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French tree updated

Hi there,

This is a message for the people that are negative about the new French tree.

The trees have vocabulary, grammar and sentences. If you want to learn French with only 1000 words, 10 grammar-rules and 100 sentences, you can hold a basic conversation. There are people that want more than that. They would like to achieve a higher level and have more detailed conversations in French. They have gotten one step closer to that because this tree has been updated.

The French team has worked very hard on this new tree. We asked for it, and now we get it, but the progress of a lot of people has been "lost". They have to learn new vocabulary and reguild their trees.

But do you know why you started to use Duolingo? Yes, because you want to learn a new language, and this is how you achieve that. Not by reguilding your tree over and over again, but to learn new words and practice them. At the end, the trees are just a helpful way to learn and practice, so it seems less intimidating. You have to remember that. Don't think that it's your whole language learning career. It's just a drop of a bucket filled with water (to make it less intimidating;).

Please remember this and don't think too much about this as a negative thing. It's a gift and you should be thankful for it. Progress is something an abstract concept. You can't feel, see or touch it. The fact that you don't see a golden tree (and your "progress") doesn't mean that it's not there. Progress is in your brain, not in a digital golden tree...

I hope some of you changed your mind...

March 28, 2018



Have some lingots for your clear thinking and appreciative words. Everyone should read your post and upvote your comments.

I am thrilled with the new tree and looking forward to working on it. I'm more than willing to give up any progress I've made to have the opportunity to learn more French.

Yes, we all enjoyed the gold tree, the XPs and all the gamification items we received but let's be straight about this what we came here for was the language lessons and I'm overjoyed at the chance to learn more.

P.S. The XPs are still with us and of course the fun side is too.


Thanks a million:)


So will the XP system be lost?


No, all the XP remains in place. The fluency score is scrapped though. That has to do with the new "crowns" system, and not the French tree.


I'm fine with the change, now that it has been explained.

However, there should be a better method for people discovering the change by going to their tree and seeing everything reset. First impressions are notoriously difficult to shake, and you can imagine how an initial negative reaction will stick with some people. A concise, clear message before seeing the tree that explains the change and why it happened would be much better that shocking people and requiring them to explore to discover what happened. The barely noticeable, incredibly short, black-on-grey message near the top does not suffice.

TL;DR - Patch notes. Y'all need prominent patch notes.


This is a good point. I am very happy for the roll-out (sprouting?) of a new tree, but patch notes would definitely be helpful!


Look at all those languages!


My skills are lacking in most of them. But yeah, it looks impressive!


Yes, better communication is always what matters lol..


Exactly right. My initial reaction to all of a sudden seeing my 'tree' suddenly be full of incomplete items was, WTF!!!! It would have been really helpful to get a notice explaining what was happening. I get it and now I'm happy about it. But at first I was pretty darn pissed! I've spent a lot of time building that old 'tree.' Now it feels like starting over. No worries if it brings me more skills.


Agree 100% not enough explanation given


ESPECIALLY since they're also doing the rollout of Crowns. I was quite confused for a bit.


I have to say I do agree with your comments! However I am going to try and change my mind set and at the end of the day I suppose it is a free learning tool. A bit more warning would have been nicer though.


I was also shocked to see everything reset. While I appreciate JulesF's explanation, some sort of pre-warning that this was coming would have been a good idea.


Anyone who ever complains about the amount of cartoon gold on a free website they voluntarily joined has way too much time on their hands. And I say that as someone who's spent the last 546 days in a row learning a dying language.

  • 2072

Couldn't agree more.


Just wish we were told somewhat in advance.


Yes, I understand and I agree with you


Yes, but some people don't go on the forums. I was on the app when I discovered it. I was also scared someone had hacked my account or something. So. (Now I was also really stressed out about something else, so I wasn't exactly in a great place mentally anyhow, but still.)


After the changes were implemented. I posted this https://www.duolingo.com/comment/26725372 two hours before the announcement. Changes could have happened even before that.


The incubator team was giving semi-regular updates about the new tree in development over the last few months. It's not the easiest thing to follow, but the information was there if you were keeping an eye on the incubator page or reading the weekly incubator round-up posts on the discussion boards.

Also it should be noted: the changes are in A/B testing right now. So it's really only half-implemented, and the changes might end up getting rolled back depending on the results.


I see! I had no idea what was happening but that makes so much more sense as to why I lost levels. I thought that the update made me lose my already learned knowledge rather than adding new information in. I wish that we were told that new information was coming in though because I was really confused


They did announce it here: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/26726755 But of course not everyone sees all the announcements in the forum.


Again, after the changes were implemented. I posted this https://www.duolingo.com/comment/26725372 two hours before the announcement. Changes could have happened even before that. Also, people USING the forum are probably the people most likely to see that sort of announcement. I went straight to the forum to figure out what happened and hit up a few friends to see if they were impacted. Made it even more strange because I was the only one impacted. Might have been helpful to know it was an A/B test.


Don't get me wrong, I like the changes and am super grateful for the work the Duolingo team did. It seems quite comprehensive!! I just want you to get your facts before you go around telling everyone that they are wrong about there being a prior announcement.


Thanks Jules for focusing on the fact that we have the opportunity to learn more. I don't have the new skills yet, so thanks to those of you who are testing it! And a huge thanks to the volunteers who put the material together. I'm excited for the change.

Communication seems to be the theme here. People just don't like unexpected change. For the new Spanish material I opted in to the testing and received communication via email.

Here is a thought for the future - Put the new skills in the lingot store and for 100 lingots (and giving up your golden owl) you could buy the new information. Maybe that would solve two problems - people want more things to buy and they would know what to expect.


Haha, Je m'appelle Jules ;)

I really like that idea, and I agree that there should've been a warning. I still don't have the skill levels and new French skills too...


Sorry Jules. Je suis désolé.


ce n'est pas de importance:)


While I agree it's good for those who have already completed their trees - what about those who made it about 25% of the way through and are now having to start again in order to use the practice button?

Great way to motivate those who haven't finished their tree yet - get part-way through it and then have to start again! It's very disheartening to see my progress in a language I am fairly new to completely reset.

Not going to lie, it's put me off this course. Where was the warning? Why did I have to log in to the course, see my progress reset, then go digging into the forums to find the reason?


It's just a mistake the contributors have made. Try to see it from their kind of view...

Remember it is a A/B test. Maybe they will change it...


As contributors we can build the tree. We cannot decide when Duolingo will release it to be tested (we didn't know the day either!), we cannot determine whether you can test out of lower levels (I wish we could!), and we cannot email all the users to warn them that changes are coming. GeorgeofTruth did post regular updates in the incubator news for those that were following that.

In many ways, we are limited by how the new tree is implemented. We hope that users will give it a fair chance, because we think it is a much better tree and we hope it succeeds!


Some people will be unhappy no matter what. I'm here to learn French, and the 3.0 tree, which I sort-of knew was in development, is something to look forward to. I'm sure the experience won't be without some problems, but there's never any gain if there isn't any pain.


I’m surprised people are negative about this. I was really confused at first because my tree was randomly colorful again, but it took me a while to realize what had happened. When I saw the new lessons (gallicism especially) I was really excited. Thanks to all of the developers that helped make this happen!


Thanks for your kind and wise words JulesF! I hope many others with stick with it and give the new tree a chance. You are right, most of us joined Duolingo to learn a language as our primary motivation. The owl at the end and the golden trees are fun, but at the end of the day it is the knowledge gained that we carry with us. I believe that this tree will help learners get that much closer to their language goals.

Bonne chance à tous !

  • 1492

I don’t ultimately have an issue with the changes, but as I and several others have said, it is the way it was done. I don’t go on the discussion forums unless I have an issue. I get at least one email a day from Duolingo, but no mention of these upcoming changes. Why couldn’t it have been mentioned? Also, my husband does Duolingo and he has had no changes to his tree. Why is that? It is all about not knocking peoples confidence. Couldn’t it have been rolled out a section at a time? You shouldn’t just whip the rug out from under peoples feet without some very clear warning and in good time. I will persevere because I do want to improve my French, but I am less than happy with the way this has been handled.


I do Duolingo almost exclusively on the mobile app and I had no warning of any kind about this major change. I would have appreciated an email from Duolingo to understand their thinking (which would not have been difficult for them to do). Despite the justifications I have now read on this forum, it doesn't make me feel too clement about Duolingo (despite having persisted for over 1,000 days).


Despite the abrupt shock, I hope that you will give the new tree a chance. In many ways it is much better than the old one. Bonne continuation !


I totally like the idea of more words. And of course, you have to do those lessons (or test out).

What I find odd is that for some reason, they thought that I did not know Basics 1. I tested out of it, but none of the words were to my knowledge new. There should have been a way to know what people who had done the previous Basics 1 didn't need to repeat it. For higher skills, maybe that was harder. But that one was strange.

Not a huge deal, as it took all of like 3 minutes to test out, but just strange.


I'm personally awaiting such a change as regards Italian from English tree. I won't complain, believe me. I think those studying French are forunate enough ...


Well it took the better part of two days, but I'm good and golden again. Thanks guys for the hard work.


Well said thumbs up

  • 1492

I think to hit us with so many updates in one go is kicking us in the teeth. A steady change would be much more productive. To find I suddenly have 55 updates has knocked me for six. I do want to learn, but I don’t want to be turned off in the process. As a teacher of another subject this is not the way to go about things. People need encouragement, not discouragement! Think again!


There are several errors on the new tree which I have been unable to report. I am sent back to the beginning or it crashes. I have been using Test Out. An example is that for 'tonight' it will only accept 'la nuit prochaine', - the next night. This is frustrating. The only way I can progress is to give answers which I know to be incorrect. Is this happening to anyone else


When you can (not always possible) report your answer as being correct. It seems to be acted on sometimes. I particularly dislike non-english usages. It should always be "people who", "things which", and " that" should be used for connecting clauses. Also "i just" is usually wrong, in most contexts (should be "I have just")


I just hate when that happens!


Hi there! Maybe you can start a discussion about this? I am sure there are people that would like to help you :)


The new Weather section is very strict, with the translations to English.


it's because they need to have more right translations. You can submit them by clicking on: "my answer is correct" when you finished an exercise.


I've been doing that. I figured that need to continue to add more right translations.


The whole point of spaced repetition is to do around 10 new words per day (maybe even less) and go through previous words most likely to be forgotten.

For spaced repetition to work, you cannot rush. You cannot do 100 words in a day, because this means that at one point you'll have to review those 100 words.

So, people being upset about losing progress is mostly because their current learning rhythm has been disrupted.

Given that my french tree is now mostly completely empty I have to start again and will probably forget all those words that I was supposed to see today or in the coming days.

Also, the skills I've completed and that I now have to do from scratch do not seem to contain many if any new words. So I do not see the point.

Of course, if the strengthen button will give me exercises with the words I've done regardless, then I guess there's no reason to be annoyed with this change.


There is a program called "tinycards" in which the Duolingo French course words are put into flashcards... You can practice them there.


I completely agree! I think the communication should've been a bit better, for those of us who are on the app and not as much on the computer, because it did freak me out a little when I saw my tree all un-golden again. :P So I see where people are coming from on that point, but that's totally out of the contributers' hands. I quite like the new update other than that one first-shock. :P


Thank you for that surprise :) I have to admit that i was shocked at first sight. Then, may i want this development for the Spanish tree?


I like it so far. I believe that this is the best update that i have experienced in the entire time that i have used duolingo. Rite on duoling!


I found it quite a surprise to find so many of my skill levels had gone back to coloured from gold overnight due to the new French tree. It would have been good to have been told in advance that this was going to happen. I couldn’t understand what had gone wrong. However now that I have found the explanation, I think the increase in vocabulary is good.


Thank you for the hard work


I knew this would happen, but I'm just wondering how the tree got shorter. Last week I had some 15 unfinished tasks in an otherwise golden tree, now I have only 3 left. The tree is obviously not gold.


I honestly do not have any idea...


Having to redo and test out on areas I thought I knew has revealed many areas I need to revise. So now I'm happy to accept the challenge. Ouais.


Well that’s an interesting perspective. I have just signed on and see that I have gone right back to the beginning with all my ‘progress’ wiped out! I will try and adopt your suggested attitude but do feel a little disappointed


In my view, much of the work to strengthen and redo skills will be tedious work, but as long as you're getting practice in, it's worth it!


Well, you can be a little disappointed, but not too much;)


I'm just confused still, though. Why are so many of my basic skills reset, but a few upper level ones are still gold? And, I get the same "tree has updated" message on my Spanish course but nothing seems to have actually changed.


Interestingly, after so many people saying they would have liked to be informed about this, this morning there’s a pop up box saying they have made changes. Shame it wasn’t done when the changes were first made and not 2 days down the line.

  • 1492

So if the fluency score is scrapped, why does it still appear on my page ?


My French Tree hasn't been updated with any of the new topics like Weather, is there something I have to do to get the update to work?


I haven't got it too. You just have to wait


I’m not a fan of the new tree and the crown system after a few days of use. I don’t care about the golden tree (i had three guilded trees). But I don’t see that there’s more complex or advanced learning. It just looks like more of the same for me.

Previously using the iOS app I could regain health by redoing an old lesson on any one of my trees, but now,they’re all reset, so I can’t. Someone shared browser version, which is helpful, but often the sound doesn’t come through.

To be fair, I’ve not looked at the really advanced lessons because I have to go back and do a bunch of level one and level two lessons again so I can get to the advanced lessons, and there’s no way to test out of the new lessons, so I have to do the basic ones again.

This new French tree was combined with the new crown system for me, so all my trees changed radically at the same time. I’m glad Duo is moving forward. You can’t make an omelette without breaking some eggs....

[deactivated user]

    If someone is so shallow in wanting a aesthetic virtual tree, then they probably shouldn't be learning a language here at all.


    That is a nice sentiment Jules, but I would have to say the goal of the Duolingo app is to make learning new languages fun. These changes have taken a lot of the fun out of learning French. If I really want to learn the hard way I can always take classes at night school.

    This has been particularly difficult for me as I particularly don't do well learning new languages. I was just at the point that I felt I was making a breakthrough in my learning French enjoying the practices as those were what I was mostly doing. Then suddenly everything changed, and I was expected to redo a bunch of lessons, and they were much harder than the first time through. I was confused, and there was no clear information as to why this happend. Normally I use Duolingo on my mobile phone, so any explaination was not all that noticable. I didn't even realize how much I had to redo until I viewed the site on my computer, since the web interface and the mobile app have a different user experience.

    Maybe my progress is in my brain but when I have to redo lessons, and the lessons are harder than the first time I did them, then that removes the progress and pushes me back into my shell. Now instead of looking forward to doing Duolingo, I look to it in dread, as if my French teacher from high school has some how decided to make my life miserable again.

    If it is desired to make things harder, that's fine. I could understand if they added new or extra skill sets with new or updated lessons, but leave the lessons that are already done alone. The reason Duolingo was fun to begin with was that the lessons played upon our psyche to make learning a game. Who likes a game where you suddenly have to restart because someone decided to change the rules?


    My sentiments exactly.


    And how do you get this new tree please? My tree is currently on repetition. repetition and repetition. I can't remember the last time a new word was thrown in. Moving from level 1 to 4 currently just means the same exercise over and over even in more difficult areas such as conditionnelle, subjonctif etc


    That is very frustrating, I hope you will have a chance to try it soon!


    If you don't want to wait, you can create a new account that will have the new tree. Unfortunately a new account won't have the progress you've made here, but you can test out at the checkpoints.


    But they've done it again!


    I am now back to having to cover absolute basics to get my tree levels back to gold. I don’t mind repetition as it aids learning but it is ridiculous to take us back to the very beginning when you have been learning a for a long time. Takes away the enjoyment as you stop progressing until you have got through the basics again.


    I suppose it's a quick way of generating xp. Just do the level up exercise..


    i think the previous tree was a bit more convenient , because for example if i wanted to review the notes about questions i would go to the questions skills now for example part of the notes about questions is in the "people" skill, so i don't exactly know where to look at and it can be a bit confusing, i'll probably get used to it at some point but i liked the previous one better.


    OK I just (June 2019) completed the new French Tree. It was a hard slog. In particular, in the middle section, starting with Technology, things got really tough because Duolingo accepted so few right answers and some of the "right" answers were not very good English. But having got through that middle section, it got much easier (or more tolerant). I am very glad I finished the whole thing and not given up like some people threatened. My guess is that the middle section was created by a different person or group than the other sections. Or, perhaps Duolingo was putting up a really tough hurdle to jump before letting you go the rest of the way. I encourage everyone to persevere. One clue: As you go through levels 1 - 3, copy down the correct answers so you can easily refer to them later. Made all the difference for me. Now, I'm told there are more Stories!! Allez!

    [deactivated user]

      I just finished the new part of the tree. I found it very challenging (sometimes frustrating to be sure). I've now "moved on" to the next level of the (old) tree. It is so simple, I'm barely learning anything new and there are no lesson notes. How is "one two three four five" in the "Relations" lesson and something so basic so far down in the tree?

      Are there plans to revise the entire tree?


      I think the new format is an improvement. I like being able to test out of a level, and the Leagues are a great motivation to acquire XP everyday. I agree that communication can be better, but I also found a lot of the features on my own simply by exploring. It's half the fun when the website/app is so very well designed. Good work! For people who need help, perhaps a Discuss forum specifically dedicated to answering questions, giving feedback, etc. I am more of a hands-on kinda guy. Learning by doing. Keep up all your good work, Duolingo!


      I'm already using Duolingo for other languages. I'm a pretty good French speaker and have used it professionally over the years in numerous contexts. I'm finding the higher end of the tree very frustrating because of the limited number of translations accepted, which gets me buzzed out of tests I'd relatively quickly pass, simply because my version isn't accepted, not because it's bad French. Doesn't seem like moderators adjust it that often. Particularly frustrating with the new policy of charging lingots to take a test!


      You make a good point about progress and motivation being internal rather than an external thing on the internet. 100% true and insightful. However, I do have some problems with the way Duolingo handles these updates. For example, with the 2019 reorganization, my tree basically reset to zero. And coming in to see things basically at zero is so demotivating. I use duolingo primarily for practice as a I do my own self study elsewhere. It's a visual reminder of things I know well, things I need to work on, and things I still need to learn. When the tree forces me back to basics, I lose a sense of where my level really is and what I really need to work on. I go back to the beginning only to be bored out of my skull learning "greetings" (for example) and eventually give up trying to figure out where I was, and then give up all together. I think duolingo should offer a way to re-do placement tests for the new lessons after a tree restructure. That way you can keep a general idea of where you were before the restructure. I think it's a small thing that can do to make the transition more seamless.


      I really like the new additions, it gives me more to learn :)


      there are meny comments of French students concerning the bad English translation. Of course the contribution of the course is appreciated however there is much frustration about the English translations. It is a surprise that these French makers were able to do it - when i see the international research to compare the skills of English in nations world wide where French do not show too many skills in French. Maybe some help via Duolingo is necessary to improve the English translations, i made a report of it because every time to the discussions this is a topic of many students. So please help these brave french makers to make correct English translations so it will remove the frustrations of many students of the French course thank you. (written on January first 2020 Happy New Year for you all).


      When you think you've made some progress and suddenly you see that none of it is there... it's bad... really bad... Very "thankful"...


      I'm at level 24 in French and only needed a few hundred more XPs to reach 25. And do you know what I don't care about losing it all now that I have the chance to learn more French? Isn't that what we are here for? Would you prefer to remain with a limited amount of knowledge rather than have the chance to have more?


      Should make it easy to get to level 25!! I almost have it now that I have a bunch more stuff to go through.


      Also, your level doesn't get reset, so you have a good chance to get the few hundred xp pretty easily! :)


      Thank you, Jared and xMira for pointing that out. So, I'll get to 25 and have the advantage of all the extra sentences that have been added. I'm on board with that.


      See? It seems like people are pretending this is a cloud with a silver lining... where it's actually a silver key (opening the door to knowledge) that's a little clouded with steam.


      Everything you've learned is progress! :)


      That you don't see it doesn't mean that it isn't there...


      I need to air a grievance: I have consciencelyfollowed the course for ninety odd days, and paid for a day's gap so as to preserve my 'streak' and this morning I received another demand, which leaves me thinking that you want to charge twice for the same day. There is no ther way that I can sort this out, because there is no menu option for this kind of thing, so please can you help.


      I have commented elsewhere on a grievance that I have, but I also want to wholheartedly approve the new learning tree. Have flogged around the old tree and it has been extremely difficult to make progress beyond 67 - 68%. This newtree makes it clear where I can improve. I have some observations about some of your software viz:-

      There is a American feel to a lot of the model answers. The most glaring is the substitution of "i just started" for the correct "i have just started". I will report others when I see them.

      In my long sojourn at 67% I have enjoyed the chance to listen and respond to spoken French sentences. I think that the sound analysis could start with the end of the sentence. For instance "I want a ticket for Lille (should be lilluh)" is heard as "I want a ticket for Lyons" From experience the last word of a sentence is the most important, and your software is too lenient with the ends of a test.


      Hi there! Maybe you can start a discussion about this? I am sure there are people that would like to help you :)


      I appreciate your hard work and effort, so thank you. But I think you could have introduced these new skills one by one. When I wanted to learn French the other day, suddenly I faced 60 new skills. I guess it would take me months to complete it again (not to mention that my owl is gone), and I was so frustrated that I haven't touched my French tree since. Also you can't tell me what I SHOULD feel. At one hand I try to feel happy, because of course I can learn more, but on the other hand it is just really frustrating. You could have avoided that by notifying the users in advance and introducing the new skills one by one (if you can), so they don't feel like strengthening all these skills is beyond their strength. (I also experienced a similar update with my German tree. What's next? I would like to know what to expect.)




      Gemme Lingors Boi

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