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  5. Duolingo is awesome but...


Duolingo is awesome but...

I have a few problems with Duolingo. This is just my critique on some of the problems that Duolingo can hopefully improve on, if not explain why why my reasoning is wrong.

I'm currently learning Polish; Polish on Duolingo is not very developed however, I tried doing a few lessons in Spanish just to compare and the setup for Spanish is awesome.

With Polish at least I noticed that most often I translate from Polish to English. This is a lot easier than the other way around. So now if I see Polish I can understand it but I can't construct my own sentences. The cases in Polish make it harder, it is easier to identify a word but harder to recognise which case one has to use in a given sentence. There aren't any tables or explanations on the different cases either as opposed to Spanish.

May 29, 2016



You simply cannot only rely solely on Duolingo for a comprehensive Polish educational experience. You need to use it in conjunction with other sources to ensure that you get a comprehensive set of knowledge, especially in terms of noun, pronoun and adjectival declension. Of course, you need to draw up conjugation charts and practice them by yourself to memorise all the forms accurately.


What you say is surely true. The OP's comments were, however, about the shortcomings of the Polish course in comparison with the Spanish course. In terms of notes and explanations, the Polish course does not compare favourably with other courses here. I for one really hope that the contributors will find the time to make the notes for the Polish course as comprehensive as those of other courses on Duolingo (yeah I know: easy for me to say).


I understand that. I myself had trouble with the lack of notes in topics where notes are direly needed. However, I am grateful for the great foundation the contributors of the Polish course have designed for us. It is a fantastic platform to begin studying Polish and from which to gain a feeling for the language. Once I finish the tree, I am sure I would be able to use the language at at least an A1 level with some practice.


Spanish for English speakers was made by Duolingo and is very popular. Polish for English speakers was made by volunteers few months ago and is not so popular.


I agree, I wish I would have to translate from English more often.


You are right but I personally think that it is impossible to rely solely on Duo when learning languages with such a hard and twisted up grammar like Polish. You need to find some other sources that will help you catch up on grammar. I am a native speaker so if there is anything that bothers you just ask me if you wish.

BTW I was laughing so hard when I saw your nickname :D


As far as I know, this "too little translations from English to the language you're learning" is a general problem of Duolingo, I know it as well with Russian. But soon I will finish Russian tree and start the reverse tree, so then I will mostly translate 'to Russian'.

It is true that Tips & Notes and other descriptive stuff is not that well developed yet. But as Paranoix said, Spanish was created by the company, Polish is created by volunteers. There are plans to improve it, but so far it's hard to say anything more specific.


I'd also like to add that there is a lot of work being done on correcting and adding translations in the two courses (especially in English for Polish speakers). Rest assured, there is a lot of stuff we would like to do eventually, but I'm afraid you will need to rely on external sources for quite a while.


While translating from "native" to target language (in this setting, from English into Polish) is very helpful in developing conversational capacity (thinking up a concept and then expressing) - for this particular course I find that it would be very cumbersome.

That is because spelling in polish is very difficult, and it would be so frustrating to have the right translation (phonetically) but continuously get questions wrong due to the inability to spell properly in Polish.

I have trouble with words like dzieci and mezczyzni (yes I looked them up so I wouldn't look stupid posting this); I can only imagine how much more difficult it will be to spell as I get further along the pyramid.

However, I accept any changes and improvements that will make the course more effective in teaching conversational Polish. I need to be able to read, understand, and express myself in Polish!


The Polish for Duolingo Course in Memrise is an excellent complement to learning the vocabulary. But it's true that there's no substitution for trying to construct full sentences in Polish.

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