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Requested Suggestions for an Update to "English Learning Spanish"

Hi all,

First off, love Duolingo. It is incredibly convenient, and while I initially was wary of learning through practice and "figuring out" the grammar, it has ultimately worked out well, especially if supplementing with a grammar book.

I did have a few suggestions, or things I found were oddly missing, that would be helpful additions in an update:

Colors: In the colors section, all the generic colors are included, but purple/violet (púrpura/violeta) and brown (marrón) are randomly absent. If possible, it would be great to include these. It would also be great to include "anaranjado" and its usage.

Time: In the seasons section, only three of the seasons are included! Autumn (otoño) is randomly absent. It would be great to include this, as well, so all four seasons are in the vocab set.

Family: It would've been great to include the terms for grandchild (nieto/a) and niece/nephew (sobrina/o) in this section, as the corresponding relationship (grandparent and aunt/uncle) is listed.

Household: As someone mentioned in the comments, spoon and knife are defined, but not fork (tenedor)!

Verbs: In general, I think the verb sections are great. However, I often wished the lesson preview word banks had the infinitives of the verbs, rather than randomly chosen conjugations (1st person plural, or 3rd person singular, etc). Given how many Spanish verbs are irregular, listing conjugations would make it more difficult to look up the infinitive of those verbs.

Verbs 2: It would be great as well to have a section on linked verbs that always or generally require a preposition (such as "ayudar")

Again, love the program, and the app works fantastically! These are just a few small omissions I noted (and then looked up!) while learning. Thanks for all the work you do!

April 21, 2014



"a section on linked verbs that always or generally require a preposition"

A lesson in which you can practice verbs with prepositions would be super helpful. Not only in Spanish, also in French (and I assume pretty much any other language).


While we are making suggestions what I would love to see is more depth to the numbers lessons. I find large numbers like dates challenging, and fractions, per cents, and decimals. They are easy to write of course, but how do you say them?


I would like to help you saying that words in Spanish are pronounced as they are written the pronunciation is very easy I can tell you that because I'm from Mexico and believe it or not I'm 16 and I learned English so if I can learn English I'm sure that you can learn Spanish :) so good luck


Congratulations on learning another language at such a young age! How long did it take you?


It wasn't easy but it took me 2 years in a school of English near my house


That's really awesome, I wasn't in High School long enough to take any language courses so i've only been learning online but I hope if I get a chance to take a course at a college that i'll be able to apply what i've learned online to the course and learn the language as quickly as possible.


Good luck isn't easy to learn a language but if you try you can :)


Good remarks. Learned something by reading your post. I am a bit disappointed with how much effort is being put into the interface and various "features" compared to the lessons. I always thought they will continue to upgrade the tree and improve the lessons.


completely different people work on the design versus the lessons/courses, so it's not like improving the design and the functionality of the page is taking away from the courses :-)


I understand that. And its a fair point. But at the same time these resources (human resources, equipment, software, etc), are being allocated by someone. It is my opinion that more resources should be allocated to improve the core functionality, instead of the bells and whistles.


Yes but, the team also did their homework, and for example found that users learn better on the new interface. Given that you need designers etc anyways to run the page, they might as well make it the best version of the page possible. Things like user interfaces DO influence learning!


I agree. And it's a stunning interface. I am very grateful for the work duolingo has put into this. And on top of it all, it's free. Maybe in the future they will release a new feature that will allow the community to add to the lessons. There is a huge opportunity to engage the community and I'm sure sooner or later we will reach that point.


it does.. if you have a finite amount of resources, the more you allocate towards improving design and functionality by default takes away from potentially improving the content of the courses


But how many people did Duolingo hire for these respective tasks? How many open positions do they have for each? It is troubling where the priorities seem to be.


(I am just going to copy past the message I sent to StriderCid because I am basically making the same point - hope you don't mind: )

Yes but, the team also did their homework, and for example found that users learn better on the new interface. Given that you need designers etc anyways to run the page, they might as well make it the best version of the page possible. Things like user interfaces DO influence learning!


I am in the last 7% of the spanish tree and it's currently a nightmare. They left all of these Verb lessons for the very end:

V. Subj/Imp (currently stuck here, then I will get...)

V. Modal

V. Conditional

V.P. Imperative

V. Sub P.

V. Cond. Per.

(with a ten lesson Abstract Objects mixed in there for fun)

I was hoping to finish my tree by Abril 30, but if these lessons are anything like V. Subj/Imp, that is not going to happen. :(


Cheers, CattleRustler.

I'm slowly chewing away at the end of my tree, too.

It's frustrating because I'm primarily using my iphone app, and there's so many sentences that I would like to report, but reporting on the app is a pain.

I'm finding as I inch forward through all of these verb tenses that only a few of them are true whoppers. I've been psyching myself out on some of them.

(I've got the last 3 on your list to finish.)

And, I'm also looking forward to Abstract Objects. WOOHOO.


cool, I am sure I will blast right thru Abstract Objects, unless of course they present them using all of these new tenses from that area (Facepalm) Buena suerte :)


Well done for getting that far! You should also read the thread on splitting up the lessons into smaller chunks. It would mean more skills to learn, but the demotivation felt when you open up another skill only to find that there are 10 lessons to do is awful. I know that I will have to correctly complete 400 sentences before I can open up the next three and they are a 10, a 10 and a 4 (yipee!) It would be good to know whether TPTB at DL read our comments and take them on board.


I feel you--just lived through all this myself. I thought Verbs Modal would be the end of me. On these verb sections I would first have to try to figure out what tense in my Barron's Verbs they corresponded to (only once did they use the same name for a tense), how they are formed, and what they're used to express and how they translate to English. I found that on Duolingo . . . it often didn't seem to follow what Barron's said. I feel mistrustful of what I've possibly learned from all of these and am still looking for a way/place to truly understand them. The only way I got through it was to stop resisting the way Duolingo was doing it and to say to myself constantly: I am very calm. Just get me through this section. Just get me through. I will learn it for real later. I finished the Tree two days ago and I feel there should have been more fanfare, because that was often really HARD and insane-making!! You will be glad to know that the Abstract Objects are super easy. You'll make it!


lol thanks. I agree, I made it through modal (2 lessons) and haven't learned anything for real yet. Luckily mi novia is from Peru and will explain it to me tonight ;)


I don't mind DL not covering a lot of basic vocabulary. Those things are easy to find on spanishdict.com and they can't include everything!

But having the verbs listed as infinitives in the previews would be great. And your idea of a session on linked verbs is great too.


Another great tool for improving vocabulary: Anki flashcards. Applications for PC, Android, and iOS plus a website. And tons of free decks, plus you can make your own. They support images and sound, too.


You're right that Duo misses out some important words. For example, I have never encountered 'cuan', 'pues' or even 'chic@' here.


Chic@ shows up; not sure how far down, probably below checkpoint 2 or maybe 3.


I think a good addition for DL would be a conjugation practice mode. Where you can just simply practice conjugating verbs in different tenses.


On a related note, I'm surprised that you can get through the entire tree without encountering "sin embargo."

I definitely agree that more lessons with irregular verbs - and more exposure to verbs in general - would be very helpful.


To some extent, this is part of the value of immersion/translation tasks; I've encountered phrases like "sin embargo" and others often in those uploaded articles.


True, but that's also kinda my point - "sin embargo" is an incredibly common phrase, and it's one we never see in the lessons.

As much as I'm looking forward to having more languages to learn on the site, I'm also hoping that the Spanish lessons can be beefed up, and include exposure to some common phrases.


"Sin embargo" was one of the few phrases I could clearly hear when I used to try to listen to the news in Spanish, and they say it constantly--and my mind always instantly translated it as "without blockade" and still does. So yes, pretty funny it wasn't in the tree.


Duolingo is good. But the depth of the lessons is woeful in comparison to Spanish Dict, which although using a boring interface, has lessons on many aspects such as ordinal numbers.

If Duolingo incorporated some higher level elements it would be great!


A section on how food is cooked would be real world valuable. Words like toasted, baked, fried, broiled, grilled, burnt, barbecued.


Check out Lyarra's many uploads of recipes in the Immersion section!


Another one for the list is the kitchen utensils. They teach you knife (cuchillo) and spoon (cuchara) but never are you taught the word for fork.

Also, I thought purple was morado? That's what Rosetta Stone taught me anyways.


just in case... Fork is Tenedor :) and yes purple is morado, probably more than one way to say it though. http://www.spanishdict.com/translate/purple


Well thought-out suggestions !


Here is one more thing to correct in Spanish: I made a correct (alternate) translation and duo counted it wrong. i forgot the exact example, but it was the regular present tense which can be used to say "I cook" or "I will cook". Anyway, the question was whatever verb it was used with TOMORROW. So I translated as "I will cook tomorrow" and duo told me I was wrong, that it should be "I cook tomorrow." Especially when used with tomorrow this should be counted correctly, but technically at all times it should be. Otherwise I am enjoying using this app. I'm curious to see how the verbs play out in translation when I get to the higher levels.


Duo provides a button for us to report things like this. The creators of the courses think of the basic sentences and some obvious translations, but it is up to us, the community, to submit corrections so that Duo becomes more accurate and more robust. When you are counted wrong and your answer is correct, click on "Report a Problem" down near the bottom of the window.


thanks, lrtward. i found this on my computer - i had been exclusively using the app on my phone until recently, and the app does not seem to have this button.


Oh, shoot. I use the website, not the app. I've seen folks comment before that the app does not have a "report this" ability, but since I don't use it, I had forgotten. Sorry about that.

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The Android app has a "report this" feature. It's a little flag icon.


Muy bien...


Thanks for the suggestions and for pointing out some of the inconsistencies. With the way the incubator works, it is easy for things to fall through the cracks. Lists like this one are helpful.


Just spotted your topic and noticed that you are learning Spanish too. You might find these tips useful: https://www.examtime.com/blog/how-to-learn-spanish-with-examtime/


I would also like to see more Spanish words taken from the Immersion section as either bonus skill(s) or simply integrated into your word count. Pretty sure that this cannot be an automatic process though.

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