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More than half Rus-Eng tree done - first impressions

Disclaimer: I am a Russian speaker.

Nevertheless, I failed several times taking the shortcut to the tree. The reason - it is still very raw. That's normal, we're talking about beta-phase. I made the first shortcut, so I cannot speak for the first lessons, but the advanced ones miss a lot of correct answers, as well as have mistakes. I have already sent like 100 reports, and sure others did too.

So, first of all, I'd like to congratulate all of us that we made it to this very day, and the course is alive! A big thank you to all the Russian team. Вы, ребята, молодцы!

I am sure as this course matures and comes out of beta, it will be a much better tool.

Good luck everyone in studying this non-trivial language. Всем успехов в изучении этого непростого языка.

UPD: They are quick responders! I have already received 6 notifications about accepted translations I suggested.

November 3, 2015



Thank you for sending in so many reports! It's all due to people like you that we'll end up having a robust way to learn Russian.


Never underestimate the power of the crowd :)


I agree. I've sent in a few reports too. They really need to accept "mama" for mom. That's what my kids call me, and they're not toddlers.

I'm not complaining, and I'm very happy that this course is in beta now, but there were some answers on the placement test that they should have counted. After the first day, I still am at a higher level in the German for Russian speakers course that I signed up for before this course went live.


I still use that on my mother sometimes, and I'm most definitely an adult. Agreed that "Mama" should be accepted. ;-) Heck, even though I didn't grow up saying it, "Papa" is also acceptable English.

Even though I probably could have tested out of some skills, I chose not to because where I learned was rather informal and part of my reason for taking this course is that I'm concerned I have significant, critical gaps in the vocabulary and phrases I need to know.


I just use it when I am speaking German with my parents, in fact I only ever address them in German(even if the conversation is in English). We are now accepting "mama" and "papa" as an acceptable translation for мама or папа. I was amazed by how many people reported it since I personally have never heard it(in English) even though I live in an English speaking part of Canada.


So many people use мама и папа!! Of course, not many English speakers do. However, russians living in english speaking countries - Of course!! :P


While "mama" and "papa" are a bit more like what a very young child calls their parents, (or mama and dada), they're still used by some people.


Maybe not sophisticated Vancouver types, but I can ensure you plenty of Canadians do say it, although I never would.

(I am from BC - this is a playful insult at worst).


I think it's more regional. I'm from the Midwest (of the USA) and very few people over 10 use "mama" and "papa" but it seems to be very common in the south


I did the initial placement test and Duo said "sorry you didn't test out in ANY skills" :(

did I mention that I'm a russian native? lol

wow this was hard to spell the words right using english letters.. I was guessing half of it.. good luck to people who don't know russian! :P

I kinda feel better now about making mistakes in the language that I'm learning haha


I thought it was much less raw than most courses are when they enter beta. Kudos to the RU-EN team.


Wow, as a native I see quite a few errors and some translations that should definitely be accepted! I'm sure over time, many natives will send in lots of correct alternative answers and the database will be much fuller and there is more room to move around in when Duolingo marks :D

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Actually, natives are pretty bad at that. For any language. I think we will find our compromise... in time.


Natives don't send enough alternatives?

Heck, I've sent in plenty :P

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You may look at it from another angle.

A native is not here to learn their native language, nor are good non-natives. It hurts when the stupid machine wants your "You got some free time Monday?" to be "Do you have any spare time on Monday?"

A native speaker of English wants English to be as bad as possible within the limits of what is formally acceptable. "I have drunk way a lot of water"? Sure! "Give please a banana and the pizzas"? That works! Or, wait... we have a few our own sentences like that. Gotta fix them first :P

Similarly, it is in a native speaker of Russian's best interest for Russian to be as forgiving as possible while remaining, stictly speaking, grammatically correct. Here, we have a problem because Russian is what we teach here. Learners doing the exercises are not coming here to learn acceptable Russian. They want to learn what they actually can use—which is often different from what a native might produce when translating from English literally.

Also, quite a number of non-native speakers tend to overlook tiny details that are important. For example "magnificent" and "good" are not the same in any language I can think of, even though they are synonyms. "I have a few things to add" is different from "I have few things to add". "You are very smart" and "You are too smart" do not equal each other. This is, of course, more characteristic of Russian speakers because there are few speakers of English bold enough to teach us correct Russian. :) Everyone has their own unique traits, I guess.

In the end, we'll probably lower our bar for English and make Russian a bit more vague but, I hope, within the limits of what we deem acceptable now—we will just apply it more consistently.


>A native speaker of English wants English to be as bad as possible within the limits of what is formally acceptable. "I have drunk way a lot of water"? Sure! "Give please a banana and the pizzas"? That works! Or, wait... we have a few our own sentences like that. Gotta fix them first :P

I would disagree with this. I find when there are very literal or bad translations in English, it hurts my understanding of the equivalent sentences is in Russian. This is because I won't use those sentences.

I rarely (if ever) say: "I think the lecture will be tomorrow" but I very often say "I think the lecture is tomorrow"

If I see the first version as the English translation, I won't remember the correct Russian as easily since I don't want know how to say "the lecture will be tomorrow" in Russian.

The English (or native language) grammar being strange makes it harder for me to understand when to use the Russian construction (the target/2nd language)

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You are among the few then. Translations like "On the grass sits a quite girl" are regularly submitted.


This makes me feel much better about the amount of skills I tested out of after studying Russian for several years.


Congratulations to everyone who worked on this course. Even in beta, I have found it the best-planned and most useful course of all that I have tried on Duolingo so far. The quality of the sentences and vocabulary just seems excellent, interesting and useful: almost always sentences I can realistically imagine using and rarely the whacked-out, surreal stuff that I've come to accept as normal for Duolingo. I'm really grateful for the the work that went into this.


The explanations are quite good, but I wonder what it would be like learning Russian from scratch. It's such a different structure than I used to learn the basics.


That is the same exact experience I had. You are right. I hope in due time the course will evolve and get all the way better. :)


I noticed that too and I'm not even a Russian speaker, though I really look forward to learning it. I think I'll wait until it's more than halfway through beta or more before I start it.


I am sure that most things ARE ok, but cannot speak for the first lessons, as I skipped them via shortcut. Anyway, in the meanwhile, I'd recommend you to get all the peripherals prepared: installing a russian keyboard, getting used to it, learning cyrillic letters.


I use Duolingo mostly via the app so I'll wait until it's available on there, and I also have the Russian keyboard on my phone


I'm just a little bit into the course, and I can tell it's still raw, but it's fantastic. As we see these raw parts, let make sure and send in reports on what needs polish. This is great.


Thanks for reporting alternative answers! The more natives (and others) report the better the course will become :D


Thank you for taking the time to review the lessons and make proposed changes.


I've been doing it and I find that compared to the UA course the voice is sometimes hard to understand or doesn't work properly.


Thank you for sending the reports!!



Likewise I also send in a few reports

but I go slower than usual

but enjoy the course so far

congratulation to thanks to all involved


There are still a few bugs, in my case, skipping the question would mark it as "correct". The more of this is reported the faster the lesson will come out of beta so keep those reports coming people :D


Thanks a lot for helping improve the course!

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