French Course changes--Take a breath and smile!

I've seen some posts about the changes to the French tree, lost crowns, etc. Please put your frustrations behind you and just dive into the course again. Remember why you chose to use Duolingo as part of your education in the French language in the first place--I suspect it wasn't to get bragging rights for how may lignots or crowns you could amass.

Ok, it changed. Keep at it anyway. Ok, you have to re-do completed lessons. Keep at it anyway. Ok, the organization is different. Keep at it anyway.

It is still a good tool to help learn a language.'s free!

September 26, 2018


I mean if people are upset and want to leave duo they can. However, if the changing of the tree and loss of crowns etc suddenly makes them lose all motivation to study French they really didn't have a lot of motivation to start off with. At best Duo had them hanging on a loose thread and they should do some self-searching to find out if they are serious about the language anymore. This happened to the Spanish tree like a month or two ago and many people had the exact same reaction but those who just wanted to learn the language got over it as there are worse things in life than a virtual course getting mixed up. When my Spanish tree got messed up I just saw me backtracking as a way to review stuff (and it actually reminded me of stuff I had forgotten)

I get it, people don't like change. But the constant posts about people about to throw in the towel because of it or the people who can't bring themselves to study the language at all just show more about how they react to unpleasant things (which life is full of) than anything else. Duolingo is available for free so you can't even argue that people are getting jipped out of money ya know?

September 27, 2018

Duolingo isn't my only source of French learning. However, I have been using it for nearly 5 years and find it a comforting and familiar base with which to test my rudimentary French language skills before using other sources each day. As I've stated elsewhere, I'm a musician and I understand how important it is to constantly test and refresh your fundamentals, even if you're working on far more advanced theory and material.

I didn't care for the new crown system when I became part of the A/B testing 5-6 months ago. All my progress had been reset, and instead of just being able to see what I needed to work on due to implemented decay and a system designed to test the material least reviewed, I had a new system with a linear progression that forced me to review bare basics with no visible system to review the least frequently reviewed material. I went from full gold to almost nothing.

Nevertheless, I persisted, because Duolingo had become part of my daily routine, and I was loathe to let it go quite yet. I reduced my usage to 30xp a day per language, with the intent that eventually I would recover my full gold status.

However, here I am half a year later with another reset back to the very base fundamentals. That's the second reset I've had in the same calendar year. I have absolutely no faith that there won't be further resets in the future. I am interested in keeping up on my fundamentals, but I am not interested in continuously being knocked back to 'Bonjour' on a twice yearly basis.

And, as you stated, it's a free product. It is well known that if a product is free, then you are probably the product. I pay for French learning material through many other sources, so it would probably be wise for me to use services wherein I am not the product.

So I am probably throwing in the towel on Duolingo. This change has revealed that I am still using the site out of habit, and that it may be a better use of my time to use my other sources more extensively.

I still feel for the people that use Duolingo as their primary means of language learning, especially newer folk who don't have as much time to spend towards their study and find that their progress has been reset. Especially when they feel like venting their frustration and are met with people who question their motivation when they find that have been sent back to page 1 of a book with little means of picking up where they have left off.

September 27, 2018

[deactivated user]

    Are they paying you for this PR?

    Let people feel the way they want to feel. And if people are unhappy, I would support them finding other resources to learn French. The great thing about French is there is a lot out there.

    There are many things I'm concerned about with this staff-made tree that aren't specifically about French. If this is the direction Duolingo is heading--securing funding for corporations like Pearson who will in turn have a say in what content and the quality of content Duolingo produces--then what happens with all the other volunteer-created courses, especially those for languages that Duolingo's corporate sponsors have no interest in supporting? We have courses in the incubator that appear not to be progressing, and at this point we can reasonable ask whether Duolingo is supporting them enough. If they are too busy trying to produce content that Pearson or whomever can promote for their own business model, Duolingo will spend less resources on making sure these other courses are supported and maintained, that volunteer contributors has access tot he tools they need to improve the courses, and continuing developing more courses for more languages, as many user hope they will.

    And what about the volunteer French team who worked on the 3.0 tree that was ready months ago? Some of those contributors have been maintaining the French course here, helping learners and helping Duolingo build their brand for years now. The French for English speakers course is one of the most popular courses on Duolingo, and that's was in good part due to the work on unpaid volunteers. But let's just move on and forget that? I don't know about anyone else, but that doesn't feel right to me.

    You can smile and tell yourself it's free over and over, but I honestly think this is a sign that Duolingo is moving in a direction that most users would not want.

    September 26, 2018

    Hi @CadetheBruce

    And what about the volunteer French team who worked on the 3.0 tree that was ready (5) months ago?

    Could you ask French moderators / course contributors already why their tree3 is not final yet so it will be moved to stable state and is compatible with classrooms /

    My EN-PT updated tree from June 2018 did not take ~5 months for A/B testing!
    It is final already with 91 skills!

    Has the tree3 experiment failed or something as it is now being replaced by tree4 A/B tests and FORCED tree migrations?

    In the other French thread some users are responding to me that their previous tree was actually tree3 (A/B) - updated from tree2 a few months ago - and not tree2 and they have been now migrated to tree4 by staff.

    If the tree3 were in its final state, users would have no problem with tree4 and losing 92+5 skills as they could go back to the stable tree within a fraction of a second (classrooms workaround).

    Okay, my English gets lost here a bit with the would construction and what to use in the first part (2x would (be)? was? were?...)

    Maybe a native English speaker has a quick tip for me? ;)

    September 27, 2018

    And what about the volunteer French team who worked on the 3.0 tree that was ready months ago? Some of those contributors have been maintaining the French course here, helping learners and helping Duolingo build their brand for years now. The French for English speakers course is one of the most popular courses on Duolingo, and that's was in good part due to the work on unpaid volunteers. But let's just move on and forget that? I don't know about anyone else, but that doesn't feel right to me.

    Perhaps a silly question: How do you know that this tree was not created by the volunteers? Has there been an announcement? I can't remember having seen one; I only saw posts of forum members who said that this was a "Duo staff" tree. So far, to me it's a rumour.

    It would be great if you could give me a hint. Thanks!

    September 27, 2018


    Perhaps a silly question: How do you know that this tree was not created by the volunteers?

    This is the related thread:

    Maybe there were 1-2 other French threads...but I had seen definitive moderators replies and describing the issues that they have no access to it as it is internally maintained by staff.

    Same applies to the (IOS, maybe Android nowadays too) "mobile grammar notes" feature strictly related to the tree4.

    September 27, 2018

    I see; thank you, Thomas! :-) This tarnishes my so far cheerful experience of the new tree, to be honest.

    I totally agree that the volunteer contributors should be treated with respect, and if they are left out of the development of a new tree, this doesn't seem to be the case. Why would that be (in particular because this new tree seems to be based on the old tree)? I can't make head or tail of it.

    September 27, 2018

    Just contacted our community manager.

    Hello KatyCatz :-)

    A few days ago, a new tree was released (to some users, including me) in French. There are several discussions; for example this one

    and this one:

    The question that worries me is this (discussed in the first thread I linked to): Was this new tree created by staff? Were the volunteer contributors involved in the process?

    The sentiment that I get from the discussion is that the volunteers were left out, and this would not feel right to me because they have created all the language-related contributions to Duolingo so far.

    Would it be possible for you to give a clarification of the matter?

    I'm sorry that I have to post this in this thread, but I couldn't work out any other possibility of contacting you. Many thanks! :-) Heike

    September 27, 2018

    Hey there! Making sure I respond in the various threads so people have a bit more context re: the French tree.

    So clarify, the new French tree still includes all the content from the previous tree. The change is that our language experts have added additional content to the beginning of the tree in order to provide better coverage of A1 CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference) content. Our plan is to continue to iterate on the course to improve its effectiveness. We do this incrementally by starting with the latest version of the course and continuously adding new material to improve our vocabulary and grammar coverage an help learners reach a high level of fluency based on our test results and a rigorous scientific framework. Volunteers who helped create course content have been and will still be involved in improving the courses. In fact, much of their content will also still be used in the tree. As with all Duolingo courses, we are constantly testing and improving our content as we grow. Please rest assured knowing that our main objective is (and always will be) to teach people languages with the best possible content. This sometimes means we have to iterate on contributors' work by adding insights from our own language learning experts. It's collaborative. And while we have gotten (much needed and much appreciated) help from our volunteers, we do also rely on our own staff and their expertise as well. We couldn't do it without everyone involved and while we made the mistake of not announcing these course changes, we are grateful to everyone who has played part in this effort to improve Duolingo and the French course by offering a deeper and richer learning experience.

    September 27, 2018

    Thank you for your thorough explanation, KatyKatz! :-) Very much appreciated.

    My more detailed reply is in this thread because here, I can no longer "reply":$from_email%3Dcomment&comment_id%3D29042784

    September 28, 2018

    And if it does move in another direction as you said before the internet will still be full of plenty of resources for those who are truly motived. I learned French for the language. Not for this site or any other. Those volunteers worked out of the passion for the language and to help others learn it. Duo is not the only site to do that and if Duo doesn't want them anymore then eventually they will move to other platforms as will users.

    September 27, 2018

    It's not about bragging rights or lingots or crowns, it's about being unable to learn efficiently since lots of new content is mixed with old content. This means it's impossible to access all the stuff we have already done until we have learned a whole load of new stuff, which takes a lot of time for some of us, depending on our ability level and how much time we have to spare. It makes our learning inefficient and wastes our time.

    Does anybody remember when Duolingo thought spaced repetition was a good thing?

    September 26, 2018

    Well...forcing us to practice the "old stuff" along with the "new stuff" (if it's mixed together) is very much like spaced repetition.

    September 27, 2018

    No, it really isn't. I explained why: while we're redoing some of the skills to learn the new content, our knowledge of the other skills is deteriorating. That's not effective spaced repetition.

    September 27, 2018

    I think we should not have a mechanical understanding of how our brains work. SRS was introduced as an antidote to cramming, and the overall idea is totally correct. But this does not mean that we have to adhere to specific cycles.

    We don't forget a word on day 36 if we didn't repeat it on day 35 as suggested by SRS.

    Moreover, SRS relates to isolated learning, such as word lists. Duo always has little structures (phrases or sentences), so that you always repeat and strengthen something else when you do a lesson.

    Right now, I did a lesson in one topic, but the mistake I made wasn't that topic at all.

    Therefore, I think: If we keep on practicing in a relaxed order, everything will be fine. :-)

    September 27, 2018

    Exactly. :-)

    September 27, 2018

    Love your attitude and opinion. I totally agree.Can't wait for the new tree.

    September 27, 2018

    Awesome thinking

    September 26, 2018

    I agree. I've already acquired 12 new crowns. ;-)

    September 26, 2018

    No words tab for the new tree?

    September 26, 2018

    The missing Words tab is due to another A/B test, unrelated to the new French tree.

    September 26, 2018

    What are they testing?

    September 26, 2018

    The impact of the Words tab on user engagement, I'd imagine, but that's above my pay grade. All I know is that a new test named web_hide_words_tab was set up a couple of days ago.

    September 26, 2018


    A/B trees are not really compatible with the words tab (Vocabulary overview API stream)!
    Like re-arranged and added skill names, new A/B vocabulary, etc.

    This is the experience I made with my updated EN-PT tree (A/B) in June 2018 before it went final.

    It might have changed again depending on if staff might have made any code changes...

    September 27, 2018

    I have the "Words" tab.

    September 26, 2018

    On the new tree? Are you sure?

    September 26, 2018

    Yes, the new French tree. My French tree is active, I have all the many new violet skills, and I have the "Words" tab.

    In the web version.

    Edit: If you can't see the Words tab on Duolingo, you might try the Duome site

    (This site is independent from Duolingo, but coordinated with it. It will always display your language course that is currently active on Duolingo.)

    If you click on the word "French" on this page (in the top right-hand corner), you will see your progress, and this will include a tab "Words".

    For me this works even with those courses that don't have a "Words" tab on Duolingo.

    September 26, 2018

    I am so sad that it changed. Lots of topics are available, i don't know where should i start, many checkpoint are passed. I wanted to learn step by step and reach the chekpoint by myself. I've lost my motivation to do it :(

    September 26, 2018

    I wanted to learn step by step and reach the checkpoint by myself.

    Click on "Progress by: Original order" first:

    I've lost my motivation to do it :(

    You can reset your progress from language level 6 back to 0 if the tree migration and converted skills do not suit your needs.

    You can also take the initial placement test if you want once you are back at language level 0.

    September 27, 2018

    oohhh, thank you. this would be my next question, how i can start it again.

    September 27, 2018
    • 1798

    It's funny how people's reactions differ. My was "wow, great, another new tree with lots of new lessons to enjoy". Having done a lot of testing out of level 0 in order to get an overview of the course and regain my golden owl, my only complaint so far is that most of the lessons now don't have Tips and Notes, but hopefully they are working on that.

    September 28, 2018


    Quote Malwen: My only complaint so far is that most of the lessons now don't have Tips and Notes, but hopefully they are working on that.

    Tip: You could open the page from an user who exclusively learns French (only one language, no switching between multiple languages) on Duolingo and is still on tree3 (96 skills) and view the many available "tips and notes" from his page.

    Your newest tree4 (119 skills) exclusively makes use of "mobile grammar notes" on mobile apps (IOS).
    Basically this tree was designed for the app users in first mind.

    If you use the Android app, you have to try if it works like the EN-SP tree.

    It might be available with later Android app versions (which again remove other stuff like language levels 1-25, club winner XP, landscape mode, etc.), but we have seen different reactions by Android users on the forums (notes were shortly there, taken away, re-added, etc.; it is hard to tell what works and what not, what is included as A/B test,...).

    Most Android users install older versions as the app seems to be going downhill (too many removed features and/or bugs with new Android versions because of probably untested rollouts or not testing with all available smartphones/OSes)...

    September 29, 2018


    However, this is another thing which I don't understand yet.

    Staff obviously has not cloned the tree3 and added ALL modifications for tree4?!??

    If they had, than all existing (html formatted) "tips and notes" from the extended user profile skill variable would be available on the web portal (lightbulb button) / like it is with the contributor tree3 update (=my tree) since five months ago.

    I had seen tree2 (78 skill) trees from some users on Duome which even had more available skill notes (for the web portal) than tree4!

    Why was tree2 html notes variable information also removed?


    I had seen forum reports that the English->Spanish course team (staff) had recently started to add the "mobile grammar notes" to the lightbulb button on the web portal.

    How does this work?
    Are there dedicated "tips-and notes" html pages with special features "for mobile grammar notes" for this?

    Is this maybe is also coming to the newest EN-FR tree, maybe not?

    Are there any plans / deadlines for 2018?


    Why are users forced into tree4 A/B tests when they do not even own an IOS / Android mobile device but exclusively use the web portal?

    What A/B tree test is this which makes people fail to learn a language?

    I could not have lived without the MANY available good and helpful Portuguese "tips and notes" on the web portal, either for the old tree (69 skills) or the new updated (final) tree (91 skills) as it was my first Romance language which I have been learning totally from scratch.

    Poor (serious) French learners who have to miss all grammar notes on the web portal (web = typing)!

    Same drama as with the English-Spanish tree even there are millions of active learners!

    Do "business developers"/analysts, CEO/CTO care to comment on this?

    I wonder if investors try to learn a new Romance language for themselves, at the best totally from scratch on Duolingo without any "tips and notes" on the web portal ;)

    Best regards / Viele Grüße

    September 29, 2018

    I love this post. Yeah I'm enjoying this duolingo. Because the other app you should pay for the good contents. Here's the contents are good and free. I love this app so much to help me learning language.

    September 28, 2018

    Quote Usagiboy7:
    There is the reverse course.
    I am always curious if people plan to do reverse and ladder trees

    Starting a course from French on the web portal = writing / translating into French (on the right hand side) on a higher (better) ratio even on lower crown L0-L2 (L3) levels

    (My) Tips and audio tricks for reverse and laddering trees

    How do you do a reverse tree / The reverse tree helps - how to be able to listen to the target language audio:

    October 16, 2018

    Good news!

    SHOF French tips and notes

    65 (-1) cached (html formatted) grammar notes for your English->French tree:

    [NEW FEATURE] shows "tips and notes" for multiple language trees incl. not active courses:

    October 25, 2018
    Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.