Not sure if the Duolingo team will see this.
As a complete beginner to Hebrew, I tried the first lesson and really struggled with it as an English speaker attempting to learn it.
I have no familiarity with the Hebrew alphabet and yet the lesson asks me to remember a word and then type it out. I added the Hebrew keyboard on my iOS device, but since there are no lessons helping me to understand the alphabet, I couldn’t do the exercise. In the Japanese course, there are basic lessons on how to understand hiragana. Something like that would be good for Hebrew.
The first word i’m asked to recognize is “love". But the correct answer is a picture of a dog. I didn’t find this obvious. Also, the audio is missing, so I don’t know how to pronounce the word.
I couldn’t make it through the first lesson, which was discouraging.
We're working on version 2 of the tree to address these issues, mainly affecting beginners. We're just waiting for a some technical developments from Duolingo staff so that we can offer exercises more suited towards complete beginners, and make sure audio is available on every sentence.
For the time being, please refer to the tips and notes, that are available on the browser version of Duolingo (not the app for now). They explain everything, including the letters.
In addition to this, check out the Memrise course Mazzorano made, which is a lifesaver in terms of getting a handle on the start of the course.
It is a really steep learning curve, but once you start to get the hang of it, it's a really good course and a great grounding in the language.
That's good to know. I did most of the tree by "checkpoints" out of curiosity, and the remaining skills one by one. There's seem to be another bug, which I didn't came across in Welsh (maybe because I don't "test out" on that tree): it sometimes tells me, on the Android app, "an error occurred" after trying to start a new skill. Another bug- yesterday (happend for the the first time, again on phone app) I completed "Legends" skill, it became golden- but closing the app and going again it was presented as unfinished (currently showing as undone on the computer). Internet connection was a home stable one.
Will it also make it easier to learn the Hebrew keyboard? I can type in Hebrew, but it's at a snail's pace and I don't do well in the timed practice because of that. This makes XP hard earned compared to other languages where I can easily rack up some XP reviewing.
I completely agree. It took me DAYS to figure out the first couple lessons. I used memrise to study the alphabet some more, and eventually became more immersed with how the letters sound.
I remember struggling, too. I'm doing a lot better now, because I took the first few lessons very slowly. Be deliberate, don't rush the first few lessons. Move on only when you really know the first few words.
I also recommend learning the alef-bet, songs are good for this. Try searching for "alef bet shalom sesame". That's a good video to use.
Thanks for the suggestions, @HebrewNerd and @Thomas_Wesley. It looks like I will have to learn the basics elsewhere and then proceed to the Duolingo lessons. I hope they add those sorts of from-the-ground-up lessons to this course though.
The terrible thing about Duolingo Hebrew course is that there is no sound for lessons available, while the alphabet is completely different to Latin. Thats why I also had to quit learning Hebrew with Duolingo...