Suggestion: "Wish" for new vocabulary through immersion, add sentences for lesson practice with the incubator

Hello everyone, I have a suggestion for aquiring new vocabulary.

When reading articles in immersion, I often run into vocabulary that is new for me. I think it would be awesome if I could then simply click on a word, and the word gets added to my vocabulary & lesson practice.

In some other discussion, I read that this has been proposed previously, but is difficult to implement because we need quality sentences & translations for each word, and cannot be sure that the content from immersion delivers this.

But, I think the new incubator enables us to do it :D We could have a vocabulary "wish list" in the incubator. When somebody runs into an unknown word in immersion, there are two possibilities:

  1. The word is already in Duolingos database. When the user clicks on it, it is marked "seen" and is added to the users vocabulary and lesson practice.

  2. The word is not yet in Duolingos database. When the user clicks on it, it gets added to the "wish list" in the incubator. Contributors in the incubator then add appropriate sentences and translations for it. It gets added to the users vocabulary and lesson practice as soon as a sentence is available.

I think this approach has several advantages:

  • We can always continue to learn on Duolingo, this system will even help advanced learners aquire new vocabulary.

  • The "wish list" in the incubator can be sorted by demand. The contributors can see which word was requested most often, and add it first (and maybe earlier into the tree). In this way, people can learn the most frequent words faster :)

What do you think?

October 27, 2013


Excellent suggestion, this is definitely viable now with the incubator.

Edit: In addition, what they could do is search through the articles in the immersion for words that appear very often, are not in the current vocabulary, and automatically add it to the "wishlist".

October 27, 2013

This is an amazing suggestion (although it will probably take a while to implement). I'm definitely going to like this discussion and the more people that like it, hopefully the more attention that it will get.

October 27, 2013

That's great idea! But I think that in order for the project to succeed, the number of contributors must be increased dramatically. As for now, I'm only seeing a median of 2 or 3 contributors per language...which is kind of lacking. Definitely a good thing for those seeking to enforce their vocabulary!

October 27, 2013

What you see in the incubator right now are only the moderators. As I've heard, the moderators will be able to add contributors, so the number of contributors will be dramatically increased soon. :)

October 27, 2013

The contributors in the incubator have been rising slowly. I think the number is small because Duolingo staff is really taking the time to find the most capable applicants.

October 28, 2013

I support this idea but add few thoughts:

  • incubator infrastructure should be good, but it's still not easy. I wouldn't support this for courses that didn't graduate from beta yet - it would be a lot of work which is necessary in other fields at this stage. For graduated courses, I don't know whether there is a team big enough to implement the words in the wishlist (I expect it to be long). Some or all of the team members can be recruited from volunteers.

  • there should be some minimum number of sentences (say, three, or one for each of the different was how the word is used - it doesn't have to be tens of sentences) for each word in the vocabulary, so that we can practice the word. Every word in the wishlist should have a "sentence wishlist" of potential sentences. These will move to the list of example sentences after being checked by some 2 or 3 of the contributors (one person is not objective enough, but more than a half of the team is not flexible enough; that's why I suggest having the team for this rather biger than smaller). This process should be similar to the checking of sentences translated in Immersion, but with different criteria: now being grammatically correct is a prerequisite, but being good for training purposes is important too (no sentences having no meaning outside original context, please). The original sentences where the word was reported in Immersion should automatically be added to the "sentence wishlist". Frequent and popular words would be easy to implement from the textual perspective. What is not easy is the audio aspect. I don't know whether the infrastructure for this is contained in current Incubator, or that it should come with the next wave. This is another reason why the team should be big and competent enough.

  • anyway, this should be rather a by-product than a priority to courses for new languages. First test the Incubator system, and then really think of this.

October 28, 2013

We don't need to have fitting sentences for everything... the single word accompanied by its gender would be enough to make good vocabulary lists. I for one wish those endless sentences would stop keeping me translating the same over and over, and instead I could acquire more words.

October 27, 2013

Acquiring new words is good and bad, it is good because you know more, and bad because you may forget it soon after. But I agree more sentences would make exercises more diverse.

October 27, 2013

totally, i've only been using the site for a few days and one of the few spots that makes me grown as a Learner is the immersion section; this would be a tremendous help for expanding vocab and making the immersion section more fun

October 30, 2013
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