’ll just pick it up on location next trip to Spain.

    Have fun in SA.
    Graefyl kindly contributed to world literature by posting…Cranham Marsh SplodgeMy Profile

    • Dyanne says:

      Thanks Ted. And yes, that’s precisely why I’m moving lock, stock ‘n barrel (which… these day actually only amounts to a backpack and 1 suitcase) to Ecuador, is to immerse myself in Spanish, and finally be able to have a conversation with my neighbors that doesn’t begin with “Hello”, and end with “Thank you, Goodbye”. 😉

      And meanwhile… with Duolingo – I’ve already brushed up on 20 TIMES that many words!

      You should try it. And if you don’t happen to be headed to Spain anytime soon – you could practice with somebody online via Skype – there’s lots of free sites like that.

  5. James says:

    OMG. I have absolutely NO time (I should be packing or working on editing a book project) and you just made me spend 40 minutes trying to remember my high school French!!!

    (Congrats on settling on a wonderfully captivating destination!)
    James kindly contributed to world literature by posting…Photography For Dumb BloggersMy Profile

    • Dyanne says:

      You truly have me ROTFL here James! Too funny, as I know you’re so busy. But yes, yes – that Duolingo is just soooooo FUN, yes?

      LOL, and don’t even REMIND me that I could ALSO be brushing up on my ancient FRENCH!

      And yes, thanks – I do think Ecuador will be both wonderfully captivating, and 180 degrees different than Asia.

  6. Duolingo really is fun, though there are a few things about that I wish it did a bit better (e.g., I wish it offered more formal explanations of grammatical rules and tricky things like conjugations and the like that it’s more difficult to pick up through mere exposure, or at least, one might pick up faster if explicitly taught rules) but it’s a great way to supplement other language learning efforts and a good way to solidify basics in a SL that one already has some familiarity with. I’ve used it to brush up on my French some, and I’ll certainly rely on it heavily whenever my own gaze turns to South/Central America.
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) kindly contributed to world literature by posting…Chewing the Fat with Ways of Wanderers!My Profile

    • Dyanne says:

      Yes Steph, even in the short time I’ve been playing with it, I can see that Duolingo lacks some of the more structured fundamentals. But I must say – what it lacks in grammar and rules – it more than makes up for in sheer FUN! And for me – that’s a good trade off ‘cuz it keeps me motivated to practice, practice, practice.

      And of course yes too, only for brush up/intro – ‘cuz the very BEST way to learn an L2 is to immerse yourself in it, as I will shortly be doing when I move to Ecuador.

      So… when might your gaze turn to the lower Americas?

    • I’d agree that Duolingo is better as a supplement or a brush-up tool rather than a way to learn new structures.

      On the plus side it does seem addictive, which is a great to ensure some studying actually happens!
      Ruth Elisabeth kindly contributed to world literature by posting…Chúc mừng Giáng Sinh (Merry Christmas)My Profile

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