Newbie introduction to Duolingo quirks
Would it be helpful to explain to newbies some of the "quirks" of Duolingo? When users know why, I think they would tend to be more forgiving and less testy. 1) It is an evolving program, and we are all beta-testers. 2) The purpose of the program is to translate one written language into another for the web. Reading comprehension will increase; improvement in speaking skills may be negligible. 3) Comments may refer to mistakes since corrected. 4) The Comments section may be connected to more than one exercise. 5) The dictionary database for the singular of a word may not match the database for the plural of a word. 6) Sometimes two correct solutions/translations are offered. Sometimes one is offered, but the translation at the top of the Comments section may differ and is not offered in the main exercise. 7) When posting comments, your text may be randomly capitalized and word order changed. Try to correct in vain. 8) Your understanding of your native language will certainly improve.
Good points. I'd prefer Duolingo be more upfront about telling learners the emphasis is on reading the new language, rather than saying "learn a language" and marketing the program by stating that one can learn as well or better than a college class. "Learning" a language involves more than reading: reading, writing, speaking, listening. There is little emphasis on everyday speech. One can learn about animals eating rice or apples, but little about on the street conversational skills. I think one has to have pretty high frustration tolerance when dealing with Duolingo's "quirks." I think one needs to invest in a decent dictionary and a basic grammar text, and be prepared to seek explanations of grammar and syntax issues from fellow learners and other websites. If one utilizes Duo's strengths while shoring up Duo's weaknesses one can learn quite a bit. Yeah, I'm picky, and Duo is free. But I went to school for 23 years, and taught for 33, and I was in Duo's study last fall, so, yes, I am picky. ;)
You make some good points - and like you I do use other language sites to flesh out what I'm learning here - but for what it does this is one of the more interesting ways to learn. Yes, it does have its quirks and doesn't do everything perfectly but they have been responsive to comments and suggestions in the time I've been using it.