Suggested improvements for Duolingo Hungarian Course
Hi, I've been learning Hungarian on Duolingo since January, and I have some suggestions for improvements. It'd be interesting to know if other learners agree with my suggestions!
*** less positional stuff, more verbs! I have just completed the skill "Places 2" and there have been TWENTY skills so far dealing with the positional/directional cases, postpositions, and pre-verbs, compared to only THREE skills focussed on verbs and NONE on the past. What's more, looking forward in the skills, there are only TWO skills in the whole of Hungarian Duolingo to teach the past, and NONE on the subjunctive or conditional, which are important parts of the language. Two other important areas that are under-practised are accusatives and definite conjugations. When I try out my Hungarian, these are the areas that I consistently need to use, and I consistently make mistakes with.
Unfortunately, for this reason I'm not planning to continue using Duolingo. There are 23 skills for me to finish before I can even start "Past 1" of which 7 look like more ?@£%*! positional things and this is just too frustrating for me. Duolingo, if you're reading this, please take note!!
Anyway, other suggested improvements:
*** more everyday language - since the first four skills (phrases to basic 2) I haven't learnt anything that would actually help me have a conversation in Hungarian. It would be great to learn things like "Could you say that again?" "What do you do?" "What do you enjoy in your free time?" "How much is this?" "Can I get a ticket to Vienna?" "Would you like a coffee?" "I don't know" etc. etc.
*** Why are basic topics like food and family so late in the course? I can say "the guards are running behind the criminals" but I can't say "I like coffee" or "this is my sister". This is crazy! Also really basic words like "remember" and "think" should be far earlier in the course - long before "kindergarten teacher" ;)
*** The introduction of new items in each lesson is a bit haphazard. Sometimes the words listed on the "front page" of the lesson are not actually used in the lesson at all. Often some words are practised more than others (e.g. in "Places 2" I was exposed to the word "criminal" about five times, but "university" only once.) Often words are tested before being introduced - the pictures are great but often there are only two or three per lesson, even if there are 7 or 8 new words.
*** the recycling of vocabulary is pretty haphazard - "kindergarten teachers" have been recycled incessantly, but I think I have only re-encountered the words "teacher" and "engineer" two or three times.
*** Sometimes translations are not allowed that should be allowed - in one exercise a sentence about "artists" required "muve'szno"k" and rejected "muve'szek" even though the word "artists" is non-gender-specific in English. Likewise, sometimes "plane" is rejected for "repulogep" and "boat" is rejected for "hajo". It doesn't seem to be consistent - in some lessons these translations are accepted, in others not.
Thanks if you read this far - I'd be curious to know if other learners have had the same problems.
Duolingo, if you're reading this, please contact me - I'm a professional language teacher and involved in designing materials for language learning. I would be very happy to give more detailed suggestions.
Thanks for sharing your experiences, it is a good overview of some of the issues users are confronted with. Unfortunately not everything can be fixed within a reasonable amount of time.
The course was not made by 'Duolingo' but by volunteers that use a framework provided by Duolingo to create language courses. And the distance (in communication especially) between those volunteers and the Duolingo staff is too large to enable quick and effective improvements. Furthermore, the framework itself requires heavy input, a lot of work to complete a course. And it does not enable major redesigns of the course during the beta or post-beta phases.
Once the course is released, it is still possible to fix mistakes. So your last point can be (and is being) addressed. However, it is not possible to redesign whole lessons and to change the way in which the course does the teaching. This can only be done as soon as a new tree (learning scheme) is developed. And that may take a long time to even initiate, and it will most probably require as much input as the development of the original tree did. Nevertheless, at that point I would recommend that a professional have a look at the course, in order to organize the grammar topics and words properly.
Still, the course will work for you in its current state if you have enough motivation, and if you really want to learn the language, not just a few phrases. It offers a good (although sometimes frustrating) introduction into the grammatic cases and the peculiar word order. Unfortunately it will not teach you all the essential verb forms, I am still struggling with that in the post-Duolingo phase. But once you complete this course, it is easy to carry on using other resources.
There are so many overcomplicated sentences in the course, which no one would use, not only these about flying kindergarten teachers. I think the volunteer team used a too old book as a kind of sample which was designed not in our times but about fifty years ago. Lots of sentences about what the workers are doing at the shores of some rivers or so at the first third of the whole course can not improve people's happiness about learning this hard language. I have given every time I used the course lots of improvement ideas to the staff but it will be hard to make it more usable than it is now... what a pity, they made a big work, building it from scratch, and the result is not sooo nice.
I understand that it is very specific sense of humor of the contributors with flying kindergarten teachers, but I think that it's a bit ;) exaggerated. I admit that it would be rather impossible to fully rearrange the course, in addition to sheepishangel's suggestions, I'd like to add some of my observations
overcomplicated : 20-word phrases or even two not so short sentences in one exersize - and with the lack of consistency one must remember 'the only correct' translation, which sometimes is really frustrating
I am trying to keep all the skills golden, so I recycle frequently, and so often I meet new words introduced in the very first lessons (perhaps because it's still in beta); but, on the other hand, the pictures at the advanced tiers ask the words from the initial ones, eg. table, window, chair. Shouldn't they be moved to the earlier tiers?
too many verbs of movement against about as many verbs for other activities; and too few lessons on the definite conjugation
I agree, of you're not going to continue using Duolingo, then how are you going to learn Hungarian do you know of any website
I agree, I've stopped learning Hungarian here, because the sentences were too complicated and unuseful. Also I couldn't understand what I was doing wrong
Position is big in Hungarian. So far I'm only up to the postpositions in Duo but when we did suffixes in class we spent most of a 30 hour week on them - then we modified the verbs to match - then they added more - then they started inflecting the postpositions. The other biggie was the imperative which gets used for everything - and unlike the past can be really irregular. Conditional is really regualr so no biggie. I'm wondering if they skipped teh family terms because they are irregular. But I agree with kindergarten teacher. Not a word I use in English - let alone Hungarian!