Spanish tree has to be updated.
Hi, guys! Don't you think it will be great if the Spanish tree could be made longer and refreshed, like completely refreshed? The problem with the existing course is that it sometimes teaches you these ridiculous sentences, and I don't have anything against that, apart from the fact it makes you feel confused. Sometimes when I see a sentence like -
'This bear doesn't drink wine'
I know that oso means bear, however I find myself thinking of another word because the sentence itself makes no sense. I decided to have a look at other trees and, to my surprise, found that the German tree was much longer that the Spanish tree. In fact here is a little statistical info : Number of skills:
• 120 German
• 78 French
• 64 Italian
• 62 Spanish
Don't you think it is a little unfair that the language that has the biggest amount of learners and the biggest amount of speakers among the languages offered on the website has the fewest number of skills?
I think that everyone will benefit from the expansion of the Spanish tree, both the website and the learners. Old users will come back to study new skills and new users will come to check it out. Don't you think? Upvote this discussion if you agree!
Well, I haven't learned Spanish, but I heard it's easier than German. And just because a language has less skills doesn't mean Duolingo is discriminating them, they are only trying to make Spanish as simple and as organized (compact, per se) as it can be. German has a lot of things to learn and that's probably why it has more skills to cover. Updating the tree I have nothing against, because there are many trees that can use some 'trimming'.
This is not just due to grammar such as accusative case, genitive case, etc, the German tree also seems to have much more effort put into it.
e.g. The German tree has:
- 3 number lessons (Spanish only has one)
- Dates 1 and 2
- 2 nature (Spanish has 1)
- Classical music
- and Culture
These are all subjects that have little or nothing to do with grammar, yet German gets these subjects, and Spanish does not; German seems to get far more attention and love than the Spanish tree.
Spanish doesn't even cover all the named numbers, or give us enough practice making reasonably complex numbers. For example, the unit covers 1-15 (but does not explain how to do 16-19), 20-70, but misses 80,90, and 100 (but we do get thousand and million). There are no composite numbers bigger than 100, and the ones that do exist show up over and over.
I know that the tree has less skills to learn, but what abou the number of lessons? Some of the skills have 10 lessons, so maybe that's why... Just a though. You're right, though. They should probably add more skills. :)
I have to say, Spanish -- which I undertook as a review, having taken years of it in middle and high school -- has been the most frustrating course I've taken on the site, by a significant margin. It's inflexible about alternative translations and has minimal grammar notes, and it feels conspicuously short content-wise, especially when it comes to the more advanced grammatical constructions. This, despite being the most-started course for English speakers by a margin of 20 million learners. I think a refresh is long overdue.
The original trees (that were here at site launch) tend to have fewer grammar notes. I'm taking both Italian and Spanish, and I think Italian actually has less.
That is what's odd to me. They've been around long enough that they could have added more notes. They also get lots of reports and discussions that show problem areas are often the same for a lot of people. (In spanish people seem to struggle with ser vs estar)
Yet the newer languages are more in depth and well laid out.
They've talked about how they plan to go back at some point and add more. I'm hoping that comes with Spanish 2.0.
The Spanish-English team started refreshing the three about two months ago and we will continue working on it. Those ridiculous and repetitive sentences will be disappearing little by little.
We had tons of men, women, girls, boys, spiders, cats and dogs with
lee(n) /escriben libros, diarios
... which I found tooooo boooooring! Puff!
(But we're still keeping some funny and controversial sentences)
This is a year later, so I don't know that it matters, but I like silly sentences. I've seen the criticism before, but using animals or other odd pairings does a few nice things.
1) Keeps you thinking about the words and ideas in the sentence. Z-Pen said it better earlier in the thread: "forces one to actually read and translate rather than just guessing or rote-replying."
2) Introduces and reinforces new words. If someone doesn't know the words for man woman girl boy, and doesn't have the drill down on their plurals by the time they are at least one-fourth of the way down the tree, they're already having bigger problems than discomfort over bears drinking wine. Adding personal names, as the Italian tree does a lot (at least in the beginning), adds nothing but typing time.
3) Aids memory. There are all sorts of studies out there showing that memory of almost anything is enhanced by humor and unusual images.
So, more drinking bears, snakes reading books, ants with headaches, puppies making friends...Thanks!
Actually learning common personal names i(and, eventually, less common names) is part of learning a language. I think one of the Spanish tree's flaws (at least in the variant I'm using) is that it fails to use personal names at all.
That said, I enjoy the whimsical sentences, as well.
I just wouldn't want to see a "lobo" displaced with a "Roberto." I can't tell how important proper nouns are in lessons. Maybe it helps if the name is close in sound to a common noun, just so someone can realize that he or she could be hearing a person's name? I think if one is using the language in the country, one is learning a person's name through introduction, so is not likely to have needed drilling in Duo? Something very nice about Spanish is that names are always pronounced exactly as they are spelled. I looooved taking Spanish in college after enduring the agony in high school of "Dictation" pop quizzes in French.
But here's a good example for inclusion: "el pilar"="the pillar", but also "Pilar"="a girl's name"
Yes, I think it is useful to have been exposed to the sound of words (including names) and the way words (including names) look and are spelled before one encounters them in the wild in speech and writing. The more one knows, the more structure one has to fit the words into, and the less likely a sentence is to dissipate into apparent gibberish.
It's also useful to know what's a first name and what's a last name and to see how names are structured in different languages. (Spanish treats last names very differently than English does, for instance. If someone says to you, "Te presento a María Rodriguez de Gonzales," for instance, are you going to be able, without practice, to pick out the lady's first name from that multisyllabic string? And will you be aware that, if you're not on a first-name basis with her, that she should be addressed as Señora Rodriguez?)
It's also useful to have been exposed to anything (like the name Jesús) that is common in Spanish, but culturally unexpected for English-speakers, in advance.
And it's useful to see/hear how names are used when speaking to people.
Plus language and culture are not completely separate entities and being exposed to one should give you some exposure to the other.
I think it would be interesting if Duo could set up labs or a second tree branch on the culture. I can't see how one could include how to address someone when introduced only with a name. It comes partially out of knowing the culture and partially out of knowing the person's preferences. The latter you can only find out over time or by asking (asking might be a good exercise question.) It's similar to the "Usted" and "Tu" issue. And those are going to change by country and sometimes even region. Spain's culture differing from Mexico's, etc. I always enjoy it when people add information from Spanish-speaking countries on how words from Duo are used in their cultures, and which words they would use in, say Costa Rica, that are not even in Duo. I'd also be happy seeing questions like: "How do you pronounce that?", "How do you spell your name?", "Did I get it right, is your first name Maria?" But I'm still not convinced about using lots of proper names in the exercises. I'm a touch typist and I find typing in names to be tedious when I want to go on to more advanced vocabulary. It's even less fun on the phone app. I definitely would love to see a second tree function in Duo, to move any language in Duo up to fourth year level and address multi-cultural issues in languaging in Spain and the New World.
Edit: Here's an idea...adding a sphere (unit?) on Introductions. Put in proper names. Include clarification questions like above, and include the pronunciation of unusual names in the Tips and Notes. Stuff like "Jesus is a common first person name." Someone who writes those Tips and Notes is going to be much better at the wording, thank goodness!
At least in the tree's first third, that preponderance is still true. I'd turn up the variety un pequeño.
The German tree was update to version 2 about 4 or 5 months ago. Other trees are currently being worked on and I think there is a version 2 of the Spanish tree in an A/B test at the moment (but I could be wrong).
It's my impression that version 2 in Spanish is undergoing an A/B test, as well. Several people have posted questions about differences between their trees and the trees of other people they know.
The Spanish tree could really use some help. They should redo it. Break down some lessons and add Tips and Notes.
I also think they need to clean out the discussions which are filled with so much nonsense no one can get answers to real questions. (Do we really need 179 posts about how "Cutting the cheese" = farting to some english speakers?) When people do get answers they are are often unhelpful and just non-Spanish speakers guessing or just being an ass. So half the time it sounds like kindergarteners fighting and demanding their way is best.
I am working hard on it, but there's a bunch of trash accumulated from the beginning of time.
Thank you for hard work. I really feel like you all should just get volunteers whose only job is cleaning up the obvious junk so the rest of you can concentrate on the actual language.
I agree with you, I have been around 3 years and I saw the Spanish undergo some change about two years ago. The discussions really need to be cleaned up. I started over and I saw over 200 posts in one of the very beginning skills of the tree.
I'm not sure "number of skills" is the best way to judge a course. The number of lessons per skill varies pretty widely, for one thing. Maybe the German tree has more 3-4 lesson skills while the Spanish one has a lot of skills with 8-9 lessons (or maybe the German tree has far more lessons and skills, I don't know).
As for the silly sentences, it's because Duolingo doesn't like to introduce a lot of new words per sentence. In the beginning, your vocabulary (no matter the course) is limited, so you get sentences about bears drinking milk and ducks eating cheese and what have you. Just imagine you're reading a children's book or something.
On a different note, the English-for-Spanish-speakers tree has undergone two updates/expansions in the past six months or so, so I would expect the Spanish-for-English-speakers tree to be similarly updated soon.
I think that the Spanish tree certainly could stand updating. I would dearly love to see some of the skills broken into two or three parts (I think no skill should have more than four lessons).
The silly sentences though, I rather like. It forces one to actually read and translate rather than just guessing or rote-replying.
I like the silly / unusual sentences.
If you don't like them - then don't do the Danish tree. Those Danish animals are always up to various unique and silly things.
I, too, would like to see the Spanish tree overhauled a bit but that may be because I've been pluggin' away at it for so long. I finished the tree months ago and have been keeping it gold since then.
Despite seeing no changes in the tree itself I believe that I have seen significant changes within the lessons. (Remember, I have the perspective of months of practicing the same material!) In the past couple of months I have seen many new words and phrases popping up in the lessons. The new words and phrases are appreciated but I would really like to see more hints and notes to go along with the exercises.
A better measure would be how many words each course teaches. The most recent update to the German tree broke vocabulary into smaller skills. And this is something that is constantly being worked on already, the Spanish tree has updated two or three times in the couple years that I've been on Duolingo.
The last update for Spanish was July 2013, and over two hundred words were eliminated. I know I was here.
Are you sure about that? I've also been here and I remember at least a couple updates to it.
They took away the Vocabulary. Then they added Words. then they revamped the number of words. That's all. The update they did in July 2013 was a completely rehash of the skills. That is what I call an update, but it doesn't really matter. It just needs an update to the last part of the tree. It is sad. However it does give an introduction to some skills and that part is good. i would like more work for the Subjunctive mood tenses and compound tenses, as Duo does not address the subjunctive mood present perfect nor the past perfect. More on a mixture of past and imperfect together, would be good. I would like to see more on par and para. I'd like to see a mixture of ser and estar together in a mix.
I am graceful that someone told me about Duolingo. I am on to French now but trying to learn the pronunciation first by youtube. Then I want to tackle the reverse tree, and the French from Spanish. I already tested it out and it is amazing for me but I only did a couple of lessons.
I've been meaning to do a refresh on my Spanish tree in preparation for tackling Catalan (and Guarani). I have already regained golden owls on the French and German trees when their 2.0 versions were released. I assume that Spanish 2.0 is in the works and have been holding off on Spanish until then.
For those who have not been here long enough to remember, Spanish for English speakers was one of the first trees built and reflects an earlier conception of how the courses here are supposed to work. That is why there are few to no grammar notes (Luis had hoped that he could dispense with formal grammar lessons entirely, in favor of a more intuitive approach) and it so short, compared to later courses (back then, the "immersion" translations were viewed as the main focus, with the trees only being a primer to work newcomers up to speed).
I hope the 2.0 tree is released soon and contains the informal second person plural (something I consider to be a glaring omission in the present tree), as well as, greater depth, in general.