New tree development - Your ideas
Now that the Greek course has graduated from Beta and it’s gaining learners every single day, we are about to get a second tree going. And since none of this would’ve happened without your comments, reports and feedback, we thought we could actually do things a bit differently.
We figured that it would only be enlightening and appropriate if we asked you to share your thoughts and ideas, on how we could make this course even better.
There are two major questions, regarding the course’s Skills:
1.New Skills. What would you like to see being added? Is there anything that you think is missing from the Greek course (or even from other courses), that would be cool to add? (That includes the Bonus Skills, too.)
2.Fixing Skills. What would you like to see getting fixed? Is there anything that’s already a part of the course that you’re not pleased with, that you believe is ‘unnecessary’ or really hard to keep up with?
1.These questions are exclusively for the course’s skills. Sentence errors (sentences that appear to be odd or ungrammatical, the double accent rule, ghost sentences, the final –ν omission, homophones or misplaced punctuation) are likely to get fixed. Audio is something we are still looking into.
2.Anything inappropriate or completely irrelevant will be deleted, for reasons of discretion. Please keep this discussion user friendly!
3.Feel free to upvote other user's comments if you like their own ideas as well!
Thank you in advance for expressing your thoughts and concerns. They’re all greatly appreciated. ^.^
-The Greek Team
Our latest update: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/28017297
199 Comments This discussion is locked.
I would like to see some sentences about greek culture and daily routine :)
I think it might be helpful if some elements of the grammar were pulled into their own concentrated sections, such as:
deponent verbs (your 'σκέφτομαι's and 'ονειρεύομαι's)
subordinate clauses. Admittedly I find them very easy in Greek, but they just sort of snuck their way into the lessons at some point.
fixed expressions. Specifically ones that may seem a bit irregular in structure, I found phrases like "Το Σαββατό το πρωί" to be a bit odd when I first came across them. More importantly these are trickier to compose then they are to translate. I don't know if there would be enough commonly used fixed expressions like this to make a section or not. I guess this similar to the idea of having a section of idioms!
And I would also like to see more vocab sections about Greece! (geography, culture, history, etc.)
As for suggestions to improve the current course there are a few things I would enjoy seeing in the current course. I would really like to see more of the adverbs used throughout the later sections of the course. As someone pointed out with the verbs (how "eat" and "read" are used predominantly throughout the course even though we know other verbs) we are taught a bunch of adverbs but only use a small number of them often.
I second someone above about having more notes in the course, I loved the notes in the sections that had them. I especially enjoyed the notes in the Education section. I still enjoy the technical notes on conjugations, usages, irregularities, etc. but I really enjoyed the more informal personable feel of the Education notes. I also really appreciated having notes for newly introduced verb forms earlier in the tree, and I felt like this was missing in some of the later sections on verbs.
Lastly I want to go on record saying that I really enjoy nonsensical sentences and "trick" sentences, and the like. I've seen some complaints about some of these sentences but I think they really test our understanding of the language since it's harder to fill in the gaps via context. I've seen a few multiple choice questions that differ by no more than a letter or two. I saw one today where the difference was the sentence in one began with the definite article "Ο" and the other the letter "Θ". For reading Greek (or any language) training our eyes to pick out these subtle differences is invaluable, IMO.
Subordinate clauses can get very, very complex in Greek for a variety of reasons. It amazes me that you find them easy. It is not uncommon for a period to span a whole paragraph in Greek; it's in bad taste ofc. Sometimes periods take as much as 7 or 8 lines of text, containing any number of subordinate clauses. What you wrote really made me wonder :) You are absolutely right about deponent verbs and fixed expressions. Use of the passive voice can be a bit different in Greek than in English and that's something to look into and also there are a myriad of fixed expressions, especially those originating from ancient Greek.
I guess I should clarify that it's the subordinate clauses that I've come across in the course so far that seem pretty easy/straightforward. Compared to what (little) i remember of Latin, dealing with subjunctives and subordinate clauses was one of the harder things about the language, especially (if i'm not mistaken) figuring out the case of the nouns/adjectives, whereas (so far) in Greek it seems to be much more straight forward.
...but I digress. It sounds like there is good cause for a section on subordinate clauses :>
Yes, I agree with Alex above. This part is the most difficult in many languages. I insist on having a separate and extent section to subjunctive mood. It is a separate part for many trees that it is important, see for instance the Italian and Spanish tree.
Also since infinitive extinct from Ancient Greek in the form we know and replaced by another, it would be a good idea to introduce this part of speech, to compare it with the English, specially the use of particle να, comparing with subjunctive and more. It is really a messy part in this tree, it is "hidden" actually in some phrases and the learner doesn't know how and when we use it. And there is definitively a lack of it in this tree.
The good structure is the tip for a successfull tree. What is the most difficult part in the Greek tree? A good plan is above all to to take all Grammar books that common and recognized as good one, taught at the Greek schools, University etc, some sources from the web and make a plan of the tree from scratch.
Dimitra, it would be a good idea to ask the people who are advanced in Greek already, and not only, which part is the most difficult in the present tree. As you know every language has its own part that seems more difficult to learn. I don't know if you have any data about from Duolingo, that is Duolingo gives you statistical data about how much time each one of us uses in learning a part. I even don't know if they included the difficulty of each part in their algorithm, measuring it and giving feedback to the user to strengthen this part. But a poll it would be useful. So a new topic in the sticky part: "Which part of the tree is the most difficult to you?" is useful. I don't know if you can use an external link to online polls outside this discussion port and it is permitted by Duolingo a research like this.
As a follow up, one thing I've been having problems with recently while reading articles in Greek are grammatical words...there are a lot of words I see frequently that don't appear to be content words; a lot of prepositions, pronouns, conjunctions, and some frequent adverbs pop up quite a bit. Often they appear in short phrases similar to «αν και» where the word by word translations doesn't seem to work very well. So maybe some additional sections on these parts of speech would be helpful since I feel like there are far fewer grammatical words than content words, but their frequency of use is higher relative to how many there are...making them a good candidate for appearing in DL.
I'm not sure what this is called, but having lessons that teach more about the past tense - I mean like χόρευα vs χόρεψα, ηπια vs επινα.
Also, I think it would be helpful to have a way to see how to conjugate all the verbs. I mean, showing how the verb ending changes conjugation. Για παραδειγμα, τα ρηματα μπορω, βαριεμαι, χρειαζομαι, κοιμαμαι κτλ. κλεινουνε διαφορετικα.
One more thing, which probably can't be fixed, is that the alphabet skill gets very annoying later on. When I click on strengthen it doesn't realize that the alphabet skill is the alphabet and not a set of words to learn. This is probably more due to the way duolingo works.
Actually, there is one thing I wanted to add: in the tips and notes section for Verbs: Imperative, there is an error. It says "ερχωμε" και οχι "ερχομαι". It isn't totally related, but it is an important part of a skill I realized should be fixed.
Oh that's funny. I was typing some tips and notes two days ago, mentioning the difference between Παρατατικός and Αόριστος in greek, as well some of the common conjugation endings for both tenses. We were thinking of having one Past skill for active verbs and one for passive verbs. ^.^
Also, thank you for noticing and reporting the mistake in the tips and notes. I fixed it, although there is no need to worry. Tips and notes will get a makeover. ^.^
I've really been enjoying the Greek tree but having studied Greek courses in real life something I think is seriously missing is much more use of modal verbs and more use of the passive tense.
In the Greek classes I followed the constructions μπορω να and πρεπει να were introduced VERY early and were used a lot - they are used a lot in modern Greek. In the Duolingo tree at the moment they are only introduced towards the end and after that aren't given much attention.
The passive tense isn't introduced at all as a separate skill and shows up in very few sentences. I would recommend introducing it much earlier and giving it much more attention.
Also, and I've posted this before, please, please, please do something about the very irritating lessons to get used to the alphabet. You need to learn what the Greek letters but you don't need to learn how to spell B, Ν, Ο, Ω etc in Greek and English and having to type "Ni Ni" and suchlike repeatedly is tedious and not useful.
I'm not finished with the tree but I have some suggestions. First, I think the Food skill is a bit long. I would take some of the fruits and vegetables out and save them for another skill later in the tree. Next, I think you should add a that/those skill early on in the tree. In this skill, you could focus on the αυτό το... construction as well as teach the other ways to say "they" besides αυτοί. I think you should also move the Parts of speech skill to the end of the tree or remove it entirely.
thanks for all the good work so far. Maybe the explanation of when using e.g. η ι υ? The difference between Παρατατικός and Αορίστοs? And a database of words you have learned as i also see in other languages, might be an idea?
Again thanks a lot for your good work
Yes, Παρατατικός (Past Continuous) is mentioned nowhere in the course. We plan on adding info about it in the tips and notes, and have a skill for it too. ^.^
KThere are some important issues on the present tree. Thst is the ABC part. First it has to redesign It, even from scratch.
Another issue I'd the Grammar tips, it seems insufficient for a l language like Greek.
Please, avoid as much as you can anglicized phrases. Also, about the problem of gerund. Should we finally introduce it or not in the Greek grammar? My personal view is no.
I want to express my admiration to the Greek team for the work they did, just in a few months after launching the Greek tree as beta, but it is much to be done before saying, OK it is perfect noe
Just a few trees are perfect, even they exist here for years.
There are much to be done before. A reasonable scope is to enrich the vocabulary, to make a word part as most mature trees have. Just a few tree already have a v.2, even none. The oldest ones have an idioms part, that one can buy using XPs, this is a bonus part of course.
The most important that this tree managed is to prove that Greek is a language like all the others, difficult but also of great value, as one of the oldest, historical and much influential to other languages, so one can tell, yes I speak a little Greek.
Thank you Stergi for your as always spot on help. We have started to put into practice many of the ideas you have here. As for example the Gerund and the alphabet. Many new tips have been added and more are in the works. We'll look at the anglicized words thanks for bringing it to our attention. New vocabulary and enriched sentences will be added.
Thank you for your support and advice which has helped us so much. We too are glad that Greek has become better known to more people for the richness and history it has. We look forward to your help in the future.
Thanks, sorry for the typos I was writing from my mobile and... Well, you understand
I hate to say but I found the 'gerund' lesson really unhelpful. Very few (if any) of the examples were uses of the English gerund, most just were cases where you might use an '-ing' form, not all of which are even verbal nouns.
I fully agree about the alphabet, which ruins the practice feature. Once one has advanced to do the rest of the lessons, one certainly doesn't need to do 'λ λαμδα' a million times.
Yes, indeed @involans both your observations have already been incorporated into the NewTree. The alphabet is word/phrase oriented so each exercise at least contains useful vocabulary and the gerund has been removed. I think it was these two things that really got us on the New Tree bandwagon. I can't imagine how hard it was for those who created the original tree... Duo was such a new method at the time.
Please continue to give us your views we look forward to them.
loving the course but wish the sentences would use the vocabulary we learned more. In the beginning we learned quite a few verbs but only seemed to use 'read' and 'eat'. Also learned very hard words in Greek for parts of speech but not parts of the body! I would like the sentences to be more complicated as we progress so that we get to practice some of the grammar we are learning as I have no other chance to practice. Thank you, B
Thank you britomat for your very positive and helpful ideas. We will definitely take them into account. We do plan to let up on the parts of speech and we do plan to add more complex sentences making better use of the vocabulary already taught.
I think the Parts of Speech are a potentially useful thing ... particularly for anyone who wants to take their Greek learning further where explanations and definitions of grammatical concepts are likely to be given in Greek. But to have it as the ninth lesson ahead of things like Questions, Colors, Time and Numbers might not be the correct place - maybe in the final "block" after the last checkpoint would make more sense.
Yes, this is what we aim towards. We need more complicated sentences and words to be added, and more grammar to be explained. The new tree might be bigger but way more detailed than before! ^.^And since many of the present skills will be either changed or replaced by others, we can add a lot to the tips and notes either (For example, we were thinking of having three seperate skills for Adjectives, based on their endings and declension, and have the tips and notes seperate for each category. But since there are only 2 skills with mixed types of adjectives, we can't add the proper tips and notes in just yet. They'll have to wait until the new tree is here.)
Thank you so much for your patience though! I'm glad that you're enjoying the course! ^.^
Sounds more neat than having two skills with mixed up adjectives right?:D We plan on doing something similar about the participles, divide them into groups. And of course, the missing indefinite pronouns to be added! ^.^
I don't know how Duolingo trees really work. I mean is there any limit to no. of the words to be used in a tree? If it is so, and the no. of words is about 2700-3000, and we consider it as a unit or a measure, it is not fair for Greek. Actually the no. of words known after finishing the tree is much less than other languages which have no declension, just a few rules and just a few exceptions in many rules, no irregular verbs etc. I mean that a tree in Greek should have much more words. But since this limit has been put by Duolingo, to enrich the vocabulary, the Grammar tips, to learn the language in more depth, makes necessary a new tree. Not just a specialized tree as for instance a tree of terminology, but a tree to come across all grammatical phenomena, to cover some idioms and popular phrases etc.
To include all these in just one tree makes the effort of the learner endless and little by little his interest is fainting and stops it in the end. No, a second tree to complete the language, is necessary.
I think, even not finished yet, the same happens to the German tree, a really demanding language. Some learners complain that it is endless and difficult. I don't know :)
I agree that parts of the body (and health) seems more urgent than parts of speech! I also want to mention how useful some sentences early in other languages' trees seem - sentences like "My arm hurts," "Dad, what happened to the rental car?" "I've lost my keys!" and "I'm calling the police!"
Some of the pictures are not very good examples of the word they are used to represent. In some (most?) instances it's just the way the picture is cropped, but on more than one occasion I've had to see what the other pictures weren't to find the right one.
Υπάρχουν αρκετά θέματα γραμματικής που λείπουν. Θα μπορούσαν ας πούμε να προστεθούν οι χρόνοι διαρκείας , οι διάφορες εκδοχές των modal verbs που είναι πολύ σημαντικά και στην Ελληνική και στην Αγγλική γλώσσα , να εμπλουτιστεί η παθητική φωνή , οι αρνησοερωτήσεις , οι έμμεσες ερωτήσεις (indirect questions) ,καθώς και άλλα που μου διαφεύγουν αυτή τη στιγμή. Τέλος αν μπορείτε να το διορθώσετε , στο τεστ θα ήταν πολύ χρήσιμο να μας δείχνει τις λάθος απαντήσεις ώστε να μαθαίνουμε μέσα από τα λάθη μας , διότι αυτή τη στιγμή μας δείχνει απλά το σκορ σε κάθε τεστ , χωρίς να γνωρίζουμε που έχουμε κάνει λάθος.
Μακάρι το duolingo να βελτιωθεί διότι αποτελεί ένα πολύ καλό πρόγραμμα. Συγχαρητήρια για την προσπάθεια της Ελληνικής ομάδας και των υπολοίπων φυσικά.
Can we have bots? I think it would be very useful to have. And also, speaking exercises would be amazing to practise with.
This was posted by: Chris52496
"Some skills come far too late
This is a variation on something I've posted before but having now reached the end of the Greek tree I'm raising it again - some of the skills come far too late and aren't practice enough. I've just had conditional perfect. It would be good to be able to practice this skill by using it a lot more but that is only possible if it comes much earlier in the tree.
A lot of the later exercises are all about vocabulary and are pretty easy because they don't use complicated skills. I'd recommend introducing the complicated skills much earlier and then using them in the lessons that teach the vocab so that we can really practice and get to a good level of Greek."
Is it possible to put a conjugate button? It would be super useful and time saving for learners.
Hm. I'm not sure if that's possible or not, but we could add the conjugation of a verb or adjective in the hints. It would indeed be extra helpful.^.^
Yes, and thanks for the screenshots. That is a new idea which we'll look into.
Sorry to veer off-topic, but sensorium24, could you please share the title & author/s or the ISBN of that book? It looks really good. Thanks
We used this book in Greek courses of Greece consulate in Istanbul. It's really good.
Thanks sensorium24, you are wonderful! The fact that this book is consulate approved is encouraging too :)
I think I can conjugate a noun fine, but it's be nice to have it on nouns too!
What about in a words part? I don't know, but there are some hints in conjugation in many trees like the French or Italian, with conjugation.
Yes, I was enthusiastic to get genders, conjugations etc in the words parts. However, I've learned that the only courses that can have them are the original ones. As you say: French, Italian, Spanish, and German. All those going through the incubator will not get them
New to duolingo (which is great) and agree a conjugation button would help a lot and save going elsewhere to get the information
Thanks to all of you for putting so much time and effort into the course - it's hugely appreciated! I think I'd really be struggling in my Greek lessons at the moment if it wasn't for this course. I really feel like the course gave me a really solid foundation for taking my Greek much further.
As some other people have noted previously, I think the alphabet section (and perhaps everything else before the first checkpoint), could do with improving and ringfencing. By that, I mean that for experienced users, stuff from the very early modules shouldn't come up in general strengthening sessions. If you've completed the tree, you probably don't need to see alphabet stuff any more, nor 3-word sentences ("the red apple" and so on).
As for additional skills, I think participles could do with a lot more coverage. Idioms are a great idea, too. Passive verbs could maybe get a bit more exposure, as could adjectives in the plural/accusative/genitive; the current course barely touches them. Even pluralised nouns could do with a bit more coverage. Imperatives and imperfects could get a bit more time as well.
I think most of the sentences in the current tree follow a SVO order (which is how it should be when you first start learning), but we all know that Greek is much more flexible than this. I think the later modules should play around much more with the ordering of the sentences, given that spoken and written Greek has very fluid syntax.
Also, I'm not quite sure how to express this, but I'd quite like to see sentences that aren't strictly grammatically correct but which are in frequent use. For example, it took me a while to figure out that if I hear "το(ν) λογαριασμό, παρακαλώ", the reason why we use accusative is because there's an implied "έχω/θέλω" in the sentence, even if it's not spoken.
I also think, in the later modules, it'd be great to have listening exercises where you have to type the translation in English - this is closer to how your mind has to (or should..) work when you are trying to understand a foreign language.
I heard something about some of the other languages on Duo having speaking exercises and/or chatbots? They'd be great, too.
Thanks for the input once more! About the grammar (participles, passive voice and more noun cases) be sure that the next tree will cover way more grammatical issues of greek, even more "obscure" ones, according to what we have in mind at the moment. ;)
Awesome! Good to hear. One more thing: numbers could do with a bit more coverage, especially in the hundreds and thousands. As could 3 and 4, given that they decline; I only found that out a couple of weeks ago. The hundreds are also tricky given that they decline too.
I think the alphabet section (and perhaps everything else before the first checkpoint), could do with improving and ringfencing. By that, I mean that for experienced users, stuff from the very early modules shouldn't come up in general strengthening sessions. If you've completed the tree, you probably don't need to see alphabet stuff any more, nor 3-word sentences ("the red apple" and so on).
I don't think we have control over what sentences get picked during strengthening, unfortunately -- that's up to Duo's algorithm.
it took me a while to figure out that if I hear "το(ν) λογαριασμό, παρακαλώ", the reason why we use accusative is because there's an implied "έχω/θέλω" in the sentence, even if it's not spoken.
Θέλω, I'd say (or Θα ήθελα να λάβω "I would like to receive" or something like that).
Similarly with καλημέρα, χρόνια πολλά etc. which are accusative as the object of an implied εύχομαι "I wish" -- but since those are feminine or neuter, you can't see the difference from the nominative.
RE the algorithm, I thought that might be the case...
I didn't know that about καλημέρα, χρόνια πολλά and so on - that's interesting to know.
I am astonished at the passion behind Duolingo. Thank you for the amazing Greek course and for all the additional links
- I would suggest to completely remove the chapter "POS" (parts of sentences: "noun", "adverb", "injunction"... in Greek ; complicated and of practically no use). I use everyday fluently 3 to 4 languages, never these words.
- On the other hand, I have reached now the chapter "verbs present 1" and I enjoy this chapter very much: useful and dynamic. Maybe could be introduced earlier at least partially. Verbs are the core.
- Maybe the vocabulary could be introduced as a function of the frequency in everyday speech (there are printed books of vocabulary organized in this way and they can possibly be used, look for instance in google at "basic key words arranged frequency")
- I enjoy very much the Duolingo Greek method, thank you very much! Nicolas
PS: I have found on-line a list of 5000 most useful words in modern greek, by frequency https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Wiktionary:Frequency_lists/Greek_wordlist
Yes please remove Parts of Speech - destroys motivation. You guys should be able to access the analytics of where you're losing learners, right? I'd wager a lot of people stumble on this chapter. Do you think learning how to ask the time is less important than POS?
I think parts of speech is essential IF you are going to be using it in later explanations... that's why it would be taught so early on in a classroom setting, just like how you learn how to say good morning to the teacher, ask to open a door, etc. - if the Duo team can find a way of making the POS more functional and integrated into later lessons, perhaps they won't seem so boring? I appreciated learning them so I could hook in to other resources, but it would be great if I found more of a use for them in Duo too.
I wanted to thank everyone for putting their precious time into the course.
I hit quite a few snags in the Parts of Speech exercise, but mostly due to the way Duo serves up tiles. A few small tweaks to the sentences would go a long way.
I am just wondering why the alphabet lesson. I do not understand the point of it. is it used later in the course, or even when reading and writing Greek texts?
That is such a good question. We've been thinking of either removing it, or "simplifying" it so that it isn't such a pain of a skill for new learners. :P
As some one who started with just about zero knowledge of Greek, apart from a vague familiarity with part of the alphabet from Maths lessons, and a few basic words that I recognised by sound but had no idea how to spell, I did generally find the alphabet sections useful ... but I do feel there is scope for improvement.
Ukrainian (which I originally only started learning while waiting for Greek to appear!) starts its first lessons by only introducing words using the letters that are immediately recognisable as being the same (or very similar) in the Latin and Cyrillic alphabets, and then the ones that look familiar but sound different, and then the rest. I don't know whether something similar might work?
The main confusion with the current lessons seemed to be as to whether the letter or the name of the letter was required, but I think since they've been edited to accept either in just about every case they are a bit less stressful.
(Oh, and thank you very much for the continued work being put into Tree v2!)
That is one option we have on the table and it's good to get your opinion reinforcing it. Thanks for the encouraging words.
I'd say the Russian tree takes a broadly similar tack as Ukrainian, but "how do I learn the alphabet?" remains an exceedingly common question in the Russian forum. Maybe Ukrainian did pull it off better as I don't immediately see that question there, but it's also a much less active forum in general.
I definitely liked the way it's currently done in the Greek tree but recognize the "methodological unbeautifulness" of it, but that might be in large part because I knew most if not all the traditional English letter names when I started and also how to write most of the letters, so my task was mostly just to get those two lists connected properly and I never really did the "letter translations" the default answers point to.
I can't help but think that the methodologically not-unbeautiful way to go about teaching an alphabet within the heavy constraints of the Duolingo system is to use familiar proper-type names. I note that Greek already does this to a certain extent. It's also what the Russian course moderators tend to recommend to people who ask (polysyllabic Moscow metro stations strike me as a particular favorite), although it's not what the tree itself does. Of course, there's also scope to chose words that just sound similar. Russian does have a stock of these, but perhaps the ideal really is something that basically has to be consciously transliterated, i.e. actually drilling the letter recall, rather than just being fairly immediately recognizable as either a word or e.g. more commonly known place name.
I found the Greek alphabet lesson most useful since I came to learn Greek with zero knowledge besides the obvious two or three letters you know from Maths. :P So I think it would be a mistake to remove it! I didn't find it hard or anything, at all, and I think a lesson like that is a must when you want to learn a language that has a different alphabet. It's like you couldn't start learning Japanese without learning at least the two most basic syllabaries, because you wouldn't be able to understand any of the real Japanese. I can't imagine starting to learn Greek from scratch without learning the letters first so I can read things that are written in real Greek! :O
Yes, I know. The Greek Alphabet is a completely new thing for English speakers (or speakers that are only used to the Latin Alphabet.). There is much space for improvement, though. For example, I do think that some words, in the Greek ABC skill are a bit... complicated, and not that commonly used for the learner to know. (I'm talking about ντουντούκα and δάδα). We could use simpler words, or maybe just an intro to the letters and their pronunciation. ^.^
Oh, yes, yes, of course, there's always room for improvement! :) I only meant that I don't think it's a good idea to remove the alphabet lessons altogether. Improve them all you want, just keep them there, please! :D
Thanks for your reply. ;)
I am new to Greek and I have found the alphabet skill totally useful. Indeed, I would like to see it expanded to include some more simple words. In english, words like cat and hat, dog and fog, lake and cake ... I don't know what the greek equivalent would be, but you get the idea. I doubt I would have been able to do the first basic skill without some alphabet knowledge.
I agree completely that working with the alphabet at the start is important, but not fun/easily accessible quite yet. I keep wishing that I would run across reading reinforcement modules or lessons that would help me distinguish between ς, ζ & σ or between η, υ, ι & ω (for instance), so I could practice typing the right letter when I hear it.
Dimitra - I like this idea. It might be good to eliminate the complicated words, but either just letters or letters plus simple words would be great.
This is what we have in mind. We also thought (as some learners have proposed) of starting the skill with letters that are a bit more similar in sound with some of the Latin alphabet, and then move on to the more compicated ones. Apart from that, we will keep the words simple and short. ^.^
For an absolute beginner, you need something to introduce the alphabet. However, I found what you currently have to be extremely frustrating, un-intuitive, and riddled with inconsistencies. It actually made me almost give up on duolingo when I started. Sorry to be so harsh
We know that the alphabet is one really frustrating skill. Thank you for being honest about that. As we have said many times, the original alphabet skill was created in a way that resembles the Greek elementary's alphabet books. Which seems fine to Greek natives (a couple of natives that checked the course out said it reminded them of their childhood, and they didn't find it hard to deal with at all), but we obviously noticed there is a lot of confusion when it comes to non natives. Most of the course's reports are there, for some reason.
So we are either going to change it, or delete it completely. It's a whole new alphabet for most people, so I can see why the creators of this course thought it would be a good idea to introduce it. However, there is always some space for improvement.
Thank you for your patience, and the fact that you stuck around, even after such a rough start. ^.^
I think perhaps using countries to introduce the Greek letters, pronunciations and diphthongs could be a good idea. For the most part, the spelling will follow the English versions - Αυστραλία, Αλβανία, Χιλή, Γεωργία and so on - but the pronunciation is often quite different.
You could start with letters that are obviously similar to their Latin counterparts and simple words that only contain those, and introduce the rest gradually, but it really needs to be proper words and not just spelled out letters, because that just goes against the grain of the whole Duolingo platform and makes for a very unpleasant experience.
About the Greek alphabet:
I had a look at the Greek course and decided to take this course. The alphabet skill is THE thing that encouraged me to do so, because I was a bit afraid of starting a course with a non Latin alphabet. On the other hand I couldn't imagine to learn a language without knowing or learning the alphabet at the same time. It might be an option to introduce the more difficult letters/words slowly. The other option, if the language allows this, would be to optionally offer the alphabet in side-lessons. But for me what I saw so far is perfectly fine .
About improvements of the vocabulary (every course):
What I miss and what I noticed especially in the German -> English course, is the almost complete lack on words that you would use to understand, read or write in news(papers) or forums, in discussion about what's going on in the world. I talk about international organizations and their abbreviations, about social issues. If I talk to Greece people I want to talk with them about what worries them, about the economical situation of Greece, their stands to the EU, the state of their retirement incomes and their medical bills, no matter in what language. A few terms for this kind of communication (in all languages) would be more than needed and welcome :)
In the German -> English politics skill you learn all about war, return from war and such, up to an amount where you wonder if you are really in the politics skill or in the military skill. Fine with me and needed in times of multiple war theaters, but where is the lingual peace corps? It might be needed even more in such times. No NGO's, no peace rally, no issues like abortion, privacy, human rights? Child labor? Unions? Environmental issues? I guess you get the idea. Language is not just for some and one of DL's claims is, to bring people together. Part of that would be to enable them to discuss the headlines of the daily news regardless of their political opinions.
About audio (all languages):
I take the courses German -> ... and a few English -> ... Generally spoken as far as I experienced, the Bots in English based courses are easier to understand, more clear and better pronouncing than the Bots who "live in Germany". The desire to learn Spanish was the reason that made me find DL. I actually stopped the course (for now??) and switched to English -> Italian instead for the only reason, that I constantly needed to repeatedly hit the audio button in order to get a clue what it is talking about. I best learn, when going through a lesson by reading and then again by listening and repeating before I type the answer. That's almost impossible in the German Spanish course. Reading is generally way more easy than listening, that's what makes a good audio quality very important. Please enhance the audio, it would make me a happy camper ;)
Despite my critic - don't get me wrong! I spend a great deal of time on DL and I am very grateful for the opportunity and my big fat thank you and appreciation go to all the people, who spend so much of their free time to develop and maintain the courses - thank you all very much :) !
I couldn't agree more about the alphabet!
I tried starting the Russian tree recently and couldn't even get rolling because it thrusts you right into learning sentences/words. The Greek tree is far better, not only does it have the actual alphabet skill where you can learn the letters (and actually give you a chance to learn to type Greek before moving onto sentences), it has better course notes and a link to a superb resource for learning all the pronunciations and rules/exceptions (UniLang). I've put Russian on hold just because of the alphabet experience being so negative.
I don't think there is anything wrong with the format- it's more of a problem of how Duolingo works. These exercises remind me of how I learned English as a first language as a child, so I don't think it's an issue of unfamiliarity. Rather, I think most of the confusion/frustration comes from two issues: a) the audio questions, and b) these exercises appearing out of context. I understand there may not be much that the mods can do about b), but I think a) could be easily fixed by permitting additional answers (of course, I'm not sure how the back end works, so maybe I'm wrong). Here's what I mean: When you hear "alpha" pronounced in an audio exercise, there is nothing at all to tell you whether you are supposed to type 'α' or 'αλφα', and it's really frustrating to get something "wrong" based on a technicality that you had no possibility of knowing about. It's almost like the computer is tricking you! And when one of these exercises comes up in the training, it's very difficult to remember what to write, because you try to parse it as a natural sentence, and it just doesn't 'work'. On that note - I have noticed that sometimes words are pronounced as letters - e.g. when you are putting a sentence together, the preposition 'o' is pronounced as 'omicron' instead of simply 'o' which can be a bit confusing too. Thanks for all your hard work on this. I think if the just the alphabet section could be fixed, this would be a really fantastic course! (Or: just get rid of the alphabet level and direct learners to Tiny Cards!)
One of the main reasons we are creating the new tree aside from adding richer and a larger variety of sentences is to eliminate the irregularities, some of which you mention here.
I'm afraid the lack of context is hard to overcome with our obligation to introduce new vocabulary but to stay within the limits of one sentence using previously introduced vocabulary and grammatical structure.
The problem with the articles "Ο" and "Η" being pronounced as "letters" is a technical one that appears on other courses as well (at least I've seen it on French on mobile) it has been reported and we hope that it will soon be resolved.
Yes, we do intend to overhaul the Alphabet skill dramatically to avoid these problems. These issues are one reason Duo gives contributors the option to create new trees.
maybe you can use common words coming from Greek like daughter, giant, ball and so on so that the letters will be recognized better. There are many: also spring is coming from a Greek verb and seed and so on (it is leard from ancient Greek but also it may work for modern Greek
About the "abc" unit. I decided to check it out quickly and I found a typo :)
"K as inCow" <-- There is lack of a space
Congratz for your graduation!
As someone who knows a tiny amount of ancient Greek but nothing at all of modern Greek, the alphabet section has been really helpful, as a way for me to ease into this course and gain confidence with the simple things.
Maybe you could also have some more "advanced" lessons where the questions are longer and more grammatically complicated instead of only phrases and 1-2 sentences; like mini-paragraphs or something. This way it will also test us better in more day-to-day speech as people don't speak in small-medium phrases and sentences only.
We are indeed thinking of adding more complicated sentences as the course progresses, but mini paragraphs might be a bit of a stretch. But yes, the course sentences now are very simple. We could use some more vocabulary and actually use it. ^.^
I can't agree more. I really like larger sentences and I felt like there haven't been all that many in the later sections so far!
The tricky part is that the timed strengthening often times out on longer sentences - especially when it doesn't account for the time it takes to switch between alphabet keyboards between questions.
Indeed, that is the one downside :(
Sometimes I feel like I need to skip the really long sentences when I'm doing timed mode (which pains me to no end). I'm assuming there isn't a way to tag sentences to be omitted from timed practice.
Maybe if the Duolingo Stories feature graduates from the Labs section Greek will get some stories and the longer sentences won't be as necessary in the regular tree :)
Like others have mentioned, the alphabet skill could use some work. Tied to that (and was mentioned in the initial post) the audio definitely needs some improvement. My first time through the alphabet skill, I got some things wrong because I couldn't understand what the audio was saying. Even slowing it down didn't help.
Otherwise, not sure if I have enough time in to have any useful comments. Really enjoying the program, though!
I'd like a bonus skill about holidays. The only holiday bonus skill I've seen in the trees is Christmas.
Sounds like a good idea. We haven't seen any new Bonus skills in a long time. We're waiting for Duo to give us the green light and will decide what to include. Holidays sounds like a front runner.
I've only seen the word μην once in the course, maybe you should add more sentences with it, because I really don't understand when it is used. And if you could change (or at least, "fix") the audio, it would be awesome.
My very rough (and possibly incorrect) understanding of μην is that it's employed when we're talking about things that haven't happened yet or which are uncertain, and that we use δεν for everything else. Technically, I believe the rule is that μην is used for the subjunctive and imperative moods and δεν for indicative, but because I don't have a strong grammar background, I can't really explain much more than that.
There is nothing more to explain. This is the rule. The origins of these two words are lost in time. Interestingly enough μην resembles the negating particle found in practically every indo-european dialect (think no, not, etc.) and δεν is a different beast altogether.
Have you guys thought about doing something to help people distinguish between perfect and imperfect verb stems?
Yes. We are thinking of adding further info about his in the tips and notes section, since we can't include every possible case in exercises.
Could you extend the course using general vocabulary, another ten levels perhaps. I know its a lot to ask. In the targeted sections like maths, religion, etc there seems to be different writers which has led to a rather uneven vocabulary from very basic to quite specialised depending on the section. Deciding on the basic thousand words in a language is always a bone of contention but I think that given the basic level of the course more importance might be given to general vocabulary.. I think the idea of idioms etc. Is attractive but not really helpful in this course. I think most people want Greek so as to meet and greet. Thanks for your hard work and endless patience.
Past tenses of passive verbs have almost no practice sentences. As far as I can see they're only mentioned once as a side note on "Verbs: Present Passive". And useful words for conversations like λοιπόν, μήπως etc could have their own unit.
By the way, when is this new tree coming out?
these useful words are nasty to learn and I rembember that i did not find it easy to discover the meaning of these words while it was said frequently by Greek people
Possibly add a skill of using phrases that don't necessarily make any sense in English but would make perfect sense in Greek. Something like idioms.
It might also be a good idea to have more grammar skills to make it easier for people to construct their own sentences from the knowledge they have.
σιγα-σιγα και θα πας μακρια, Οι πολλές γνώμες (ή οι πολλοί καραβοκύρηδες) βουλιάζουν το καράβι etcetera, it is fun indeed to learn that. Maybe it is possibe?
I was starting to add sections from users' comments to our "To do" file but now realize we need it all so have added the link. Many thanks to everyone for the input.
Keep it coming.
Hello, I know that this does not have anything to do with the current discussion, but I have noticed a DuoLingo user being what is considered "abusive", on the duolingo help forum, to other users. I looked up how to report someone, and it said to contact a moderator. Here is the discussion it was on, https://www.duolingo.com/comment/21486321 . Thanks, HarryPotterJedi.
- you could add a tool that allows you to practice specific lessons, what will make some more questions, (right now, it's the same questions over and over again.)
Yes, we will have a greater variety of sentences to practice, thanks for the input.
I think perhaps the future tense should be introduced earlier on than it currently is. The future tense isn't overly hard and is quite useful in basic conversation, so maybe it could be introduced before more technical tenses like present perfect and past perfect.
Also, thank you for all your hard work! My Greek has really improved through using the current Greek tree and I appreciate all the work that has been put into it.
Being able to pronounce a sentence, or even part of one, as a part of learning a new skill, would be super helpful
They used speech recognition software in the English to German tree when I did it. It didn't work all the time and I am sure it drew lots of complains from frustrated uses, but the benefit was worth it. This is undoubtedly a hard sell because all those complains come back to you, But what we miss most with a computer learning tool is practice speaking, and a poor system is very much better than none at all.
One more quick idea: Early on in the tree, perhaps a whole module on the indefinite article. Lots of sentences where they're required, and lots of sentences where they're not. I think I've probably answered more queries about the indefinite than any other topic (and I have to say that I really struggled with them too, when I was starting out), so I think it's something that could do with a lot of reinforcement. Given that they should always be used in English but are relatively rarely employed in Greek, they really can be quite hard to get a grip on at first.
Obviously what then follows should be a bit more consistent on how they're used; the current tree often uses them when it doesn't need to, which I think also confuses many users.
This could just be me, but I think it would be extremely interesting to add a course on mythology, I feel as though that has some potential to be a good and entertaining skill.
Some nice ideas in here already. There should be more complexity and fewer 2,3,4-word sentences. It's extremely important in order to familiarize oneself with the sonic patterns of a language. And they should be engineered that way, containing tongue-twisting letter combinations. ex. Ο φιλοχρήματος χρηματιστής έχασε τα μαλλιοκέφαλα του στο χρηματιστήριο.
As a non linguist I am really enjoying your course and look forward to having a second tree after this one. I found the section on parts of speech very off putting as the words were all Greek and did not help me. The section on family could have come earlier and one on body parts too. I would like the sentences to use the grammar we have learned as the course progresses, they don't seem to get any more complex. There is not a good balance between translation and writing, although I find the writing hard it is really good practice as you can learn the English sentences off by heart with repetition and so not really learn the Greek words. Could we use our lingots to buy paragraphs to translate at the end of a section?
I'd really like: - a separate section on weather - the directions section to have more helpful/detailed sentences (How do I get to the bank? Go left at x and it is across from y; Take the subway from x stop to y stop). - continued use of a wider selection of verbs/adjectives/nouns etc - a words section like for the German/French trees. - official duolingo tinycards flash cards for the different sections like they have for German, French, and Spanish - truly random review when everything is gold (it just gives me the alphabet repeatedly)
To echo what others have said - revamping the ABC section is a must. It was frustrating to not be able to pass out of it because of strange words (buffalo) and spellings (ypsilon instead of upsilon)), and continues to be frustrating when it shows back up - no one needs to keep practicing identifying and spelling letters after the first few days. There's a tiny cards alphabet set. Maybe it would work to axe the skill and send people there (or to an official one with pronunciation).
I actually found the POS skill useful and would hate to see it go, but I do think it should appear much later in the course
Okay. So, let's take them one by one.
We could have a seperate lesson on weather, perhaps in the Nature skill, but I'm not sure if we could have it on a seperate skill. The tree is going to be enormous. :P
Directions would indeed be more clear.
As for the Words section, I'm afraid that we are not sure whether this feature will be available, or when, since it's only a feature for the in house languages. ._. (We are not sure about Tiny Cards either, but it might be best to consider this one after we release the second tree. ^.^)
The ABCs skill is definitely going to get a revamp.
As for POS skill, it will have to go :/ We might just add a catalogue of the words learned in that skill somewhere in the tips and notes of the course, but there are quite a few things that we could add, that would actually be a ton more useful than a whole skill of grammatical terms, that the learner is not that likely to come across often. :/
Thank you for your comment. It's greatly appreciated. ^.^
I'm going to be a dissenter here and call for the retention of POS. (maybe it should come much later in the course though). I do remember when I first started on here (and Memrise), I thought "when on earth am I ever going to need to know the Greek word for pronoun, that has no practical benefit at all"... and so on, for all the other grammar terms. But if you do progress from Duo to a proper course or textbook, you'll encounter Greek grammar terms them from Day One.
Which is exactly why we are thinking of including a catalogue of the words mentioned in that skill. We do want to keep the terms, but we can't quite have a whole skill for it, just explaining those grammatical terms. ^.^
No worries Dimitra, thanks for responding. Just making the point that although I once thought they were useless, I changed my mind upon starting formal Greek lessons. That's a nice compromise.
The problem is that for 2-3 people who are convinced that grammar terms have to be in the classes (while they can learn for themselves in a dictionary) you bother thousand of people who do not care about them, will never ever use them but still have to learn them, remember, review several times because otherwise they can not progress with the lessons which are blocked. A solution could be to have POS optional or as a bonus. I see that supporters of POS are very convinced but to be frank me too, this is the most pointless lesson I have seen in 40 years of studying languages...
Making POS a bonus skill that we can buy with our lingots sounds like a great idea. I am in the pro-POS camp, but I can definitely see how the skill annoys people.
Very good idea indeed. We know that there are diverging views on POS and it's hard to just get rid of them. We have also been contemplating the idea of including them in a Tips & notes section. That way they would be available for whoever wants them for reference but not be a burden to those who avoid grammar. May thanks for your contribution.
Since I've just finished the Greek tree, here are some of my thoughts in no particular order. I enjoyed the Greek tree, certainly enough to keep at it for a few months, so if I criticize it is because I loved it too much.
For comparison, Greek is around my tenth Duolingo tree; I don't quite represent Duolingo's target audience.
1) Duolingo decided to give me θα very early, so I had simple future sentences sprinkled in most of my lessons in the middle of the tree. I was a little confused at the beginning (new tense I don't remember learning), but simple future is, in fact, very simple and I caught on quick. The real Future Simple lesson turned out to be equivalently simple, and could easily have been moved much earlier in the tree.
2) There isn't a lot of practice with not-είμαι verbs, especially early in the tree. This leads to a related issue with not very much non-neuter accusative practice, especially (masc/fem) plurals.
2a) I would have appreciated more drilling on what verbs take accusative objects ('τον', 'την', etc) and which take 'dative' objects ('στο,' 'στην,' etc).
2b) In the first half of the tree (probably to accomodate less 'veteran polyglots'), there are many sentences that are not full sentences, are simple sentences, or are είμαι-sentences. These made it hard for me to reinforce early grammar-tables, like accusative and genitive declensions, or non-είμαι verbs more generally. This may be an issue I have more generally with the Duolingo format, though I enjoyed the Norwegian tree's take on this issue.
3) In the 'Gerund' lessons, ~3/4 of my first pass questions were on simple present verbs and not gerunds at all. I can imagine some technical reasons for this (noun-ed Greek verbs are spelt just like verb-ed Greek verbs, and the Duolingo back-end has trouble telling them apart), but it was a surprise while completing the lessons.
3a) 'Gerunds' and 'Infinitives' seem to be very closely related in Greek grammar-wise, and they don't require learning different declension tables. I'm surprised they come so far apart in the tree.
3b) I didn't understand the distinction between different 'verb stems' (the thing that is different between 'γράφω' and 'γράψω'). I assumed it was a preterite/imperfect (aorist/continuous?) distinction, but I didn't really grok it anywhere in this course until I looked it up elsewhere. Given that the future tense doesn't require conjugation tables (the rules is: add θα), future simple vs future continuous might be the right sort of place to introduce this, and tie it to the aorist spelling changes.
3c) Having reached the conditional, has the imperfect been taught anywhere? Or is the past in Past I/II sneakily the imperfect while I've been assuming its the aorist? I had to look up what's going on externally.
3c*) Having reached the conditional, the lesson seems to target exactly one construction (which seems to correspond to the counterfactual?). I really like the sentences used (I wish there were lots of lessons like this targeting different constructions), but it feels to me like an abrupt "this is the end of what we're able to do," and I don't really understand how to construct any conditional sentences that don't correspond to "[I] would have been able to do [something]."
4) I came from a background where I mostly already knew the Greek alphabet. Hitting ABC-sentences during skill strengthening was a little frustrating, especially the audio sentences where I had to guess between spelling 'κ' or 'κάππα.'
5) I feel as though there are a lot of prefixes and suffixes that I sort of know/recognize, but couldn't describe or produce. In particular, grammar suffixes that change part of speech. I would have appreciated lessons on common suffixes (or prefixes) to help recognize how to build words with parts I know, or deconstruct new words into parts I know.
6) There were only a few sentences with cute animal mascots (mostly turtles and elephants, I think?) doing cute things.
Ευχαριστώ για αυτό το δέντρο!
First of all, thank you so much for taking the time to express your concerns. It's greatly appreciate. Don't worry, constructive criticism is what keeps us going. :)
1) I'm not quite sure how "θα" managed to sneak itself pretty early on the tree, whereas the actual Future skill is much, much later (too late, in your opinion.) Which is something we plan on changing. You will still get "θα" relatively early, but the Future skill will be moved towards the top.
2), 2a), 2b) We did notice that we had a lot of sentences that were way too simplistic. This of course, isn't considered too bad for all learners, and some of the Greek sentences that are considered simple are actually complicated, when compared to the one's of other courses in early stages. We are definitely going to add more complicated sentences and some different sentence structures (even more sentences that do not require a pronoun or an indefinite article), but we are uncertain of where these sentences are going to be added, towards the start of the end of the tree. We are still trying to get this one clear in our heads.
3), 3a), 3b) Yes, the infamous Gerund skill, that has absolutely nothing to do with gerunds, since the Gerund doesn't exist in Greek. This was kind of unfortunate. I do think that the Gerund skill was originally created because the Greund is a vital grammatical element in English, and because the Greek tree has had some influence from the English one for Greek speakers. The Gerund skill is going to be dropped, and we will add something a bit more relevant instead, like Participles, and more Subjunctive, which was requested multiple times.
Αlso, we do plan on adding tips and notes on how to form the aorist stems, because there are indeed some patterns, both for active and passive verbs.
(As for the Conditional, we do plan on changing that a bit as well.)
4)The Alphabet skill is going to be completely revamped, because it's kind of complicated for new learners.
5) I'm not too sure about the suffixes and prefixes. We could add some tips and notes on the meaning of some of the most common prefixes and suffixes, but it's sure going to be hard. Mostly because one prefix in Greek could have more than 10 possible meanings. It might get a bit confusing, but we will consider it.
6) Don't challenge us with cuteness.
That's all, I think. Sorry for the monstrous comment, and thank you for your feeback. ^.^
(Oh also, for more info on the new tree, check out the new discussion, right here! https://www.duolingo.com/comment/22524719 )
Hear, hear! Way to go both Batsteve and Dimitra on your analysis of some of the main problems and the proposed solutions.
I'm not sure if it's been said or not, but the sentences with letter names are really frustrating, specially in audio exercises. You never know when the correct answer will be just the letter or the letter name (τ vs ταυ, α vs αλφα). In the phrases section some of the sentences that seem important aren't covered in tips and notes (how do I know if I should use γεια σας or γεια σου, τι κανεις or τι κανετε). And lastly I think if there's some kind of rule to know when to use each article that would be pretty useful to have at hand as well. I haven't done much of the tree but I think I'm having trouble moving forward because of these things.
I miss some subject units that I would find very useful, for example a unit on the weather that would allow me to understand the forecast in Greek with ease, but also to be able to discuss specific weather issues - fog, storms, thunder etc. Also, a discussion of food that focussed not just on basic food products, but on taste in more detail (sour, spicy, names of basic herbs etc) would help. These are the sorts of basic topics for general discussion with acquaintances that I find essential, and more useful than vocabulary surrounding religion (just as an example) as I don't greet new acquaintances with questions about their religious beliefs, while a discussion of the food on offer, or the weather always serves as an introduction.
We have indeed created a Weather skill :D At first we thought that it might be a bit too much, but there were quite a few requests so we eventually made that happen. Also, the Religion skill had to go. Not because of the fear of learners not starting a conversation about their beliefs, but mostly because there were many problematic sentences and the vocabulary wasn't going to be super useful for the majority of learners.
Match the pairs and bonus skills like idioms would be welcome
It would be interesting if the very tedious chapter entitled Parts of Speech actually served a purpose. I've yet to encounter any of the words that were more or less learned in the first chapter. Why not sprinkle some of these otherwise very unlikely words here and there, maybe learn some more words such as aorist, present continuous, etc. Maybe just a sentence or two when introducing a new notion.
Not that I'm a great fan of learning languages through grammar, but when you need to ask something precisely, it comes in handy to have the right words. And further down the line, it actually helps understand the mechanics behind the language.
A bit like you don't have to know music to appreciate it, but it sure enhances your understanding of it.
I don't know if this should go elsewhere, but some of the skills need to be cleaned up. I'm not sure why, but when I was working on Lesson 1 in Numbers, the last thing I was asked to translate was "The tiger is a mammal." Umm, shouldn't that be in the animals section and not the numbers section?
It is. I just checked, and that sentence is in "Animals 1".
However, Duolingo sometimes picks a sentence from a different skill while you are learning or repeating another skill. Perhaps to keep things varied. I'm not sure whether it's ever more than one and it's usually towards the end of the practice/learning session for that lesson or skill.
That algorithm is not something we can influence, as far as I know, much as with most other decisions such as proportion of English-to-Greek versus Greek-to-English, multiple-choice to write-the-answer, and so on.
I am new to greek ... very good effort in this course ... but I am missing something which is the different words in greek that is written in English simply (a,the ) letters like (Ο ,η ,..) ,masculine and feminine and neutral (difficult for me ) and I don't know when word is masculine or feminine or neutral ... maybe if a skill can help in that ...
I think the information is there in the tips and notes, but of course, you don't take it all in at the beginning. I personally go back to the basic lessons just to review the tips and notes from time to time.
Duolingo's app needs more grammatical explanation, sometimes we need to guess what the rule is.
I've read that there are plans to make the skill tips and notes available in the apps eventually.
Until then, I recommend using the app only for reviewing, but to do all new learning through the website, and to make sure to read the tips and notes with the grammar explanations.
Is this a new tree for late on in the course? If not, please avoid Parts of Speech until much later in the course - it's really difficult to remain motivated when you're learning words that you don't even understand in English fully (before learning how to ask the time).
The new tree will edit all parts of the tree. Most likely Parts of Speech as a skill will not be included. I have just checked the Tips notes where there should be a list but see there is none. I'm preparing a short vocabulary list which I will post here and add it to the Tips. Once you have completed this lesson you may not need them again but you'll have them here if you do.
λεξη = word
άρυρο = article
επίδετο = adjective
λογός = speech
μέρος = part
ρήμα = verb
μετοχή = participle
πρόθεση = preposition
σύνδεσμος = conjunction
επίρρημα = adverb
αντωνυμία = pronoun
επιφώνημα = interjection
Hi Jaye, I can see people's point about grammar terms. In the European schools German teachers threw up their hands in horror, saying, how can we teach German to English speakers who don't even know what a pronoun is! For myself I find a lot of help with exercises etc in δημοτικό school grammars. On the other hand I find that the regular dictionaries do not give translations of some grammar terms used in these, I am not for a moment suggesting that Duo provide such translations but I would love to find a website which has an extensive list of Gr/Eng grammar terms.
This a really excellent link and there is much more here than meets the eye. Just open those "overview" links and you have Gr grammar at your fingertips.
For those who are interested, the following link offers insight into the predicament of some English students of foreign languages - and many other aspects of English Grammar: https://guinlist.wordpress.com/articles/what-grammar-should-be-taught-in-british-schools/
Maybe a bonus skill like idioms ,words in English with greek origins (like you put a greek word and we guess the English similar one ).... That would be fun .....
First, thank you Greek Team for your work thus far! I would appreciate a more rigorous and extensive unit to distinguish when to use personal pronouns in genitive and when to use personal pronouns in accusative. Especially με/μου, σε/σου, του/τον, της/την, το/του, τισ/τους.
Maybe a section on the different uses of the two futures (continuous/momentaneous). Also on the different types of past. To find the correct tense according to the meaning of the sentence (multiple choices). It is maybe a delicate question, does translation to English always provide the correct tense? Thanks a lot to the Greek team for this wonderful way of learning Greek and for your work. :-)
This is also discussed before: paratatikos, aoristos. And it will be a part of the grammatical explanation. It is a hell of a job to make a curriculum, and it takes a lot of time and also you need to have some knowledge about the way people learn, the different forms of learning, and also when you offer what. This Duolingo is a program developed by scientists and it has good results. The programmers start with it in a test, and afterwards the program will be developed in a scientific way, with all the elements in it that is necessary to learn the most important issues about language. It needs a special knowledge to know how to do that. The paratatikos and the aoristos are really important so i assure you that it will be added to the curriculum of this Greek course. Compliments of all the people who made this program. Maybe we can make a topic of grammatical issues so people can find eadier these grammatical topics (you can do it for every language).
You are completely right about the tenses! We have already made different skills for every tense in active and passive voice and in every mood (if applicable to the tense), so that we cover all verb forms and usage. I didn't understand your question, though...
I greatly appreciate and enjoy Duolingo, thank you to the whole team. I may be wrong but since the aim of this discussion is to "share thoughts and ideas" to "make the course better", here is a suggestion.
It is true that the different tenses are presented, but it seems to me that when a new tense appears it it presented alone and with the focus on the correct person and various irregularities, not on the choice of the tense itself. I mean, in most lessons you can guess what is expected from you after the first question - even if the use of the tense is not clear for you - because all the questions of the lesson expect the same tense. This may hold also for other languages such as French and English. My daughter learns French with Duolingo (my mother language) and she could not get the use of each past tense from Duolingo without my simple explanations.
Is there a place in the full curriculum where a student has to understand the difference between two close tenses? For instance, is there a lesson where θά γράψω is proposed and correct, and θά γράφω proposed and wrong? And a reverse question in the same lesson? Similarly for possible exercises where the student would have the choice between έγραφα / έγραψα / έχω γράψει (with 2 wrong answers, only one correct).
see also about making a curriculum http://www.nclrc.org/TeachingWorldLanguages/chap3-planning.pdf. There are also several levels to develop: whole course, a unit, and also for one lesson. And than the several psychological issues about learning (root learning is done very often learning words for example) and others for mor complex forms of learning. Maybe the makers of this curriculum becomes crazy of all our remarks (I do not hope so) because οι πολλες γνωμες βουλιαζουν το καραβι
Hi Gea, good ideas. May I make a suggestion to those fortunate enough to be Greek speakers, that they include the accents when they write in Greek. Of course I can look up the words in the dictionary but I always feel they should pity us neophytes who are struggling with the accents and not disdain to use them themselves. Thanks
That is indeed difficult, because you have to distinguish the sounds, and to feel what gets the emphasis (this will get the accent in Greek). It will be more difficult when you get the past tense etc so the emphasis on the accent will also change. τρώγω, έτρωγα, έφαγα (aoristus, one time, it has passed and never happens again e.g. yesterday i ate a special food called...) and you see the accent, the emphasis has changed. You have to listen carefully and again and again. I now also do Russian and i can feel what problems arise to listen to it. I do not have it in Greek language because i lived there about half a year.
Thank you everyone who has been working on the tree! For someone who struggled with ancient Greek in school, the Duolingo method is fresh and a lot of fun! One suggestion though: somewhere between Verbs 2 and Verbs 3, the new vocabulary suddenly became much more difficult to absorb because many new words were packed in a single lesson, especially verbs and adjectives. It would be easier to remember them if they were grouped thematically: e.g., verbs for movement, adjectives for describing people, etc. Even better if they are combined with recently learned nouns: e.g., I walk into the house, the children are playing in the garden, the girl enters the room.
I think that you really need to do something about the audio. The voice used is indistinct and sometimes I find it very, very difficult to hear the individual words. Words in a phrase run together and this is then compounded by very poor enunciation within the words themselves. The type what you hear exercises are a nightmare.
I have some experience on duo, having finished the Norwegian tree and am a good part way through Italian, so it's not a question of getting used to the format. I realise that this comment is not about the updated tree, but I think Duo needs to take a look: it would be a shame if this caused people to drop out as the course seems fun and the moderation attentive.
We are aware of this issue. Unfortunately, the aufio is not a native speaker. It's not even an actual human, but a text-to-speech program. We are not sure if this can be fixed, at least not by us, the moderators. We can't fix all by ourselves. We just hope that at some point, this issue is going to be dealt with. :/
Thank you so much for your comment though. It's greatly appreciated ^.^
Thanks for the reply. I didn't think there wasn't much the moderators could do about it, but I thought mentioning it might be useful in convincing Duo that there is a problem.
Other than that, I'm really enjoying the course. I have studied Ancient Greek before and it's really interesting seeing the similarities and the also differences. I'm looking forward to getting further into the tree!
I kind of agree with you, and I kind of don't. There are certainly moments when I can't for the life of me hear what the audio is saying. But the quality here is, for the most part, about as good as the Italian one. I went through the Italian tree for giggles (i'm a native speaker) and I found the recording to be... a bit funny. Words are stressed awkwardly. It sounds robotic. It seems better than the Greek one, but not that much better. In my opinion the difference is me. The brain hears what it thinks is being said and interprets accordingly. Lack of exposure to the Greek language means that my brain is grasping at straws during this process. For instance, I will be 100% convinced that I heard the audio say "στο" and I will write that as my answer. I'll get it wrong, listen to the audio and very distinctly hear "στην" instead. Somehow, I always hear the audio much more clearly when I know the answer. I'd like to blame the audio, but at the end of the day I am pretty sure I just suck at this. I am lucky enough to have a Greek friend where I live who I meet up with so that he can speak some fast-paced, merciless, native Greek to me. I am lucky to comprehend at the very most 35% of what he utters. As a last anecdote, I'm a language teacher and this matches up to about most of my student's listening comprehension. Of the four major skills, listening is the hardest. Just MHO
An occasional cross-reference with Google translate sometimes helps to clarify the pronunciation
Yes, I'd wholly agree. I used to think the audio wasn't very good, but I've got used to it now, and don't have a problem with it. I also used to think that I needed to fully hear and transcribe every single letter that was being spoken, and then understand it 100%, but I now realise that what you hear is more like a clue, or a cue, and you mentally fill in the blanks based on context and grammar and all the rest of it. I have a good friend who is partially deaf, and he says that it's much the same for him - he often doesn't properly hear much more than a third of what is spoken to him, but that's usually more than enough to be able to carry on a meaningful conversation accurately.
In any case, I'd definitely agree that listening is the most difficult skill. 90% of the time I can transcribe here on Duo in just one listen at normal speed (something I thought I'd never be able to do when I started out). Being able to understand Greeks talking at Greek speed... that's the next challenge!
It's interesting, most of us cannot repeat verbatim what we hear. According to research we grasp the meaning from what is said, but we usually do not retain the exact words. This often leads to misunderstandings but that is how our mind works. Initially in learning another language we have a poor sense of the meaning so we are totally dependant on the sound of the words. As meaning becomes clearer retention of the word sounds becomes easier and we can fill in the gaps without hearing the words very clearly.
Yes, it's a very interesting process! I'd say the same is also true of reading to some degree; my job often involves reading huge quantities of text in a very short amount of time, and I only realised after starting to learn Greek just how little of it I actually read - it's more a process of speedily picking out words here and there and quickly ascertaining the meaning of a passage, rather than paying full attention to each and every word.
Absolutely. That's why despite what teachers say good readers are not necessarily good spellers!
I would like to see more grammar information given. I love that Duolingo is packed with raw info (nouns, verbs, prepositions, etc) and drills, but it is lacking on educational information within the lessons.
Needed: - better information on noun cases (declensions) - better information on verb conjugations
I find a simple grammar book is better for basic information, declensions etc Duolingo on the other hand is much better for phrases etc which shows us how to use this information.
I'm sorry. I know you wrote this 11 months ago, but it is not true today that "each skill has a Tips notes area on the home page". Sometimes there is a key to pass through without doing all the exercises, but that's all. It sounds like a wonderful idea, and I hope it's included in the new tree.
Sorry if these have been asked: Will Bots be added to the course? And a fluency level?
Unfortunately, we (the Greek team) can't do something about bots and fluency. We don't know if they will ever get added to the Greek course :/
A (bonus) skill with handy vocabulary for when you would go on holiday to Greece would be very great in my opinion!
Wow! I Just read through this entire section of comments. I have appreciated the dedication of the team that put the first release out. I now see how much effort has been put into these suggestions.
I was so happy when Greek finally came out. I was nagging the team throughout the summer. And I am happy to be using it. But there is always room for improvement and I have my own list of suggestions to pass on. I have avoided overly specific suggestions. These I have put when they come up in the right specific context.
1) Better use of the "Mark all correct answers" questions. I have yet to find one with more than one correct. And the incorrect answers typically contain many and obvious errors. I often can pick the correct answer without really understanding them.
2) Have a very good native English person read the entire English. Sometimes the literal translation is simply unclear in English, or uses language in a way an English speaker would never use.
3) Avoid using very rare English words even if they are a more precise translation. 4) Use the mouse over button more as a teaching tool. You have a few levels to break down the meaning of the word there. In the English to German tree I seem to remember them using this to show me how the word came to be. Like the basic conjugation or with a past tense that has a different present, or with an irregular verb. You can teach a lot with the few words you have room for there. 5) Try speech recognition if duolingo will still let you. If had lots of problems in German and often failed to recognize correct speech. But you need to drill us on these too, and anything you do to get us trying is worth it. (I wrote this up elsewhere so I won't say more here.)
Thanks again for all you have done and all you are contemplating doing now.
We too have noted your contributions and always appreciate them. Your dedication to learning is clear and your ideas always help us improve.
Of course, bringing all the best to the new tree is one of our chief concerns and your posts will aid that effort.
- Yes, we agree that the Mark all correct answers exercise would be enriched if we had more than one correct reply but I'm afraid that area of the course is out of our domain. The Duobot chooses which sentences and how many to include. Even the erroneous ones are a figment of that computer program's imagination. (On the French course there are often two correct answers but always one masculine and one feminine so I just ignore the third choice and I've never had an error.) You could report that directly to:
https://support.duolingo.com/hc/en-us We would appreciate it.
It would entail a whole revamping of the computer program so would take some time to do. We do know that like us Duo is always looking to improve the site.
2.I'm afraid you are underestimating the qualifications of our team members and of Duolingo's prerequisites for members. All of the members whether native English or native Greek are highly qualified. I am just one of the native English speakers on the team. I have an MA in English from a major US university and have 57 years experience teaching EFL and translating. And while I may be the oldest member each of the others native or non-native members have excellent credentials.
One of the main problem you may see lies in the fact that this method of teaching a language is completely new and in the fact that it is simply not possible to give a one hundred percent native sounding translation to every sentence. We, therefore, need to be sure that the Greek is correct and the equivalent idea is portrayed in the English. I have seen Greek books translated into English which required two volumes to one of Greek to get the ideas across.
Duolingo knew from the start that revisions would be needed which is why all courses have the chance to create new trees. I have recently revisited the French course which I did four years ago and was astounded to see the revisions. But this is the second tree with a third in progress.
Of course, there is always room for improvement and that's something we look forward to hearing from the users. So, let us know how to upgrade our translations.
This observation is related to the previous one. Sometimes "rare" (but to whom is it "rare?) is required. But again please let us know when that happens and perhaps suggest better vocabulary.
Certain languages (those that were the original languages Ger. e.g.) have privileges not available to the newer courses. Your suggestion is very good and we are going to investigate the possibilities of adding more information to the hints. (As for conjugations we already know it's not possible to add those but other hints might be possible. Let us check.)
I'm not sure what you mean by "speech recognition" please give us some more specific details. I can say and it won't be a surprise that again we have no control over which sentences are chosen for listening exercises.
Many thanks for your kind words and for your ever helpful comments we look forward to more.
What about a skill called "Vocative" and more explanation about passive verbs in Greek, because there are passive verbs ending in -ούμαι, -άμαι and -ιέμαι, what about those one?
We have indeed made multiple passive verb skills, but I'm afraid that the vocative skill would be a bit too much, considering it's not such a major grammar part. However, there are tips and notes for it in the People skill, so that users know how it's formed^.^
Hmm... A lesson about idioms and (idiomatic) expressions would be a great idea. But also lessons about the continouos tenses and when to use them and about passive verbs in other tenses.
Well, we have indeed created skills for all continuous tenses in Greek, and skills for the passive verbs. ^.^ However, the idioms skill is usually a bonus one in other courses (the few ones that have bonus skills). So I'm not sure if we could add a this one in the main tree, since bonus skills are not yet available :-S
Thank you for all your hard work. I've just completed the tree and really found this excellent. I'd really love, however, to see exercises for:
- The present-active participle of manner/time (https://www.greekgrammar.eu/pdffiles/part.pdf)
- Translations for English conditional structures (both real and counter-factuals), of the full 'if-then' form.
- Some sense of when to select different past-tenses
- Illustrations of the difference between indicative and aorist roots in the future.
- Some discussion / illustration of the T-V distinction (formal 2nd person address). I didn't realise until reading elsewhere that Greek even used εσείς for singular formal.
ευχαριστώ πάρα πολύ
Actually, we have included most of those in the second tree.
We have two different skills on participles, one for active and one for passive.
We are rewriting all tips and notes to be more detailed, especially the ones that have to do with tenses. Even for the skills that just include new vocabulary, we're going to have a list of the words included in the skill with their translations (because the Words feauture is sadly not available, at least not yet).
As for the Future, if I undertsand corretly, you are referring to Future Continuous and Future Simple. We do have two seperate skills for them, and although it's kind of hard to explain how the whole "past root of the verb" thing works, I do believe that if someone has a good grip of the subjunctive, the Future is going to be a walk in the park ;)
The formal εσείς is not a big deal. It's 2nd plural, but also 2nd singular formal. It's like the french vous. ^.^
We are glad to know that you liked the course. ^.^
That's all great to hear, and thanks again for your hard work.
- As for the future, I guess my point is if there are two distinct forms (such as different verbal roots being used with θα), then the distinction in their usage should be made very clear as well, ideally with contrasting, motivated examples.
- Even though εσείς may not be a big deal, and is clearly similar to the T-V distinction in a lot of languages, I don't think it's wise to just assume this. It should be made really explicit, with sentences such as "Where are you staying Mr Jones?" that would require the use of εσείς in translation.
Please, please where can I find this new course. I have covered up to level five revision in the last section and to be harshly frank I am so bored, and at this stage I learn little. Points and all that hold little interest for me. I would love to be challenged! I use the web based site on an IPad.
We are still working on it and I know that a year seems like a long time but believe me it takes that long. There are so many details...which we learned from Tree one and the numerous comments of how many things were missing/incorrect etc. This time around we want to use all that knowledge and get it right. Keep bringing in those suggestions.
I know it is done by volunteers and you are working hard on it. My head spins when I read the multitude of suggestions ! I am just impatient and don’t want to miss the first opportunity to move on to advanced course. Greek speakers are hard to find in Dublin. Best wishes and forgive my I patience.
It would be nice if the sentences were sentences that people would actually say in real life, and not just grammatically correct sentences that are invented for the sake of grammar points. The purpose of learning a language, I think, is to be able to speak with the native speakers in meaningful dialogue. Sorry to criticize, but I hope you can learn not to teach grammatically correct sentences that have no real use in some daily conversational situation, but rather to teach meaningful sentences that one might actually hear from the native speakers. One sentence that really irked me was one about the animal's orange. Who would ever need to say that in real life? My point is that the sentences that are being taught, should be something that one could find useful, and not just a grammatically correct sentence that illustrates some grammar. One way of teaching a language is just based on grammar structures, and another is to teach functional conversational topics, such as what to say when you first meet someone, how to give personal information (name, age, origin,etc), how to ask for directions, how to check into a hotel, how to order something at a restaurant, how to talk about the weather, talk about interests, etc.
The current section on GERUNDS includes non-gerunds: I am walking - walking here is a present participle, not a gerund. He loves walking - here it is a gerund i.e. a noun. There are also GERUNDIVES: adjectives, as in a walking tour, he is a walking dictionary etc. Hope this helps.
"Greek Team" is the team who construct the tree? "Ελληνική ομάδα σημαίνει η ομάδα που έφτιαξε το δέντρο? Αν ναι θα ήθελα να μοιραστώ την εμπειρία μου ως άτομο που έχει τα ελληνικά ως μητρική του γλώσσα. Θεωρώ ότι η πρώτη ενότητα, το αλφάβητο δεν ανταποκρίνεται στην πραγματικά. Υπάρχουν κάποια σύμφωνα που έχουν αντιστοιχία στο αλφάβητο π.χ. Φ=F, M=M N=N κ.λ.π. Όμως όταν λέμε delta αυτό δεν αντιστοιχεί με το γράμμα δ ούτε με το γράμμα Di. Νομίζω μια καλή λύση θα ήταν να διδάσκεται ο ήχος στο "Type what you hear" Καταγράφοντας αυτές τις σκέψεις η πρόθεση μου δεν είναι να κριτικάρω την πολύ σημαντική δουλειά σας αλλά να μοιραστώ αυτό που παρατήρησα