Whee, new skills!!!

Wow!! Thanks for all the great new skills on the French tree, Duo!! (Is it possible to high-five a little green owl??)

I have no idea how it’s determined who gets included in each new rollout, but I’m thrilled to be on the receiving end of this one. Lately I’d been slogging through the lessons a bit as I worked to gild through for the second time, but now I’m excited again about learning and looking forward to peeking into some of these intriguing skill titles for the first time. There’s “Paris” (which I worked on immediately) and “Decorating”, “Junk”, “Bad Day”, “Manners”, “Protest”, and the one I’m heading to next because I can’t wait to see what’s in it — “Nightmares”!

Thanks to all who must have worked so hard to provide these new lessons. Hopefully you will receive some good feedback for your efforts, despite the discontented and grumbly mood that has been prevailing on the forums lately.

Good bird, Duo!

March 27, 2019


I am so happy to see something positive! Every change has good and bad points. I don't like to feel like I am not going to "conquer" the tree as quickly but when I step back and look at it, I can see that is a very childish way to look at it. I mean, do I want to learn language or look at more golden circles. Of course both would be nice but there is going to be a LOT more opportunity for practice of many new skills. Have fun and keep looking up!

March 27, 2019

@SandraStea1 -- Thank you for your kind words! These new skills are a hoot (pun intended! LOL) So far, someone has slept in the littlest bear's bed, someone has fallen down the stairs of the Eiffel Tower, someone's boss was spotted while out clubbing, and someone managed to be late to work in lots of ways. Plus, so far, there are Tips on all the new skills! Yay!

March 27, 2019

I wish I was affected by this new update!

March 27, 2019

@JJstheman -- I wish you were, too! It's fun. The new skills have a bit more casual sense to them and sound more like the way people probably actually speak in France.

March 27, 2019

I'm really happy for the new tree too. I'd halted progress on my Tree 2 waiting for this Tree 12 to come out, and now that I have Tree 12 I've reset my tree and started from the beginning, so I can really see all it has to offer. (I wasn't terribly far in Tree 2, so I'm perfectly happy to reset.)

March 27, 2019

Oh, that's wonderful that you had the foresight to plan it so you didn't lose much! I lost quite a bit this time, but that's okay -- it's good daily practice either way.

Congrats on getting the new version! Enjoy, enjoy!

March 27, 2019

It’s very cheering to have a cheerful thread about this update. Thank you!

March 27, 2019

I appreciate that you are happy with the changes with the French tree; at the same time, please be aware that some of us 'discontented' types are making good points.

For example: the new vocabulary is hard to locate. I.e., which skills actually contain a decent amount of new vocab. I've gone thru a full set of lessons in the 'Technology' skill, most of the 'Numbers', and a few others - and very little of the vocab was new (maybe 1 new word per skill) - so why was my Crown level set back to level 0 when it had been half-way thru level 3 before the migration?

And some of the verb tenses seem to be gone. Passive voice. Conditional. Past Subjunctive. I suspect it is part of the emphasis upon A1/A2, which doesn't require them. For me, those were the helpful/interesting skills - so it is a loss. (EDIT: georgeoftruth helped us locate those skills. Sadly there are no grammar notes for when new verb tenses are introduced.

In addition, the new web UI is challenging. I have great eyesight - and even for me the text size is unnecessarily small and difficult to read. Given the amount of unused screen real estate, I can't understand why the designers choose to use the current font size/screen layout. If I use the zoom feature in my browser - things are slightly better IIF one doesn't use the word tiles. (My career was in software, so this sort of thing catches my eye. It makes me wonder about the design approach, to what extent are they designing for the vision impaired, those who use TTS, and/or the color blind. There have been several good threads on the subject.)

I do like Duolingo and try to keep my comments on meaningful and actionable items. I don't worry about the graphics, that the owl was redrawn, or that the test-out XP points was limited to 20. None of those items really change the learning experience. Water under the bridge in my book.

But the sparse vocab and reduced grammar are material to the learning experience. From my POV it's fair to let DL know that I'm disappointed with the changes.

March 27, 2019

I don't understand the comment about 'where is the new vocabulary'? It's a redesigned and reorganized course. You won't have a 'click this skill for the new vocabulary' button because it is scattered everywhere.

As for the grammar, I know that some people are upset that Duolingo is no longer their 'grammar drilling' platform, but Duolingo is meant to be a 'language learning' platform. Many studies have shown that teaching grammar is not the right way to teach language and usually leads to failure. Teaching meaningful communication and comprehensible input is what leads to success.

March 27, 2019

My point re: the new vocab has to do with marginal utility/the economics of using my time effectively. Here's the thought exercise:

I had finished my old tree (the one w/96 skills), 50% at L5, 25% at L4, 25% at L3. I had pretty much memorized all of the vocab, so the task was reinforcement and getting the spelling correct. I felt like I basically knew the content and spelling. (I'd still make mistakes because I'm slightly dyslexic - so it goes - I have to use TTS on any correspondence I send!)

For me on the new tree, there are ~1,800 new lexemes to learn. And as you indicated, they are spread out in the sundry skills. Assume I have 15 minutes a day to spend on DL, and want to maximize the utility of that time. I.e., I need to start with the skills where there is a lot of new material.

But how do I do that? As you correctly indicated - the new vocab is spread around. Some skills have 1 or 2 new words, other skills may be almost 100% new. The full tree is unlocked for me, and there isn't a way for me to prioritize my work. My preference would be to start with the skills with the highest percent of new vocab, and work downwards until I felt like the ratio of (time spent)/(new word learned) wasn't working for me.

I hope that makes sense.

My best counter-argument to myself is that it's possible that I've outgrown the DL French course. For the past 9-12 months, I've been reading French content/books; it could be that given where I am, those resources are my 'learning edge' in French.

March 27, 2019
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