Finished the Russian tree. Not bad for Beta. Not bad at all.
There were a number of frustrating instances of me failing to pick the exact English that the program wanted, but I expect that to be corrected by feedback, and overall I was impressed with the vocabulary and how many of the sentences / teachings / notes were relevant and interesting.
As soon as I learned that Russian was available, I signed up for Duolingo last night and started to hack away at the tree. It should be noted that I tested out of 68 skills in the placement test and another nine almost immediately thereafter (the science skills), so overall I was able to get through the tree in about four or five hours (hence mediocre statistics such as 33 lingots, 3500 XP and level 11), but I did go through a number of individual lessons to learn what they were like.
I can't honestly say I learned anything new in Russian, but what doing the tree did teach me is what I can expect when I tackle other languages. And now that I know what to expect, I also know that Duolingo will be a good use of my time and a valuable tool for my next project: Spanish, about which I know next to nothing.
If I may offer one criticism in the hopes that the developers see it: there should either be less multiple choice questions or more of an attempt made to create at least somewhat difficult ones. The wrong choices in these questions, especially at the later levels, were embarrassingly wrong, choices that nobody who had gotten that far could possibly fall for unless they have a spasm and check the wrong box. With the multiple choice questions so easy (ridiculously so), I found myself wanting to see less and less (and eventually none) of them. I considered them absolutely useless for learning.
All in all, a rewarding experience, even if a brief one. I look forward to doing Duolingo with languages I don't know.
Thanks to everyone who put the program together. Impressive work.
Congrats! It's always nice to read that people think it's a good course -- it gives us slower users of it even more motivation to keep at it.
Regarding the multiple choice questions: Many people don't like them at all. They are generally so much easier than the other material in the same lesson, that they feel pointless. However, they are good ways of teaching things like that you can mean both ты and вы, or that (in other languages) a particular sentence can mean either that a male person is doing something or that a female person is doing it. Sometimes, new synonyms are also introduced this way (there was one with конь and лошадь pretty early on).
The other reason I personally like the multiple choice questions is that they are a way for Duolingo to teach us sentences. People who start their first course here (in a language they don't already know), are sometimes shocked at how they "are being tested" on material "they haven't been taught". Individual words can be taught using pictures, but this is a way of showing full sentences without the immediate pressure of translating them correctly or being able to construct them. When you've just done a few tough questions, an easy multiple choice one is a nice break, from which you still can learn something. (It is true though that in some other languages here, the wrong sentences seem to be a bit more realistic sentences than the ones in this course, but that's just my impression which might not actually be correct.)
I think making the incorrect sentences actually realistic sentences would be really good. I have no idea if it's an option that's even possible within the context of Duolingo, but it would be brilliant if they could do it.
Although I admit it's sometimes kind of hilarious when you get sentences about how someone ate someone else and similar...
И удачи с испанским! :)
As for the multiple choice questions, we do not create them ourselves. We have our sentences, but the incorrect options are made randomly and we have no control over them. Though they're really easy, the multiple choice exercises can be quite useful. For example, if you've just learned a new word/structure, coming up with a sentence that properly uses the lexeme will be difficult at first, but with multiple choice questions, it's easy to choose the correct answer, while getting more comfortable with seeing the new lexeme. Maybe you'll enjoy the multiple questions more while learning Spanish, since it's a language you don't already know. :)
Duolingo doesn't really have a way to teach different scripts, so it's a good idea to be at least somewhat familiar with the Cyrillic alphabet when you start the course. There are many different sites where you can learn the alphabet. To switch the lesson from Latin transliterations to Cyrillic, you need to click the little Aa-Яя switch, which is near the top left of the screen during a lesson. Hope this helps and good luck with Russian! :)
Duolingo is a great start for learning a language. The cyrillic alphabet is not as hard as it may seem. In fact, it has tons of similarities with the Latin alphabet and many letters look almost or fully identical. Listening to DuoLingo will help with pronunciation as well. The thing I wanna say here is that it's not as hard as it seems :D. Even though the alphabet might seem like a big obstacle in the beginning, it is not really a big deal. I also suggest the Memrise app for extra vocabulary learning. That should be enough in the beginning :P
Yout won't be. I'd estimate is as A2-ish knowledge with repeated trips to B1 territory (but still not there).
Note also that while we tried to include the typical A1, A2 and B1 vocabulary, hundreds of words are left out, mostly because of translation difficulties. For example, we do not have колбаса, дача, дойти and доехать.
I think that some of us need easy multiple choice questions to keep up our morale. Think about it -- there are people learning Russian here who have not had a year of it! It must be a harder task for them than we can fully imagine. It's bad enough that there are native speakers flashing through the course instantly, and people who can test out of a bunch of things because they already knew them before they even got here.
I'm not saying that advanced learners shouldn't be here; I'm just saying that I have a lot of sympathy for the learners who actually have to learn this difficult language from the beginning. I'm not one of them. I actually lived in Russia for a few years. And I have studied a bunch. Yet I'm only on level 10, haven't tested out of anything, and I'm proud to be that far along. I have no real idea how people who are truly introduced to Russian here are doing. Does anyone?
I do, from personal experience. :-) All I knew before starting was the Cyrillic alphabet, so I can't comment on how well they teach it, but so far I've not found it too bad. I frequently do something dumb or need to ask stupid questions, but I'm definitely improving. I started when the course came out and have been working on it slowly, not making rapid progress, but I'm learning two other languages at the same time, so that may not be representative of most beginners.
So my friend, could you tell me how many Russian words are are there in this course? And I think it should have a words list for this course. If it could have a "Spaced repetition" just like the Germany course (and the words test/examination, in order to let us type and remember more Russian words) , is much better. I think Cyrillic words is much difficulty to remember than the Latin scripts, so I need more times to remember(type words for this site/software) and test it. It's a little suggestion. And thank for sharing your experience .