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What I'd like to see more of in Duolingo

Duo crew is already doing a great job when it comes to language exercises, but there are two things I'm missing right now, that I think would be beneficial.

  1. More translating from English to the selected language (in my case German). It could be just me, but it seems that there are far more examples where we need to translate from German into English, and I feel like I'm stagnating. More examples of translation from English into German would make our brains work harder and more effectively, at least in my opinion.

  2. Longer translations. A five or three word sentence is too easy to translate, especially when they're repeated throughout the segment more than twice. I know that the point is to give students the feeling of success when they go through each segment quickly, but at a certain point of the skill tree, as we become more advanced, it would be nice to set the challenge bar a little higher, and have more text that we have to translate into the language we're trying to learn.

We should focus on quality, rather than quantity. I'm sure more advanced or intermediate users would then be willing to keep using Duo longer than they already do.

May 24, 2017



Your number 1 is frequently mentioned by advanced learners, but it's not going to happen.

See https://www.duolingo.com/comment/19241861 for an official statement.

Basically, for every "more advanced or intermediate" user who would prefer more translations into the target language, there are 10 casual or beginner users who find that more challenging and give up, and that hurts Duolingo's metrics.

Duo's goal isn't to provide an optimum education, unfortunately for serious learners.


Maybe they could use challenge levels:

  1. I'm too young to die
  2. Hey! Not too rough
  3. Hurt me plenty
  4. Ultra Violence
  5. Nightmare


I prefer Wolfenstein levels

  • 1 "Can I play, Daddy?"
  • 2 "Don't hurt me."
  • 3 "Bring 'em on!",
  • 4 "I am Death incarnate!"
  • 5 "ÜBER"


Yeah. I know. Let's look at how crappy they made the mobile app.

I like Duolingo, but it's going downhill in quality. They want to teach language learning, but they remove all the things that make language learning "language learning." They make it so damn easily, that it takes no effort to go through a course. The average learn (mobile users), don't have to make any effort to recall vocabulary, because it's just matching and matching and matching. Translating from Base -> Target requires effort to recall what the word meanings in the target language. Let's not forget how they rush courses like Swahili and Japanese. They rush Swahili out, and yet still has no audio for the course. They rushed Japanese just to push the course out by the 18th, yet not available for Android and desktop. I want to suggest Duolingo to people, but at the rate Duolingo is going. I couldn't.


Yes, I'm well aware of that. Still, one can still dream of impossible things :D


Longer sentences require a more sophisticated translation algorithm than Duolingo can probably manage.
When I first started this three or four years ago, if you made one tiny mistake it counted the translation as wrong. Since English is such a complicated language, it would be difficult to set up an algorithm that accounted for a dozen correct translations, and the longer the sentence is, the more possible right answers there would be.

My suggestion is to use Duolingo to become familiar with a basic vocabulary and the sound and spelling of the language. When you get up to level 20 or so you wll probably be ready to start reading books intended for young adults. Kindle has some really good ones.


Couldn't agree more with the first point.

I find that German -> English translations rely more on my own memorization, while English -> German translations require a higher level of understanding of the language I'm attempting to learn.

For example, when prompted "Wir haben Wasser", I don't even need to know "ich habe" conjugations to make the translation. However if prompted "We have water", I'd probably think "Okay I know 'we' is 'wir', but do I use 'habst, haben,' etc.?" Furthermore, you have to remember spelling when going English -> German, but not the other way around.

That being said, I completely understand why the system isn't geared as much this way. I understand that majority of the userbase (revenue) are casual users, and making lessons more difficult would hurt numbers.

Maybe give us more of an option of how difficult the lessons can be? Like when you start the language course you can select the XP goal each day and the difficulty (Casual, Normal, Accelerated) of the lessons.

For now, I'm still very happy with the lessons. I make my own flash cards for all the words to get the extra memorization I feel like I need, plus I go over a lesson several times before advancing to the next one.

It would just be super nice to be able to ramp up the lessons a bit :)


The farther you get along your tree and press the strengthen skills button, the sentences usually get a bit longer. With Immersion, users were able to translate long sentences and paragraphs, but that, sadly, has been discontinued. Also, if you do the reverse tree, then you I'll get more base to learning language.


I've been hesitant to do the reverse tree, but it seems like it should give more of the English -> German translations which the both the poster and I are looking for


What is a reverse tree?


It means doing the lessons "in the other direction".

For example, if you speak English and you're learning German, then the reverse tree means opening the course "English for speakers of German" -- then you pretend that your native language is German and you want to learn English.

And since Duo has more translations into your own language than into the one you're learning, that one will have more translations into German than into English.


I agree with your first point. I find it easier to translate from German to English. Translating the opposite was I believe would help me.


One more thing that can be implemented in Duolingo to help users of any level. I prefer to learn any language by writing new words/expressions in kind of a dictionary for myself, so that first of all I play with this dictionary to memorize all new words and only after that I work with the lesson in interactive mode (without seeing dictionary). Duolingo now gives you visually new words for the lesson, but only visually and you can see translation after you bring the cursor to the word. I think it makes sense to have a chance to SEE/PRINT all new words for the lesson ( in the way new_word --- translation), so that you can work first with the new words first WITHOUT Duolingo and only after that start interactive processing of the lesson in Duolingo. In this way you can also build your dictionary by themes in a simple way.


That's exactly what I'm doing. Writing down the words I am not familiar with in a special notebook, and going through before starting a new lesson.


i use memrise with duolingo courses for cramming vocab. you can use it for your use case as well.


1.It would be more commendable if Duolingo shows a short clip about the culture of the country-whose language you choose to learn-and how it affects the language before starting the very first lesson. It'd help to connect with what you are going to learn, more easily.

2.Secondly, Duolingo should incorporate a little description about the usage of words within the concerned lesson. For example, in my case, I'm learning Portuguese. There are different articles and demonstrative pronouns for each gender and that too changes with an adjoining preposition. A short description about their usage rather than relying on Duolingo characteristic method of learning by experience, would be a great help. :)


hey, saumyaveer. :) como está seu progresso com português hoje em dia?


I agree, I feel like the German tree is good mostly for vocabulary because it offers a lot of words to learn from, but it lacks in depth with grammar and varied translations. In my experience so far, the Russian tree is the opposite. I learn a lot of information with the grammar and I get experience with things I'm not used to. It overall feels well made despite it's small size. The German tree has an advantage with it being one of the older language options, so it has more lessons available since it's been updated more.


Regarding point 2, you are only at level 10. You will see more complicated sentences as you advance further along the tree.


I'm looking forward to it!


I'd like to see more variety of vegetables, fruit, animals and colours, instead of tomatoes, potatoes, horses, dogs and cats, apples, oranges and red and black, etc.

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