I thought that ‘grade inflation’ was a feature of school and university exam results, but I’ve found another example where the desire to encourage has overwhelmed common sense. In the past few months I’ve spent a fair amount of my spare time using Duolingo, an excellent (and free) website that provides a very effective means of learning a new language, in this case Portuguese.
Even though I say it myself, I’ve made really satisfying progress. I do believe that I can actually go ahead and become reasonably fluent just by persevering with Duolingo, and I’m determined to do so. However, Duolingo’s assessment of me (at the time of this post) as being “36% fluent” in Portuguese is laughable. I can’t count much beyond my fingers and toes and – although I have a vocabulary that would make any Portuguese two-year-old proud – I’m still stuck in the present tense. 3.6% would be more like it, and even that would be a stretch. It’s going to be a while before I’m reading Camões in the original!
Still, there’s apparently an old Portuguese proverb: Burros velhos não aprendem línguas. The goal is to show that’s not always true.
Update. As of 23rd June, 47%. I’m now intrigued to know just how good I shall be if I ever get to 100%!