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How was the vocabulary decided?

I'm very confused by how the Vietnamese course vocabulary is presented.

Currently at level 6, I've been introduced to words like "papaya", "bat", "kindergarten", "ferry", "ward" etc... Words that are fairly rare.

Yet, I still don't know very basic things like how to say any family members except mother, basic verbs such as: need, run, walk, talk, play, etc.., common food items, common greetings or departures, how to introduce myself or someone else etc...

By about level 5 in the 6 other courses I've done (2 accounts), I am familiar with at least: family members, greetings, very common verbs, common foods and basic adjectives.

In this course after many hours, I still can not hold a 10 second conversation, which has proven to be exceptionally useful IRL when learning a language, but I can tell someone "dơi ăn đu đủ".

So is there some sort of explanation as to why this course has avoids teaching basic useful things early on?

November 12, 2016



I am native speaker, I have to admit that the course is not very good and flexible but we all know that it is at the creator's will to decide how it is going to be.


Different languages are taught in different ways. How the course was laid out was up to the team


That's obvious. I'm asking how they came up with the lesson plan that's being presented.

I'd like to know if there's something I can take from this strange ordering, because as far as I've experienced so far, it's just inefficient and confusing.


Well obviously the first few skills are to teach tones and basic word order


Well, I've finished the first section and I still don't know basic greetings or how to talk about a child playing with a ball...

But I can say "Chúng tôi không bán động vật" and "Bạn dùng chiếc váy của tôi."



the beginning of the course was meant to teach you the tones, and pronunciation. The vocabulary there isn't really important. You will learn important vocab once you've learned pronunciation.


But it didn't do that. It was far too ambitious even there.

If you had wanted to teach the Vietnamese alphabet and tones, you'd have started a lot simpler. First with the letters themselves, and examples, then with tones having the listener learn to distinguish bạn from bàn from bán from bận, etc. That was never really done.


Use the tones. Those early lessons will be much more valuable to you if you can place the tone with what you hear.

Another thing to consider is that any language is tough at the beginner level. You have to get to pre-intermediate to start enjoying it. I'm about halfway through Vietnamese and I'm really enjoying it.


I think all experienced duolingo members can remember an insane/silly sentence from a language they were learning. "La scimmia legge un libro" is mine that I'll never forget from Italian. Sometimes absurdity is good for memory. I think you have a good point though, why not strive to teach pronunciation and practical vocab first? Why don't we approach teaching the language for use first--mastery will only come through dedicated studying and frankly duolingo isn't the place (as a sole resource) for that.

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