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Duolingo is less effective without the Vocab feature

I've been practicing a lot less, and less effectively, ever since the vocab feature disappeared with the update. I used to use vocab to direct what I would practice and when, now I can only either repeat lessons, or use the general 'strengthen skills' feature. It's also hard to review words, conjugations, etc., without any way to see them outside of a lesson, resulting in memorizing of lessons rather than real learning of words. I've heard that work is being done on vocab, but I really hope it comes back soon.

February 20, 2014



I totally agree. I used to go to the vocab feature to review, check conjugations, etc. Doing that the next day would help solidify my learning. Now I have to look things up on other websites or not learn as well. I don't see what the new update did to improve the experience. I do really miss the vocab feature. Please bring that feature back. Thanks.


I agree too. I often mess up certain words like clockwork (eigener was my nemesis for a long time) Before the vocab feature vanished I would just practice these words individually and feel like I was making headway.


Vocab as a flashcard system would be amazing


Yeah, I've forced myself to make a flash card system on studyblue just to learn some troubling words.


i joined duolingo recently, and i didn't know about this former feature until reading this post. i have been struggling with vocabulary, and this would be such a helpful addition for me. as is, i keep a list of trouble words in a text document, and try to study those. but that isn't getting me very far and i may have to go to a different app for vocab. it'd be great if i could get that on duolingo too.


This is I feature that I feel is missing. Vocabulary list would help.


Totally agree! It was so useful for reviewing and looking things up (like the gender of a word) whenever I felt like I was repeating the same mistake. I hope it comes back soon, I miss it every day :(


The loss of vocab leaves a very large hole.


Yup, yup, and well put. It's been said many times but it's 100% true for me. Here's hoping they bring it back soon, and in really smart shape.


Flashcards would be great!


I second that. That would be the last piece of my learning puzzle.


I think most people will agree - Please bring it back it is a very effective learning and revision tool, it is one of the resources that makes Duolingo such a fantastic language aid !


I totally agree. It has been much harder to study since the update. I feel like I'm falling behind now.


While you are waiting for the new vocab section this may be an interim solution. Try using some of the sections other users have uploaded onto Quizlet.The link below will give you a good place to start looking.The vocab lists are downloadable and can be edited so you can make your own sections and focus on whatever part of the language you need to learn.


Good luck!


Thanks mate! Tried a few Italian vocab lists on this site. Have to say that their TTS system is more natural and easier to understand than duolingo's.


I completely agree. I fully understand that they wanted to redo it, and I accept the reasons behind it, but I don't see why it was taken away before the new version of it could be implemented. It was a very poor decision, in my opinion.


Defenitively a great lost since the web redesign, practicing vocabulary is not so effective. You could focus on keep track of out of practiced words... I hope they fix this issue soon.


I liked the first version of duolingo where u had to do immersion translations in order to go to the next skill. That way u see how it is used and increase the natural ability of sentence forming from texts


Even just having a list of words in each tree would be a big help. I was making flashcards using the vocab list on Anki, but now it is too difficult to track new words so the size of my deck has been stuck. If we could just have a list of the ~1500 words that you are supposed to learn in each tree that would be really helpful for me at least. I know my learning has slowed down quite a bit since the vocab feature was taken away. I can really tell the difference when I practice the lessons I have flashcards for vs. the ones I don't.


Word lists per module and at the end of lesson review used to be a thing too.

Another loss from the "New Coke" redesign.


You might like the 1000 word challenge at vocabexpress.com


Thanks for sharing this site. I tried it and it's pretty engaging. I learned some new words, too.


I wonder if their data is also reflecting this. I haven't seen data mentioned yet, has anyone? I personally feel pretty blind without it too. When learning it's nice to see an overview of objectives and vocabulary. It feels more organized in my mind when I can visually see it that way.


Luis has mentioned it plenty of times. Based on virtually every metric the new interface improved learning. They also hope to bring the features back eventually when they can be better integrated into the interface.


Please tell me what the improvements are with the new interface. I may be missing something, but I really didn't notice any real improvement of the new interface other than the graphics being more like eye candy. I don't want to be snarky here. I really appreciate duolingo and it not costing anything and being ad-free-for now anyway. I hate to complain, but over the years I have seen many web sites/apps that started really simple and great, but became less effective with updates and supposed improvements. For some (many) of us the vocabulary section and being able review the new words and see how verbs were conjugated was a very important part of the learning process. I don't see how taking it away can improve our learning. What "metrics" are they using? The vocabulary feature was integrated into the old interface quite adequately--can you say why the "new and improved" interface needed to abandon it. I started using Duolingo a little over a month ago. I have sung it praises to many friends, but I am less enthusiastic about recommending it now.


I wonder if some of the people who need or want a vocabulary section might have gone elsewhere to get it so they are not included in the new stats? I know I have been using other resources since they took away the vocab and spend much less time here than I used to.


I would be very surprised if retention rate was not a key measure.


I know the interface itself overall has improved vastly; I was asking about this one feature. I guess technically they wouldn't be able to isolate it though.


There was a feature called "strengthen weak words". Something like that would be nice. It disappeared with the new design. I support this idea!


"Strengthen Weak Words" was part and parcel of the Vocab section, and it vanished along with it.


I think it's still on the mobile app, last I checked.


It is still here. It's in the module on the right that has your xp bar. It says "strengthen skills". It's just renamed.


I've actually lost interest in Duolingo recently, and I couldn't figure out why. In fact I even lost a 120 day streak, and I didn't care.

But this post has made it clear to me. Since losing the vocab list it's much more of an effort to track my progress. I still attend french classes, I still use other sites to practice French, but I've stopped using Duolingo.

Perhaps it's a collective of things, I am quite busy atm, but I do hope that they bring back the vocab list, it made it easier for me to revise words.


I really extremely absolutely assent, consent, agree with your idea. I've been eagering for the come back of Vocab.... Duo Team ! We need it desperately..


The main problem I currently have that I need a lot of different tense conjugation, and I haven't them memorized yet. It would be great to access the verbs and look up the tables, and not just when I happen to stumple over the word in an exercise, because then I want to finish the exercise and not memorize conjugations...

I also have done a lot less lesson, just enough to maintain my streak, but duolingo has lost a lot of its fun at the moment for me. I hope it will get better again.


I've actually been putting all the sentences I've been doing into Evernote and studying from there. It takes a ridiculous amount of time. I really wish you could just select a word, and then let Duolingo give you a list of all the sentences in which that word is used and their translations. I've been away from Duolingo for a few days now to strenghten what I've learned so far, and that can't be the goal of the program.


Absolutely! I started using DL 10 days ago, and a couple days into my practice I sent them a message asking that they add a vocabulary featrue. I didn't know it had a vocab feature prior to me starting. There have been so many times I wanted to look at the various words and remind myself of their definitions or how to parse a particular verb, and that is happening a lot more frequently as I am expanding my vocabulary fairly quickly. Please bring the vocabulary feature quickly!


I too miss the vocabulary feature. Just like others have stated, I have to go off site to look words up. The vocab practice was much better like it was.


Yes I agree, I would use the vocab in the same way, and now I am practising less because I do not always have the time to complete a whole lesson


I have never used the vocab feature, and I concur that it would be very useful to manage my lessons and practices around chosen words.

Duolingo is teaching me specific (and specifically nonsense) sentences, scattered around. It would be infinitely better to focus, to more fully grasp and maintain the usages of these words, with multiple examples in the same lesson.


I absolutely agree. Please can we have the vocab feature back?

  • THE DAILY SKILL PTS , I really missed it


Agree! Just a quick look at words..used to be great :(


I agree. It's something I really miss.


I completely agree. I feel that Duolingo, whilst still a great tool, has become a whole lot less effective since the removal of the vocab page.

Even a rough time scale of how long we have to wait would be really good.


I liked the vocabulary feature because it was easy to check verbs. Now I have to wait until I come across the word I want to conjugate. The new words, especially verbs, don't always seem to have this.

Anyway, I still love Duolingo very much and tell all my friends about it. You programmers are appreciated!!!


Yay for the programmers!


I totally agree with you, actually I wish we had been given a chance to use the old, pre-update vocabulary list until the new one would be done.


Duolingo should keep the old vocab view going until they're ready to release the new one... unless they're planning to take it away permanently. When I started Duo the vocab tab was already missing. I had to access the link directly. No, the page was not pretty, and the "strengthen weak words" was far from perfect, but it got the job done.

On a different note, maybe Duolingo should collaborate with Memrise for vocabulary.


I agree 100%. I keep checking back online to see if the feature has been reinstated, but alas. I typically use the mobile app and don't recall it being available there- was very happy when I found it on the computer version. I wish it was available for both now. It was so much easier for focused learning. Please bring it back asap!? :-)


I totally agree with you.


You are absolutely right


For vocabulary, memrise does a pretty good job. It's free too


Yes, memrise is great for vocabulary. That's pretty much what it is designed for. The coolest thing is that memrise makes it easy to add mnemonics for words. It uses a Spaced Repetition System to reinforce memories. Duolingo's much better for everything else but memrise is unbeatable for vocabulary. Fun and addictive. And you can build your own vocab lists. I'm learning Spanish there: http://www.memrise.com/user/wynrich/ Lots of Spanish vocabulary in this course, for example: http://www.memrise.com/course/1288/first-5000-words-of-spanish/


when duo says soon that means you must wait for months !


I hope it comes back soon too. I'm a new member, so I'm trusting that you know what you are talking about.I agree that yu don't learn much just doing lessons. Duolingo, please bring back the vocab!


I completely agree, does anyone know why this is happening?


Yah it would definitely be helpful to have that feature put back on especially for beginners(me)!


I just want to say that the vocabulary is another dictionary with words we learnt. With this, we can memorize the vocabulary easily


Ditto for the one millionth time! How much longer will it take? However, we ALL must remember this tremendous teaching tool is free. Thank you Duolingo!!


Well, I hope they do bring it back soon for people who did use it. I did not use it at all. I never really found it useful for me. If I needed to look up a word or how a word conjugates, I just looked it up in another resource. I already had some dictionary apps on the my phone that I thought were better, which is probably why I never viewed it as useful. Hopefully they make it even more useful when it does come back.


Hi! As we mentioned before, we're reworking how you see your vocabulary. Turns out, not as many people were using it as we would like to see. We are working on making it more effective :) Hang tight!


I wonder if there is a way to make it more visible to people, and to encourage them to use it more. It took me awhile to discover it, but when I did, it made the most difficult lessons (adverbs, anyone?) much more manageable. Looking forward to seeing it again!


Congratulations on the 100th day of your streak!! Here's to a 100 more!


I am struggling to do my lessons without the vocabulary. Sucks nobody used it.

German's lesson about people introduced a ton of new words, and I used to just go to vocab and practice those individual words until I remembered them. Without it, I am moving at a snail's pace.


As a fellow German-learner, I'd definitely say that German is very tricky without constant vocab referencing, given the massive declension systems. For now, I grabbed a couple books from the library and use Quizlet ...


I put new tricky words into Anki, a flashcard program, for practicing. But I found that more effective than using the vocab section before it dissapeared as well. (Mainly on a mobility basis).


Got a question about usage: Are there stats on "tree level" (NOT skill points - you can be at the first levels of your tree and still rack up plenty o' points) correlating with vocab usage? I guess I'm thinking that a lot of beginners wouldn't use the Vocab pages, but as they went more and more up the tree they would?

I'm not trying to be adversarial - just wondering (because the experiment of DL is itself interesting to me) - when you say "not as many were using it as we would like to see" - what WOULD you like to see? Are you saying "Well, we have a million users and only X percent are using Vocab"? Or "We have 4000 users at the top tier of their tree; these are our main Vocab page users and it's just not enough to bother with?"


To be honest with you, that's not very specific. How about explaining why you didn't think it was effective before, what you're doing to improve it, and when you think it'll be ready? No one has told us any of this. If you're going to make us wait, at least give us more specifics???


To be honest with you, that's not very specific. How about explaining why you didn't think it was effective before, what you're doing to improve it, and when you think it'll be ready?

As a programmer, I can comment at least on the last of these: any estimate of when it will be ready is practically guaranteed to be wrong, and then there will be great fury from a thousand people saying "but you told us, you promised it would be done by 15 March!" (NB: even if ETA is couched as "very roughly, barring unforeseen circumstances, we expect mid-March, give or take a month", this will be read by many hopeful individuals as "15 March, guaranteed!")

Not specifying delivery dates makes some people angry, but specifying them and not hitting them makes more people even angrier.


I agree that there should be a vocab feature and I am looking forward to an update with this. But for a program that is completely free, you're expecting a lot to be handed to you on a silver plate, aren't you?


I see you just started Duolingo so aren't that familiar with the old version. It's not just me, people have been complaining about this every day for the past few weeks. It really doesn't take that long to give a quick summary of what's going on with the vocabulary yet they don't do it, so people just keep asking. And they're going to keep asking until the vocab comes back. If they would put up a sticky explaining why there's no vocab and what's going on with it, that would stop a lot of the questions. Other forums (which, by the way, are also free) do this kind of thing all the time but apparently not here lol


Fair enough. I appreciate your response. And no, I'm not familiar with the old version. It is harder to have something and then go without it, rather than not know that it existed in the first place, or have experienced it.


im writing down new words in my notebook... easier than repeat lessons~ XD


I have a running vocabulary list that I'm compiling on my computer and I also just made some kickass vocabulary cards...more on that later.


I love this! Thank you. I'll use this list to make many more cards and learn the vocab faster than I complete the tree (grammar usually holds me up in completing the tree faster). Also, I didn't know that those dL word pages even existed!


I'm glad that it's helpful for you. I'll be making an update to the list sometime this week to clean up a few minor issues with it, and to add a couple more skill sections that I've moved on to. I'll probably post it to a new thread in the German section, so keep an eye out for it.


Could there be possibly a bug, which didn't show properly how many people use the vocabulary tab? Everyone cmplains about it, it's the most important feature while learning an language .. I doubt, that it was so unimportant that anyone used it, when today many people complain.


It is so good to hear that you are working on a replacement for the vocabulary. I used it to consolidate words I could not get to stick in my brain and that worked well for me. Bring back soon, please


I keep wondering where you get all this "not as many people were using it as we would like to see" if everybody tells you the opposite in every single discussion concerning removed Vocab tab.


Probably from their internal statistics which monitors every user on the site and what they use. A few vocal people on the discussion boards saying they used it might make it seem like everyone uses it, sure. But they're able to see what's actually going on and have a much more accurate idea of things than someone who browses the boards every now and then.


Yes, I'm sure you're on the right track. Actually, I think only a very small percentage of people use the Discussion board - it took me months to notice it existed, by which time I'd already completed the Spanish tree. That leads me to think that the Discussion board itself, while interesting and useful to those that use it, is too small a sample to be representative of Duolingo users in general.


I agree entirely. The last figures I saw mentioned 12.5 million active users on Duolingo (out of 25 million total registered users). So 500 people complaining on the discussion boards constitute one twenty-five-thousandth of the user base, or 0.004%.


That's an excellent point !


I too would love to see the return of the vocab feature. Also, a feature where you could print vocab sheets out would be great as it would save a lot of time formatting vocab sheets for printing. I like to stick vocab up on my wall to help learning. Thanks.


Having a reformed vocabulary section would be really great. I wrote down bits of vocabulary and took it to work with me to revise with :)


VOCABULARY IS BACK! Thanks to xydrolase. Here is the link to the discussion where you can get access.


Follow the directions given and persevere and you will have your vocabulary back. xydrolase's script has everything the original vocabulary has and, IMO, it is easier to navigate from word to word. You will have the word, the part of speech, gender, singular and plural forms, verb infinitive, the verb in several persons as well as the conjugation for pres. indicative. More importantly, you will see the sentences for the all important context.

You just hit a tab in the upper right of your screen and it is all there. Thank you Xydrolase. May you bathe forever in Lingot honey.

Now, the real questions are as follows: When you search under DISCUSSION the term "Vocabulary Tab Gone" you get almost 6000 hits. Yet the moderators and community liaisons keep telling us (as above), "Turns out, not as many people were using it as we would like to see." So you eliminate it? Why not make DL users more aware of it? Why not ask DLers what strategies they have developed for effectively using it? Why not ask DL users how to make it better?

Seems a keystone of this community is that we crowdsource our way toward the best, if not, the perfect. Even now, after xydrolase has again provided us with this invaluable resource, I have yet to see one moderator or liaison reference it. In fact, one moderator has been downright patronizing about xydrolase's contribution comparing the pitiful group of words at the top of the lesson box with the full-blown vocabulary tab.

Thanks again, xydrolase. Lingots be upon you .


Why is there no vocab - if there was a facility where all new words were added to a vocab list it would make it much easier. This is a major weakness and means one has to use a notebook to replace what should be an easy feature to install on Duolingo!


I wish the old vocab section stayed in place until the new one came to replace rather than leaving a feature gap where there is no vocab section for a while.


So when will we get the vocab feature back on give at least and estimate.


Any progress? I really miss it.


This thread is over six months old. There have been dozens upon dozens of posts since this one talking about the new version that's been in testing for the last several months including several just in the last few days. In many ways, the new version is an improvement over the old one. It's accessible via a link called "words" at the top of the page. If you don't have a "words" link, you're not in the test group, and you'll have to wait until it's given to all users (if it makes it out of testing at all). Here are some screenshots of the new version:

The main vocabulary page:

Mousing over a word reveals the same hints that are available in exercises and lessons:

Clicking on a word reveals some details about it:

Clicking the "More details" button reveals usage examples:

...and conjugations if it's a verb:

A flashcards feature is also being tested as part of the vocabulary tool's replacement: Imgur


No it's still a "real learning of words", but I will agree it is a tad bit more painful. I'd say more practice is needed. Would it be nice to have again; yes. But repetition is key to learning. For reasons that practice can help make the language being learned feels natural whenever spoken. I'd still like it back if it's not too much trouble.


Oh my, I have quickly scanned down this discussion and have met the generation gap. I have vocab review lists and flash cards for conjugation- made with pen and paper. Anyone remember those?


The vocab feature used to tell you how long it had been since you'd encountered a specific word, so you knew when to go back and strengthen certain things. You could also pick any particular word and do a brief lesson just about it if it was giving you trouble. Having the full conjugation list for all the verbs was also enormously helpful as you got further down the tree. Right now I have over 700 words learned, that would be a ridiculous number of flashcards to search through, and it makes more sense to have the vocab integrated with the lessons.


I have those! :D


I use pen-and-paper notes & vocab lists as well... but the old Vocab section was a tremendous review tool that was integrated right into the DL site.


I agree with the previous 336.


Although a lot of people seemingly liked the Vocab page, i'm one of the ones who never used it. I was never really sure what the point of the vocab page was. It seemed pointless to me, If i found a word difficult i would just repeat the lesson.

I think that vocab page was a bit messy and hard to navigate before. I could never really find the word I was looking for using the search bar. Especially if i had forgotten how to spell it. I only ever used it a handful of times. I would definitely consider looking at and using the vocab page, if it returned. Especially as everyone keeps saying how great it was.


I agree. I miss the vocab as well.


I never saw the vocab feature actually.....


This review of old-style Duo has some nice screenshots, including one of the Vocabulary feature. Looking at that page makes me a bit nostalgic for the good old days.



Which way do you think would be better? Flashcard? No way. There could just be more lessons with more sentences. O better Lessons with a story and not just one sentence. But to learn vocabulary without context is not effective (flashcard etc.).


The much-missed Vocab section wasn't a learning tool as such - it didn't introduce new words, that was left up to the lessons. It was an awesomely powerful review tool, though.

I've never been a flashcard fan - they don't suit my learning style - but the former vocab section was hardly "vocabulary without context".


You are right. The former "strengthen weak word"? Right? That was a nice tool. I support you idea!


The vocabulary facility on Google Translate is excellent. The speech is clear. Put in any word and it will translate it and on request speak the word or sentence etc. Also Wordreference dictionary http://www.wordreference.com/enit/ for individual words


How many times do they have to say they are working on bringing it back?


New generation expects things to happen instantly. Any fact posted on this website generally gets downvoted for no valid reason other than user anger


At 68 I hardly think I am "New Generation". I started DL under the old interface over a year ago and, at my age, the vocabulary feature was very helpful. I familiarized myself with what I was going to learn. I enjoyed completing the exercises, usually two, three or four a day. Then I used the vocabulary feature to reinforce what I had learned. I especially enjoyed the sentence review feature. After a hiatus due to illness, I returned to the new interface and decide to review everything I had covered previously. I struggled through one or two lessons a day repeating the same mistakes. After 60 days I just said ....... it! I will come back when the vocabulary does


Hi Pippa,

I share your frustration since I am in my sixties also, but instead of giving up the fight, I now try to hold on to what I have learned by starting every day with the Strengthen Skills. I do not go on to new lessons so often and am concentrating on revision now until the vocab comes back, but I still find it worthwhile.

Once I stopped trying to race down the tree (what's the point if I have forgotten half the skills I have covered in the early branches?) I felt a lot more positive about going back over words and skills that I had forgotten. The more revision I do the more the words stick.

Learning a language takes a long time.


Thanks for the encouragement. Perhaps I will take it up again when we get to Vermont where there are many Francophones where we live. It is just disappointing. As they sang back in the day, "There's something happening here. What it is ain't exactly clear." But I'll bet the Kleiner Perkins thing has something to do with it.


Lingua.ly is really good for vocab- they let you collect words out of chrome and personalize flashcards


Yeah, I really like vocab drilling, though I found that the old Duo vocab interface wasn't great either. I used to have great results when doing vocab drills w/ Anki in Japanese, so now I'm dumping all my German Duolingo sentences into Anki. Even though they're whole sentences, having to translate in both directions helps me -- Duo doesn't use enough "recall" testing IMO, it's all "recognize." So I'm using Anki to balance that out.

Loving the new interface in general, would love an updated vocab drill section even more. :)


I complained to DL immediately after noticing the vocab feature missing (no reply so far) - it's a great loss. I don't understand why they couldn't keep it as it was while inventing a new one. I, for one, keep a Spanish vocabulary and work with a divided screen whe I study. I also have a dictionary handy to check extended usage of a word or for gender, etc. Please, bring back the vocab feature, it has made learning so much easier! Also, the extent to which one has practised certain words and if more practice was needed. It was really appreciated!!!


I totally agree. Btw I have an idea. What if somebody somehow could connect the vocabulary to memrise.com (or find out similar but more enjoyable method here)?


VOCABULARY IS BACK! Thanks to xydrolase. Here is the link to the discussion where you can get access.


Follow the directions given and persevere and you will have your vocabulary back. xydrolase's script has everything the original vocabulary has and, IMO, it is easier to navigate from word to word.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you Xydrolase. May you bath forever in Lingot honey.

Now, the real questions are as follows: When you search under DISCUSSION the term "Vocabulary Tab Gone" you get almost 6000 hits. Yet the moderators and community liaisons keep telling us (as below), "Turns out, not as many people were using it as we would like to see." So you eliminate it? Why not make DL users more aware of it? Why not ask DLers what strategies they have developed for effectively using it? why not ask DL users how to make it better?

Seems a keystone of this community is that we crowdsource our way toward the best, if not, the perfect. Even now, after xydrolase has again provided us with this invaluable resource, I have yet to see one moderator or liaison reference it. In fact, one moderator has been downright patronizing about xydrolase's contribution comparing the pitiful group of words at the top of the lesson box with the full-blown vocabulary tab.

Thanks again, xydrolase. Lingots be upon you .


I agree, especially for languages that are very gender heavy(which is pretty much all of the languages for the English speakers to learn).


I took a long break from Duolingo, but I am back now. I have noticed some improvements, but am so disappointed that the vocabulay feature is gone. What a loss. Looks like it may return some day. Hope it is soon.


what's the purpose of this site without vocabulary?


Yes, I miss that SO much. Please Duolingo, bring it back!


What the last comments on this were three years ago?? Can't be possible


Can you do more of the vocab slower? as a hearing impaired person, I'd like to see more of the turtle option until I can handle the 'normal' speed.


Just ur opinion, not a fact


Different people learn differently, use learning tools differently and use websites differently.

A lot of us found the old Vocab tool to be an absolutely integral part of how we used DuoLingo. Having it missing still makes the site feel crippled somehow.


Yes, we all realize that it is just an opinion.

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