I'm really enjoying the course! Some suggestions...
Thank you to the Swahili team for bringing this fascinating language to Duolingo! So far, I've enjoyed the course structure, and even though the audio won't be here for a while, the simplicity of Swahili spelling means that's not a huge deal.
A couple suggestions:
- While it's wonderful to know that "Kuja" means "to come", being asked to translate that word out of context means that I'll forget it faster. Please create more simple sentences instead of asking us to translate single words, because that way we'll learn more effectively.
- Please replace sentences that have confusing punctuation. "Good morning mother" would be more readable as "Good morning, mother." The lack of periods throughout the course is somewhat off-putting.
Thank you again for your efforts. I can't wait to learn more Swahili!
I don't know, I think learning verbs with just the infinitive is important. If I know kuja means "to come", and having read the rules in the tips and notes, I can work out a number of sentences:
ninahitaji kuja nyumbani — I need to come home
utakuja nyumbani — you will come home
hawaji nyumbami — they are not coming home
Using your kuja example probably wasn't the best idea since it retains the infinitive, except in the negative. Let's try kuenda, "to go", instead.
ninahitaji kuenda nymuba — I need to go home
utaenda nyumbani — you will go home
mama na baba hawaendi nyumbami — mum and dad are not going home
Just learning sentences might teach you the context within that sentence, but you might end up having to learn it separately for each conjugation. Learning the infinitive on its own plus conjugation rules allows you to recognise it however it appears in a sentence. It can be more efficient, it just has a steeper learning curve.
Anyone with a better understanding of Swahili, feel free to correct wrong sentences or tell me I've completely misunderstood something. Also a beginner.
I agree with the thread starter, I want more simple sentences and less single words. Language is learned in context, and the best way to learn a word, I think, is through seeing it in different sentences.
As an example, my suggestion for improving the "Present" section would be: Introduce one or few morphemes at a time, but in different sentences, reinforcing what has already been learned. - An example: Sentences/words of the first lesson could be: I am reading, I am speaking, I am reading a book, I speak Swahili, I drink tea, I drink coffee, I eat bread, I eat ugali. Then the next lesson could go: You are reading, you are speaking, you drink tea, do you speak swahili, you drink water, do you want water, do you want bread. And so on.
An alternative could be to add more sentences in the "Strengthen skills" section.
Just want to add that this is in no way a criticism of the course, just a suggestion for improvement. Thanks a lot to the team that made the course.
"I am reading, I am speaking, I am reading a book, I speak Swahili, I drink tea, I drink coffee, I eat bread, I eat ugali"
you really want to mix habitual sentences with ongoing ones? the number of difference between "I am speaking" and "I speak Swahili" is potentially higher than you might think.
Also, yes, language is learned in context...but like juryrigging was getting at, there is definitely benefit to learning an infinitive (which generally can't be used in context in a simple sentence as easily) and being able to have a guide (the notes section he mentioned) to unlock the various patterns that can be overlaid on the verb all at once. I am fluent in Spanish, and I tell you I don't have to hear a verb in context to know with 99% surety how it is conjugated for each of the 6+ person/number combinations.
I agree with your suggestion. When I was at school, I had to learn English, French and German. All lessons went like this: A text to read, then a list of words to learn, grammar rules and then you needed to practise, make translations, write some story etcetera. I think it would be useful to add some Swhili text to each lesson.
Despite this, I'm happy with this course!