Learning Spanish via Duolingo

As any of you who follow me on twitter have probably noticed, I’m fairly strongly pro-immigration, if not outright pro-open borders. With that in mind, I was sitting in the “Priesthood Session” of the LDS General Conference last fall, when a rather profound talk by Gérald Caussé made me realize that if I really care about immigrants to this country, many of whom are here from Spanish-speaking countries, that I ought to teach myself how to speak Spanish. I may not be able to make much of a difference in changing the laws of our country to make them more just towards those who would like to live and work here, but had the misfortune of “choosing the wrong parents“. But I can chose to spend some of my time to learn their language so they can feel a little more at home and know that they’re welcome here.

Anyhow, nice sentiments and all, but I set that goal over half a year ago, and had so far done nothing to accomplish it. Then this morning a friend introduced me to a cool new language site, Duolingo.com. They’ve got a great user interface, I like the gamification, and my inner entrepreneur loves their clever business model–they offer you free and fun language training, and in turn some of the practice you get later in the process involves translating online documents from that language into English (with multiple users having the chance to vote on and correct each others translations). Much more clever than “we’ll show ads and make money that way” that seems to be the default approach of far too many websites these days.

Once again, starting a goal is easier than keeping that goal, so I’ll try to give periodic progress reports as a way of keeping myself motivated. Until then, ¡Buenas noches!

5 Comments

Filed under Goal: Learning Spanish, Immigration

5 Responses to Learning Spanish via Duolingo

  1. Christopher Winter

    &Iecxl;Ojalá que su lo apriende rapidamente!

    But I would have guessed that you had picked up some Spanish during your time in the Philippines. You certainly do all right with Tagalog. But perhaps the community where you were used Tagalog exclusively.

    Incidentally, I had six years of Spanish in junior high and high school. Now, of course, I am slow in it and have trouble understanding unless someone habla muy despacio. Still, it helps because I am tutoring a Mexican-American woman in reading and writing.

  2. Jonathan Goff

    Chris,
    Does that roughly mean “I hope you are able to learn quickly”? If so, Gracias!

    Tagalog has a lot of Spanish borrowed words in it, but the grammar is completely unrelated. Basically if it’s a word they were using before the Spanish arrived in the 1500s, it’s probably a pure Tagalog word. If it’s for something that was technologically between then and when the Americans got there, it’s a Spanish borrowed word. If it’s for modern technology (ie post 1900AD), it’s probably in “Taglish”.

    ~Jon

  3. DocDoc

    The smartest Libertarian I know of is the late Milton Friedman. He said “It’s just obvious you can’t have free immigration and a welfare state.” I see you expressing your strong approval of immigration, but nothing about doing away with the welfare state. Why? Shouldn’t that happen first? On what principle(s) do you base your being “strongly pro-immigration”? Does it bother you that immigrants take jobs away from Americans by undercutting salaries? Check this out: Speech by Sen. Jeff Sessions.

  4. Jonathan Goff

    DocDoc,

    Sorry I just saw this comment waiting in moderation now. For some reason I didn’t get an email notification like I do for Selenian Boondocks. Short answer is I strongly believe in cutting back the welfare/warfare state. I just think that using the existence of the welfare/warfare state as an excuse to create another injustice is just silly.

    But I think Bryan Caplan and Don Bordeaux put it better here: http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2014/06/lazy_exceptions.html

    Where does the enhanced scope for government action end once we admit that government buys for itself, by illegitimately exercising power W, an indulgence for the exercise of otherwise illegitimate power R? What sort of distrust of the motives and knowledge of government officials leads many self-described libertarians to oppose government’s exercise of power W but approve of government’s exercise of otherwise-illegitimate power R if government insists on simultaneously exercising illegitimate power W?

    ~Jon

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