https://www.duolingo.com/cazort

Can we make the hover-over hints show noun gender, as those in the German course does?

I've completed the German course and one of the things that I find most helpful about it is that when you hover-over a noun, in the hover-over hints, it shows the gender of the noun, male, female, or neuter, under the name.

I find this super helpful for learning...it's a little extra bit of reinforcement, and it also helps immensely in learning and figuring out the adjective endings.

Russian seems a bit harder than German in that there are more different cases and more endings to memorize, so I feel a greater need for these hints...but they're conspicuously absent.

Is there any way we could add these hints to the Russian course? I think this is a little thing that could hugely improve the efficiency of learning in the course. It also seems like it would be easy to implement and it might even be something where, if they were short on volunteers, someone who was not a native speaker could volunteer to do the data entry, because, in most cases, all you'd need to do was look up the word in a dictionary and enter the proper gender.

Is this something that others have thought about? And what do others thing? Would others like / want / appreciate this feature? Can we make this happen soon?

October 14, 2017

19 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Shady_arc

I think this system of hints is only available for in-house courses.

October 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/IvyRoseMidwinter

I would GREATLY appreciate this feature. I'm also very willing to volunteer my time to helping make it a reality. Thank you for creating this topic!

October 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/P-Code

Showing the gender of a noun in Russian would be necessary for nouns ending in "ь", since those can be either masculine or feminine. As egreleso said, genders are way easier to recognize in Russian than in German (or even Spanish and French—I see that you're studying those as well). There are rarely any exceptions.

However, showing the gender of a noun that isn't in the nominative case would be helpful. Showing the case as well would prevent confusion, especially for beginners.

October 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Rod356266

That is why it would be really interesting having Russian in French, Portuguese or (not for me, though) German. These languages and many others have nouns, adjectives and pronouns changing gender and number.

October 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3

I gained important insights from doing the French for Russian speakers course, but I don't really think they were about gender. Maybe it's fun to appreciate randomly swapping gendered pronouns between languages (b/c there's no guarantee that something masculine in French is masculine in Russian), but I don't know what additional learning value can be derived from this.

October 18, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/malex0994

It's not that big of a deal, you can tell the gender of the vast majority just by looking at the ending. In German, the ending usually doesn't help.

October 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/YPSILONZ

I agree 100% (that's why I gave you a lingot as well). Gender and also case! I feel completely lost all the time, the "translation" is always the same word in English... super confusing! As for those who find it SO easy to determine the gender of nouns, tell me if you please, what is the gender of столе, школу, глазах, стаканами? :-P

October 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/egreleso

столе - prepositional case of стол (table), a masculine noun

школу - accusative case of школа (school), a feminine noun

глазах - prepositional case of глаза, which is the irregular plural of глаз (eye), a masculine noun

стаканами - instrumental plural of стакан (glass), a masculine noun

October 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/IvyRoseMidwinter

That's great! It can be very difficult for new learners, however. I speak from experience. I am still memorizing the different endings for the different cases. Having the gender readily available during lessons would help greatly in this process, especially for exceptions to the standard rules.

From Duo's Tips and Notes in Possessives and Gender there is this rule concerning nouns ending in ь: ость, есть, знь endings are usually feminine; тель, арь, ырь are usually masculine* although, of course, there are always exceptions.

*paraphrased in my notes from the table displayed on Duo.

October 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Shady_arc

Actually, there are NO exception for suffixes -тель and -ость. The trick is, how can a non-native know these are truly suffixes?

  • for one, they are unstressed. Злость is an exception here but I cannot come up with any other noun that has a stress on -ость. So for nouns like постель or канитель the lack of the suffix is obvious the moment you hear them pronounced.
  • if you are comfortable with Russian palatalised and non-palatalised consonants, you can also immediately tell that отель ("hotel") and гантель ("dumbbell") have no parts. The "тэль" pronunciation makes them easily identifiable loanwords, borrowed as a whole.

It is also fairly easy with гость ("guest"). To be an abstract noun with the -ость suffix it would have had to be derived from the adjective гой or гый. These do not exist. Long story short, the gender of кость and гость should be memorised.

Is it as easy with житель and обитель, though? Well, житель ("resident, inhabitant") is quite obviously a derivative of жить ("to live"). Обитель does not come from обить—yet, to know that you probably have to know the meaning of this fairly niche verb ("to line, to upholster").

  • or maybe you can guess that the noun обитель ("home, abode") does not seem to fit the pattern of "the one that does the action of the verb"—at least, not for any verb you can easily imagine.
October 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/IvyRoseMidwinter

Thank you, Shady Arc. :)

October 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/YPSILONZ

(clap clap clap...)
My point was: how do I determine the gender of nouns in cases it's not obvious? You don't expect me to come searching for you to ask, do you?
The answer is I can't, it's very complicated. The course could make things a bit easier for me by indicating the gender and case of nouns and similarly for verbs. It's hard enough as it is, with zero grammar on the application, which I use the most, and not even a word list at hand!

October 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/egreleso

"(clap clap clap...)" My apologies for replying at all, seriously. :)

October 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/IvyRoseMidwinter

I'm glad you replied! I think the point being made is simply that it can be difficult (and a little frustrating) to look at a new Russian word and think, "Is that a masculine noun in the accusative that looks feminine or is it in another case or maybe it's plural and wait...what skill am I supposed to be studying now?" New learners who have not yet memorized all the rules could use the extra help! I keep a dictionary on hand to help me.

Thank you for replying.))) I mean that seriously.

October 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/egreleso

I genuinely wanted to help, because I was also once a beginner. :)

By the way, there is this site: http://starling.rinet.ru/cgi-bin/morphque.cgi?flags=endnnnnp -- if you put the word in it (e.g. стаканами), it gives you the 'source word' (стакан), gives you all the cases, and also tells you its gender. I found it useful, so others might, too. :)

October 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/egreleso

I don't speak German (only know some basics), but I do speak Russian (haven't completed the Duolingo tree though) and I believe the reason for not including genders in the hints is that they are much, much easier to recognise in Russian than in German.

Basically, if it ends in -a, it's feminine; if it ends in -e or -o, it's neuter; and if it ends in a consonant or in -й, it's masculine. I was taught these rules to recognise genders, and they work about 99% of the time, as exceptions are rare. Not sure if it's explained at any point in the Russian tree, but I would definitely say that genders are much less of a problem in Russian than they are in German.

October 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/zirkul
Mod
  • 1458

You are conveniently forgetting the nouns ending in "ь". There is no way to guess their gender from their ending (OK, it's not neuter, but that's not too much information - most Russian nouns are not neuter). E.g. лень (sloth/laziness) is feminine while олень (deer) is masculine. Kонь (stallion) & огонь (fire/flame) are masculine while вонь (stench) is feminine.

October 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/egreleso

There actually ARE a few ways to guess the gender of some nouns ending in -ь... For example, -тель is typicaly masculine, -ость is typically feminine.

October 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/zirkul
Mod
  • 1458

-тель is typicaly masculine

Метель? Постель? Пастель? Артель? Канитель? (All feminine).
Words ending in -тель are indeed masculine when they are derived from verbs (писать→писатель), but all bets are off otherwise.

October 16, 2017
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