Why I rate Duolingo 4/5 rather than 5/5
I am using Duolingo to study German. I really like Duolingo so far. I think it is well laid out, immersive, and challenging - not too simple that I am bored, yet not too challenging to elicit discouragement. I enjoy the community aspects, such as this discussion board, which allows me to ask questions, and receive intelligent responses. Also, the option to locate speakers is another great feature. For these reasons, I would rate it 4 out of 5 stars (actually 4.5, but rating systems do not seem to permit half stars). In order to change my rating to 5 stars, I would need to see two additions. These are specifically associated with the German study course, in the Words section; however, they may apply to other languages as well. While I appreciate seeing a list of words I have encountered during my lesson progressions, I feel the list can be improved in two ways. First, each noun should have its definite and indefinite article written next to it in the word list. Yes, you can determine the articles due to the list identifying the word as masculine, neuter, feminine, singular and plural. However, at least for me, I often doubt my accuracy since I am so new to the language. The second is add the English (or whatever native language is learning German) next to the conjugation table that follow each verb in the list. Yes, the conjugations can be inferred, but as I stated before I do doubt my translations. Confirmation of my translations would go a long way in building my confidence. I hope one day these are implemented. Regardless, I still think Duolingo is one of the best, and I refer it often.
Thanks for the well written post. I agree with your assessment and suggestions. However, I would deduct another .5 point for using a synthesized voice, instead of an actual voice. I often struggle with understanding what is being said, especially with the male voice.
The male voice in completely unable to be understood by my ear. I pick up a syllable here and there in the sentence he says and then deduct what it wants from me from there. I just have a problem with hearing and understanding computerized voices. If it was an actual person talking, then I would understand it clearly.
Very good point. I also find the male voice difficult. I travel to Germany annually for work, which is why I am trying to learn this language. The men do not sound like the male in each lesson. However, the men do tend to speak faster than women.
Just be aware that Duolingo frequently rejects correct answers. This happens often enough that it's far more than a mere nuisance, and Duolingo deserves a heavy penalty for this.
I find that a minor problem. Yes, it's annoying that some answers that are technically right or have the right meaning get rejected, but that's how it is with languages. There is a million meanings to many phrases or words, let alone sentences. That's a tedious thing to fix.
I agree, there are just too many different ways to say "Die Tasche ist aus Leder" in English, with just very minor changes. I can probably say that single sentence in English 20 different ways and have it be grammatically correct. It is much better to report the answer as right, and have them review it, than it is for them to pay someone to sit there for hours and think of all the ways, and then still miss a few.
Yes, it does. Frustrating. I understand that multiple ways exist to say the same thing, so shouldn't Duolingo?
If you were playing golf or darts, 45 is a better score than 55. Just felt the need to point this out.
I played golf a few times. Terrible game. Darts, however, is quite entertaining. I prefer to shoot for 60, which happens far too infrequently.
I believe this is the biggest problem as well due to the not fully functional word list. It's a little frustrating having to click on the word just to see the English translation