https://www.duolingo.com/PERCE_NEIGE

Can you learn Indonesian and Vietnamese using Duolingo?

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Just started Indonesian with the reverse course (from Indonesian to English). A friend of mine told me that it was the easier language he have learned, and he talks many languages, he's a pro translator.

It was also out of curiosity, and because learning the fundamentals of any language is easy using Duolingo. My first impression is that it seems really easy, because the grammar seems easy. It's like if you have mainly to learn the words, and put them in the sentence (but I'm aware that very proper grammar should be something else, but I can't say my grammar is perfect in no language I'm able to talk).

NOTE: When I say "learning" I mean learning fundamentals of the language, as a first step, kind of A1 or A2 level, like it's possible with French, Italian, Spanish, etc... depending of your commitment, the time you've spend on the tree and the searches about grammar you've made about each sentences, and the time you strengthen your tree, of course. But let's suppose that the tree has been compleletly mastered several times, without using tip, and having a score of nearly 100% with almost no mistakes.

I read a lot of things about Indonesian on the Internet. Some people says it's easy, and other ones insist on the fact it's easy, but only if you want only to communicate like "me eat bread".

So, what's your opinion. Is it possible to learn the fundamentals of Indonesian using Duolingo? I don't plan to be fluent right now, only either being able to read Indonesian on the internet, or to watch movies, or to communicate with people by mails or by voice, or all of those ones maybe, or if I'm only able of one of those things, I'll be proud and happy.

I also wonder about Vietnamese, I don't have the impression it's possible to get basic Vietnamese only by using Duo, in a first step, because of the tones. I think that I will only be able to read & write if I finish the Vietnamese tree, not to communicate orally at all, even with "me eat bread".

2 years ago

12 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/AxelPutra
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Hello, Native Indonesian here.

I used to be quite active in Indonesian forum, so even though I never take the lesson myself, I am quite familiar with it.

To answer your question about Indonesian: Yes, you can definitely listen to the news, read newspaper and even doing business email just simply by finishing duolingo tree (Assuming you can use the verb agglutinations perfectly). However, for the other things you mentioned, like watching (contemporary) movies or reading tweets in Indonesian, will be harder. Because almost all Indonesian use slang and shortened words on all occasions- and the course doesn't teach that. You will probably ended up saying "Thou shalt not eat" when you only want to say "Don't eat" in informal situation- understandable but quite funny.

It is also worth mentioning that sometimes the course's sentences are unnatural. With all due respect to the people who created the course, some sentences are not even understandable to me or really badly worded. For you who do the course to learn Indonesian, some parts of the course may be a little bit boring. For example, Present perfect, simple past, past perfect and past perfect continuous tenses could be translated into one rule in Indonesian- so you may do the same thing over and over.

My conclusion, if you actually want to interacting with Indonesian and know the popular culture, I'll suggest you to learn it from people on the forum rather than the course itself. But if you only want to read academic books, movies, news and have lighthearted conversation, the course is good to go :)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PERCE_NEIGE
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Thank you, it's very encouraging to hear that doing the tree very carefully will bear fruit! Because if you tell me it's not the case, I won't give it my time. I heard about the big difference between formal and daily Indonesian. I prefer to learn the more formal first. Surfing some Indonesian sites will probably be very interesting.

I also heard that the difficult part was the prefixes/suffixes/infixes, and as I do the tree from English, I guess it will be a little hard for me to understand. The bad part is that there is no much people to answer grammar questions on the English from Indonesian forum. You should flag the unnatural sentences, I hope they will improve them.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AxelPutra
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Glad to hear it. Even though the suffix, affix, and prefix can be a pain, I still believe that Indonesian is easy. The vocabularies are also largely germanic and arabic. Just don't give up :)

I have tried to flag the said unnatural sentences many times, but there is no response from the other end. Probably they put all of their attention to the Indonesian for English speaker course at the moment.

I also used to answer grammar question in the section, that is until Duo decided to scrap the "sentences" subforum. If you have question, please do let me know. Will be glad to help :)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PERCE_NEIGE
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The sentence subforum is still here (and that's a luck, because the day it's gone, Duolingo will become totally useless, with only machine-like sentences), they removed the immersion, let's hope they won't touch the sentences help forum!

Thanks for your very nice offer, that's a pity you don't learn French, lol, I could help you back! Sadly, I have a bunch of questions! Too many! I will try to finish 2 times the Indonesian tree, and see if I could understand by myself, finishing once the tree maybe will allow me to read some of the comments in Indonesian, and then, the questions that are still unresolved, will be a problem. I don't rely trust Internet forums for a langage like Indonesian.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PERCE_NEIGE
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Hi. Axel. I've this problem now: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/21945206

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AxelPutra
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Hello Perce, I try to answer your question there. Hit me up if it's not clear enough, since I kinda write it in hurry :)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/susanstory
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Duolingo has Indonesian for English speakers in the incubator. I've only done a couple lessons in Vietnamese on Duolingo so far. It seems quite hard. In the 1980's I had a best friend who was from Vietnam. I used to hear her gabbing in Vietnamese lots of times. For her, it was nothing.

She moved to Montreal and had to learn French. She wrote me a few letters where she was mixing up English and French in the same sentence. It was so funny.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PERCE_NEIGE
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Thank you for your testomony! Indonesian in incubator (as it's the reverse tree) is good to know, but sadly, some languages can be for more than 2 years in the incubator, without hatching I noticed.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Michael.Lubetsky
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I haven't yet tried Vietnamese in Duolingo, but I studied the language a few years ago for work. I found it fun but quite challenging, my observation at the time being that Vietnamese combined the finest attributes of Chinese phonetics, Khmer grammar and French orthography. :-)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PERCE_NEIGE
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Hi Michael, if you decide to take the Vietnamese course, tell me what you think. I don't think their course is really high-quality for this language, since Duolingo hasn't a good voice recognition technology, for tones, and to save up money (I think they are in troubles), they didn't give an audio for each sentence, that is really annoying for a language like Vietnamese. I can't imagine learning Chinese with tones lessons, and in this course, they don't explain. But maybe as a complementary resource, for a false beginner.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Michael.Lubetsky
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Salut! I understand from the Hebrew discussion posts that the text-to-speech features are not actually Duolingo's, but third-party aps. Because there isn't a good Hebrew TTS ap available, the Hebrew course designers had to use voice recordings for each sentence, which has significantly limited the audio features available. It may have been the same for Vietnamese.

The lack of individual word audio is a common source of complaint with the Hebrew course since words are written without vowels and you can never know for sure how a word is pronunced just by looking at it. That said, there are lots of resources available for Hebrew language learners to fill in the gaps left by Duolingo, as well as a very active Duolingo Hebrew-learner community. The same may well not be the same for Vietnamese.

I hope to try out the Vietnamese course at some point, although I have resolved not to start any new languages until my German and Esperanto trees are both solid gold. :-)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PERCE_NEIGE
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I wish you good luck! You are right, it's better to focus only on ew languages at the same time.

I usually use Forvo for the pronounciation, it's good because you have several accents, but sometimes it can become a problem. As I understand it, adding voices is very expensive, and now they have financial problems, they try to add the minimum, whereas, few years ago, they added sounds more easily.

Vietnamese is really tricky to pronounce, and the tones!!! It make the audio feature even more useful than in Hebrew, because if one pronounces not the right way, a word become another word. So the good way to teach tonal languages is to hear the audio each time you are working on the sentence, not only when you make some searches on Forvo.

It's the reason why I really wonder if it's possible here, using mainly Duolingo, (with some help with online dictionary, grammar forum, and a bit of Forvo).

2 years ago
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