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Edu updates - WGU and Duolingo

Tags: proselanguageduolingowguedu

Duolingo Indonesian

I've been learning Indonesian in a Duolingo streak that's lasted two weeks now. Though hundreds of languages are spoken throughout Indonesia and Malaysia, the modern state has set standards for Bahasa Indonesia and Bahasa Malay, which are mutually intelligible and spoken by 280-290 million people, though media is subtitled when it crosses the border. Wikipedia considers this one language, Malay. The Duolingo course is "Indonesian", so I may as well say what they use to teach me. For more:

This is the first language which I'm trying to learn via app, with near-zero real-world support. I've used Duolingo and HelloChinese before but never used it alone or picked up much from the app. As for near-zero experience, an Indonesian phrase such as "selamat pagi" or "terima kasih" or "hari raya" does not connect with anything that I can recall in American media-space, it's no "hasta la vista" or "Eid mubarak" or "doumo arigatou".

If you look up Duolingo Indonesian on YouTube, there was one helpful video and a bunch of people who "speedrun" and/or livestream Duolingo language courses. Huh.

In Indonesian there are bunches of words related to Dutch and English (halo, apel, stroberi, jus, permisi) and these are no hassle to remember. A few false cognates (kechap = soy sauce). Then traces of Arabic in "selamat" greetings and "surat" letter. Reddit says that Malaysians borrow more from English than Indonesians.

The app does not stop and explain that there's no being-verb, no strict plurals, or that each pronoun has multiple forms. As I'm writing this I'm not sure if this is fully accurate, just they continue to expand sentences and never introduce hints to translate "an orange" or "oranges" beyond which options are made available.

It's also interesting that they introduce two things at a time ("apel" and "jeruk") and not a whole market full of fruits or foods at once. This extends to the pronouns and countries - I've seen "Jepang" in dozens of examples and not one mention of the US, UK, or China. This flies against my typical high school language class, where there is a week to learn every country in Central + South America and the regular and irregular denonyms (e.g. nicaragüense). Or the yo-tu-él/ella/usted charts - I get that verbs aren't conjugated like this in Indonesian, but in the classroom we would constantly practice the same grammatical scaffolding and swap out those people and objects, and here you never know whether you'll see something new, or something testing recall.

WGU update

In March I wrote about self-paced online degrees from WGU. After some issues ordering my AP exam scores from years ago, my enrollment counselor said that they would not consider something this old for credit anyway, so I over-corrected and shelved any plans.

Now I'm working toward starting in October and resolving [most] of the courses over the winter. My new enrollment counselor removed the unresolved APs, and got my transcripts reviewed (credit for two intro courses). I'm also going into WGU's Cybersecurity major instead of Software Engineering.

It's obnoxious that I have to retake basic composition, US government, coding, and science exams, but if it's something that I know, I should be able to get through these quickly. At some point I was thinking my average could be 1 course per week (taking more than one semester), but it won't be super clear how much work and how much time, until I get the basic courses out of the way.

Maybe the daily Duolingo practice will help me build a routine of getting this stuff done.