[UPDATE] Official Norwegian 2.0 Feedback and Suggestion Thread!
30 November 2015 UPDATE:
The course now has over 3,100 words and over 100 skills. If it were released today, the new course would be the longest course in Duolingo's history. More details to follow.
Hei, alle sammen!
We have exciting news!
We do now have access to start building a revised Norwegian tree, and we would like to begin collecting feedback regarding how we could improve the course!
Here are some questions to get you started. Feel free to provide feedback on anything in the course.
- What do you like about the way Duolingo teaches Norwegian?
- What could be improved about the way Duolingo teaches Norwegian?
- What grammar or vocabulary topics do you think deserve more attention?
- Which topics are introduced too early or too late in the tree?
- What skill topic does not yet exist but should?
Things We Cannot Change:
- We cannot introduce some skills so early that they lack the vocabulary in order to effectively use the grammar.
- We cannot change the audio. We can only disable listening/remove specific words entirely. See: avis.
- We cannot change the overall distribution/proportion of (N<->E) translation or speaking exercises.
- We cannot add the Words functionality. That's on Pittsburgh's end.
Please help us out with your feedback!
Med vennlig hilsen,
~ Det norske laget
I struggle the most with prepositions, but the skills that specifically deal with those are quite short. I'd like that to be expanded, also with more grammar notes - it would probably be most effective later on in the tree though, once we're able to make more complex sentences. Like a Prepositions 2 or something.
Past tense is definitely introduced way too late.
Grammar skills in general could be made longer (more lessons), but in particular the later ones. Also, the length of each lesson in the final portion of the tree (10-15 sentences if one gets all of them correct) is I think the optimal number. Some lessons I've seen go up to 25 or 30 - that's a bit too much, split it up.
I found the Norwegian tree very enjoyable! A big thank you to the whole team!
What I would love though: bonus skills like some of the other trees have (Idioms / Proverbs, Flirting, Christmas). Maybe also some bonus skills introducing some Nynorsk - implement as bonus skills so people who just want to focus on Bokmål can leave them out and still progress through the whole tree.
First of all, I like the goofy sentences. The rationale is that if it doesn't actually make sense, but you understand it correctly, it means that you understood the words and are not relying on the context.
Second, I would recommend that some important phrases (like: where is the bathroom?) be included earlier.
Goofy sentences ARE important. 1)it solves the problem of the course being boring and artificial which is important not only for personal, but also for educational reasons - when emotions are involved, any studies are more productive. 2)as mentioned above, it does not let you "guess" or use common sense. It actually makes you translate something - you should be able to understand it. Goofy sentences are a significant psychological support for the course, and I am saying this without any irony.
Also, the goofy sentences have been one of the reasons I have stuck with Duolingo longer than any other language app. It makes the lessons fun, and the absurdity keeps you on your toes! I have sent many screenshots to friends showing them the new funny phrase I've learned in Norwegian (so in an indirect way, it's also good advertising for Duolingo!).
Most difficulties I'm having are with Duolingo itself (i.e. the parts that the team cannot change, such as better audio). The course is great! Keep up the good work! Tusen takk!
Personally, I'd like more notes on etymologies (e.g. edderkopp = poison-cup) and on English cognates (e.g. bord ~ board (which also used to mean "table" in archaic English)). I can't speak for others, but for me, learning about this stuff helps a lot in acquiring the words. Also, I'd like if we always could use archaic or unusual English words in the translations, when they're closer to Norwegian ("hound", "dale", "haven", "dame"). The rationale is that my primary goal is reading Norwegian, not translating to English fluently; so the closer I stick to Norwegian, the sooner I'll think in Norwegian, without the English intermediary.
I'll also add another vote to keep the goofy sentences (add more of them!). They only have advantages:
They reduce guesswork and ensure we're paying attention, which improves acquisition (cf. Schmidt's Noticing Hypothesis).
They're both more memorable and less boring, and thus doubly more effective. (Cf. the literature on mnemonic effects, and Krashen on the importance of positive affect).
A language course shouldn't teach only "useful" sentences, like how to go to the post office or whatever. It should teach ~the language~, which can be used for <sub>anything</sub>: for fantasy literature, black metal lyrics, indie movies, neopagan liturgies, absurdist comedy sketches… Language can do anything because it's made from words and grammar patterns, not ready-made sentences. Therefore, a language course must do whatever it can to teach us the words and the patterns, not canned phrases. Memorable, creative sentences like "mauren liker edderkoppen" are better at making words and patterns stick. Also they're weird/fun, which improves learning.
We now have a short Nynorsk module available as a bonus skill. Unfortunately, it doesn't work. It downloads into the tree, but does not "start" when requested. On Android phone an "error" flag appears "please try later." On Android tablet it just fails, and the screen returns to the tree again. I have reported the fault multiple times in "feedback." There is no sign of it ever working, and no acknowledgement of my feedback, either.
Because of the fact that Norwegian has three grammatical genders, it would be nice to see what gender a noun is when you click on a word (such as in, say, the French course). This would definitely be helpful since feminine nouns often times first appear as masculine nouns. For a while I though bok was masculine because it was taught as "en bok" and "boken". Wasn't until much later that I learned it was feminine when I saw "boka".
The language is adorable for me, so does the course. But it requires lot of attention listening to the audio, especially because of the gender and number of a noun. For instance: elefant/elefanten/elefanter/elefantene. I am a fan of short lessons for every course, so I recommend avoiding long and veery demanding lessons in order not to lose much focus.
I totally love Norwegian course as it is now, and I understand that certain things are out of your control. However, what might be helpful is having more audio practice (=more examples) with "tricksters" like tjue and sju, det and de, etc. This is twice as challenging knowing that audio is not always perfect. Sometimes it's just not. But still, it would be nice to have.
Apart from that, I think Norwegian course is awesome, it's easy to follow, motivating and fun, and I enjoy every minute I an doing exercises (and I AM a slacker, so that is an achievement). Moreover, it's actually, uhm, teaching :D I find myself able to translate more and more in everyday situations, although I saw some people complaining that course (and DL in general) is far from conversational - not true, at least in this case.
UPD ah! also, maybe more references to Norwegian (or all-Scandinavian) pop-culture? Like all-time favourite on timed practice "Jeg trodde på fremgang, jeg trodde på fred..." - quotes from Norwegian authors, proverbs, references from common culture. C'mon, we need to know more about the glory of Ostehøvel :D
A feature I found highly effective in the German 2.0 tree- quite simple- restructuring.
NO skill had more than 6 lessons- skills that previous had more than 6 lessons were split and moved to later parts of the tree.
Why did this work?
long skills can be quite frustrating and disheartening.
The language was learned quicker- being able to divide the tree in this manner meant more effective acquisition of grammar- seeing new structures of how the language actually work- Dont believe me- take a look at the new German tree- it is fantastic- I hope the other Duo trees will follow suit.
How about something on some common idioms and colloquialisms—I'm not sure how commonly they are used in Norwegian, but they might not be apparent to someone learning the languages.
Also introduce noun compounding early so people will recognize how the longer words break down and how to make their own. It makes the words like skuespillerinne a bit more stomachable.
There are idiomatic phrases scattered throughout the various lessons, and I always thought if there could be one place to group all of them (possibly at the end, or the end of each checkpoint), it would be much more effective. So I'm not trying to think in idiom mode while thinking in literal single-word-meaning mode at the same time.
There should be more sentences to translate from English to Norwegian rather than the contrary; more sentences related to everyday's life and less bears riding bicycles; introduce more words regarding Norwegian culture and landscape (I liked that one about brunost). And I can't wait to see the bonus lessons.
Other than that, keep up the good work.
I sincerely mean not to sound ungrateful, but I agree very much regarding the content of the sentences. My boyfriend is Norwegian and just laughs at the weird sentences that I have to work with. While I do feel like running into them sometimes would be fun, I sometimes find it hinders my progress because I likely would never say these things, or I am thinking "this sentence SOUNDS like 'the bears are eating the table' but it can't be, why would this sentence ever be useful?"
"why would this sentence ever be useful?"
The sentence itself probably isn't useful in that form, but the words you learn and how to use them are. It keeps you focused and is a great test to see if you really know the meaning of all words. You simply can't learn every sentence you gonna use in your life anyway. You learn the words, how to use them and eventually build the sentences yourself.
I think it would be very cool to get the 'Words' functionality up and running. I heave only read about this in regard to other courses and it seems it doesn't work for Norwegian.
In terms of the past tense mentioned in previous replies I also feel like having it a little bit earlier (maybe future tense as well) would be very nice. There is so much things I would like to say (referring to the past) but have no capabilty :( I think knowing the past/future tense at the beginning would enable learners to understand texts (eg. news) more.
I don't know technical background behind the pronunciation engine but in fact this is very difficult to hear the endings for definite/indefinite nouns or just horrible quality like in case of 'avis' whis is simply incorrect I fell. I'd rather like the quality to be consistent rather than the voice that speaks out the words. Probably impossible to change.
The course is super fantastic. I can't imagine antying that cold motivate me more. The small portions of words provided by short lessons and followed up by XP gain is just great.
I really love this course! I have been trying to learn Norwegian for over 9 years now but have found most other courses and books a little "dry". This has been a great addition to my extensive (mostly untouched) library of books! My only addition to this list of improvements already suggested by others is to make the multiple choices a little trickier! I find I am able to recognise the words needed to "guess" the correct sentence, without actually thinking about the structure of the sentence. It would be good to have sentences using the same words but in a different order. This is maybe included in later exercises, but I haven't really come across it so far. Keep up the good work, it's greatly appreciated!
I like how the course is easy to follow. I tried the Esperanto course and after the first few skills, there was simply too much to take in. I think that there should be a lot more vocabulary that you would really use in everyday life. I don't think there are any unnecessary skills but some of them could be expanded a small bit. If there are any other important aspects (grammar related) you should add them. Once all the grammar is covered, all you have to do is work on vocab. I think about 2,000 words are needed to get by in everyday situations. Maybe there could be a section about 'shopping' or 'in the city/buildings' etc. So you would be more prepared if you go to Norway. I think that the course is the best on Duolingo anyway, so there is not much that you need to do. Maybe you could do a couple of bonus skills. I know that the 'Nynorsk' one is in development, but are there any cool ones you could add. Don't forget to add surprises along the way to keep it interesting!
All foreigners coming to Norway, no matter which nationality, do seem to struggle with prepositions, so perhaps strengthen skills teaching those?
Plus time, since we use the 24 hours clock more than in England and also "hav åtte" and similar cannot be translated word by word (it would give the wrong time).
Allowing "ei" for "ikke" does seem to create confusion rather than being a help.
I would also suggest you look into any sentences containing the word "bordene" (the tables) sice the voice says it in a way that would be closer to the English word borders (trimmings).
I also find some of the suggested (alternative?) translations of words a bit off compared to our normal way of phrasing things (slow, hard, hunting is a few of the words I remember wondering about).
I am a native speaker of Norwegian, but have relatives and friends who have had to pick up Norwegian as adults. I have only looked at the discussions here and questions about individual sentences, so apologies if much of what I suggest has already been covered in the tree. On the other hand, some questions come up very frequently even if the topic is covered in the lessons.
You can just change you keyboard layout settings. E.g. I have an American/English keyboard and changed the layout in my computer settings to: 'English (USA International, with accent keys)'. Important is the accent keys (or dead keys) part. Then it's easy to write norwegian, german, french etc. special characters by hitting the 'alt' key simultaneously: äåüúöáßøæ ... I guess this should work with all computers and operating systems. At least for Linux it's that simple...
One thing I struggle with in Norwegian is discerning between words with similar meanings, such as:
å trenge | å behøve
veldig | ganske | virkelig | kjempe | svært
å jobbe | å arbeide
I know Duolingo accepts many of these words in place of each other since they are so similar, but it would be nice if there was some more information about these words, maybe in the tips and notes section. I think connotations, context, and 'leaning towards' translations (for example: "the meaning of this word is 'to work,' but it leans more towards 'to be employed'") could be some useful information to help teach similar words.
Also, I still don't know the Norwegian word for 'bacon' (although I have not reached the Food 2 skill yet). So..
Overall, I think the Norwegian course is great! Keep up the good work. ･ᴗ･
"Bacon" is... "bacon". We don't mess with perfection. ;)
For grammar related skills we usually need the Tips and Notes space to explain the grammatical concept. However, we may experiment with using the Tips and Notes sections of the thematic vocabulary skills for explanations regarding the many nuances in meaning.
Thank you for the suggestion - and for the compliment!
A lot of people seem to hit a spot around the 2nd checkpoint where you've learned so much but it hasn't solidified in your mind. You end up having to just review for a while. I remembered all the rules, but in complex sentences, had trouble applying them all consistently. Before Norwegian, I did Swedish through about 2 and a half checkpoints, and don't remember hitting a wall like that.
I do think the Norwegian course has hit a perfect balance between figurative and literal translations. The preferred English version is always suggestive of the correct form of the Norwegian, when possible. I think that's very helpful.
I think it would be useful to have an extended prepositions skill designed to really make the differences between English and Norwegian prepositions clear. For example, the way Norwegian 'for' sometimes overlaps with English 'for' but sometimes requires a completely different translation.
In general, it would be nice to see more words from vocab-building skills in later grammar skills and vice versa. That way we could constantly revise old material while learning new stuff, without having to specifically go back to a skill and strengthen it. This would be useful because when you've chosen to strengthen a skill you're expecting certain words, so it's hard to tell how well you really know them, whereas if they just popped up randomly in later skills it would really test whether they had stuck.
I think there could be a more even spread of vocab and grammar. I found it quite hard to motivate myself through the big block of long vocab skills just before the third checkpoint without learning any new grammar to make me feel that I was progressing or that the sentences were becoming more complicated. This might also involve splitting longer skills (upwards of 6 sets) into smaller chunks interspersed with grammar skills. I try (not always successfully) to do two new sets a day on top of keeping all my old skills gold, so even if I hit my target it takes a long time to finish a 9-set skill. There is no pressing reason, come to think of it, for learning all computer-based or travel-based vocab at the same time. It might be easier to retain it by learning one half, then having it practised in a grammar skill, then learning the next half, etc. (see point 2).
This is probably way out of your control, but if there was any way we could have immersion like for the bigger languages, it would be really helpful. Even if Norwegian translation doesn't feature in the Duo business model, just enabling the functionality for trying out translations and having them corrected by more experienced learners would be amazing.
Overall, I love the course and am very grateful to all of you for creating it and for being so helpful in the comments sections!
I support this.
I'd love to have a way to practice the recently learned lessons of a skill (if there are 8 lessons and I have done 4 already, I only can repeat each one individually but not combined/mixed), but as that is not possible, fewer lessons per skill would be a great help/workaround.
Hello everybody, I am an italian learner so ... you know I can improve English and learn another language (that I love since I was a child). Anyway I love this course in every single minute of my daily practice. I'd like more grammar notes or trick. I wish you could improve the grammar part with a special attention for the listening and sound part too. Thank you all the team! Grazie a tutti e buon lavoro!
Two minor things that I came across that I would have liked to seen explained in the lesson notes were:
1.) There were a few irregular adjectives that weren't mentioned (or I possibly missed) and were a little confusing. See "hele" and "halv".
2.) The turning of present participle adjectives into substantives as explained by Deliciae here: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/10480474
I know having minimal notes is Duo's thing, but I was really confused by these concepts when I encountered them.
Well probably don't start with the clearly different word? Like, if the sentence starts with "He" and the translation options given start with "Ham", "Vi" and "Jenta", I don't even need to read the sentence to find out the right one. The differences and mistakes are better to be hidden in the middle of the sentence and to be subtle and not so ridiculously obvious at times. If this is within your reach, of course.
Those exercises are automatically generated by an algorithm, based on our source sentences which are the ones used in the regular translation exercises and audio exercises.
I think the wrong alternatives are more or less randomly chosen from a pool of words you already know, perhaps with a priority given to those recently learned or or that seem grammatically similar. It's not something we have any direct influence over, I'm afraid.
I haven't finished the course, but:
I would like to have all the feminine nouns feminine... you can write an explanation that these can be used as masculine, but I'd like to use boka and not boken... jeg bor jo ikke i Bergen!
Like I just wrote in another post, when you "strengthen skills" in the main button I would like to strengthen several lessons if possible and not one at a time (in German it's possible).
Is there a lesson about time? "Ti på halv sju", "kl. 17" osv?
I find it a bit weird when you have to pick from the 3 sentences, that there are some with just a random word in there... Could you not write a real sentence just that it's not the exact translation? well this is just my opinion.
Maybe some very norwegian sentences (maybe a bonus skill) like harrytur, sykemeldt, mammaperm, taxfree, polet, mcern?
I did laugh at the "dagpenger" sentence, very Norwegian. And also "mannen hans" I don't think you find this in many other courses :)
I'm okay with some of the nonsensical sentences and get the reason they are there.. BUT I would enjoy more sentences I would actually say at a hotel, a coffee bar, an airport, a restaurant, a store, etc. Also maybe the beginning of a conversation. I'd like it to be more mixed between nonsense and super practical down to earth things I would actually say. You feel?
First, Duolingo has been one of the best learning platforms for me learning Norwegian and you all have done a great job! Some things I would like to see added to the course: - bonus skills on certain conversational topics so one can learn how to ask directions, order from a menu, meet and greet, etc., to help if one is traveling to Norway and still not very far into the tree. - more information on grammer/new skills built into the app. I don't know if you have control over the app format or if you can forward the feedback to the right people. I primarily use the app because I have tracking issues using the website on my phone/tablet (doesn't always track the lessons I completed) but by primarily using the app, users lose a lot of important info at the beginning of new skills - a skills set, maybe bonus, that shows the different conjugations for certain words (ie, commonly used or odd conjugations) in past, present and future. - introduce past tense earlier - I may not be far enough into the tree yet but a speaking feature would be awesome! The Spanish tree asks the learner to speak some of the sentences and that would be amazing in the Norwegian tree.
Keep up the great work!
I too have been wishing for speaking exercises—by which I mean repeating a phrase into a microphone. (The only speaking exercises I get are "type what you hear.") If they are in the Norwegian course, can someone explain how to set that up on my computer? I am blown away that I can understand so much Norwegian now (thank you, DuoLingo!) but I find I am shy to talk out loud because I know my pronunciation is pretty bad. I would like to be "forced" to speak more. Tusen takk!!
straight from the very first skills, I disabled them around middle of the first set of skills.
UPD right now I turned on the mic exercises, started practice on Basics skill and speaking exercise was the very first I got!
So, another option is a streak of really bad luck. I find app more repetitive than website version. Like for the last three(!) days my practice starts from translation of "a union" from English to Norwegian, and then it also comes 3-5 times during the flow of the practice, wtf is that :D but I guess it's a question to developers, not to course creators.
maybe you should report it to tech support if you never get any.
I'm not sure if this would be possible, but it would be great to have a chart of the conjugated adjectives for the first adjective lesson. This confused me very much at first, and it would've been easier to learn (in my opinion), if I could read the text and see the changes in action without going through the lessons.
Example: Masculine:Stor Feminine:Stor Neuter:Stort Plural:Store
Masculine:Viktig Feminine:Viktig Neuter:Viktig Plural:Viktige
Using this right now, just hit a 60 day streak today actually.
The only thing that gets me from time to time is that some sentences just don't make sense, they seem to be 'broken English'.
Example: 'du er flink i norsk' --- the correct answer is 'you are good in Norwegian'.
Well Norwegian what? I would assume they were going for 'you speak Norwegian well'.
I reckon the course is great, it covers lots of useful stuff and makes you chuckle, but it's great to see version 2 is coming. Here's my 2 cents:
I'd like to have a little more on the passive voice and other s forms of verbs. It's a different way of thinking about verbs (for an english speaker), so I'd like a bit more material to teach it please! And a bit more on the passive participles (and when to use bli or være).
A skill (in the tree, or as a bonus) on particles like: jo, vel, nok, etc. would be handy as well.
Also, I think it would really add to the course's value if some of the concepts of the grammar skills taught later in the tree were incorporated into sentences for the last few vocabulary skills (passive voice, present & passive participles, present and past continuous 'tense', conditional mood, etc.)
Fully agree. The Duolingo fluency indicator has no correlation to actual fluency. As far as I can tell, it dates from when they wanted to pressure you to do translation for them (which they were planning on monetizing). The easiest way to drive up your fluency measure was to do lots of translation, even though this in fact did not help you learn the language (not the way Duolingo has set it up, anyway), or, in fact produce good translations. Translation is a hard problem not easily solvable like text-recognition.
I really like this course, it is more fun and keeps me better motivated than all that i tried so far. Especially the allusions to songs, poems, etc are appreciated. Probably it is on Pittsburgh's end, but a button to mark the words/phrases, which I find difficult to memorize, in order to repeat them more often, would be highly welcome. I'm not so convinced about the respective algorithm. Hurra det norske laget!
I uttaleguiden til de norske bokstavene står det at "å" uttales som "o"-en i "open". Den "o"-en er jo en diftong, og jeg vil derfor foreslå at dere velger et nytt ord. Hva med RP-uttalen av "awkward"?
"Jeg" rimer jo forsåvidt heller ikke på "guy". Her tror jeg bare ren IPA-transkripsjon eller lyder kan illustrere det noe godt. /æ/ finner vi på engelsk i for eksempel GA-uttalen av "after".
The course could be much more useful if it had practical examples. That is, longer sentences, less dialogue-type sentences and more of the type of day-to-day Norwegian that one encounters in written form.
For example, my Norwegian study to-date isn't helping as much as I'd like with reading and interpreting signs on the street, catalogues in the shops or letters from the Kommune.
In that way, I think introducing the preteritum and perfektum earlier would be very helpful.
Also, more attention much earlier on to the modal verbs - and particularly the way they modify or omit the main verb - would be handy.
And finally, more practice with the common words with multiple or uncommon meanings, such as what is covered in the amazing Norwegian Grammar Dictionary by Rysst and Sylvester would be fantastic!
One thing I find irritating is in the exercises where you have to pick from 1 to 3 correct versions of the answer. Sometimes these include a construction that likes as though it might be valid, but there is something else clearly wrong with the sentence. This leaves the student unsure whether the alternative construction is valid or not. I therefore feel there should rarely be more than one error in the incorrect versions.
I notice these exercises are also used to introduce us to valid constructions that are not in the basic material, which we discover by incorrectly rejecting them. This does not bother me at all. I think it's an effective way of introducing supplementary material. It even has an element of military humour in it, like a drill sergeant shouting: "All those whose leave this afternoon has not been cancelled - dismiss! Jones! Where do you think you're going?"
- Grammatical genders should be "correct" (I know m/f are interchangeable; but I think everyone should be able to decide for oneself if he wants to use both or just male)
- There are no speaking exercises on mobile devices, would be nice to have them on tablets/smartphones
- Norwegian tongue twisters could be a fun bonus lesson (En voksen bokser vasker bukser. Etc.). Especially for speaking exercises very interesting!
You say you can't change the following, but still necessary to enhance. Maybe you have some contacts to Duolingo which you can use.
- A real natural voice would be much better. The Irish course for example has a real recorded voice.
- The fluency percentage indicator is maybe really useless, but it's a nice feature for motivation.
- Learning on a mobile device without any grammar tips and notes is nonsense. These are necessary to understand what you are learning. The Apps need them desperately.
- There should be a word/vocabulary list of all learned words
But besides that, you have done great work so far. Thank you!
Excellent course. I first learned Norwegian language some 40 years ago. Many of the lessons are quite easy to review, and I enjoy the variety. I'm curious of the region where the primapeaker is from. The Pronousiation. is different than the Bokmål that I learned in N=Hamarl
i think it would be very useful to have the present/past/future tense of the verb in the hint sheets.
I am not sure how people remember new words, but for me if i can say them out as a group, it helps me remember all the forms and use them correctly.
Is it possible to make this? thanks