Feedback from just before the last checkpoint
So in two days I will be leaving civilization for a couple weeks and thus will lose my streak (sadly won't make it to 365) and have to take a break from my Vietnamese studies. I thought I'd take this opportunity to give some thoughts on the course so far.
I started taking the course the day after it was released and I have made decent progress since then (last skill completed: Passive Voice, which I wish had an explanation), especially considering that I started knowing maybe one word (pho) of the language. And yes, I missed the diacritics there because I don't have a Vietnamese keyboard on this public computer.
Overall I think the course is pretty good, and progress has definitely been made during Beta. The first few lessons are greatly improved with added answers, and the team (and nice forum folk) has answered nearly all my discussion questions, which have been many.
I was hopeful that Tips and Notes would continue to be added during Beta so that I wouldn't ever catch up to them, but that hasn't happened. Maybe more will be added in July? That would be great. I, at least, am reading them and taking notes from them. Vietnamese does often have wonderfully easy grammar, but a few things are confusing, such as the passive voice. As well, many of the Tips that do exist have quite a few grammatical and phrasing errors. For that, upon my return I would be happy to serve as a native English editor, pro-bono, and fix them up for the team.
As for the course, a few things have stuck out. The first is the obvious, which I'm sure the team is well aware of, but here it is. With all the missing audio, the "Alphabet" sections are close to useless at teaching tonal differentiation. But I am sure the team is aware of this and was planning on having full audio.
Otherwise, one thing that could be worked on is the order of lessons and words taught. One thing that the updated German tree did which I really liked was move Nature 1 (and split up the unit) from the end to the beginning of the course. As it is in this course, I find it very odd that I have been taught "precipitation" but not "it is raining", and other types of weird ranking, like not knowing "Forest" or "river", or having just recently learned "car", at the same as more advanced vocabulary like "embassy". Along those lines, the order of teaching adjectives is a bit funky. Many of the items in Adjectives 1 seem too advanced, while I think more simple spatial descriptors such as "fat" and "tall" have yet to be taught.... In all, it is probably not optimal that I can (theoretically) say "I need a visa from the embassy next to the tunnel between the hotel and the mall" (will attempt this sentence later), but again, not "it is raining" nor "the fat cat".
That is largely the extent of my criticism. I have found the course generally quite helpful (especially supplemented by kuah's Memrise vocab course) and I have learned quite a bit in only a couple months. I still can't differentiate tones almost at all (definitely my biggest problem in Vietnamese), but that is not really the course's fault. I enjoy the varied odd sentences in the course, the copious cat references, and generally the sense of humour displayed. And I can't think of another course that taught me the word for Antarctica...
So thank you. I look forward to finishing the course in future, and any potentially updated trees.