Being isolated by changes in Duo
I realize that Duo had to do away with the user streams because of cost and efficiency needs.
But I feel really cut off from other users in a bad way. Sometimes, there are discussions had in the comments section which it used to be easy to find because I could reference my stream. But now, it is pretty much impossible to re-locate those discussions if a new thought occurs to me or I think of a correction or addition I need to make to the comment.
It is especially frustrating when someone starts to follow me or I follow him/her. There's really no way of contacting that person in regard to some particular question they have shown interest in.
Even though the personal streams may have been too weighty for Duo to continue to handle, they performed an important function which I now really miss. I'll live, but the experience will be greatly lessened.
I agree completely. I'm basically only here to continue my streak, and the whole experience feels very monotonous and and superficial recently. I have no idea whether the people I used to keep up with via my activity page are still around/active, and have no real desire to trawl through the forums looking for familiar names. And I've definitely noticed the same feeling you expressed with respect to new followers. It's near impossible to establish relationships with people when you can't see what they've recently posted via their profile page.
Luis said in his announcement that they're working on a more sustainable replacement for Activity, but I'm not sure I see myself waiting around for several more months in the hopes that the old "community" feeling returns.
In its current state, the site just isn't fun, and more and more often recently, I'm wondering why I shouldn't just move along to another site that feels more like home.
My iPhone app has some changes which have not appeared on my desktop/browser app. All my lingots have been translated into "gems", but are still lingots on my desktop. There is a "heart" present which you have to keep healthy, apparently by spending gems or maintaining an unspecified but requisite level of daily practice. I've got 1750 lingots (I'm rich!) but 2201 gems. The alarming thing is that a streak freeze on my iphone app costs 200 gems. The bonus skills are 1,000 gems each. And you can buy more gems: 1000 for (USD) $4.99, 2500 for $9.99, and 6000 for $19.99.
Seems to be getting pretty mercenary. I screwed up one day and forgot all about Duo - almost ruined by streak, but my iPhone app allowed me to reinstate my streak for $9,99. I thought of it as a worthwhile contribution to Duo. But I don't know about the new pricing and the removable of the profile streams. There are lots of other language teaching sites out there, and it might be time for a different approach. I'm just being repetitious with Spanish, French, and Italian here, and the Russian module seems somewhat cludgy for such a difficult language. I think I could do a better job writing the exercises, and I don't even speak the language - yet. Might be time to move on to Memrise.
Until about a week ago streak freezes cost 600 gems! At about the same time the health system became substantially less onerous by granting health boosts for reviewing whatever skill I feel like.
I'm a big fan of Duolingo's Russian. I didn't come as a beginner, though, and I can definitely see it being more feasible used in conjunction with a textbook, grammar reference, or some such. I'll say this, though: If Duolingo is unsatisfactory for Russian, then Memrise will be much more so. From what I can tell, their Memrise-branded course doesn't hold a candle in Russian to what they've done lately for other languages, and they're competing against a particularly well-conceived Duolingo course to boot.
I am a complete beginner at Russian, and I found the Duolingo Russian course overwhelming until I checked out the corresponding Duolingo Russian course on memrise It's great because it uses the same sentences, all have audio, and though it's a very slow pace, I find I'm finally able to focus on each little detail of the alphabet and the inflections, where I simply couldn't with Duolingo alone.
Good point. There seems to be a strange disconnect: the kinds of people who have done dozens of Duolingo trees seem to rank the Russian one as one of the best, but people just beginning their study of Russian sometimes have not nice things to say. Their jibes, then, aren't likely really about the Russian tree. They're about Russian having the call it misfortune of being, for now, the most commonly studied Duolingo language at the next echelon of difficulty. Whatever worked for your Spanishes and Germans just isn't going to work the same way, but the mental process to come to terms with that can be a bit painful. I know I experienced it back in the day in Russian 101!
I generally share the lack of Memrise love. I've liked it well enough for Latin, but for Russian it by and large seems like not particularly effective drudgery.
My operating assumption has been that with a good grasp of a Duolingo tree the jump to authentic content is more or less manageable in Romance and Germanic languages. I'm wondering to myself these days: ok, I can't write freely in Catalan or Italian, but I can pretty well understand radio broadcasts in them. Maybe I want to actually see if I can learn a language more "like I did my native one" (pace Rosetta Stone).
Earlier today I was looking at Bliu Bliu. Actually creating an account left me thinking it looked a whole lot more useful than at least one of the marketing videos on their homepage made it seem.
Thanks for the thoughts. It looked like you could upload your own materials into the system, whereby you could call most anything a "book." Does that seem right? I tend to think Wikipedia articles on history, politics, and the like are good stepping stones in Romance languages because so much of the vocab is obvious cognates.
I have glanced at these, not for long enough to make a firm recommendation, but for long enough to think them worth mentioning as language learning apps. What social elements they have to make a person feel at home, I don't know.
I actually signed up for Lang-8 a while back, with the best of intentions, but never got round to using it. I could definitely do with more practice in writing correctly, so I should probably give it a serious try. And correcting each other's texts seems like a learning model that could build a strong community.
I couldn't agree more. Especially since I can no longer see my followers/people I follow. I have no idea what my Duo friends are doing, or if they're even still here. There's a reason I've had a 0 streak for over a month; it's just no fun learning alone. If I level up, I just don't feel good or encouraged because it feels like nobody saw that except me. :-(