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We need these small Duolingo improvements

Hi Duolingo,

I am only learning German, so I can speak for everybody, but I would really like to see these small improvements to Duolingo in the future:

  1. Information about number of lessons in entire tree and how many I have completed.

There seem to be no other information about my progress other than the percentage of your fluency. In your recent blog 'How to Travel with Duolingo' you say "To calculate how many lessons you need to complete per day ahead of your trip, divide the number of lessons in your language course by the number of days until your trip." - but how am I supposed to know the number of lessons?

  1. When I choose to simply "Practise" it would be better if my lowest skills are picked first.

By choosing "Practise" I am perfecting the skill at the beginning of the tree, but I hardly ever get to those harder skills, unless all the previous skills are gold. I would prefer if my lowest skills were chosen first.

  1. Some lessons start with English to German translation of words I haven't been introduced to yet.

It is rare, but still - am I just supposed to guess a completely new word in a foreign language? I don't mind guessing when there are options of three to pick from - that one is fine. But I can't guess right when I am supposed to write down a translation of entirely new word to me.

  1. The bonus skills are quite difficult - Idioms and Flirting - I don't think they should be at the beginning of the tree.

It would be better if they are included somewhere in the middle of the tree.

  1. In the tab "Words" many words are in the list twice - as singular and as plural form.

I'd much prefer if these would just count as one - as it pretty much just doubles all the nouns I know.

These are all my small requests - they would improve everybody's use of Duolingo! Let me know if you agree or whether you would add some other small things to the list.

All the best! Jana

August 10, 2017



To first question: I was curious so I counted it (yes all of them I counted by myself). It is divided between checkpoints. Numbers of lessons (I can be wrong) for German

29 - 21 - 35 - 65 - 69 - 71 - 77 - 89

In total 456 lessons in German course.

For French:

31 - 36 - 87 - 207

In total 361 lessons in French course.

Everything just for case anybody would like to know ;D


I agree with everything, except your third point. Duolingo greatly resembles a guessing game when you're introduced to new words, but the point is that you're introduced to new words and retain them through trial and error. Duolingo doesn't really "teach" you before quizzing you (unless you count the picture questions, or the tips and notes which mobile users don't have). That seems to be kind of the entire point.


I just find it strange that generally they offer the "hover over the word" option for where you really don't know. But for this task (the one where you only translate a noun and its article, that comes with a picture, but not the three options to choose from) Duolingo doesn't offer the "hover over the word" option. And it is impossible to guess when you have never seen this word before. It's like saying: try to answer what is the translation of the word "traffic" in High Valyrian :)


I believe it's supposed to be better for long term retention to force you into at least some pure guesswork.


Well, if you don't know the word, you will probably type in your best guess (or a bunch of random letters), and if you're wrong Duo will show you the right answer, because it's now aware that you don't know the word. Now the word will appear again and you'll have a chance to actually translate it (it'll probably appear in other questions too if you're on the app). I don't understand why you'd want it to tell you beforehand, because this is how I think it would go; duo tells you that skirt in German is der Rock, and then a picture of a skirt pops up. You're going to type in der Rock, and get it right...even though you don't really know the word. Now you won't get much of a chance to learn it, because by getting it right, the program thinks you know the word. And if you wish you had the opportunity to peek by hovering over...the algorithm still counts that as you not knowing the word and even if you type it correctly after that, the word will decay faster. Or perhaps I'm just slow and not understanding your point. I just want whatever makes us learn languages more efficiently and whatever makes this site a better language-learning tool.


Oh, it changed all the numbers of my bullet points to 1! Duolingo, why?! :)


The discussions here use "Markdown" to format things.

Try indenting each of your follow-on paragraphs that still belong to the same bullet point with four spaces -- for example, start the line "There seem to be no other information" with four spaces before the word "There", and also the line "By choosing "Practise"" etc.

  • 1309

"Some lessons start with English to German translation of words I haven't been introduced to yet." Yes, this baffles me. I either have to put my pointer on the new word (to see what it means); or, sometimes I just type what I do know, knowing that it will come up again. I do this because I think if I get it right the first time Duo thinks I already know that word.

About knowing the number of lessons; doesn't Duo add lessons from time to time? So this would make it impossible to predict how many lessons you have left to do.


Sometimes the task is to translate just a single noun (and its article) English to German and there is an image of this noun on the screen - when this task appears, it is not possible to hover over the word to get the answer - Duo doesn't give any advise with this type of task.

  • 1309

JanaZaba, that's because there is already a picture clue.


That doesn't really help to show a picture of traffic when I ask you to translate the word traffic to chinese (or any other language that you don't know the translation in) for the first time ever, does it? :)


Quote: Information about number of lessons in entire tree and how many I have completed.

There used to be great user scripts like DuoTweak, DuoStats, DuoLingo Course Progress, etc. which showed nice statistics about your progress and course status.

All of them are not working anymore (some parts like "comment URL links" of DuoTweak are still working in the "discussions" link because of the old Python code).


Read this. https://www.duolingo.com/comment/6176795/Best-Way-to-Make-Your-Tree-Turn-Gold-and-Stay-Gold

And here's my version: Once you get into the middle of a Duolingo course, you just won't make forward progress if you keep the tree golden. Just forge ahead and go back and fill in only when you feel you need to. Once you finish the tree, work on the non-gold leaves from the end to the beginning. The Practice / Strengthen Skills always go from beginning to end, you hardly ever get to practice anything at the end.


This is not really true, unless you are part of some test that makes keeping skills golden much more difficult. You can keep the tree golden and still make progress if you do enough XP per day. For me it was 100, but I think it would also work with 50 or even 30, it would just take longer. Some days you probably wouldn't make any progress, but in general you would.


Well we are all subjected to A/B testing, I may be in a different group from you. Whenever I pick up Duolingo I typically have multiple formerly gold leaves that have decayed back. If I polished them all first it would take all the time I have and I would never start anything new.

I have finished 3 trees and this has been my experience, also in Japanese which I have not finished yet - at one point I was just treading water there and the course kept giving me the exact same work when I used Duolingo's practice suggestions. This is extremely wasteful of our time.

I finished a tree earlier this week and overnight I had about 6 decayed leaves to get back to gold During the course of the day that went to about 12, which I polished back to gold. Next day I had 12 leaves to polish again. I couldn't do much yesterday and now have about 20 leaves to get back to gold. I have described this as trying to crawl up a down escalator on your hands and knees.

The advantage of just pressing on to the end is that once you have done the whole tree, you are free to study what you want, whereas before you finish you can only study the next few topics that Duolingo allows.

And yes, I know the objective is to actually learn the language, but you need some measure of success. I see finishing the tree as a starting point to go ahead and do something different like reading a book. But I'd just like to get it to a stable point where my achievement would last more than a couple of hours.


You're right, I think we are in different groups because my trees decay much slower. They used to decay really fast, so when that stopped I thought the test ended, but it seems like it didn't end for everyone or it's a new test or something. When it decays so fast, I agree it's best to just ignore it, practice a little bit and continue with the tree or you would never finish it. My trees also have around 10 skills per day to strengthen in total (for 2 trees), but that's after they are finished. While I was half way done, I think I had around 3-4, so I could usually practice and do 2-3 lessons per day with no problems.


You are so right about idioms being difficult. As you can see, I'm level 25 and have been doing Duolingo for a long time already, but I always hesitate in doing the idioms lesson. To me, it feels more like memorizing, as many times what you translate is not in any way like what is shown.

I'll keep practicing though, as idioms are fun to use in English. But yes, a lot of people who pick up and try idioms as one of their first couple of lessons will give them a reality check, LOL.


"Strengthen skills" option started to work for properly only when I had the whole tree golden. In that case, lessons that decayed would be opened in strengthen skills. Before I had tree golden, I clicked on each lesson that decayed and clicked "strengthen".

But to me that is not really bad as the fact that religion and business decay for me each day. Or animals and what not. One day I had to strengthen 15 lessons that took me more than one hour.

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