Sick of typing so much in English. We NEED to generate more target language to learn effectively.

There's plenty of discussions about this topic but I thought I'd add one to it to strengthen the case.

I've been using duolingo for a long time, I finished the French tree and I'm very close to completing the Polish tree.

I can go through a whole skill, or a practice, reading the target language and typing it all out in English, absolutely no problem. But as soon as I'm (rarely) asked to generate a sentence in the target language, I'm stopped in my tracks. I have to sit there and really think about it, and engage my brain. Those snippets of target language generation teach me more about using the language than 100xp of translating into English.

It's harder, yes, but it's an absolute necessity for learning a new language, and it's far more important that translating into English. Without it, all duolingo teaches us to do is read a foreign language, and virtually read it in our native language like it's a cipher. Without it, you can speak, you can't write, you can't generate your target language, which is the reason we're learning it in the first place!

In a similar discussion, I saw that someone from duolingo had said, paraphrasing, that the amount of target->native translations are as they are because it is easier, and therefore more people who just start stick with the program. That's fair enough, of course, but later on in the tree it needs to change, or at least we need to be able to choose how much native->target we see.

This is mainly aimed at the browser version of duolingo. Let's not get started on the app version...

August 11, 2017


Ideally Duolingo would expand our Settings page choices. Now we can specify if we want to have microphone lessons. Imagine if other lesson types were shown there and if we could specify the percentage each was presented.

August 11, 2017

Yeah, absolutely. Just some setting, or just anything, that lets us see more native->target.

August 11, 2017

good idea

June 25, 2018

I agree with you 4000%.

"This is mainly aimed at the browser version of duolingo. Let's not get started on the app version..."

I can't stand the app version anymore. I do still use it on the way to & from work for Spanish & French where I'm a complete beginner, but couldn't use it for German anymore as it was crazy easy. Was finishing each lesson in under a minute. Was so so much better two years ago before they introduced the schools update.

August 11, 2017

Now there will probably be people telling you that you can do the reverse tree which will give you enough translating to your real target language. That is at least something, but it really doesn't work all that well. The reverse course is made for learning English (or whatever language you speak) and the skills are adjusted for that. For example, the English course from German has a lot of practice for different types of future tenses in English (will and going to), which both translate to the same thing in German, so you pretty much waste time there. On the other hand, what I would really want to practice in German is declension of adjectives, which I can't practice in the German course because it only asks me to translate to English and I can't practice in the English course because there is no such thing as declension of adjectives in English, so there is only one small lessons about adjectives and most of them are used in the sentence in a way that doesn't require declension in German. So yes, it would be really great if there was more translating to the target language, so that we can really learn something.

August 11, 2017

Or you could type in 'declension of German adjectives practice' or any kind of topic (conjugation has the most good ones) and find a ton of other resources to substitute your learning since Duolingo can't provide everything and these other resources are pretty easy to find and also free to use.
this seems to be good but I have no idea what declension of German adjectives is since i'm not very far along

August 11, 2017

Yes, I could do that too, but declension of adjectives is one of the basic things in the German language and really should be included in any course teaching German. I don't thing we are asking too much if we would like to have more translation to the target language. The ratio between translating to the target language and to the base language should be closer to half:half, not to have 0-2 sentences to translate to the target language compared to 18-20 sentences translating to the base language. It's not just about adjectives, it's for other things too. Another that comes to mind is relative pronouns in German, I don't remember ever having to translate to German when doing and when practicing that skill. That doesn't make sense, you need to use the language to be able to learn it.

August 11, 2017

Yh, my point was also not about the adjectives (pronoun practice is on same webpage btw if you needed it) but the fact is that not one language course will be able to incorporated every thing that we need, Duolingo only really gets you up to A1/2 so I wouldn't expect it to have a ton of practice translating into target languages because that comes later in more advanced learning. Like in a language class at school, we have to spend a lot of time memorising the basics then solidify this by improving, one of the ways being talking more and writing more in this language, it is the same way that Duolingo doesn't provide advanced listening exercises or novels for you to read on here, because it was designed to teach the basics and stuff like immersion and translating into come after the basics

August 11, 2017

No course can teach you absolutely everything, but if there is a lesson about using adjectives in accusative or dative case or about relative pronouns, it should try to teach you those things, and you can't learn if you just see the German text and never type it. I don't know how does it work for other people, I somehow manage to learn most words even if I'm just translating them to English, but I can't learn any grammar if I don't have a chance to use it while creating sentences myself or translating them from English. So yeah, you need to learn the basics first, but forming or translating simple sentences to your target language is part of basics, and duolingo barely does it. I mean, I really like duolingo, but I find it very difficult to reach even A2 if you don't have a chance to write in the language you're learning. Maybe your understanding will be A2 (or even higher, I'd say B1), but your writing/speaking won't even be A1.

August 11, 2017

Speaking most definetly won't be A1 listening probably not although again depends what you do outside.
I personally have never used just Duolingo, i alway use a ton of other stuff along with it and do independant excersices, so i can't really account for how far using solely Duolingo will get you, I can say however that I never thought it was meant to be used alone, only to aid with learning not be the sole source of it so using it on its own would be as useful as only using a dictionary or only using songs

August 11, 2017

As Duo already has all words and phrases in the target language and the home language (e.g. french/english) ... what is so hard about flipping the question to the English, to get us to respond in French?

I need more active translation practice. Less multiple choice and a lot less translation into English. My comprehension is doing ok, but am less convinced of ability to respond in French, in real world.

August 12, 2017

There's plenty of discussions about this topic but I thought I'd add one to it to strengthen the case.

It's not going to make any difference adding one discussion even if there's already 100 on it.
Question 14

Also a lot of the courses you do have reverse trees, could do them?

August 11, 2017

Yeah, this attitude is what I hinted at in the post actually. He says that he looked at the metrics after making a change that people complained about, and they were better. Okay, that's fair enough but what about in this context?

Having a huge emphasis on target->native makes lessons easier, and it makes more people come back and more people join so "the metrics" are better in this configuration, but it doesn't mean that duolingo is teaching language effectively, or at least as well as it could.

It's optimised for business, for traffic, and for getting the most amount of users to join and return... at the cost of the quality of the teaching.

That's why I think there should be an option or setting that can tailor what you see in lessons and practices, which is set to how it is currently by default. It wouldn't have any effect on the metrics that way, and it then has the ability to teach more advanced users far more effectively. It's fair for everyone.

August 11, 2017

Okay that's a deccent point of view but the fact is that he has the mettrics and we don't so we can't really make assumptions about what the metrics actually are, unless they release them and i have just never seen them, but until then we can't comment on the effectivity of this system outside of our own experiances

As for being predominantly about business, the whole idea that this site was based on was to bring free education to a lot of people, we don't see this on Duolingo quite as much in the forum but it has had a huge impact in teaching people who could not other wise afford it a vital skill - English, according to the founder this site was actually operating mostly at a loss for a while and it still only runs due to huge donations that see the amazing results of this website for worse off people and how this help in learning English could chnage their lives. The CEO of this, Luis van ahn, was actually the developper of reCAPTCHA so i'm sure he wasn't doing it because he was broke and it seemed like a good bussiness idea

August 11, 2017

Very good point, I agree. The assumptions are too great to conclude what I'm saying.

Even so, I've been using duolingo for nearly four years and it's something I've always thought about. I really wonder where I'd be with the languages I've tried here if the focus was the other way around. I feel for me, that that feature would make duolingo profoundly more effective.

August 11, 2017

[deactivated user]

    Memrise, Babbel, watching foreign movies etc. on YouTube and getting HelloTalk and foreign language friends on Facebook etc... I came to Duolingo fully bilingual, but clunky, and I learned a great deal precisely because I supplement with the other tools I mentioned.

    March 15, 2018

    Just to put this in context, that viewpoint is a particular language ideology that some people subscribe to and try to foist on others. I don't subscribe to it, and therefore don't have any problem typing the answers in English. The poster is entitled to their viewpoint, but it is far from universal let alone agreed upon.

    November 23, 2018
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