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https://www.duolingo.com/Lingcomposer

Subject Dropping

Lingcomposer
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I realize that formal written Russian doesn't drop subjects as much, but in my experience it is extremely common in the spoken language. I've been trying to submit as many "wrong" answers as possible so that these answers will be accepted, but it's slow going. Is there a way that this can be facilitated a little faster by everyone working together, or by the course admins going through and adding the answers themselves? I understand it isn't a small task, it's just that I constantly feel like I have to give unnecessarily wordy answers that I would rarely give in normal speech. Thanks!

2 years ago

5 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/lkspnnnplts
lkspnnnplts
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This is an interesting point but I think you answered your own question - pronoun dropping isn't always formally done (answering a question is one example I can think of). Would be interesting to hear the opinions of native speakers on this.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lingcomposer
Lingcomposer
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I'm not saying that the formal way shouldn't be taught or anything, just that I think it would be a good idea to include the common informal ways of speaking as well, because they will be encountered in normal speech. If the objective of the course is to give people a basic level of comprehension, but then they go out into the real world and suddenly encounter something different, I feel like it's a potential problem in the methodology that should be remedied. As far the instruction, all that would really be necessary would be to add a little explainer in one or more of the Tips sections telling learners that they should be aware of the phenomenon of subject-dropping, then give a couple of examples. Short, sweet, and to-the-point.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Shady_arc
Shady_arc
Mod
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Subject dropping is largely context dependent and rather complicated in Russian. I am pretty sure we included the pro-drop options in 99% of our sentences where we thought it would be appropriate. Unless your Russian is really, really good, I doubt you can help much with adding such answers. To top that, the reports are anonymous anyway. Keep reporting but be aware that, in the end, a native speaker will decide whether it sounds natural or just looks like a sentence with a subject mysteriously vanished.

Of all cases where we generally allow omission of 1st and 2nd person pronouns, I can easily name the following:

  • stating an opinion with думать in 1st person singular, often in 2nd person (e.g. Думаю, всё будет хорошо). Never with считать.
  • short sentences with хочу in 1st person or questions with хочу in 2nd person (Хочешь домой?)
  • some sentences with знать in 1st and 2nd person.

Remember, Russian is not a pro-drop language. Russian is a partially pro-drop language, and the word "partially" makes all the difference in the world.

My opinion is that teaching pro-drop is near impossible on Duolingo. I observed users being very confused by sentences like Думаю, она дома or Хочешь курицу? and even more confused when Вижу твою маму, Ем яблоки, но не ем апельсины or Где был? are (rightfully) rejected. We used to have quite a number of such sentences. Now I removed most of them.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LICA98
LICA98
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"the reports are anonymous anyway" – how do they then know to send you an email when a sentence you reported is accepted?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Shady_arc
Shady_arc
Mod
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The system knows the culprit. We do not :)

So, whenever a user writes something like "I think Я устал сегодня чрезвычайно should be accepted, you morons. The word order does not matter in Russian" they should think again. Is there really any reason for us to believe that the anonymous reporter is a native speaker of at least one of the languages of this course?

2 years ago