Duolingo as a Puzzle

ERChamp 2022 is in the books! All the feedback I’ve seen thus far has been great, but there’s no rest for the weary.

Right now is a great time to dig into understanding what people liked and didn’t like about about this year’s game. By understanding that, we can make next year’s even better. Soliciting feedback is time sensitive, so I’m hard at work getting the right questions out there.

Given that I’m the only program team member who doesn’t know Polish, I’m also hard at work closing that gap. I’m using the Duolingo app which so far has been a fun way to learn a new language.

Duolingo awards experience points for study and practice. The app recommends 1000 points per month.

I’m not so patient, and I find learning addicting, so I’m pushing forward faster!

Duolingo isn’t perfect- I’m finding a lot of times I need to use trial and error to understand the logic behind certain language rules. There’s no textbook explanation within the app as far as I can understand. It’s an extreme departure from the way I learned Spanish and Latin- those classes first focused on the rules (e.g. first declension nominative noun). But the extreme repetition is burning the words into my memory, so hopefully this way works, too.

It’s also tricky remembering accent marks when my phone doesn’t give me the option to enter them and Duolingo doesn’t penalize me for leaving them off. I don’t want to change my phone’s permanent keyboard settings, but I’m also concerned I wont have a great memory of where the extra marks go.

The repetition is wonderful, though. When I first saw some of the words, I admit I went a little cross-eyed. The first time I had to free-form type “mezczyzna” into my phone, I really struggled once I hit the long series of consonants. I was really surprised how quickly I got the hang of it, though.

I’m not sure how long it’ll be before I can design a puzzle in Polish, but hopefully it’ll be soon!

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