DuoLingo needs to add Explanations at the beginning of each Lesson !
I am almost done with DuoLingo for Spanish and have really enjoyed it except for one huge criticism. Every tense seems to be covered when only three or four are really needed to carry on a decent conversation. Present, Past, Future, and maybe Gerund. Not only are all the others superfluous, no explanation is ever given about how to use them. I end up frustrated trying to learn them through the learning modules and getting lots of questions wrong. PLEASE add some brief explanations at the start of each lesson. It would be greatly appreciated and help immensely with the learning process.
I do not agree with Fav3lla that we don't need the other tenses. However, I do agree it would be helpful to get a bit of explanation with each lesson. It is great to be able to go to the discussion for each item, but I occasionally see some misinformation in those discussions. Hence if I'm looking at the discussion because I don't understand something, I'm not sure who to believe. Thank goodness, yes, there are many great resources out there for learning Spanish. (Here are two of my favorites for concise explanations:
(1) http://www.spanishdict.com/grammar (2) http://studyspanish.com/ )
But I'd be interested in what Duolingo has to say as well.
It's good to have native speakers in your friends list that you can write to directly or send them a link to the discussion when there is disagreement in the discussion comments. As far as which tenses are necessary to communicate, really the present would be enough to express yourself: "I go tomorrow to my job" "I go yesterday to my job" It's just that when people speak to you using tenses that you are not familiar with you are going to have a very hard time understanding them. For instance, if you only dont know the subjunctive and somebody says to you 'Si fuera rico' (if I was rich) you would be confused. I mean as far as surviving in a Spanish speaking country you could probably get by with pointing, grunting, and waving money around even if you didn't know any Spanish at all.
"I mean as far as surviving in a Spanish speaking country you could probably get by with pointing, grunting, and waving money around even if you didn't know any Spanish at all."
I can testify to that! Sounds like my first year of living in the Dominican Republic, without the waving money around bit.
The grammar explanations at spanishdict.com are great (because accurate and short ;) and I recommend using them.
Also I don't think grammar explanations are that much necessary, something like: >Past Perfect: imperfect haber + past participle would be enough. As you all can probably see by now Duolingo does not glorify grammar and makes your learning more natural, where you listen, read, write, don't understand, get corrected and then understand. Just like you learned your native language. Learning grammar rules before learning actual language is a faulty path used at schools and rarely gets anyone to fluency.
Those other tense are NOT superfluous. They are necessary, and used by all native speakers. Yes, you will be understood without them, but in the same way that someone would be understand in english if they said 'You can giving me that one. Im need it now.' You will not be taken seriously as someone who knows the language without knowing the subjunctive/condicional/both past tenses, etc. If you need some explanations, click the 'discussion' button below the sentence question. Chances are it has already been asked and answered. If not you can ask yourself. try adding some friends, native speakers even, and ask them directly. If all thaat fails, just google the name of the topic you are learning, (past imperfect, possesive, conitional. etc.) with the word 'Spanish' after it and the first few search results will be exactly what you're looking for, clear concise explanations from About.com or a similar website. And seriously? 'Maybe' the gerund? You're hoing to speak a language without saying things like 'eating' 'talking' 'walking'? Is it that hard to put an 'iendo' on the end of words?
By modal, did you mean subjunjuctive? Each lesson has a name to the lesson. It will say imperfect, preterit, conditional, etc. Type what it says is the name of the lesson into google with the word 'Spanish' after it and the first few hits should be very good, concise explanations.
I agree with the fact that more explanation is needed. It is good, however, that all tenses are added to the course. Even though it might be difficult. It is important if you want to learn Spanish completely. But more explanation. Yes, definitely. The first time I did verb tenses in the later part of the tree, I had no idea what I was doing and why the tenses are used. I decided to rehearse the difficult sections more often and now I think I am starting to understand them a bit better, but that process could be made a lot easier if a short explanation of the verb tense is added to the lesson. Also, more practice levels in the later verb tense sections I would really like.