Incubator on the inside: a screenshot of the sentence builder
Here you go. http://imgur.com/L6z3S9I
Not sure. I hope there will be the 'Lesson Tips' section where we'll be able to address some of those things. I feel that Cyrillic alphabets are especially difficult for the English speakers because most letters look so similar yet stand for completely different sounds.
However, this course is for the Russian speakers to learn English. We won't need to teach those people their own alphabet. :)
Of course they know Latin alphabet. It is used quite a lot everywhere around (why, even website addresses are made of Latin letters!). Most Russians, even if they had never taken English classes, know some words and of course they know letters. They may be not familiar with reading rules, but this is taught quite well by showing the text and playing the audio. English reading rules have so many exceptions that learners have to check the pronunciation of almost every new word anyway.
Ya, I hate that about English. Even though it's the only language I speak, I still have to hear a word before I know how to say it in almost all circumstances. I probably pronounce 90% of the Duolingo usernames wrong. I don't even know the English reading rules because everything is so inconsistent.
Hmm, this makes some sense, but knowing/hearing a word and knowing how to pronounce it are two completely different things. In Portuguese, we have words that have no equivalent in English, or in possibly some other romance languages, and some wacky rules for pronouncing them.
For example, "coelho" in English sounds something like co(coo) + e(ay) + lho (leeuh).
The letter s,x are monsters, their sounds varies, .e.g. piscina = piss+ ee++na; confusao = con + foo+ za +oou;
I think I understand the frustration. As native English speakers, almost immediately after learning the alphabet, we are taught not to trust it in the slightest :) That concept probably seems ridiculous to speakers of languages with stricter spelling. But the two examples you just gave me in Portuguese didn't even make me blink. In fact I don´t even entertain the thought of learning a word from how it is written.
In any case, there is no sense reforming spelling unless you do it exactly the same for every single language that uses the latin alphabet, which includes anything from Swahili to Vietnamese . And it would still probably just confuse everyone into changing the way they talk anyway....
It's a powder keg :)
Yep, I that's exactly what it looks like. At this stage, what we're doing with the incubator is assigning English meaning to individual words and phrases and giving all possible translations in both languages. I never imagined how much work went into developing the Duolingo courses until I tried it myself!
And about romanization, the Japanese to English course uses Japanese characters. What will be used when the Japanese/ Russian/ Chinese to English/etc. courses are developed, though, is yet unknown to me.
That scares me a bit :) For a while as the course is intended to learn English from Russian we kind of assume that a person knows Russian grammar. But I now think, that maybe we should take into account that not only Russian speakers will use it. For instance, should we add gender to the hints for Russian words? Russian speakers do not need that information, while for a nonnative it would be so helpful.
I'd just keep it simple and streamlined for now. Genders and Plurality are the least of our troubles in teaching Russian to foreigners. I'd say having 7 cases is what would confuse the new folks the most. The simpler we keep it for now, the better it will be in the long run, I think.
Well, we learn 6 cases and in most situations these are enough, but what about this? http://ilyabirman.ru/meanwhile/2006/10/01/2/ :-)
However, I don't think these should be explained in detail to those who learn Russian. Such things are better to just remember and use without thinking - this comes with reading and practice.
I agree with everyone; while some of us might use it to learn a bit of Russian from English, we understand that's not what it's intended for and will deal with any difficulties that come from that ourselves. It's meant to be for Russian speakers to learn English, I think it's better to keep it that way.
I've been trying to study Russian on and off for almost a year now; I'm living in China and have a lot of friends and classmates from Russia and Ukraine, and our conversations are a mix of English, Chinese, and the little bit of Russian I've picked up so far, so I'm hoping that since I already have a lot of the basics this course can help me keep up with it a bit until the EN>RU course is released.