https://www.duolingo.com/DanieleBerto

French course, basically nothing is explained

Hi, i finded out that close to no grammar rules are explained in the french course leaving the student with huge gaps as the course goes on. Just asking the student to translate something giving him/her just the translation of the new word introduced is not enough.

April 26, 2014

44 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/milesnagopaleen

You deserve a lingot for that!

April 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Carlozzo

Well, he got 10.

April 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/JcPOH7KHrmmA4gpm

Pour que vous méritez plus d'un lingot. Merci!

April 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/wj677
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Great list. And I would add: http://gabfle.blogspot.fr Particularly helpful on the audio for beginners

April 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Amy-schultz

(Not my answer.) Copying one of Luis Von Ahn's recent comments on grammar:

The very honest answer is that I, personally, don't like vocabulary, grammar or verb conjugation. My dream in life is to be able to teach you a language without you needing to read textbooks about indirect objects. In fact, I consider the use of grammar to be discriminatory against those who unfortunately didn't have a very good education in their own native language (which is the majority of the world's population). I think slapping 30 pages of grammar before every lesson is the easy way out -- instead we should strive for something that everybody can consume. That said, we ARE working on these issues -- they just move slower because we're more excited about other things.

April 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Franck
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I find his answer "[...] I, personally, don't like vocabulary, grammar or verb conjugation [...]" somehow scary. He doesn't like it personally so these aspects are not explained in Duolingo. Duolingo should be backed up by science not by personal preferences!

Furthermore, claiming you can learn a language with duolingo when at the same time all the explanations are given FROM USERS who very often refer to OTHER WEBSITES is deceiving.

I have used duolingo to learn German. I've reached the level 22, all with shiny golden skills and yet I cannot make simple sentences and still can't infer the grammar rules from the advanced lessons.

April 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Amy-schultz

There are some grammar items that, if I did not already know the points from previous French experience, I certainly wouldn't figure it out from the main portions of DL! (Although I do still like DL) The individual sentence discussions and Sitesurf's many comments have been extremely helpful! (Thank you Sitesurf!) However, I posted Luis Von Ahn's comment because it gives his viewpoint (even if others disagree with it) and shows which direction DL might head.

April 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Martijn-J

It's his dream to teach you a language without the use of grammar, not to just teach you a language. It's not just his opinion it's his vision. And I think that the popularity of duolingo is enough science to say that there is something to that vision.

I think that everyone should realize that grammar is formed around a language. Grammar does not form the language itself. And grammar is not essential to learning a language.

April 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Franck
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I agree it's popular. But popularity is not science! I guess there are some valid foundations in Duolingo. For example, they use the spaced repetition principle which has been shown to be effective (I don't know which algorithm they use underneath though).

Actually, grammar is central to the teaching and learning of languages. The common misconception I guess is that people think they need to learn the rules by heart. I think just by reading and understanding a rule saves a lot of time.

I experienced it myself with German: I didn't get the conditional at all and spent a lot of time failing again and again the skill (very frustrating). I finally decided to read about it and add comments about the rules in my personal flashcards along with sentences with the conditional.

Another example in German: Either you learn a lot of words ending with -heit and at one point you may infer they are all feminine or you just learn them with each time a note alongside explaining the rule. Guess which one is much more efficient?

April 28, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/lindakanga
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Yes valid points, but all of us learn in different ways. And this framework that duolingo has created - it is engaging people - creating positive discussions - and improving peoples learning journeys ;) Life isn't perfect. It is humans that create "perfect" situations - but they only work in limited models - in my experience. ;)

April 28, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/alc1997

the idea is backed with science and result. essentially the process is to absorb the content through repetition with out requiring memorisation of rules. this method works best for kids under a certain age before the brain can reflect on why something is someway but it works none the less. the brief explanations at the beginning of certain skills are all you should need grammar wise.

April 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/ecuabax
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Personally, I like the system as the learning becomes intuitive as one practices. Children don't learn grammar yet become proficient in their native tongue. It's has to be an everyday activity for me or I won't get very far. I make lots of mistakes and keep repeating and gradually the repetition is forming language "grooves" in my brain and I'm beginning to feel comfortable and things make sense. For me it's more than learning a list by memory. Eventually looking at rules of grammar might make sense, but learning to read with the ability to understand and hopefully finding people I can practice speaking with will help me someday be able to communicate effectively in French.

April 28, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Samy1979
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I think the same way :-) Chapeau Luis :-)

April 28, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/helenvee

Duolingo uses a variation of the immersion method where you learn a language by being immersed in it, picking up the rules by experience. Because we're not in a classroom where the class is taught in the language being learned - or living in the country where we hear it spoken all the time - I think it does need to be supplemented by other sources where grammar is explained. I find french.about.com very useful for this but there are many other sites as well.

April 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Yeva1
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You can always use other resources with duolingo.

April 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/JcPOH7KHrmmA4gpm

Lesquelles sites vous recommandez pour ça?

April 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/coin-quin
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Quels sites* :)

"Quelles" is for feminine and "des sites" is masculine "Lesquelles/lesquels" if when you already know what you are talking about, so saying "sites" again is redundant. Ex : - "J'aime les animaux" - "Lesquels aimez-vous ?" or "Quels animaux aimez-vous ?"

Not sure if that was clear :P

April 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/JcPOH7KHrmmA4gpm

Rien n'est clair, donc: merci.

April 28, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Yeva1
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I really like http://www.conjugation-fr.com/index.html for conjugations. It gives you all forms of the verb. The only issue is that you can't browse through the verbs, you have to search for them. I'm not sure if that makes sense, but the website is very straight forward and organized.

April 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Yeva1
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You can also make charts for the irregular or the most common verbs. I find writing it down makes it easier for me to remember.

April 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/alc1997

leconjugeur.lefigaro.fr fonction bien aussi

April 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Rachjessk

I definitely agree. Something I find useful is the individual sentence discussions. Quite often, someone will have already asked about the grammar of that particular sentence. Another thing I found is that if you repeat the lesson a couple of times, you'll generally pick up on the grammar a bit more. And as Yeva1 said, there are always other websites, grammar books and such that you can use alongside duo.

April 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/vivienne2

Buy a grammar book.

April 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/lindakanga
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So which one, or which ones, have you found useful?

April 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/JcPOH7KHrmmA4gpm

J'aime "La Grammaire de l'Absurde" en https://www.laits.utexas.edu/tex/. Il ne côute rien.

April 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/rodeoman

I think for most people who are at beginning or early stages, Duo meets a need. I think as we progress the need for additional resources, including an understanding of grammar, becomes more apparent.

Duo is one of many resources and I have found that there are many pointers to other resources to fill the voids left by Duo. In fact, I'm overwhelmed by resources such that I have had to try to restrict myself to a couple, otherwise I'm bouncing from one to another at the cost of progress!

April 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/chilvence
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If you want to learn something, if you really want to learn something, you just learn it by doing it, and you ask yourself the questions you feel the need for answers to. Of course your efforts are going to be ugly at first. But if they work at all, you will only try harder, and you will be trying harder just because you want to, and you will ask the right questions because only you know where you really need to develop. Forcing grammar is not the answer. You shouldn't have to be perfect before you are allowed to even try, and that is the subtle secret message that comes with Duolingo, and you don't even realise it. When you get something right on Duolingo, everything is great, and when you get something wrong... well you see a gap in your knowledge and you ask yourself what you need to know in order to get it right. You might even use something like google to find the specific answer you are looking for. You fill in the gaps in your knowledge by yourself.

Self sufficiency is more important than spoon feeding. I've never cared that Duolingo explains almost nothing, you know why? Because there is plenty of that everywhere else, so what is the point in going along the beaten path again? It's more a of a challenge this way. There is more satisfaction when you work something out yourself. You care a lot more for knowledge you have gained yourself, because you had to work harder for it. And it is refreshing to see a company not afraid to throw conventional methods in the toilet and try something different, even if they don't ultimately succeed, I respect the spirit. I think they are doing okay though...

April 28, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/mangledmatt

I find that there are essentially three components to learning. The lecture, the practice questions and the classroom discussion. Duo does well on the discussion and practice questions but terribly on the lecture component. Try Googling the subject at hand and click the first few search results. For example, "french past tense verbs" . That's what I've been doing and have found it quite helpful. Then the discussions after the questions help work out all the little kinks and special exceptions.

April 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/SpaceMichael
Plus
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That's what I love about duolingo, it makes everything natural for you without having to do all the theory - and that's what they are trying to do: make languages fun and easy.

April 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/bcbrita

just listen carefully. Duolingo has grammar rules. Only if you're bothered to check it.

April 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/lquirarte4

this is very true! I had been taking the italian course for english speakers and i found that there were many more explanations as to what I was learning and why it was done that way than i did in french. They should include these rules in the french lessons :) it would help out a lot. i've actually had to infer a few of the grammar rules myself.

April 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/IAmJon
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I think Grammar is very important. Knowing the rules helps you construct sentences. At school I don't ever remember being taught the rules. I studied German at school and managed to get a decent mark in my exam despite never really knowing these rules. I therefore thought that studying German on Duo would be a walk in the park. I struggled a lot. To the point where I gave up and just focused on French. Of course they were explained on there, but they made realise how poor my education at school. If i knew the basic grammar rules, I may have found it as easy as I expected. I only occasionally study German on here now.

Duo made me relaise just how important Grammar rules are. But sometimes, trial and error makes those rules stay in your head more. Although I can imagine people not wanting to scroll through the comments or a long about.com article to learn something that should be explained.

April 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/si.hobbs
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I notice that German has these nice little introductory articles (I wish they accessible from the app) and I would like the same for French. That said, there is evidence out there that Duolingo are doing it better than any one else.

April 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/BenBannist

I disagree

April 29, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Carlozzo

I believe you can hover the word you want explained, click "Explain" and it tells you the grammar rules for that word.

April 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/si.hobbs
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It's a bit hit and miss though.

April 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/lunaluvgood
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It doesn't always. It doesn't always have explain, and sometimes it's not that helpful.

April 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/helensomerville

I agree I have only just logged on as a new member and I had to get help from another site to write my name

April 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/dreamskaren

agree, so users need to have basic grammar knowledge.

April 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/a_jayhawks_girl

in french while there is some grammar, most rules are similar to english rules. doulingo is a great source for learning the basics of languages. if you want to learn everything about the language take some classes. this is a free source so not everything is being applied.

April 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/SkyRaven

DL may not "explain" grammar the way you are used to having it explained, but it does allow you to see how each word functions in the sentence when you hover over it. That's useful enough for me. If I get confused and I make mistakes I google the grammar point and check my other resources to get an explanation.

As someone new to learning French, but who is decently proficient in Japanese and taken Korean and Italian courses at my university I'm going to say that there is probably absolutely no resource that you can use alone that will teach you a language by itself. No textbook series, no audio learning guide, no website, etc. You're always going to have to step outside to get more practice, more examples and more explanation. If I'm wrong please let me know, but in my language learning experience it takes a combination of different materials to get proficient, practice and comfortable.

I'm using DL with: the book English Grammar for Students of French this website: http://www.laits.utexas.edu/fi/home this website: http://www.memrise.com/

And I'll probably buy another book like the Practice Makes Perfect series since it looks good for self-study.

April 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/DanieleBerto

Anyway, my personal solution is cobining Duolingo with Babbel. Further on i'll add some flash cards in order to increase the vocabulary.

April 29, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/ron_fr
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I know, at least in spanish there are certain things brought to our attention before the lesson commences!

April 30, 2014
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