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https://www.duolingo.com/cazort

Request For More In Alphabet Lesson - Too easy and doesn't cover enough

cazort
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I completed the Alphabet section of the lessons without much trouble, it wasn't at all hard for me to get through that section. But I still feel like I don't really know the alphabet. I went back and I practiced all of the sections a second time, and some of the sections a third time.

And still, after going through that section repeatedly, I feel like I have a firm grasp only on a handful of letters: а, р, о, д, э, с, м, и, т, е, к, я, and н. Many of the letters I have no clue about how to pronounce, and typing feels very cumbersome.

This is well under half the alphabet. When moving on to the next lesson, Basics 1, I find a lot of the words contain other letters, like ж, щ, ф, б, ш, that I barely have any practice with. It feels like a really big leap, and it's intimidating.

Are others also experiencing this disconnect in ability level? Is there any way you could add more sections to the Alphabet lesson, to allow mastery of more letters, and especially, more practice with the letters that are less common (and are currently barely introduced or not even introduced at all)?

2 years ago

14 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/ESAndrew

What I recommend is going to Memrise, or downloading it, and taking the "Learn Basic Russian" course. It'll help you with the alphabet.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/cazort
cazort
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Thank you! This is really helpful; I didn't know of this!

Is it too personal to ask whether you've been downvoting my comment? I was a bit distressed to see that my comment has already been downvoted to -4.

In the past, I've found this forum to be a very positive, respectful, and supportive place, and I have never encountered any negative behavior, only ever seeing people reserve downvoting for factually incorrect answers.

I made this post in good faith and I still think that I raised a valid question (which no one has answered, you gave me useful advice to help me personally, but you didn't answer or address the question of whether or not the exercises in the alphabet section are adequate for learning the alphabet, or whether or not you would find it helpful to add more practice or more lessons in this section), and I find the degree of negativity to be, frankly, quite distressing.

I made this post primarily because I care about improving the quality of the course and I wanted to spark a discussion about this section, and I'm disappointed that this isn't happening at all. I can help myself on my own just fine, without needing help from this forum, I'm good at using google and could probably find all sorts of resources on my own.

I posted here because I wanted to help give useful feedback on the beta course. I'm grateful to DuoLingo, because it's such an amazing resource, and I want to do all I can to give back to the community and the site creators.

It's upsetting when I come here so generously and find my post received so negatively and coldly.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ESAndrew

No, I haven't upvoted nor downvoted any of your comments.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/gingerninja3148

Although I haven't started the second skill yet I do not feel confident in my knowledge of Cyrillic (hence why I haven't moved on). I feel confident in all the letters you said you have a firm grasp on. The others were hardly taught. I'm teaching myself outside of Duolingo so I guess that's what you will have to do to.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DuddC

Are you just using the exercises or are you reading the text that accompanies each skill as well?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/cazort
cazort
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I am doing both. The issue is that the exercises give little practice with the letters that are introduced later in the lessons.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/billInMadison
billInMadison
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I've found Quizlet's Scatter and Space Race games features really good for learning new alphabets. There are a lot of pre-made Russian alphabet flashcard sets to use. Try it out!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sannehoo
sannehoo
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There are everal russian alphabet courses on memrise. Recommended!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/slogger
sloggerPlus
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See this Duo discussion for more suggestions.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SiblingCreature

How would this extended alphabet lesson do anything different to the existing Basics 1? Don't get sidetracked by the name. Surely the mechanics of introducing the new letters would be the same either way, no?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/cazort
cazort
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I'm confused by this comment and I'm not sure if you understood my comment and it's not clear to me that you even read it thoroughly. I'm not suggesting changing the mechanics of introducing new letters, I'm suggesting that it cover the full material necessary to fully understand the alphabet. I feel like it wasn't a full or complete lesson.

And I think a more thorough alphabet lesson would do a lot to make Basics 1 more accessible.

I felt that there was a huge leap from completing the alphabet lesson, to getting to Basics 1. Like I felt like, even after practicing Alphabet 1 until I could do all the sections and reliably do perfectly on each exercise, I was missing a lot of prerequisites necessary to function in the Basics 1 lesson. There were certain letters I didn't know how to pronounce.

Russian pronunciation is hard and I feel like the alphabet section barely scratched the surface, it didn't even cover practicing with all the letters in the lessons, it didn't introduce the hard and soft signs, the written text doesn't even explain them.

I have been working with Memrise's course as a supplement and it's very helpful. Working on this site made me realize just how much the DuoLingo course omits. I don't expect this course to be flawless on the first try--after all, it's beta, and it's free. I'm super grateful for this site, it's such an amazing resource. But I wanted to post here because I don't think that this course, as-is, is adequate as a standalone course--unlike the courses I've seen in other languages, like Spanish, which I think would be easily accessible to English speakers with no prior exposure. I think it could be improved, and I'm suggesting a way for it to be improved. It's a little puzzling to me why you and others don't seem to be understanding what I'm saying, which is that, to me, someone with no prior exposure to learning Russian, the alphabet section is not anywhere near adequate for proceeding into the next section, Basics 1.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SiblingCreature

I get what you're saying but I think you're being sidetracked by semantics. "Basics 1" is continuing to teach you the alphabet, the same way the Alphabet skill does, by introducing new words that use those letters, and exactly the same way any additional "Alphabet" lessons would. What you're asking for is already there, but you seem to be approaching the course with the expectation that it be labelled differently.

I understand that it's daunting, I'm in the same position as you are. My prior knowledge of Russian was limited to a few words that I learned verbally as a child, (Dedushka, babushka, borscht, koshka and do svidaniya are the only ones that stuck with me aside from my own names and those of family members) and my knowledge of the Cyrillic alphabet was limited to being able to recognise the letters as being Cyrillic characters. I'm spending a lot of time in strengthening lessons because I don't feel ready to move on yet, but I can't think how a theoretical "Alphabet 2" skill would be any different to the existing "Basics 1" skill.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/cazort
cazort
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I could get more specific or concrete about what I think is lacking. When I go to practice the last lesson in the "Alphabet 1" section, it often doesn't have me do much practice typing, especially hearing a word in Russian and typing it out loud. It also doesn't have me do ANY reading of the word in Russian and speaking it out loud (like the Spanish and German courses do a lot of).

I would like to see a practice where it gives you a whole bunch of spoken words, speaks them, and then you have to type them out in Russian in the Cyrillic alphabet.

Like, when I go through practicing the exercises, it often doesn't even give me a SINGLE question through the whole thing, of that type. So like, I can click "practice" over and over again, and I can ace the exercise with 10/10, but I'm not really learning the material, I'm just repeating the aspects of the material that I already know through and through, without learning any new stuff.

That to me seems a problem with how the thing is designed.

Yes, I can go off on my own and master these skills (which I have been doing, like by going to the Memrise site, which people in this thread recommend), but I think just saying I can do this is a copout.

If the people at DuoLingo want to make a comprehensive standalone course (like they have for Spanish, for instance), I think they'd do well to look at things like how Memrise does things. I actually think they could use the framework of the DuoLingo site and do it MUCH better than Memrise does it.

I would also have them explicitly introduce the hard and soft signs and then give examples. Like if I were them I'd have a whole section of lessons just on that. People who know it or learn it easily could zoom through it, but it could be super helpful for people who don't really know the alphabet. These signs and the whole thing of the two different classes of vowels, which are explained thoroughly in the videos Memrise links to in the middle of their main Russian alphabet lesson, aren't even mentioned in the DuoLingo lesson, it just describes these letters as "placeholders".

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SiblingCreature

You made some good points.

I've never used Memrise so I can't comment on how it does things, but it seems to me most of the issues you describe relate more to the way in which the material is reinforced, rather than how it is introduced.

I'm not sure how much control the Russian team actually has over what kind of exercises you see and when you see them though. Indeed, I was under the impression that this is largely randomised by duolingo itself, especially in the strengthening exercises. This issue is probably exacerbated by the fact that this early in the course Duo hasn't had much of a chance yet to assess your weak areas using it's own algorithms.

I've been doing a lot of the general strengthening lessons myself and am finding that doing several of them is useful, even though the usefulness of any particular exercise is a bit of a crap-shoot. (e.g, Asking me to translate Пицца into English isn't so helpful, especially given that the audio is identical)

As I've been learning French here on duolingo I've often wished I could direct which type of exercises I was seeing most of, or choose a specific set of words to practice. It would be nice to be able to focus mainly on conjugation of these verbs here, or on gender agreement in those adjectives, articles, or pronouns there to shore up my known weak areas.

I could certainly see such a facility being useful here to specifically focus on exercises that involve typing the Russian words, at least until one gets a better grasp on the alphabet.

Perhaps this would be something to introduce through the "Schools" interface as I expect it would be useful for teachers to be able to tailor lessons for their students based on their own assessments of the students weak points, and for those of us who are effectively self taught, there's no reason we couldn't use the same mechanism.

Incidentally, I too missed the microphone exercises. Could this perhaps be because they haven't found a suitable Russian voice recognition system yet?

2 years ago