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https://www.duolingo.com/bryanlouiselle

New Spanish tree sneaky grammar-lessons

bryanlouiselle
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One feature that I particularly enjoy about the new Spanish tree - a daily surprise - is that, in many of the new lessons, a grammar concept is introduced without whacking you over the head with it.

For example, in the new Community Skill, there seems to be a focus on verbs that take "a" afterward. (Examples: "conocer a", "ver a", "llamar a", "ayudar a"...). Eventually, you start to feel the RHYTHM of how those verbs work, instead of having to think it.

It's a different approach than the (magnifying glass) notes, but an interesting approach, in that it requires you to DISCOVER the rules rather than being TOLD the rules. Kinda like real life.

It COULD be accidental on DuoLingo's part, but it doesn't SEEM accidental.

(And, as always, thank you DL, for being free and fun.)

Happy days to everyone.

4 weeks ago

34 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/StarlitTardis

I have mixed feelings about this. I really like that grammar is introduced more subtly than before. For some reason, I find it easier to learn this way. It's like I'm learning whole sentences at once, rather than focusing on specific parts of the sentence one at a time and then having to remember back to all of them to figure out how they fit together.

However, I do wish there were more explanations given. While I generally find learning easier with the new method, there are times when new grammatical concepts are introduced and I feel utterly lost. But because the section isn't specifically focused on the grammar, there's no explanation of how the grammar works and why it is what it is. And because many of the lessons are brand new, there aren't many people in the discussion sections yet, so by the time anyone responds to my questions, I've moved onto the next topic.

I prefer being told the rules clearly to floundering about and being expected to just guess them, then never getting a full understanding of them.

Overall: I prefer this way and I think it's easier to learn now, but there should definitely be more explanations.

4 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/elizadeux
elizadeux
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Like you, I appreciate an explanation of the grammar, but I've been able to find that information elsewhere. There are many grammar sites online. If you like books, I can highly recommend the following:

The founder of Duolingo has stated, "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."

So, those of us who would like a bit of an explanation need to find that information on our own. One app alone can't do everything.

3 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/StarlitTardis

Thanks so much for the links!

3 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/redsassafras

I like it too. In both the old tree and the new tree I have somewhat often found myself searching the internet for grammar explanations and clarity, so neither have formed a self-contained learning system for me. The design of the new tree, though, seems to allow for introducing more grammar ideas earlier without becoming overwhelming. It seems thoughtful and deliberate and I do appreciate it.

3 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jzsuzsi
jzsuzsi
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Is it the personal a?

4 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/elizadeux
elizadeux
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Some verbs require a preposition such as a, en, de or so on when they are placed before an infinitive or object. For example, voy a caminar = I'm going to walk. Often these prepositions are not translated into English.

There is also the opposite. Some verbs require prepositions in English but not in Spanish. Look for = buscar. Look at = mirar.

3 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SGuthrie0

No. It is not the personal a.

See these: http://users.ipfw.edu/jehle/courses/vrbsprep.htm

3 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rallarros

What is Community skill?

4 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lrtward
Lrtward
Mod
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Imgur

4 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bryanlouiselle
bryanlouiselle
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LOL

3 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/b05aplmun.ca
b05aplmun.ca
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I'm also seeing a lot more sentences that use structures that are very common in Spanish, but don't exist in English. Unfortunately, this creates some problems with accepted translations, but I'm sure that will resolve with time.

3 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/susu581980

I like the new way of presenting sentence structure. I don't worry so much about accepted translations. I am an easily trained monkey! I am more interested in absorbing the Spanish way of expressing thoughts.

3 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bryanlouiselle
bryanlouiselle
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Eek eek eek!!! (Says the easily trained monkey...)

3 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SGuthrie0

It is not clear to me what you mean.

3 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/susu581980

One example: In Spanish it is common to say "muy divertido". In English "very fun" sounds stupid, but how would we know how to express the thought "muy divertido" if we never heard the phrase "very fun". In English is does make us cringe. Oh well.

3 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bryanlouiselle
bryanlouiselle
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THOUGH: On Cinco de Mayo, after a few tequilas, I have often shouted out something like "This is muy fun!" while standing on the bar. That's probably not what you meant...

Also "Más margaritas!!!"

I didn't put in my DuoLingo time that night...

3 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/elizadeux
elizadeux
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Stupid to whom? This may be regional. Do the English never have very much fun? ; - )

I've heard "very fun" many times in my life and it wasn't difficult to find this expression on Google "About 75,400 results (0.24 seconds)"

https://www.google.com/search?q=%22very+fun%22&source=lnms&tbm=nws&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjxg56GwbDcAhWTHDQIHanNC_IQ_AUIDygA&biw=1168&bih=724

3 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bryanlouiselle
bryanlouiselle
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"Very fun" is perfectly acceptable. And if it isn't, I'm going to hell.

3 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3
piguy3
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It's funny which adjectives people do and don't find strange when modified by "very." With "fun" one can surmise what's going on. "Fun" as an adjective is itself an upstart. That's why it's an exception to the general rule that short adjectives are made comparative or superlative with suffixes. As late as 1950 "really fun" was 50 times more common than "very fun." "Very fun" does sound strange to me, as does "very delicious." I would use some other adverb there.

3 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bryanlouiselle
bryanlouiselle
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Language is as language does.

3 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bryanlouiselle
bryanlouiselle
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Better than funner.

3 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bryanlouiselle
bryanlouiselle
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All depends on whether you define language as proscriptive or descriptive.

3 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bryanlouiselle
bryanlouiselle
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Most times, I'm still going to go with "way-fun".

3 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3
piguy3
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Ain't prescribin nuthin' :) Undoubtedly I say plenty of things that also sound strange to me. Personally, I'm kind of a fan of "funnest" :)

3 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/b05aplmun.ca
b05aplmun.ca
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For instance, sentences along the lines of "The walls, are you painting them blue?" This is an acceptable structure in Spanish (and also a great way to teach the use of object pronouns), but we don't use that sort of sentence structure in English.

A better English translation would obviously be something along the lines of "Are you painting the walls blue?," but for some of those sentences Duo is not (yet) accepting sentences with appropriate English structure. (The specific example is dredged out of my memory and may or may not be an accurate reproduction of a Duolingo sentence.)

3 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/elizadeux
elizadeux
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I agree that it's the direct objects that they are trying to teach with those particular sentences. However, I'm not sure how common it is to use this type of sentence structure in Spanish.

I suspect that's it's mostly for the purpose of teaching that you need a redundant object pronoun if the object is placed before the verb. "If for purposes of emphasis or focus, a direct or indirect object precedes a verb, a redundant pronoun is used." If that is the purpose, then it's unlikely for Duolingo to accept answers without the redundant pronoun.

Also, I'm a little surprised at how many people state that this type of sentence structure doesn't exist in English and is completely unacceptable. Maybe, it's regional? Am I only the only English-speaking person on the planet who would use this structure?

Although I wouldn't use this sentence structure in formal written communication, it would not be unusual for me to say something like, "That wall, what color are you going to paint it?" or "That peach, are you going to eat it?" or "That coat, are you going to buy it?"

3 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3
piguy3
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Like you, I would use such structures in English. You're right it's more of a spoken pattern. The perceived oddness may be that people aren't used to seeing in written form what they actually say in conversation. Of course they haven't completely embraced conversational English (which may be helping obfuscate how familiar this structure is). Conversationally, the question is likely to be rendered via intonation, so it'd be "The walls, you're painting them blue?" which it's possible people would find less unfamiliar.

Technically, I believe this is called "direct object fronting," and I think it is pretty safe to say it's more common in Spanish than English, in part simply because Spanish word order is more flexible overall.

3 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/b05aplmun.ca
b05aplmun.ca
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I probably use that sort of structure occasionally, but would consider it an ungrammatical by-product of verbal floundering around. (I write less well than I speak in every language I know, including my native language.)

3 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3
piguy3
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Your floundering around is another person's topic-comment structure :)

3 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SionedCati

Love this way of learning! Getting the feel of a language and focusing on being able to communicate is much more natural - it's closer to how young children learn. Grammar can come later if needed - but as a dyslexic, introducing grammar early is a big turn-off as it is often confusing and counter-productive

3 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Thomas.Heiss
Thomas.Heiss
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Your old thread "Evidence of new content and hidden grammar lessons" (1 month ago): https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/27621016

Quote bryanlouiselle: So far, I've found Memories, Farm, Recreation 2, and Vacation. In rolls the past tense, with no heads-up and no explanations.

Quote JimOser: Also as you just pointed out, past tense is now being introduced (at the "vacation" or "shopping 4" unit) before the "past tense" unit in the tree.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Willow868

I agree. I am seeing the same wonderful thing!

3 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Michelleslong

I love that part!!!! I always check it when I start a new lesson!

3 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Semeltin
Semeltin
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The problem with sneaky grammar lessons is that you have to know about them if you want to review the grammar.

2 weeks ago