Suggestion: Provide a minimal grammar in one place that is just enough to answer all the questions asked by Duolingo in lessons.
Just like the launch of the incubator got rid of all the "HEY GUYS ADD MORE LANGUAGES!!!111" requests? ;-)
I don't think it would be 'minimal' if it's enough to answer all the questions.
And they already provide a minimal introduction of grammar in all of the languages.
Speaking from my experience with German on here, the Almighty Owl doesn't typically show grammar up front where needed in the lesson, but enjoys burying them in the "Tips and notes", sometimes under irrelevant headers like talking about the contraction/preposition am under the Food unit. In the Dative Case unit, Duolingo used aus in the seperable verb aussehen despite never even mentioning that seperable verbs exist. The Owl also uses different meanings of a homonym without ever identifying them until you get it wrong, and a similar case exists for idiomatic devices.
To sum up, Duolingo does not give the necessary base in grammar.
I agree.. they give a minimal introduction but the user has to adapt to their environment and learn from the discussion boards and other sources to fully understand the 'necessary base' of grammar of the languages offered. One way or another though, we are learning. I'm sure once they have more time, they'll update the grammar sections as much as they can.
I do German and Spanish in Duolingo, and I had some experience with both of those languages before trying Duolingo. The advantage of Duolingo for me is its interactive nature, but I would not endeavor to start from scratch using this program alone. What would be nice is to have the basics, like conjugations, somewhere near the lesson for reference, so that one is not constantly flipping between sites. I often find no "Tips and notes" for a lesson, and I look! I benefit GREATLY from the discussions about the sentences, but the posts could be reduced to confusing items. None of this is a complaint. Duolingo is tremendous.
Where does one find these "tips and notes"? I'm currently brushing up on my Italian, and it helps a lot that I'm already familiar with the grammar. I've thought about starting a new language, but I'm hesitant mainly because of the minimal instruction in grammar...
It used to be at the top of the screen and to the right, above the answers, which was great. Now I sometimes find it with the discussion, to the left of the vocabulary at the end of a lesson. This is not as helpful. If I'm missing something, someone please correct me. (I just recently realized I can look up conjugations of verbs at the right of the drop-down translations. It only took me a year to realize this!) I just discovered some explanations as well in the drop down translations, but "Tips and Notes"are more elusive.
Don't be intimidated about starting a new language with Duolingo. It's easy enough to find other sites to outline basic grammar. If you ask for suggestions in Discussion, I'm sure people would share their favorite sites.