If I Ran Duolingo -- Forums
Listen, I know that the folks that run Duolingo are probably busy with other things -- like how to get Mark Zuckerberg's attention. But I wanted to make a suggestion for an easy fix to Duolingo that could improve it dramatically for a small but important part of the community: the people who are focusing on Immersion.
Pardon if this appears to be shouting, but my quick fix is:
HAVE A SEPARATE DISCUSSION FORUM FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE DOING IMMERSION.
As background, I am essentially completely in the Immersion section now...it's fun....it has its issues...but it's fun. (quick aside.... What is this "Immersion" business? Why not just call it what it is, "Translation")
Putting aside how perplexing the drop-down menus are the first time around for "Pick a Discussion" (I was translating French to English and that's what I picked...oops, wrong door), it would be so easy, I suspect, to add a separate forum for people who are doing Immersion. You wouldn't even have to have sub-menus for the different languages...although that would be nice.
The immersion group is tiny next to the people who are doing the "courses". How do I know this? Because I keep bumping into the same people every day. But they are a devoted group, I am willing to bet in it for a longer haul than the millions of others, and (although this may sound snotty) I think they generally have a different commitment level from the people who are focused on Lingots and hearts. I also think they are likely to have a lot of good ideas about how the site could be improved...why make them wade through thousands of posts about how sad it is that someone lost a heart? And with the hordes of people posting, their post quickly drops down the time line where other like-minded people will never see it.
For the young people who are no doubt running a lot of this (I am at an age where I have to restrain myself from saying kids), I believe the current buzzword is "siloing"...facilitate and incentivize (I'm on a role) getting like-minded people together.
I think this would be a simple fix that would make the Immersion folks a lot happier and a lot more eager to join the discussion. And you folks at Duolingo, if you are watching over our shoulders, might learn something interesting along the way.
I would also encourage others to wade in with their thoughts...assuming they ever see this post.
Hi! Thanks for posting! We'll consider this. Letting the immersion team know :)
Thanks kristine, you are the most helpful and respectful admin I have seen here. Have a lingot.
I was thinking the other day that there should be an immersion forum common to both directions - for example, a forum common to italian-english and english-italian immersion. Serious users of immersion should be able to deal with both languages being used, and this would encourage communication between advanced learners of the languages. This would be an excellent place to post about particularly difficult problems encountered in immersion, like a difficult grammatical construction, a word not found in the dictionary, or a reference not understood, and get a response from a native speaker.
At risk of teaching people to suck eggs, anyone who wants to see discussion board content in all their languages just needs to go to the edit button next to your subscription in the Discussion tab and add English from French/German/Spanish etc. Then you see everything and can post where you want.
I was hovering my cursor over the phrase "suck eggs" to see if a suggested definition showed up. No such luck, but Google confirmed my suspicion. Not even sure of its origin. Wondering if Duolingo has the proprietary rights to English to English translation?
It was one of those lovely idioms we had to translate. My mother knew it. I had never heard of teaching anyone to suck eggs. It was an insult in my day. We'd say "Go suck an egg" in elementary school to mean "Go take a flying leap."
"Go and take a flying jump"
What is with tomorrows is just around the corner ? if i walk that way ,,,, will I bump into it. ?
A good suggestion. I was just trying not to get too greedy and get hung up in the fine tuning....first off just set up a separate discussion forum for Immersion folks who want to use it.
I'd love it if we had a forums like "Italian-English/Inglese-Italiano" for bilingual discussion both ways. Especially to ask questions about really tough sentences. Those are the ones we learn the most from, after all.
Greg, have you got the English from Italian board on your subscription list? Coz I have no difficulty in asking the French speakers something or responding to something on the Italian board.
I did type this out but I'm afraid the thread got shuffled! Go to the main Discussions list. Go to the Edit button next to Your Subscriptions in the right-hand column, and add English from French/German/Spanish etc.
Then when you look at the main view of the Discussions list you will see those in the other languages come up with the language in brackets after the heading. Not many of them, as English is by far the busiest, but they will be there. And if you want to just read French posts, or post to French, for instance, you click on it in the list and post there.
Having a separate forum for Immersion (aka Translation) parties is not a bad idea at all, although currently there is always a thread provided to discuss the translation or content of a particular article after clicking said article. Actually, I haven't seen this feature used very much and it's often neglected...
In addition, I'm wondering if you mean having a forum dedicated to discussing translation in general, and not the translation of each uploaded article or parts to each article.
Quote: The immersion group is tiny next to the people who are doing the "courses". How do I know this? Because I keep bumping into the same people every day. But they are a devoted group, I am willing to bet in it for a longer haul than the millions of others, and (although this may sound snotty) I think they generally have a different commitment level from the people who are focused on Lingots and hearts. I also think they are likely to have a lot of good ideas about how the site could be improved...why make them wade through thousands of posts about how sad it is that someone lost a heart? And with the hordes of people posting, their post quickly drops down the time line where other like-minded people will never see it.
I am a person that does both with the purpose of getting the most out of a language learning program, which is $Free.99! XD
However, I wouldn't encourage a person to do one without the other. I learn new words and phrases from the courses; I learn more of their practical value through immersion. If at all possible, it is good to be balanced with both.
But honestly, I consider the DL lessons as more simplified versions of what's done in Immersion (albeit a bit stricter because a machine checks your work instead of another living human) - which as you said is basically translating, even interpretation on occasion. c:
Agreed. :) They have a discussion thread for each article, but hardly anyone posts on them. If a forum was created, I'm sure it would get used.
Although we really should make heavier use of the per-document discussion threads. Any time I make a translation decision that should be consistent in the document (e.g. how to translate a proper name) I explain it in the discussion area and thereafter I just put "see discussion" in the comments. If we all did this, the per-document discussion areas would be a lot more lively.
Of course, that would assume that most of us want to think in terms of documents and not just isolated sentences. . . .
Good point. I've seen translations that are fairly accurate, but do not flow the paragraph as a whole, and still, some translations take the "literal" aspect really far.
It would be a lot easier to use the document discussion if it was in a side frame or scrolled down with you. Instead it's statically stuck as the top of the document which means you need two windows open for each document. One to see the discussion and the consistency suggestions and the other for the document itself.
I usually find a quick look is enough. I suppose there is a small lag between the time I put "see discussion" in a comment and the time when I actually finish writing the discussion, but I don't worry about that.
Agreed! I have started doing that too, and include links with references for certain expressions that are not so obvious to translate . c:
"Immersion" is appropriate because one becomes immersed in the translation. Its about learning not only how to translate, but learning about the thing being translated.
But in language learning, teaching/learning by immersion means you only hear and read and speak the language - in schools, it means every subject being taught in the new language. This is only reading and doesn't do the job, sadly. :-/