Why do none of the language courses teach you the alphabet right off the bat? Learning that takes the difficulty of learning to spell and pronounce down to practically nothing. I learned german in school, and use duolingo to keep it up and learn more, and I've been learning Swedish and Irish on here. It's incredibly frustrating to have to just memorize spelling and never learning the sound each letter individually makes, thus making it near impossible for me to correctly learn new vocab from reading on my own.
This would be the simplest addition to each language course right at the beginning and would dramatically improve learning and the retention of vocab
If I understand you well, it's not about the alphabet but about spelling and pronunciation. For the languages that use a non latin alphabet (like Russian or Greek for example), there are usually lessons in the beginning to learn it (and actually I find it very boring when – like me – you already know the alphabet).
The problem is that for some languages it's very easy and you learn it really fast in the first lessons (like Swahili, Esperanto or Turkish) and so it's not useful to have special lessons at the beginning for that. But for other languages (like English, French, Irish or Danish), it's so complicated that it's about impossible to learn it without learning the language at the same time. In many languages, there is no such thing as "the sound each letter individually makes" and it often depends on the context. Even for languages with regular spelling it's not so easy (like Polish or Dutch).
Granted, there are also a lot of languages in between and it could be useful for those languages but I don't think it is in the philosophy of Duolingo (learning a bit of everything – vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, … – at the same time).
I understand what you're saying, I just know that I personally would be able to do the listening activities way easier If I had learned the alphabet first, rather than trying to spell wholly from memorization, I can't imagine I'm the only one that feels that way.
This is just something that has made me scratch my head a little since I started using duolingo