Today I hit somewhat of a milestone in my attempt to learn a second language, as I hit a one hundred day streak on everyone’s favourite language app, Duolingo.
We could wax lyrical on whether this constitutes a milestone - time spent on a language doesn’t equal fluency in a language and a hundred days worth of learning will yield different results from person to person anyway. Success shouldn’t be measured by time spent learning a language (least of all on an app) over actual proficiency, but still, I’m pretty happy to have hit one hundred days.
Really I’ve been learning it for a little over one hundred days as I started using the app towards the beginning of the year but broke my ‘streak’ (consecutive number of days spent learning) in the first month, which was surprisingly frustrating at the time. Since that broken streak I have diligently logged into Duolingo every day to complete at least one lesson and I have to say, that level of consistency feels pretty satisfying.
There is gratification in knowing that I have not given up. While I can’t boast about my Italian skills just yet - the extent currently being ‘la ragazza ha un delfino‘ (‘the girl has a dolphin’ - a crucial phrase for all conversations) - I can feel that I am making some headway. It is fair to say my vocabulary has grown, I feel more comfortable now with basic sentence structure and most importantly, I remember what I am learning. Which is, you know, kind of crucial for learning a language, no?
Most importantly, I am still very much interested in learning Italian - even though there have been times when it would have been very easy and far more enjoyable to give up. I go through each module the maximum amount of times before I move on to the next one, which can get mind-numbingly repetitive when you are typing, speaking and listening to the same five phrases for fifty lessons - but that reiteration has now seared such phrases into my brain (how could I ever forget ‘i gatti bevono latte‘?). And it means that when, weeks after having started the module, I finally finish and move onto the next one, it is so exciting to learn something new.
In reality, one hundred days is nothing. I will not be having a decent conversation in Italian anytime soon, and I know that eventually I’ll have to diversify my learning (there is only so much one app can do) but for now, I feel pretty proud of this very small accomplishment.