Hungarian; My first thoughts
I did enough of this course from the beginning to reach level 2 in Hungarian, out of curiosity of the language. I heard that apparently it is a harder language because of the many cases, and wanted to see for myself how "hard" it is. If it is as hard as they say, that will be my motivation.
I do know that it was released in beta today, but already I have encountered some annoyances. Especially in the Phrases 1 lesson, I was not able to substitute words. (Example: for "Szia, jó reggelt!", I typed "Hello, good morning!", but the course marked it wrong and suggested I use "Hi" in place of "Hello", even though when I was introduced to the word "Szia", it accepted my answer "Hello".) But so far, not considering those frustrations, it is a very promising course.
As for the language itself; I have never heard that much Hungarian (and before the course the few videos I saw where someone spoke Hungarian had poor audio, so I was not able to hear it well or clearly; I was not sure what was the actual language and what was static) and another reason I did some of the course was to see what it would sound like. I actually think the sounds of Hungarian are very pleasant and this makes me want to know a little more about this language.
I had no actual previous knowledge of Hungarian and I didn't know what to expect, but... I am actually thinking that I should continue this rather enjoyable language! Happy learning and good luck to those who wish to study this wonderful language!
Traditionally a beta phase is testing and trying to break as far as my experience goes. So, to me the purpose of beta in Duolingo is to help the developers fill in the gaps. Not only should we not expect the course to be complete, we should relish the opportunity and responsibility to make it user friendly for the masses :)
I think that at the beginning the greetings phrases must be limited to the most basic ones like "hello". To understand the others you already need to know how the verbs and nouns in this particular language work. The phrases were also one of the first skills in the Turkish course (luckily not the very first) and I remember how angry I was. I am not a beginner in Hungarian so I made a shortcut, but looking at these first lessons I don't enjoy how they are conceived.
At first it is like a regular basics skill, but I thought that adding propositions added some.... confusion. "ott" and "itt" look very similar and it's confusing to an already alien language in the eyes of English speakers. And it's longer than the Basic 1 skills on other trees. (6 lessons long, compared to the 3 or 4 other trees have). I am 4/6th done on the Basic 1 and it's a bit lengthy; I feel like I would be past the fourth row on another tree with the progress I made in the Hungarian tree. I am enjoying learning some Hungarian, though.
Writing down does improve memory. If you keep getting confused, associate phrases with each word. For example, itt and ott. "Itt" means here, so you can remember it as "it is here". "Ott" means there, so you can remember that one as "it is outside" (or you can think of a better one, the one I came up with will most likely just lead to confusion). Having personal connections with each word (not each and every one, just ones you have difficulties with) will also be a big help.
Just a little mnemonic hint:
all those words, which are related to a place in your closeness or short distance like "ez", "itt", "ide" have a high vowel, them with (more) distance like "az", "ott" "oda" have a low vowel. At least with the demonstrative pronouns in english you have the same analogy: "this - these" = "ez - ezek", "that - those" = "az - azok"