https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kai_Nakazawa

Suggestion: Bonus Skill, "Colloquial Speech"

For an additional bonus skill that could be purchased through the Lingot store, I suggest "Colloquial Speaking." While not quite at the level of being slang, this lesson could teach how a language is commonly spoken. Some examples being,

"Yeah" "Yup" "Nope" "Nah" for "yes" and "no"

"No problem" "No worries" for "you're welcome"

"Thanks" for "thank you"

All would be ways of speaking to friends and family, but perhaps not to your teacher, you boss, or a policeman. Learning the words could also be coupled with learning when and to whom it would be acceptable to talk in such a way.

April 20, 2014

24 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wintertriangles

I'm sure the native speakers could take this in a good direction that would be useful, good idea

April 20, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/OlderThanRome

From what I can tell, the French you learn on Duolingo makes you sound stilted, even snooty. The course is sorely lacking colloquial language:

Ouais, chui, c'est quoi ça, tes potes, la bagnole, ça craint, and so on.

Although I'm only learning French myself and would love to hear the opinion of French speakers!

April 20, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Camilyon

Polyglots go through multiple courses in order to learn a language. Duolingo is a great tool, but it is ONE tool. Use other things to kick other parts into gear. Once you get to a certain point, watch movies in your target language.

April 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FlamingoDingo

Yep movies are the best. It's where I learned to swear in French, plus a bunch of suggestive phrases. It's the best way to learn colloquial language.

April 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kai_Nakazawa

Haha, snooty?

"I shall be most glad to pass that on. It most certainly would seem to be an issue of import."

But yes, it's bad enough that most Duolingo speakers are likely to end up sounding like a computer-read voice with a bad accent.

April 20, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/corpsy

Wesh gros, qu'est-ce t'as ? C'est quand qu'on arrive ? Ta bagnole craint un max gros, tes potes vont se foutre de ta gueule !

Etc.. This is absolutly not the best french that you can hear, but this is higly common, thus higly important to master.

April 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/corpsy

And it seems that you don't learn one of the most pedantic, rare grammatical tense : the "subjonctif imparfait". Here an example:

"J'aurais aimé que nous allassions le voir. "

Here, "allassions" is in "imparfait du subjonctif"—the verb is "aller".

April 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/saschambaer

Wait, so is the Imperfect Subjunctive important or can it be ignored? In Portuguese it's quite important. What would you use instead?

April 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/corpsy

It's an obsolete tense, yes. You only see it in "old" books, like Honoré de Balzac, or Marquis de Sade (he uses this tense a lot).

But the "subjonctif présent" is really common, like :

"Il est possible qu’il vienne."

April 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/saschambaer

What do you replace it with? I find subjunctives pretty, I'm even using them in English (I demand that you be here. If I were there right now, ...) and I completely overuse them in German (my native language). They're more common in Swiss German than in Standard German, and that can be seen when I speak. For example, most people would express "He said he'd come at five o'clock" as "Er sagte, er kommt um fünf", but I say the more correct "Er sagte, er komme um fünf", which is more or less the same tense as the subjonctf présent.

April 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AnilHabib

@saschambaer The subjunctive is, sadly, dying out in English as well. So, instances such as your "if I were you" are becoming "if I was you." The former sounds better to me, so I use what is becoming an outdated tense. On the other hand, this trend is making it harder for English speakers learning a new language to understand subjunctive. I know this is especially true with respect to Spanish, which continues to emphasize the subjunctive strongly.

April 22, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JC70

There's no passé simple or related tenses either, I seem to remember. I suppose teaching all that would raise the same problems as teaching colloquial speech: the student must leave with a firm understanding that what they are learning is crucial in some social contexts and wholly inappropriate in others.

April 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/OlderThanRome

That makes sense, but making it a bonus skill and calling it colloquial speech should take care of that.

April 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/french.edition

I had this idea yesterday! I agree! Words like:

Calm down, try it, try again, can I help, please stop, keep going, way to go, awesome, absolutely, have fun, go fast, go slow...

April 20, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JC70

Nice idea, might be difficult to implement where regional colloquialisms arise... Would you have separate skills for Cockney, Glaswegian, Valley Girl and Minnesota Singsong? Or just a catastrophic, broadly stereotyped mix of all of them? I'd like to hear the robot lady try to enunciate that!

(Perhaps a conversational roleplay: "Awright ye scunner ye? - Like, whatever. - Oh yaa, you betchaa.")

April 20, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Klgregonis

Good idea. It should include the use of contractions, where appropriate, The English lessons do an awful lot of Do you not have - which is grammatically correct but never said except in very formal contexts or when someone is mad. Others:
How's it going?
Dropping the pronoun, which we can do in casual speech - meet you there at three o'clock, Okay? Gonna, gotta, wanna (which almost everyone says, they just deny saying them) And the equivalents in other languages.

April 20, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ianrobertshaw61

Do you not.... Very common in Lancashire

April 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Klgregonis

Well, I should have said in my dialect.

April 22, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/intermerda

Good idea. There definitely need to be more items in the store. Having lingots lying around when you've bought everything is no fun.

April 20, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/_pinkodoug_

I like the idea of adding colloquial speech to the lessons, but not as bonus skills.

I think that the bonus skills were a cute novelty when they were introduced last Christmas, but I don't think that this mechanism should be used for future expansions of the language courses. Bonus skills are isolated from everything else in the course. For example, the vocabulary and grammar concepts introduced in bonus skills don't appear in any other lessons or practice drills. The vocabulary doesn't count towards your "words learned" total, which is not as big of a deal, but it demonstrates the segregation of the bonus content. I'd much rather they direct any efforts to add content to skill trees towards expanding the courses and fully integrating the new content into them.

April 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RosieGirl28

I think that this would be very helpful since the reason why I'm learning French is because I want to go there someday. I know that I'm not the only one that is using DuoLingo for this reason.

April 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/marinambAA

Excuse me, could you please explain me how to buy additional bonus skills? I have the lingots but I do not see how I can buy another one? I am learning German. Many thanks, Marina

April 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Indimellem

If you click on the "lingot"-sign in the right corner you come to the store, where you can spend the lingots. I don't know which skills you can buy for the german tree, but learning French and Spanish I can buy "Idioms" and "Flirting."

April 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/marinambAA

Thank you. I saw that but it looks like I have only two bonus skills in German and I thought I was missing something. Many thanks for taking the time to respond. Sincerely, marina

April 21, 2014
Learn a language in just 5 minutes a day. For free.