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Incubator on the inside: a screenshot of the sentence builder

October 24, 2013



Thank you for this! This looks great! One question, will we have to learn the characters on our own or will duolingo have an intro course for that?


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. :)


Haha you're right. I'm just getting too far ahead of myself with all this excitement. Thanks.


If Russian character is different than English, you might still need to teach them Latin alphabet, wouldn't you? Or can you reasonably expect that most Russians know Latin alphabet well enough that that wouldn't be necessary?


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.


That's the problem with English (and many other languages)! In Spanish it's always consistent. I don't have to hear the word to be able to say it.


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.


I wonder if they have a Spelling Been in Mexico or Spain...


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;



Oh my goodness I am so confused. I am glad my Spanish lessons make sense to me


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 :)


Chilvence, you would also have to impose consistent pronunciation for that!


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.


So the English words will be written in Japanese?


I think you just became everyone's favorite contributor.


Thank you so much, this looks awesome! Good luck!


That's great, thanks for sharing this with those who aren't in on the awesomeness yet!


It looks so great! I really look forward to the Russian course.


Thanks so much for letting us see! And thanks so much for your work on English for Russian speakers, Russian is the next language I want to learn and I'm going to use that course until the Russian for English speakers is released!


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.


I would keep it simple as well. We'll try to do something to help with the genders and plurals in the next few weeks.


Are you referring to case declensions? Luckily, there are "just" 6, not 7 of them. :)


hahah! Yeah, I suppose there are 6 proper ones. But then there's that Звательный падеж. It's used in case of Боже. And that's, pretty much, the only way it's ever used. Can this count as a recovery? :D


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.


:)) Врачу, исцелися сам.


Dang, olimo! You rock something fierce and serious! :D I like you!


I agree with olimo. I'm in a class where we just hammer grammar rules the whole time. What I like about Duo lingo is that it quickly says the rule to you the first time, then makes you learning through practice.


Царе! Дружище!


By the way, Звательный падеж still exists in some other slavic languages, like Serbian, for example, so it is still good to know :)


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.


True. If you try to change is for Russian-learners, then there won't be a need for the ENG -> RUS course. We hit our heads againt the wall with this one and start over when the actual ENG -> RUS comes out.


Yep! I wouldn't recommend. :)


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.

  • 2575

Yay thank you, this looks awesome


Wow, thanks to this picture I have better idea about how insanely much work must it be to build a course. Keep up the good work, Roman., I am looking forward to learn your language!

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That look amazing! Thank you for sharing. I hope I get a chance to do this for my language. :))


It looks awesome.:)


For some reason I can't see the image.


I also had this problem about an hour ago, however it seems to work fine now. Did not use NoScript or anything else..


Yes, it works now without doing anything. i guess it was a bug or something.


Do you use NoScript? If so, enabling the scripts does help.


What is NoScript?


That looks neat! However, I am noticing that the sentence in the screenshot omits the proper Russian translations for English articles "a" ("типа") and "the" ("конкретно")! :-)


Russian has no articles, "типа" is a slang word, which means "kind of".and "конкретно" means specifically.


My meager attempt at humor fell flat :)


Actually, Gorilla800lbs, the joke is super funny :) :) :)


I guess duolingo employees didn't mind you posted this?


We didn't :)


thank you for this ! this looks great ! i like it >>>


Thank you for sharing this.

Spasiba balshoy. :)


OMG. I wish I were fluent in another language besides from Spanish so I could use the incubator

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