https://www.duolingo.com/Tristan.D

General Feedback on Russian Course

Tristan.D
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(I'm not too sure where to post feedback, and so I'll post it here. Maybe if people want to, they can do likewise in the comments below)

First off, well done to the Russian for English Speakers team! The course is officially in Beta, but it's for the most part polished enough to be a full-fledged Duolingo course! I've enjoyed it immensely so far (I'm a little bit past the first checkpoint), and in particular have found the tips and notes sections extremely well-written and informative.

As per this thread's title, of course, I do have a couple of suggestions or bits of feedback for the course:

  1. In the Accusative skill, I found myself struggling with the four or five different verbs that had been introduced, and as a result couldn't focus on learning the Accusative declensions. I understand that verbs are an absolute necessity for learning the Accusative, as it's used for the objects of verbs, but I think that it should be swapped (in terms of position in the tree) with the Verbs skill, so that you can learn the verbs first, and then focus on learning the noun declensions.

  2. The vocabulary in Phrases 1 and 2, for the most part, seems to be completely neglected outside of their respective skills. For example, only within Phrases 1 (or possibly 2) is Добрый вечер or Спокойной ночи mentioned — I think it would greatly enhance the course if this essential conversational vocabulary were consistently reused throughout the tree, helping students to understand their uses and idiosyncrasies (such as the placement of "please" in sentences). EDIT: I would like to clarify I only refer here to essential conversational vocabulary, such as "please" and "thank you" and greetings such as "good morning/afternoon/evening" etc. I understand it that the Strengthen Skills button revises all vocabulary, but my point is that the essential conversational vocabulary, in particular, seems to be more neglected than most other vocabulary (from my experience), and could be more frequently reinforced outside of the Strengthen Skills and Revise Lesson functions.

  3. The Copula exception (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copula_(linguistics)#Slavic), which dictates that the Nominative should be used for the object (aka complement) in "essense" copula constructions and the Instrumental in "state" copula constructions, should be mentioned somewhere– it's quite important and, for me anyway, was a significant frustration in trying to understand the uses of the various cases.

  4. This is not a "problem" per se, but I think it would make more sense if the Food skill were higher up in the tree. By the time you reach the skill, after the first checkpoint, you already know at least a dozen words for various foods, and it would make more sense I think if the skill for Food were higher. This would also help in learning cases and plurality, as the nominative form would have been learnt earlier and better allow students to see what declensions have taken effect/place.

  5. Will the conjugations for words be added and, if/when they are, accessible from the tooltip, as they are for courses such as Spanish? This would be greatly helpful. This relates to my last point below.

More generally, i.e. feedback for Duolingo in general but that could of course greatly benefit the Russian course:

  1. I think the Tips and Notes section should be displayed before starting the first lesson of each skill, as so to ensure that users see and read it. I actually didn't even realise there was such a section until about 5-6 skills in, and while that may be just me I think that, if the debacle over the tiny Aa-Яя alphabet switcher is anything to go by, a lot of people would benefit from the extra visibility.

  2. Particularly for synthetic (that is, languages that rely more on inflection than on word order to convey meaning) languages such as Russian, I would greatly appreciate the inclusion of a tooltip, much like the one that shows translations of new words, but perhaps above the word, that shows either the nominative singular form (for nouns) or the infinitive (for verbs) (and potentially even all conjugations, as mentioned above).

I know this is quite exhaustive, but please don't get me wrong - I think the course fantastic and am so grateful to all who put so much work into it and made it what it is today. Hope that the feedback above is helpful and could be taken into consideration!

3 years ago

11 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/belafranta

The course is not fixed yet. It is in the beta development phase, and I think it was very useful to summarize. I hope the moderators read this post.

I enrolled in the course also, but I wanted to finish my already began curses first. I hope it does not consume much time and I can begin the Russian course. Until then I am very faithful to everyone who reports the bugs which need to be fixed, so I can avoid them :-D

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jaaron001
jaaron001
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in some sections the audio is very fast -- it might be worthwhile to see if there is a way to hear a somewhat slower version as in the other sections

of course mobile would be helpful

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/vytah
vytah
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As for neglected phrases, it's an issue in almost all courses – they're fixed sequences of words, their usage is quite precisely defined and they usually do not influence their context. How many sentences can contain the greeting "good morning", verbatim? Not much.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Tristan.D
Tristan.D
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Yes I realise that, but often I think the words could be incorporated into lessons teaching other vocabulary, for example in the Food skill having a sentence along the lines of "Good morning, can I have some cheese please?" I know that that doesn't necessarily enhance our understanding of "good morning", but it provides much-needed revision with a real-world use case.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ptoro
ptoro
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I agree that it helps to build on past words by incorporating new words slowly so you don't have sentences full of words you've never seen before. However, I disagree that it's important to continue using all words in future lessons. That's what review is for.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/doostrunk
doostrunk
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I really enjoy the course, russian is a real challenge. You did a great job, contributors. Well done ! The only thing I'm waiting for is to learn it from my mobile device.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/RoseDG1
RoseDG1
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First of all -- thank you to all who worked so hard to make this course possible! I really enjoy it and I'm learning a lot. :)

As far as things that could be added or improved...

1) I'd like to have sound for all sentences -- there are some words that I haven't heard pronounced, and I've had to go to other websites to hear them.

2) I can't wait to see more features added -- immersion, the app, etc.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/belafranta

I have not begun the course yet, but I had found the "words" menu in my German course which is still missing as I see in the Russian one. It will be very helpful at the end phase to see which word is needed to repeat.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/OldBob
OldBob
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Thanks for the hard work ladies and gents. Wish it was twice as long. Also impressed by very few instances of sentences in bizarre English as sometimes happens. большое спасибо !

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/fatamo

Useful feedback. I don't know if this is an issue I should report somewhere, but over the past two days the Russian words have not been appearing in Russian letters, which makes it significantly more difficult to translate to english because I don't have the correct point of reference.

I suppose this might be just a typical glitch in the beta phase? I'm wondering if anyone else has experienced this as well.

Apart from that, I would say that I've tried many other ways to learn Russian, and in a short space of time I feel as though I've come further than all the other methods combined! So thank you very, very much to all the people who are contributing to the development of this really wonderful course. I'm grateful.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mightypotatoe
mightypotatoe
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There's a switch in the upper left hand (Aa Яя) corner that let's you change between Latin and Cyrillic alphabets. Sometimes the course defaults back to the slit and you just have to switch it back.

3 years ago
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