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Will advanced courses ever be added?

I was wondering if this is something that is even on the table at Duolingo. I love Duolingo and their mission, and it would be incredible if some languages, especially the ones that have been on this site for years like Spanish, French, and German, were expanded and perhaps divided into tiers.

As they stand, I have found that courses serve as entry points into a language. After completing a language tree, you become familiar with how the language works and perhaps it provides enough instruction to read very simple works, but you will be far from conversational or even able to read an easy book. Not only that, but eventually Duolingo stops being an effective tool. I have kept my Spanish tree gold for a couple months and I feel like I'm starting to get less out of site.

But if there was a second tree that taught more vocabulary and more intricate grammar, people could come out of Duolingo with a much better handle on the language they are trying to learn. I understand that people seeking fluency will always have to go to outside resources, but how nice would it be if Duolingo took us a little farther before getting to that point.

I just think that now that Asian languages are here, the next big project Duolingo should tackle is providing a more in depth level to their existing trees. The longer people spend on their language and this site and the more they get out of the experience, the more Duolingo will continue to grow and attract new and old users. Anyway, keep up the great work Duo.

November 28, 2017



I understand that people seeking fluency will always have to go to outside resources, but how nice would it be if Duolingo took us a little farther before getting to that point.

From an eduational point of view, Duolingo is already testing the most useful next step => Duolingo stories!
Have you already finished the Spanisch stories and the most recent update?

The longer people spend on their language and this site and the more they get out of the experience, the more Duolingo will continue to grow and attract new and old users

Duolingo already gives you this by supporting the "normal trees", "reverse trees", "laddering trees" and the opportunity to read and write in the discussion forums of your target languages!

That's why it is so important to release more basic courses and stories in more languages instead of "providing a more in depth level to their existing trees".

I think at least the "German, Norwegian and the beta version of the Dutch tree for English speakers" have a sufficient end level.
Once you have mastered the basics, you are able to continue learning independently.

It is like learning to walk. Duolingo supports you in learning to sit, stand, crawl and walk. Then you can walk independently and explore the world further.


The English from Spanish tree got a big addition of content over the summer, leaving it, as I understand, significantly longer than the Spanish from English tree. Trees for other languages are even longer yet. Who knows what the future holds?

For now, try the reverse tree. It's generally a much more useful learning exercise (once you have something of a basis in the language), anyway.


Okay, I'm all in to say that Duolingo doesn't provide tools for advanced learners. Even with Stories, Reverse trees, Forums... it's hardly enough to reach an "advanced" level. Maybe not even for an intermediate one.

However, if you know how Duolingo works, you'll find out that it's virtually impossible to do so. Let me explain, Duolingo is automated. You have sentences that you have to translate from language A to language B, but no one is actually reading what you are writing. Only DL's program is comparing your solution to all the solutions provided by the team. From here, you can easily understand that longer exercises are not possible.

Of course, we can always add more vocabulary, as for the grammar, I think DL's quite complete, but we cannot add really advanced grammar, because you'll need to understand it and not translate it. Take the example of Spanish or French. Both have a lot of tenses, some that don't exist in English. How to explain to students the difference between the tenses via translation? It's impossible. We'll have to design completely new types of exercises.

Then you also have some skills that will never be taught in Duolingo, namely writing and speaking. Of course, you have basic writing and speaking, but if you want to improve, there is no way to do so without a native systematically correcting you. Obviously that's not a viable solution.

Anyway, I really understand your struggle, but for the moment, I highly doubt that advanced courses will be some of Duolingo prerogatives


Obviously understand and agree with the broader point, but a tense doesn't have to exist in the base language for it to be taught well via translation. Lots of languages have nothing like a present perfect continuous ("has been verbing"). Yet in English it's mandatory, so you show the kinds if sentences where it's mandatory, and students learn it. This holds for Spanish imperfect subjunctive, for example. One of the biggest problems for Spanish is a much more basic matter: which form of the indicative past to use. This is the kind of thing that single sentence translation doesn't work well for. Other examples would be verb aspect in Slavic languages for English speakers, and articles in any language for those whose native languages don't have them. Maybe your operational definitin of "advanced grammar" is "grammar that can't easily be taught on Duolingo." In that case fair enough; I'm just elucidating for the benefit of those less experienced what that means :)

Incidentally, longer sentences /are/ /possible/, just look at the Hungarian course :P Then look at the kind of reviews these sentences get!


Of course, when I was speaking about French and Spanish, I was referring to the difference between the past tenses. There is also for instance the singular/plural you that doesn't exist in English. It seems basic, but actually when I learned Spanish, we started to study those differences in level B1 (we studied the tenses in A1-A2, but we didn't know exactly when to use which one).

I should have made it clear, my definition of Advanced grammar is the differences between close but not equal sentences. For instance, Tu as été and Tu étais can both be translated as You were, but still they are different.

As for the longer sentences, I think you misread me. I know that longer sentences are possible (and that they get bad reviews :P). I meant longer exercises. For instance, translating a whole text, to see how to use tenses, genders, connecting sentences... Look at these 2 sentences: I bought a TV yesterday. I can watch it now = J'ai acheté une télévision. Je peux la regarder maintenant. You see that you have to translate it to la because of gender, whereas you can't see it in DL. That would be nice, but really a lot of work from the team.


I recognize I switched your "longer exercises" for "longer sentences. Then for whatever reason I cited Hungarian, where the length is widely opined to have wound up unnecessarily complicating things while not yielding much in the way of additional pedagogical value (while, naturally, tremendously increasing contributor workload and learner frustration). It would have made more sense to cite the Dutch or Russian trees, two of the best-designed in my estimation. They make a point to incorporate a variety of grammatical points into their vocab-centric skills further down the tree, i.e. they just show up "in the wild" so to speak, not just in a specific skill where they're explicitly being focused on. This emphasis is conspicuously lacking in other trees. I can't speak to whether it's lacking in French or Spanish from English, as I have no familiarity with those trees. I would say it's broadly lacking in Portuguese from English, although that tree does a reasonable job in covering to some reasonable extent quite a swath of tenses/moods - a lot more than Catalan from Spanish does, despite the much smaller degree of conceptual difficulty attendant (b/c learners already presumably know one Romance language verb system) there. And it's not just a question of Romance from English needing to focus more on verbs; Italian from French is every bit as comprehensive as Portuguese from English, if not more so.

And the newest trees coming out - with more direct involvement of Duolingo hq - are taking quite a different tack, with no explicitly grammar-focused skills at all. They're vocab-thematic, and the grammar shows up where it shows up (although, one suspects, in a quite deliberate order; it's just not advertised that way). One can imagine Duolingo wanting to push it's French and Spanish mainstays in that direction if Japanese and Chinese turn out well (well meaning user retention). And that direction ends up looking somewhat more like Dutch and Russian do now than what I at least think French and Spanish look like, but anyone can correct me if they can actually speak to the situation. I'll never know what it's like to learn Spanish on Duolingo, so even if I were to go through the tree, I wouldn't really trust my perceptions.


Hi Adam,

so nice from you to explore some details. Interesting stuff!
I really like that, that you write a longer text.....

....But: Please please, add 2-3 more paragraphs (empty lines)....or double space " " at the end of the line to create a line feed / wordwrap.

Your text will be much easier to read (at least for me ;) )!


My English definitely hits it's edge...I am challenged! ;)

Too bad, you are NOT on the main http://duolingo.eu list so I can not see all your PT tree flags incl. reverses and ladderings. Are you?

These are your statistics, but I don't seem to get the above what I wanted (how many Portuguese courses you are doing): https://duolingo.eu/piguy3

So basically what you are saying is this, if I get it right:

  • that the "vocabulary skills" from the EN-PT tree are not well enough designed, as they teach not enough grammar stuff across skills/tenses (which is better than to just focus on a single grammar skill teaching only "that one thing" and not more)

  • Dutch and Russian trees are better than EN-PT

Let me ask you (as you are level25 in Portuguese) and everyone else:

  • how is one of the reverse trees PT-EN / PT-DE: How do they force you to write Portuguese and how do they compare in "vocabulary skills" with the above mentioned mixed grammar tense stuff?

  • have you personally completed / started any other PT trees? How do you like them (e.g PT-SP, SP-PT)?
    Too bad there are no Russian<->Portuguese courses available! :-)

  • how well are other available laddering reverse trees PT-SP / PT-FR, PT-IT designed?

  • how well are other available laddering forward trees FR-PT, SP-PT designed


nice idea but it would be nice if they added it on to existing trees instead making a new one

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