Sentence Structures - Focusing on German Cases
I don't know if this discussion board is for Duo as well as for members, but I have a suggestion for both the website and mobile app. (I use both; website for Notes & Tips, and the app for the actual practice.)
With Cases, I would love a practice section dedicated to strictly sentence forming, without the flash cards or selection of words handed to you. You are given an English sentence that you must translate into German, and if what you submit is wrong, Duo tells you why. Like if you use a nomitive case word in an accusitive place, and the correct word that is hidden if you'd like to try rewriting the sentence without help, or press "show" to reveal the word if you have trouble remembering it. The sentences that come up should be based on your current progress, of course.
This might seem redundant, since we do already have sentence structure practice within our already available exercises, but I, with seemingly many others, have problems figuring out why it's "unsere" instead of "uns" or "einen" instead of "ein". And when Duo pops up with, "it's "unsere"", I haven't seen it explain why. I've read the Tips & Notes, and even went on external websites to understand German Cases, and although I think I have a slightly better understanding, I want to practice just the cases with what I currently know. When I hit the "exercise" button, I'm not getting that practice. "Memorize this word", "match these words", "Write what you hear". It's not at all what I'm looking for. And going to "Acc. Cases" or "Nom. Cases" practice is too limited.
It might also help to have a chat feature with Duo, where you can have a casual conversation with the AI. (If you make an error in your grammer, Duo could simply say, "Ich verstehe nicht. Hast du gemeint...?" ("I don't understand. Did you mean...?")
And please, I'm not a very social person. It's not easy for me to ask strangers online or go to some gathering to practice my German. I believe these tools would help both the social and the... not so social alike.
I agree: If it is not already included in the course, it would be very useful to have specific trainings using all the cases. The problem in language-learning often is: You know that you are in the chapter about, say "Accusative", and then you'll get all your accusatives halfway right.
But this does of course not reflect the challenge when you want to actually communicate. You don't have conversations only in "accusative". ;-) The problem in real life is:
1) You have to know which case to use
2) You have to know the correct form for this case, for the word you want to say.
Just as a little help, I just found the BBC German-learning site about cases, and it does include a test with real-life, mixed case applications: https://www.bbc.co.uk/education/guides/zg8pycw/test (multiple-choice, though ...)
It's not easy for me to ask strangers online
You are fine here xMyrskyX, this board is very good for you to ask your questions regarding the German language. There are quite a few people here, both German natives and non-German natives, that will be glad to answer your questions.
I like your suggestions, they would indeed expand our experience within Duolingo.
Wikipedia has a plethora of help as well, check this out: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_sentence_structure
I fully agree, cases can be mystifying. Exercises that focus on them would be welcome. Fill in the blanks are a good idea and are standard in other language courses. I think Duolingo does a good job in many areas, but the grammatical "Tips" are very weak. I find I have to go to other sources that provide more detail.