Updates to the Words Page
Hi, I’m Joseph from the learning team. Our role at Duolingo is to continuously improve the learning outcomes of our users.
At Duolingo, we pride ourselves for making decisions with data instead of just our instinct. We try out new ideas in controlled experiments we call A/B tests. An A/B test splits our learners into groups. Each group is given a slightly different experience. After we have collected enough data, we measure which group performed the best, and move all learners over to that group.
Around a year ago, we started an A/B test which boosted the strengths of the words for some learners. We hypothesized that our existing strengths were under-valuing learner proficiency and wanted to see whether increasing the word strengths would have a positive impact on learning outcomes.
After analyzing this experiment, we have found that learners who were shown boosted word strengths are not performing as well as learners who were not shown boosted word strengths. Therefore, we have decided to turn off the boosted word strength experiment. This means that for some, it will appear as though their skill strengths have dropped for no apparent reason.
We believe that the non-boosted word strength model are more accurate and will lead to better learning outcomes.
I just lost 1000 words can you tell me how that is better? I went from 1503 to 502. I do not see this as an improvement. The Spanish course was already sorely lacking in vocabulary. I really would like an explanation of this disparity.
I think they used to count different tenses of a verb as different words. Como, comes, come would be three words. Now it is one word, comer. They have not changed the content of the tree, just the way the words are counted. You have not "lost" 1,000 words, you just have a more realistic number of the words you actually know
Not sure that is right. I just did a search of my 502 words and five of them are como, comes, come, comemos and comen.
Well, I prefaced my comment with "I think?" ;) The good news is that, whatever happened, the words I do know have not been erased from my memory, just Duo's -- apparently. ;) How did Duo ever come up with 1,572 words, or whatever it was?
Doesn`t make sense but we could sure use a lot more. The sentence structures are good. If we could just hit a button and get a whole new set of words for any given exercise that would be very helpful.
I understand the instinctive :( you get from seeing your number suddenly ensmallen. But you didn't lose a single word, you still (hopefully) know just as many as you did yesterday. I 'lost' just under 2,000 but the new stats do seem to be more honest.
Yesterday I had 4 lessons to revise but according to my word list almost 40% of the words I knew were weak. That made no sense. Today, thanks to them cleaning out a large number of dropped words and fixing how they display the rest, it tells me that I have a far more accurate 8% weak words to go with my 3 lessons to revise.
Why did they drop so many words? Why possible benefit could that have?
That I can't say. But like jfgordy I also have a copy of my old word list saved. I've done some quick automated comparisons and I'm going to guess most of the changes are one of three things:
1) just listing "vouloir" rather than all of "voudraient, voudrais, voudrait, voulaient, voulais, voulait, voulez, voulions, vouloir, voulons" or similarly just listing "tout" rather than "tous, tout, toute, toutes"
2) removing words they used to teach but got lost in one shuffle or another
3) unfortunately some words look incorrectly removed to me. Usine is apparently gone from my list, but still there under economics. And violon is gone but still listed under the arts one.
Its up to you if you think 1 is an improvement or not, but I expect/hope that's what removed most of the words. 2 makes it a more accurate list of what you'll be asked to revise but a less accurate list of what you've learnt, if that's better on not depends on the question you're asking. And 3 … hopefully 3 is either me missing something or something they've noticed and will fix soon.
How can words like ami and anglais have been dropped (in all their forms)? That has to be a mistake by duo...?
It looks like you lost a lot of relevant and useful words.
It seems to me that they have dropped many words that are spelled very much the same and have much the same meaning in both French and English, but that does not account for such things as pronunciation or (ha!) nuance. It seems as if they have also dropped French words which are commonly used in English and (ha, again!) vice versa. But if you are learning a new language isn't it useful to learn which words these are? There may be some justification for not including the various forms of words and conjugation of verbs but again, pronunciations, nuance and common usage may be significant.
Thank you for your list!
I do not think that this change has been well thought out.
My French word list is currently showing 2743 words. I still have the words you show as dropped (e.g. the four words beginning with ‘z’) plus presumably a few more, as your list is 2722 words long.
oskalingo, yep they have since corrected things, I apparently now have 2735. Still a bit less than you and presumably still with some words removed. The final shakeout seems to be that I've lost about 80 words, which were probably all ones removed from the course.
I've kept a list as well
1) Changing from words to word families makes sense to me.
2) I'd be interested why they stopped teaching the words that were dropped. Some of the words dropped I've gotten in the last few days.
3) Many nouns appear to have been removed from the word list. Will they no longer be teaching those words such as usine, drapeau, panneau, écran, and so on?
From the announcement above " Both of these updates are purely visual and do not affect lessons or practice." So I don't expect that they're going to stop teaching the words. It would be a very … odd french course that didn't teach you the days of the week.
Thank goodness I have the old list, but YES I lost 1001 words, and don't tell I didn't lose a single word. And also I have the same number of words that others have that finished the tree.
I didn't mean that your list didn't get shorter. Just that a shorter list doesn't reflect at all on how much you've learnt. The only important number is how many words you can remember and that hasn't changed just because they count them differently.
It was said they don't believe in teaching grammar. Maybe they don't believe in teaching vocabulary either :-).
I'm aware there was an update but it really destroyed my Words section. I was wondering why I couldn't find words that I'd studied, that had to have been there. "Schüssel" was gone, "Schlafzimmer", "Küche", "Foto", "Musik", "Geist", "Spiel" and "spielen", "Tasse", "Münze", "Betrag", "Konto", "Unterschied", "einrichten", "erfahren", "zahlen" and "bezahlen", even "sagen" is gone, "Angst", "Humor", "Glück", "Traum", "Jacke", "Schmuck", "Gast", "Baum", "Garten", "Herz", "Kopf", "Ring", "Land".
The list goes on and on and on. These words that I know were taught on Duolingo are totally gone, and they're missing at such a frequency that I'm led to reasonably believe that over 1000 perfectly good words are simply gone!
What happened? Will this be fixed? I just lost over 2/3 of my Words section.
Edit: I just counted - apparently my Words list only contains 17 nouns.
Re-Edit: I discovered that I still have multiple forms for the same word (esse,esst,isst,essen)
Re-Re-Edit: Thanks so much for fixing the issue! :)
I noticed the missing nouns, too. Orange, Fleisch, Leute, Menschen, Krankenwagen, Wein, Kaffee, Tee etc etc. There is no way they have removed coffee and tea from the lessons, so their explanation doesn't hold water.
I think this "feature" is actually a bug. Now I'm getting words like Weg and Autor in my Strengthen exercises, even though they are not on the words learnt list. And even after I complete the strengthen session, these words do not appear on the list.
It isn't much of an update, so much as a downgrade, no?
I'm certain they're working hard on fixing it, so we can be sure of one thing. What surprises me, though, is that they didn't double check at all to see if this change actually works or if it's simply broken, and they did no A/B test on, say, 20% of users. I don't like to complain too much about free things, but it was a pretty clumsy move.
There is simply no way that Duolingo only teaches 17 nouns now.
As a software developer myself I would rate their latest update as a disaster :). You are right, it should have been pretty easy to check that the thing is buggy. I don't like to complain about free stuff either (although I would gladly pay for the service), but still... My only hope is that they didn't really delete the records from the database (and I think they didn't, since I still get words in flashcards that are not on the words list), otherwise our words are bye bye :)
Did they ? I still miss many words: schüssel, tasse, gefallen...
I also noticed I am missing a few words. Most words are back but I think a few might've unfortunately been temporarily lost in all the chaos. Hopefully the bug will be fixed.
Love hearing about the updates from Pittsburgh! Thank you for all your hard work!
I just looked at the word lists and did some counting. My German word list only has 17 nouns and 29 verbs. This seems awfully low. My Spanish list has a grand total of 4 (!) adjectives.
As others have been saying on this thread, this update seems to have some bugs with it. Here's a few, with illustrations from the German tree so that it might help with bug fixing:
Some words don't have a part of speech. (e.g. das, dessen, extra)
A lot of words (as in lexemes) which are taught in the lessons are completely missing from the words section. (e.g. the noun Essen)
The list now inconsistently lists different forms of some lexemes, but not of others. (e.g. the list includes the singular Apfel, but not the plural Äpfel, in contrast to the lexeme Frau, where both the singular Frau and the plural Frauen are included).
Thanks again for updating things. Part of me suspects this update was not A/B tested first. I look forward to seeing a fix in due time.
We will continue to improve all forms of feedback to give you the best possible learning experience.
Good. Then please improve this announcement. Forgive me for being so critical, but this really does not communicate much, other than that there has been a change. In a large organization it would have been written by someone in management, HR, or publications who did not really understand what he was purporting to announce, or who didn't try very hard to communicate what he did understand.
The first paragraph is just self-congratulatory puffery
The second paragraph is so vague that it does not communicate. Were there only two "improvements" or were there more? What about consolidation of forms of words, for instance--de-listing of plurals, verb forms, etc.? Was the word count updated to "more accurately match" what is being counted, or is it now accurate? Removing many words, or at least word forms, is more than just a "purely visual" change. Etc.
The third paragraph is just more puffery, as in the first paragraph.
What this announcement boils down to is, roughly: Some changes have been made to the word lists, and they are really nothing to worry about--take our word for it. A better explanation of the changes would be much more helpful.
Thanks for the information. I would have like to see the words that I actually learned when I studied the tree, not the current tree.
The idea of providing accurate information is good but I am not sure the implementation was done correctly. I was just checking for words taught in Places in the Spanish for English speakers course and find a bunch of words like restaurante, playa, plaza, etc. missing from the Words list. These are words still taught in the course. Same is the case for words from some other skills as well.
After the fix, all these words are back. But the number is now 2728 while earlier it was 1586. My tree is complete and all I do now is revision. From what I have seen some other folks mention, their trees have more than 2900 words. That means I am yet to be exposed to more than 150+ words.
I don't know if the people who have 2900 words are studying Spanish. Some of the trees have more than others.
I am not that good at mining data, but I have just glanced at some of the beginning skills and I see that the original list was inflated for the Spanish tree. There were and still is many nouns that are plural, for example gato has two entries and gata has two entries. A lot of the verbs showed different forms
I know that going into the future, it looks like all forms of the words are going to be shown, which is fine. I just did not know that the 1503 words which I had before, were heavily inflated. So the word count that I had before was NOT what I thought.
I have monitored my progress in Spanish using the word list in the last 3 weeks. I didn't do any new skills only practiced old ones. For me the word count according to DL was always below 1000. When I pasted the list in Excel and simply counted the words it was close to or above 1400. Now after this change, according to DL my word count is also about 1400.
So this strongly suggests that (in my case) in the past they counted a single form of a word and now they count all.
Also for some reason they decided not to list puede, puedo and pueden anymore. As if I could forget these words. For the record, those are the only words gone from my list since this last change.
Just my curiosity, can you check if these three words are also gone from your list and while you're at it, if the verbs fue and fuimos are in your list twice? :-)
For reference, my last three finished skills are Countries, Adject 2 and Pronouns. Some more details about how the word list behaved in the past here:
Of course most of this does not apply anymore for the "new and improved list".
Fue and fuimos are in there twice, and puede, puedo and pueden are not there. Que is in twice.
Thanks for the answer, have some lingots. :-)
In my case que is in there twice because one is from the skill conjuctions the other from ponouns. The example sentences are different for me. Fue and fuimos however show the same skills and examples in my list.
NicoLaan69, THANKS FOR THE LINGOTS! I have fue, fuiste, fueron, fuimos all listed twice but they are both the past tense for two verbs Ir and Ser, que is twice (1 is for conj and the other is blank), but when I click on it, it does say pronoun. I have quiero twice as a verb but in different skills, as one is present tense and the other is for modal verbs. I have a total of 2403 with 3 skills and 13 lessons to go.
Thanks again for even more details. :-)
Now I wonder if you have more double words because you finished more skills... Only one thing to do, finish them as well!
Well, if they went for accuracy, they've bungled this update. My "learning experience" with the word section has now been ruined as I liked to go there to skim through all the words that I learnt, but I can't do that now. What is the point if some parts-of-speech like nouns and verbs have been reduced to the bare basics? Of course I've seen, memorised, and gotten correct more than that; I've done the whole German tree several times. I worked my butt off to get to the end of the German tree, and now all I can see there are cutesy words like Wasser and essen? No, it doesn't take away from what I've learnt, but it's extremely demoralising and an odd thing to do.
I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt here and say this is only half of the update and there are bugs, but if not, then I just don't see how screwing around with it and giving people less information about what they've learnt is in any way an improvement...
Lol. I'm glad I haven't invested that much of my language learning in Duolingo. It's been fun and all, but once I'm done with my German tree I'm outta here.
Duolingo seems to have no real understanding of what their core user base values.
Looks like the word count has been re-updated and the word count is up. Before the "broken update", my old French tree, with all the bonus lessons was showing 1935 words, and now it shows 2712 words.
Based on the many comments, and my own inspection of my fairly recently completed trees, something really is not right here.* It would be great if Duolingo staff could give a brief acknowledgement and explanation if something has indeed gone wrong.
- my completed French and Italian trees have dropped to around 900 words, German and Spanish to just over 500 words. That would be only around 1.5-2 new words per lesson (excluding variants) since these trees have around 350-420 lessons. The lesson 'front panels' have shown a lot more than that as I have worked through; often (though not always) 6-8 words per lesson. If the new word counts are correct this means that the programme has been radically dumbed down, contrary to what JRollinson says here.
2nd note: research shows that competence in all language skills is strongly correlated with vocabulary knowledge. Eg see this article: http://eurosla.org/monographs/EM01/211-232Milton.pdf . Reducing Duolingo tree vocabulary to the level of mere beginners (well below CEFR A1 level of 1000-1500 words) would seem bizarre?
I think something went wrong in this update. It is hard to believe that 1000 words removed from Spanish from English tree were not taught and the whole course is 502 words (for me since I did not have X-mas bonus skill).
I sincerely hope Duolingo takes another look at this "update" and makes the necessary corrections. I understand consolidating the list some, BUT to go from over 300 NOUNS to just 17???? Something has gone very wrong.<pre>
Adjective 130 114 Adverb 18 18 Conjunction 14 14 Determiner 32 18 Interjection 3 3 Noun 306 17 Numeral 11 11 Preposition 10 10 Pronoun 48 25 Proper Noun 12 0 Verb 61 22
This is likely the collateral from the recent update to the schools feature. One odd thing though is that there are a couple of phrases being regarded as words. Some are probably phrasal verbs but others seem to be simply lacking the label. There are also concepts such as où ( in French ) that don't have labels.
Great idea, but would love a proper execution! Right now I have very few nouns and verbs left (only the very basic ones like boy, girl, man, woman, eat, drink, read, etc). But it seems like all the adjectives in all the nom/acc/dat forms are present, as are all the adverbs, prepositions and pronouns.
My word count is back to over 1000. Thank you for sorting it out and for aloowing full usage and practice of the entire vocabulary
Does anyone know when the Words feature will be added to the newer courses like Dutch or Swedish. I believe these courses are out of beta.
Good question. Apparently some languages have some don't. No clue to the reason behind it though likely related to, how long and how much it's out of beta, and #users.
Every time I review words, only a few register and are "strengthened." So if I go through like 10 words and get them all correct, only 3 or 4 will be completed and strengthened.
I would like to be able to see the whole list, so that I can go over them again without having to search the whole tree. Also, I wonder what do you by "words duolingo no longer teaches"?
So I just learned Entschuldigung, Kaffee, Tee, Reis, and so forth and they aren't on my word list. I think you guys goofed.
Looks like I may be putting all my blank index cards to use.
Duolingo is a terrific program, for which I am very grateful!
But I am surprised and disappointed by your abrupt changes to the Word feature, a sentiment that many of us seem to share.
Based on word lists that others have fortunately saved, it appears to me that you have eliminated many words that are spelled much the same and have much the same meaning in both French and English, but that apparently does not account for such important differences as pronunciation, common usage or 'nuance'.
It seems as if you have also dropped French words which are commonly used in English and 'vice versa'. But if you are learning a new language isn't it useful to know which words those actually are?
There may be justification for not including all the various forms of words and conjugation of verbs but again, pronunciation, nuance and common usage are variants significant to "learning the language".
Overall your criteria for pruning the word list do not seem to be either clear or consistent. What are they? How are they an improvement? It would be helpful if you would explain it in more detail.
I believe that this change is rather sudden, somewhat discouraging and perhaps not entirely well thought out.
Hoping to hear from you further.
The missing words are back as far as I can tell. Thanks for the quick fix!
I've tested the word list before this update and it sucked. Now since this update for me it works quite well. I've tested and compared to my old word list, it mostly matches only for some reason they dropped three words. Now when I practice I see my progress immediately.
I'm happy with the end result though I understand it wasn't a smooth roll-out of this new improved list and I hope any last glitches will be removed as well.
Seems to be something really broken, I tried to repeat "Household" in German, and got to practice the word Stuhl. But it did not appear in my word list.
I've noticed that all colors have been dropped from my Spanish word list. I can't imagine this is right as the completed "Colors" skill still exists in the tree?
So much for the "we removed words that Duolingo no longer teaches". Review flashcards shows me "Verkehr", but I don't have it on my words list.
It looks like update has been resolved, however, it does not add any new words that I learnt today. I guess I will stop using this feature and i will find another way to list the words I am learning.
Why are there words missing that are actually taught? I suddenly can't find any conjugations of poder in my Spanish words list and I know I learned them because I wrote them down. I even went back just now to the lesson in question (Verbs: Present 1, Lesson 3) and did it again twice to be sure, and puede, puedes, and podemos all appeared in the lesson. I'm not sure how not showing words we've actually learned is supposed to improve my learning experience, so please put them back!
I (only a simple user) have also noticed this bug. I've checked all words from before and after the change and all that's missing are the conjugations of poder. There are also two words that have a double listing but this is an old bug. These two conjugations: fue and fuimos. Another old bug, donde and que don't have a "part of speech" section.
Those are all the issues I know of. To be honest I don't find that reassuring and I'm not really happy about it but compared to the other issues with the old list I think it's a big improvement.
Hello everybody.I have not the words page.How to activate this option ?!? I started duolingo since eighteen days, perhaps I missed something.Thanks for your help :-)
In the web interface from the top menu. So not from the tablet or phone app.
See image (found on google): http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ZCknsGJt394/VKHhC-Rjc4I/AAAAAAAAARc/9TjuwemQoOs/s1600/Reguilding%2B6%2BWords.png
Thanks NicoLaan69 for the screen.Ok guys ! I have not this option.All rights.If it is a bug ...ok no problem.... I can wait.But for another people can know how many words they learn with duolingo.Perhaps I can see this information in an OTHER way ? I just have only 2800 xp in English. Time for me to lunch.See you later.
That's weird. What's in your top menu? Only Home, Activity, Discussion and Immersion?