Duolingo Stories Update
UPDATE - 8/15/17 - Duolingo Stories have been updated with yet another batch! We hope you enjoy them :)
It’s here: A second batch of Duolingo Stories (still Spanish and Portuguese only) has been released today! There are also some minor tweaks to the experience itself. See if you can notice an improvement.
We really appreciate all the feedback coming in. The pop up requesting feedback will now only show up for some of you. If you don’t see it, please use one of the two links below to submit your reviews. All feedback is useful: story content, recordings, experience, bugs, ideas… all of it! Here are the links:
Common feedback we have received from you:
1. You should release it in French/German/Russian/The language I am learning!
We would love to! As is likely with any project in Labs, there is a tiny but mighty team behind it, and the staff involved use the resources available to them to test a concept. So it is safe to assume that the plan is to just keep polishing it in Spanish and Portuguese to see if Stories is successful in its goals. If it is, it could launch as a full-on feature and then expand to other languages. Also, in addition to spending resources in an experiment, the more languages we add at this stage, the more work (and time) it would take to refine it. These requests are a great sign to us though—shows us that you are excited about the feature and can’t wait to use it. =]
2. Why Portuguese and Spanish though?
A prototype cannot be too picky. Those were the resources available to the team working on Stories when developing it.
3. You should give us XP for completing these
Agreed! That is more likely to happen as the project matures, and not in this initial stage.
4. Your voices should be native speakers
These are all native speakers of either Spanish or Portuguese. And 100% amateurs at any type of voice acting, guaranteed (most of us just have different jobs here at Duolingo). But we believe the recordings are getting better. Please check out this newest batch and let us know if you hear an improvement.
5. You should make different levels of difficulty/serialized stories/etc
These ideas are sensational and not completely different from what we have been discussing over here. Keep sharing them in the comments or in one of the feedback forms linked above!
6. But when will it graduate?
Remember: We are not even sure if it will graduate yet. Once we know that, we will have a better estimate! But it could just not graduate for one reason or another, and be removed from Labs. Fingers crossed it will graduate top of its class with honors.
TL;DR: More Stories are available (still Portuguese and Spanish). We understand you would like it in more languages and earn XP for it. What else can you tell us about it? Submit your feedback to us, and vote on comments below if you want to add weight to a suggestion.
Thanks for checking out Stories and sending us all that feedback! We’ll continue to work on it and keep you posted.
I love the idea of stories. I am learning German and one of my favorite methods for learning is through easy stories. When I saw this feature appear in the Labs, I was very excited for it. Unfortunately, I am not currently studying Spanish or Portuguese, so I can't offer any feedback on the work that is done so far, other than I am really excited for it.
Keep it up and I look forward to this feature graduating out of Labs and expanding to other languages (German, Esperanto).
Please, please, PLEASE allow us to unlock the second set without getting three stars in each of the stories in the first set. For people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing (or who simply lack a computer with speakers), there's no way to get three stars in some stories because we're asked to type words we cannot hear. I guess it would be possible to guess randomly, be marked wrong, write down the correct answers, then go through each story a second time typing what was learned during the first attempt, but that feels like a waste of time because it doesn't involve any actual learning.
Just a friendly reminder:
It would be better if you always could additionally create new threads e.g "Duo Labs stories update # set 3 available", which can be actually seen by users and filtered with the "NEW posts" discussion option, or which thread can be made STICKY in the relevant Portuguese / Spanish sub-forums.
With a very long "stories update" thread like this, and many many user replies, it often is not very clever to try to follow a discussion.
If you do, your e-mail inbox get's spammed with all user replies, which probably noone has time or interest to read through, besides staff scanning for concrete suggestions / user feedback.
So I don't do this.
Therefore I simply would have missed stories set #3, if my other sets would have already been finished (I have not yet finished my DuoLingo Portuguese tree).
For those of us who aren't studying Spanish or Portuguese would you be willing to give us back the quizzes (or even just access to our previous quiz scores) to make up for not having access to stories? Obviously I know that there are many other resources out there for learning French other than just Duolingo, which I do use. But I would like to continue learning in Duolingo, though.
YES! I'm learning Dutch, and I REALLY miss the progress quiz, because I am the only person I know who is learning Dutch, so I can't be told how well I'm doing or not. I hope the quizzes do come back soon, because it looks like they won't be adding more languages to the stories for a while now :(
The stories are great! The issue is how to produce enough of them. And here's an idea - could you crowdsource content? i.e. Have users submit novel stories and give them props for doing so? Perhaps just the plot for the story if you need to control quality for the audio?
Overall, I really like the addition of "immersive reading comprehension" to Duolingo. It's much better than learning through constantly translating from (in my case) Spanish to English. Thanks for the work on this!
I'm really surprised that people mention the vocabulary so often. It really doesn't matter, when you learn a language you never know all the vocabulary. I've been leaving and working in English speaking countries for years, but there are still some words which I don't know. Don't you think it would be odd, if I said - oh, I got an email from my coworker, there are some new words, then it means it's not my level yet. What should I do next? Resign? No, I should just open a DICTIONARY, right?
The lack of vocabulary should never stop you from reading or listening anything. Anything at all. Because that's the way to learn new words.
And the level of difficulty is better assessed by the grammar used. If you only use Duolingo to learn a language (which I would not recommend), then the stories are probably better to be left until you complete the tree. If, however, you study some grammar on your own, then you should just probe with the stories from time to time to see how difficult they are and how you could manage. As I wrote above, I don't know any Spanish and I was able to complete the first story without any mistakes, just using my knowledge of English and some French. So only you personally can say if they are hard or easy for you.
I started reading the Spanish stories before starting the course ( I wasn't planning to learn Spanish, but I wanted to see how the stories worked.). I didn't discover the hover feature until Story 4, so getting 2 stars in the first story and 3 in the second seemed pretty good to me. I learnt French, Latin and Italian in the past, so I could have a good guess at most of the vocab.
I think that reading and listening to stories (fictional or news!) are a really important way to improve language learning. I know my reading Welsh books (written for adult learners - I loathe early years children's books because I loathed them as a child) above my level has meant I've got a strong base for my language and have progressed faster than many of my cohort.
Please, bitte, per favore, os gwelwch chi'n dda, plis keep this feature and extend it to other languages. It is one of the strongest ways to learn to use a language - second only to having a conversation IMHO.
OK on my laptop and tablet, but on phone and small tablet, the Spanish is "out of sync" at times in the audio sections - - like instead of
"Hola, Como esta usted"
I get something like
"mo esta usted hola Co"
which is difficult to complete some sections. Not consistent, does not happen all the time.
!Gracias, muchisimas gracias amigos!
yes, but if you focus not on quantity, but quality of these stories with multiple paths, then you can make less of them and do just half the regular amount, or you can make a separate section with a few of these, just to try, and see how well they do. You only fail if you nevery try.
Having played with the original "choose your adventure" books in the 80s, they could, in the long term, be a good time & effort investment. One of the books (I still have them) is the length of a short novel, but there are millions of possible combinations of stories, so it's life span will be (practically) infinite since a user will keep coming back for more. Maybe a deal with the guys who wrote the original? And release it for those learning English, so the work is in adding starting language prompts? And they may already have been translated into other languages so it becomes a text entry issue, rather than a language issue. I know it's a large amount of upfront work, but it gives a learning resource with a long lifespan.
Sorry, I can't help looking for alternative solutions to "can't do" statements!!
And I'm sure someone would complain if it was the same adventure in all languages!!! I, however, would find that useful - direct comparison of chunks of text between several languages...heaven.
Back to reality: the Stories are a fab resource. Just getting what you have in Spanish and Portugese into the other languages would be amazing (then we'll ask for more...)
An idea: I was must looking at Beelinguapp, which, like Duolingo stories is much closer to "immersion" than many apps. With regard to kids, I tried Beelinguapp with my 8yo, a beginner. While Beelinguapp has a beginner level, the stories are still pretty hard and the onus is on the learner to stop the program to interact with it so he lost interest pretty fast. Whereas Duolingo stories makes you engage which keeps the attention. The downside is the stories are too hard for my kids. The ten year old who just knows a few words did a few duolingo stories, but only with me, he couldn't do it alone. Their preferred apps just now are Memrise and Flash Academy. They have reacted well though in other apps to features where when you speak it gives you a percentage score on pronunciation accuracy (in e.g. Flash Academy). It occurred to me that were there an app with stories suitable for beginners which (possibly) checked comprehension like Duolingo Stories and which also engaged the learner in pronunciation using this % accuracy feature, it would combine the value of immersive learning as well as getting the person hearing the native language and copying it in speech with a gauge of how accurately they are doing. There would have to be something like visual feedback too showing pronunciation accuracy over the portion of the spoken sentence. E.g. "Il était une fois": "il était" was high accuracy while "une" was lower, resulting in say 90% accuracy overall. By the way, if anyone knows already of such an app, please say!
It is not exactly what you asked for (it is for older beginners, and does not test pronunciation) but I remembered seeing some video adventures the BBC made some years ago. Unfortunately they abandoned and archived them, and I'm not even sure if you can watch them from outside the UK, but here are the links anyway -
For Spanish: http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/spanish/mividaloca/
For Italian: http:www.bbc.co.uk/languages/italian/lamappa
On the new stories there seemed to be more vocabulary that was not taught on duolingo ( or quite possibly that I just did not notice being taught ) which was confusing but overall helped expand vocabulary past the limits of the Spanish course on here, I think it would be cool to either before or more likely after the story have a small vocabulary list that contains words that were not taught in the course or the most advanced words in the story.
As an example the use of 'acabo de' + infinitive to mean 'I have just..' This was a tense that I was previous unaware of so it is good that I got to encounter it however a short explanation would have been helpful.
Yes, I just completed three new stories (in Portuguese) and there were several new words for me (several words that I think I didn't see in the three Portuguese trees that I have completed so far).
I really hope they make more stories and in many more languages soon, it is a great way to learn and practice languages.
They are called verb phrases (locuciones verbales; locuções verbais), also known as compound nominal verb forms (formas verbales nominales compuestas; formas verbais nominais compostas), being formed by an auxiliary verb + a nominal verb form. Those you mentioned are infinitive phrases, but, in Romance grammar, there also exist gerund and participle phrases. Incidentally, in most Romance languages, one of the most common ways of expressing the passive voice is by employing a participle phrase. In Portuguese, we call this the analytical passive voice (in Spanish it's called voz pasiva de proceso [con ser] or voz pasiva de estado [con estar]), in contrast to the synthetic passive voice (in Spanish known as voz pasiva refleja), formed by the use of a passivating particle, "se". In Spanish, when a verb phrase is formed by the verb haber + participle (or, in Portuguese, by ter or haver + participle), it can also be called a compound tense, and there is a series of different compound tenses in both languages (here are two pages about them, in Spanish and Portuguese, respectively: [http://www.gramaticas.net/2012/06/ejemplos-de-tiempos-compuestos.html] ; [http://www.soportugues.com.br/secoes/morf/morf66.php]). I hope my explanation was helpful and understandable.
An important thing with reading or listening to a longer text is to learn to guess the meaning of parts you don't know. Is it a noun or adjective? A thing, an action? positive or negative? When you hear or read it the next time, you might be able to figure out more about it. First time through, just try to get the gist of the story. (But I have a time missed a gender or a negative, for example, and completely missed it the first or second time through!)
- Such a way to learn
- as we communicate
- Parlance the day
- talk and listen
- Away from tech
- we share a story
So will you have to go through the number 1 set to be able to unlock the number 2 set? I hope you will leave the number 1 set to review at any time and also number 2 set once completed. Thanks for information of clicking on the word to get the definition. This really helps. Keep up the good work.
Sorry if someone already talked about that. I think you should consider "re-usability" of the stories. I tried them and they are interesting, but given the format I would only work with each story once, twice at the very most. Because you're forced to repeat all the same exercises, which you'll learn how to answer right away.
It would be much better if there were ways to work differently with the same story. For instance simply listen the entire dialog from the beginning to the the end without stop. Or read the entire text. Or be given some random exercises on forms or word order. Or practising translation of the text similar to what we had in Immersion. Or being able to add some words to your own tiny cards or maybe see some verb conjugation tables. Or participate in a discussion of the story. Or read some explanation about the grammar used.
Writing a story and recording sound for it takes a lot of effort, so it only makes sense to add more ways to interact with each story. I'm sure that incubator volunteers will be happy to work with these stories and create some assignments around them.
That's a great idea, but I can also see how it be hard to pull off successfully. Build You Own Adventure novels are very hard to write because all the different twists and turns can cause the plot to lose cohesion, and if we're basing our translations off of context clues that can get frustrating fast. Still, it would definitely be worth looking into even though you might need to get someone with a creative writing back ground to help you out at first. Then again, you probably already have a few on staff.
Oh!!! I know! You could do a Build Your Own Adventure story by writing it like a travel journal where you pick your own path through the city/town! Then you could have it be language practice and cultural lesson in one!
Sorry if this has all already been said/done. I'm still pretty new to Stories on Duolingo.
This sounds like a brilliant way to continue learning a language. I haven't tried Stories yet as I am not currently learning Spanish or Portuguese (both are on the list though as I am working through the Romance languages) but I hope that they are expanded to other languages. I find reading books really useful in language learning and having exercises built into the stories sounds great. I will give more feedback on the format if French and Italian versions are released ;)
In Norwegian Duo, we have learnt a great many words. Why not put them into a story? Deliciae can do it. I suggest the "The Mystery of the Ant that ate the Turtle" ( a novel about a swedish telephone salesperson who woke up covered in moisteurising cream, and suffered an accident in the capital city which uses metric units there).
I did not have time for stories for a month or so and I must say, I like the improvements! I was surprised to see the third set and can't wait to get there. After eight months of portuguese it is at the exact right level of difficulty for me. Thanks for the stories and I keep my fingers crossed that they will one day graduate to the main tree!
For basic stories, check out Bookbox (on YouTube). They have children's stories in many languages, and you can "read along" with the narrator (and look at the pretty pictures!). It doesn't have any comprehension checks, like Duolingo Stories, but it's better than nothing: https://www.youtube.com/user/bookboxinc/playlists
Yup, I am also very impressed with the update and its content (and the fact that you announced this update in the previous thread -- I would for sure have missed it otherwise).
Everything about the Stories (the idea, placing them in their own section but not as a separate app/website, the first actual stories, the way you are developing them and communicating about it) seems brilliant so far!
I love these! I just started the second set (in Portuguese*), but haven't quite finished the first set of Spanish ones yet. They're a great bridge from the stock sentences in the exercises to reading and conversational usage. The variety of question formats keeps it interesting, and the stories are entertaining too.
Since I haven't seen it suggested yet, have non-fiction stories (perhaps about famous people from the target language's culture) been brought up?
- My favorite voice is the man in the Portuguese stories - he's fun to listen to.
In Portuguese, the dialogues are comprehensible but doesn't sound like anything an actual human being would ever use. For instance, "bem como" is used in written formal Portuguese. Here it is used in a informal chat by what is supposed to be a child. "Eu poderia ver o seu desenho, garotinha?" should be "Posso ver o seu desenho, menina?" or something like that. Nobody would address anyone using "garotinha". "Creio que seu desenho pertence ao museu" is ambiguous. Again, "Creio" is not something that a human being would say to a child. "Reconheço um grande artista quando vejo um" should be "Reconheço uma grande artista quando vejo uma" (it's a girl, afterall)
No attention is given to connected speech, essential for listening comprehension. Was this prepared by professional linguists? It's a good idea, but the execution was very poor, I'm afraid.
">we, duolingo users, can help fix, right? I disagree. They should hire professionals." Ok, now I disagree: it's a free resource, and we can help on improving it. Of course I would be happy if Duolingo coul pay me for corrections (in Brazilian Portuguese), but the world just does not works the way I want (most of the time). And I hope you can understand me, my English is far from perfect).
Yes, I know what you mean.But that is something that we, duolingo users, can help fix, right? For example, In the second story, there is a mistake: "sobre quem ele deveria casar" should read "sobre com quem ele deveria se casar"; "uma agradável senhora" sounds a bit artificial- "uma simpática senhora", maybe would sound more natural, I guess.
I am loving the stories. although i am good at reading Portuguese, i definitely need to improve, especially when dealing with the more advanced words. The area where Stories helps me is in listening. I have struggled for years to improve my listening skills, and stories helps me to listen to Portuguese with words i am familiar with or practicing, as most if not all the words used are in the Duolingo Portuguese lessons.
I love the story feature. Thanks to the Duolingo team. It really helps with expanding vocabulary and learning normal phrasing. I would like an option where after I pass the reading comprehension with 3 gold stars, I can reread the story without the questions popping up and interrupting the flow. I still want to be able to click on any word I don't know and have the definition pop up (to me that's 90% of the value of the story feature) and also have the option to have the whole story read aloud straight through by the native speakers. Thanks again.
First of all, in love these stories. Since you are asking for feedback, I have a suggestion. These stories are right about my Spanish level. I speak French and have traveled in South America. I have never taken formal classes though. I hated getting tested on spelling! I'd much rather the questions be comprehension questions. Maybe though that is just me. Maybe if you make a spelling mistake it could give you a choice of two spelling options and get you to try again?
Just a word to say how amazing the "Stories" are. As a Portuguese beginner I've been searching for something like this for a long time : everyday conversations to learn new (useful) vocabulary and common structures, work on oral comprehension with natives that would speak at a reasonable pace and with authentic (not robotic) intonation. They are all rather pleasant so far, and many of them are even quite funny! I agree with the suggestions Duo users have sent so far. All I can add is : please graduate the Stories section and please, pleaaase make many more of them!!!
You should make a section where people on duolingo can make their own and a native revises it. like I speak English, maybe a french person makes one and a native English person in the community revises it. ( Have a system where it is revised a couple of times. But you can only create them once you completed all the ones made for you by duolingo. -just a though ;0-
I think Stories is very good. Im not learning Spanish but I really hope that this project continues! Please keep this project!
I would love to see culturally significant short stories presented in this fashion after finishing the basic sets. A set of accessible stories by famous mexican/argentine/spanish/etc authors (for Spanish) narrated by native speakers with the single-click translation feature you have would be great for vocabulary building, cultural understanding, and a stepping stone to reading more and more in a new language.
I just took a language proficiency test (IELTS) and while the stories here with transcriptions are quite nice, the hard part of language proficiency test is the listening only. Format is a few questions that you can see, then the dialogue which can only be heard. I think with your current set up, you should be able to have an option to hide most of the transcript, and only show the questions/fill in the blank bits. That would also tend to make each of the stories more interesting to go through multiple times.
I understand that this is all still in beta and testing under just Spanish and Portuguese, and may not come out for other languages for a while... But I just want to add myself to the chorus of people clamoring for this feature to be released in other languages whenever feasible. It seems like a really great feature that addresses what has thus far been some of duolingo's biggest weaknesses: listening and reading comprehension. The current format gives bite-sized sentences without context, which is fine for beginning to learn a language. But something like the stories feature is practically essential to learn a language on a more conversational level. So keep up the good work, and I'm looking forward to this feature being available in French!!
I have only just completed the tree in Spanish, but there does'nt seem to be a moving forward link to go straight on to stuff like the labs for the stories, I had to fiddle around a lot to find out how to move on?
Tried the first of the stories and it was fun and quite natural given how they are presented. I think giving credit for completing them in XP and % of fluency would be great!
Thanks to the team for a good programme.
I have tried the first Spanish story and loved it. It's exactly what I need to practice oral comprehension. There's just one problem. I was told I got two stars, but when I opened the page with the stories again, there were no stars on the first story. I did the story again and got 3 stars, but they still don't show up on my stories page.
I have only just found the stories. I had a little go but, as I have not finished the Spanish tree I am not ready for it. I loved what I saw! I agree it would be good to just listen to the story with the transcript appearing as my listening comprehension is where I need lots of practice.
This is some feedback for story types. I enjoyed the Spanish ones then I came across these elsewhere which happen to be in German. https://archive.is/21XWJ#selection-151.0-229.16 I went through the first four with my dad who filled in the words I didn't know and we both laughed but maybe it doesn't take a lot and we just have the same sense of humour! Plus the inclusion of "gegenüberliegenden" for "opposite" we thought great just by itself! https://archive.is/MjCix
I think the stories feature is a great idea, however they're a little difficult for people at a lower level .
They should come with a recommendation for what level of Spanish/Learning you should be at before you complete them. I fired through the first one barely knowing anything apart from key words. I guessed or however over many of the answers and admittedly barely used any actually knowledge. However, due to the single-use style, if I did it again I could simply remember which one i selected last time.
I don't want to try another one until I know I'm good enough to benefit from it...
This is such a good idea. As a language-learner who feels like I've stagnated at intermediate and struggle to find content somewhere between elementary and fluent...
I can't wait for it to be available in the language I'm not a beginner in (German)... or to get better at Spanish.
All of my previously read Duolingo stories (all of Set 1, and part of Set 2, including "Alguien me persigue" (Sept. 28) and "La cita misteriosa" (Oct. 5) have suddenly been restored as if I hadn't completed them. And previous to this, I hadn't received any XP for them. So I don't understand what happened. I was going to try again when I noticed this. Can someone tell me what happened?
I love the stories and am pleased that you've linked them to the XP.
I need to report another glitch: I used a story to level up in Spanish, and although my XP and level both increased, I wasn't awarded the levelling up lingots.
I know it's all about the learning - and that is why I'm here, however, if I'm promised a reward for my effort, I'm disappointed if it doesn't materialise. Yeah, I'm a reward junkie!
It would be great if this were fixed...I guess if (when) the Stories are released from Beta, the intention is that they will count towards all the learning scores as other activities do.
Thanks again for all your hard work - this is a great way to learn.
I LOVE this new story lab option for my students! They're in Level 2 high school Spanish, so some of the content is difficult for them, but they're enjoying the challenge. They're so proud when they're able to complete a story! It's TERRIFIC, authentic practice for them. I didn't realize, though, that while they're awarded XP, it does NOT count toward any assignment I have created for them. Even so, I LOVE this feature and I hope that it doesn't get the ax! :)
I just finished all the French Stories and I was VERY impressed by the superb, I mean superb quality of acting!
THANK YOU and job well-done - ENCORE!
I have just discovered and completed my first mini-story and will definitely complete more. Being able to hover over new words to translate is a very helpful feature as is being able to repeat audio, both in real time and slowed down. Please retain these mini-stories as they add to and enhance the learning experience.
Stories is great, like Readlang on steriods. Please let us know if/when it is likely to graduate. And please can we have some Russian stories. My one complaint is that there's not enough visibility about where this product is going - a once a year update isn't enough :-(
Hi! Actually, when you get to the end of the story, you can already scroll up and read it without the challenges and audio. But we are working on improving that feature. The audio only mode will take a bit longer though. We have been experimenting some different things. ;)
I loved being able to turn the script on and of to just listen, now it is removed. I hope can do so again soon. And another idea give choice as to whether the audio slows down. If I can listen to it a few times often it suddenly becomes clear. But if it is slowed down it becomes useless for a listening practice, but the slow speed has its' value in helping to hear the sentence. Thanks Duo the stories are great!
I finished all the stories in set 1, as shown by the golden picture at the ending of every story. But entering the stories overview again they would not turn gold. Every story i completely finished, would only turn full color. But after your reply they are now all golden and Set 2 has been unlocked.. So thanks for whatever you did! ;) But if this would happen again, is there a way i could solve this myself?
For online language study I have tried most of the top apps and currently use the Duolingo stories and LanguageZen (Spanish only) which adapts intelligently to your learning level and gets you to try to say or type real world phrases and sentences. It is the most challenging app I have used. It also has a learn through music component. In Duolingo stories I am going to run out of stories before long. I like them because I learn new words in realistic contexts and it is interactive. I like that the new words are repeated in later stories so I don't forget them. Any recommendations for similar resources?
My version quit working. I completed the first two groups of Spanish Stories. The icons changed to full color. The third thru fifth group were a mixture of the change to full color on completion, no change in color, and locked stories. I can't continue at this point, which was a shame because I thought they were a very helpful way to learn. Miles
Please mark the stories to show they have been read. It started out this way but now the marker is gone. How can I track which have been read? By the way, the stories are a good adjunct to the lessons. Maybe some more serious stories would be good.
I really like the stories and want to assign them to my students - this is a great addition to your site!
Unfortunately, I won't be able to use the stories until the amount of languages is expanded, but PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE add in dutch soon! There are a LOT of Dutch learners, and it's hard to find good ways to practice the different aspects of the language using normal everyday instances.
Just a thought, but it may be better to add a few more languages, because then more people will be able to give you guys feedback, and if you HAVE to, you can always remove certain languages. Just my thoughts...