https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

CEO of language app Duolingo says too many people make same mistake trying to learn a new language

Luis, the founder of Duo in 2017 from a Business Insider article:

https://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-learn-a-new-language-2017-5

The CEO of language app Duolingo says too many people make the same mistake trying to learn a new language

... [U]sers who binge — spending hours on the site, cramming in French or German or Chinese language lessons — tend to disappear fast.

That's because, no matter what sketchy online ads tell you, learning a language is a marathon, not a sprint. You cannot hope to master a language in weeks — or even months. So people who start out of the gate at full speed tend to burn out fast.

"If you are able to make it a part of your routine and space it out, that's much better than going nuts and cramming," von Ahn says. "It is not a sprint. If you sprint, you will forget everything."

So now we have leagues that totally encourages and rewards that (and cheating too) and it all waters down the point of XP for everyone else (so yes, it does harm everyone).

June 5, 2019

296 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/OhItsAlex

great article, thanks for sharing, now duo is getting very commercial nowdays and we can see it by their changes. i only try to focuss on my learning and ignoring all these "features" im almost in a year and im still thankfull for duo and its platform even tho i dislike those updates.

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

I too am really grateful for Duo. I know so much more because it has been here. To be honest though, I did do a lot of work, including google researching which I then shared with others in exercise discussions (helping to make Duo better I hope).

But there were set goals to work for on Duo when I started and almost none of those exist anymore. After adjusting for the crowns and the updated tree I lost interest with the continuing changes and when my 555 streak disappeared (over the holidays) I just never came back. These latest updates keep me away.

I want to measure my progress by what I know, not by what other people who have nothing else to do are doing on Duo.

And I do not want to feel like somehow less because I only do 20 or 40 xp a day while others are doing 10,000 (!).

Indeed that was one reason why I chose Duo over Memrise. Now I think I will go back to Memrise (it also has European PT).

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Corinnebelle

Have you looked at Duome? It has all the Portuguese words on the course. Think you can practice them if you want.

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/MuchMyriad

You can see elsewhere in the thread that Scutigera is lamenting the lack of European Portuguese on the site, as Duo focuses on Brazilian.

One point Scutigera makes is that Duo is lauded for helping certain areas learn Portuguese, while the Portuguese that is spoken in those areas is European.

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/LobstaJohnson

interesting, is there a big difference between european portugues and braziliano? Also canadian vs european french? or cajun french? I'm fascinated!

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

Okay, my answer on the differences between the two main variants of Portuguese comes as a non-native speaker.

Brazilian Portuguese is used in Brazil.

European Portuguese is the standard in all other Portuguese speaking places which includes several in Asia and Africa (Brazil was not the only place Portuguese went).

Having been in both the US and the UK for extended times, and having had several long-term friends also from Australia, S. Africa, New Zealand, and even some English-speaking African and S. American countries I'd say the differences in Portuguese are more pronounced than those in English.

Here is just one paper on the differences in the 2nd Person Singular (which is a 3rd Person Treatment Pronoun in much of – but not all of – Brazil that is not hardly used at all in Portugal as it is considered crude and even rude; but that does not stop the Brazilians from claiming it is used formally in Portugal...):

https://www.academia.edu/5961962/Sociolinguistic_Aspects_of_forms_of_address_in_Portugal_and_Brazil_Tu_or_Você

In this paper there are several panels comparing the two versions of Portuguese which shows they are more different than just in pronouns:

In order to illustrate the forms of address used by Brazilian and Continental Portuguese speakers, especially the occurrence of você it would be interesting to compare the Brazilian and the Portuguese translations from the famous French comic book “Astérix”, written by the French duo of Goscinny and Uderzo. Comic books always tend to mirror the common spoken language into the written language. So, a comic book that tells the same story in both dialects of Portuguese, the Continental and the Brazilian one, would be a useful example to consider the actual use of forms of address in both countries. The following examples were taken from the book “Asterix and Cleopatra”.

I will include links to the screenshots I am including here so people can see the full sized version since the type is likely to be tiny so far over in the comment nesting (they can also be seen in the research paper linked above but in a different format):


https://i.imgur.com/utQ2pnL.png


https://i.imgur.com/YBETQgO.png

Well, I have been saving all the differences I have observed (not like the ones above) in a file that I will someday post here on Duo as a reference for those who want to know the what they are (it is much bigger than those highlighted in the short articles that appear in a google search).

But among them include not just some quite different grammar (especially the clitics), but differences in spellings, different accents (which Duo will not recognize even though they are correct; for instance it is, "bebé" with the acute accents in EUPT and,, "bebê" with the circumflex in BRPT), and then just different words altogether (Omnibus for bus in BRPT; Autocarro in EUPT). Even just numbers are spelled differently, and those can be important to those in Mozambique and Angola to spell correctly.

Oh, and then there are the speaking accents. Truly different.

https://www.practiceportuguese.com/videos/mystery/

The Brazilians come to Portugal and they do not change how they speak at all, in part because they are well understood since there is so much Brazilian media here. But, the Brazilians can really struggle with the European version. In fact, Brazilian TV will even dub an EU PT show.

I actually even had a Brazilian give me grief recently about not knowing Portuguese better despite being in Portugal. But every sentence he said had "você" in it which he has failed to grasp is not used where we both are.


Anyway, here is a blog by a former PT contributor here who wanted to develop a EU PT program for DL but was turned down. It is a fabulous resource (Duo's great loss):

https://theepexperience.com/2016/01/23/introduction/

And here are the experiences of some who came from Brazil to Portugal:

https://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2015/09/07/difference-european-brazilian-portuguese/

https://www.britishcouncil.org/voices-magazine/portuguese-worlds-seventh-most-spoken-language

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Masquedesronces

I can only really speak about the difference between the French dialects, but Canadian and European French have about the same differences in vocabulary as Br. vs US English, I'd say. While the accents are very dissimilar, I never felt as a Frenchman that the grammar or vocabulary were different enough to hinder comprehension in any significant way when I was in Québec. Plus the Québecois have access to a lot of French media, so they're pretty familiar with the European accent(s). The Belgian and Swiss dialects are almost completely identical to that of France except for some small things (numbers above 70 are said differently, for instance). Similarly, I never really felt that African varieties of French were at all difficult to understand, besides some obvious loan words from the local languages. I don't know much about Cajun but from what I've heard of the dialect online, it's very significantly different from all the other varieties; personally, I could understand about 40% of any given sentence.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/EdvntL

Yes, there are some major differences - in vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar. Portuguese people are more exposed to our accents in Brazil (plus, Brazilians speak more clearly and more slowly than them) - so they understand us better than we understand them (which sometimes is not at all). Spelling used to be very different too, up until a spelling reform a few years ago - there are a still differences left, based on pronunciation: "prêmio" (BR) vs. "prémio" (PT).

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/XynnAN

KurtThornb you are mistaken, creole and pidgin are not distinguished based on the language origin, but on whether it is used for communication between two individuals who do not speak the same language (pidgin) or as a mother tongue (creole).

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/esperantistabr

Yeah, there is a lot of differences between the accents. I´m brazilian...

I think the difference is like the difference between british english and american english...

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Lyrasdad

I was with my Brazilian friend in Portugal and she got very upset when a woman didn't understand what she was saying!

June 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/AnthonyCab132794

People want to make a big fuss out of the two dialects, and quite honestly I had never seen a set of speakers have starker remarks on why their dialects are so dissimilar(especially coming from Brazilians), but at the end of the day, they don't have troubles communicating, it is the same situation that has happened to languages brought to The Americas from Europe, you will understand both varieties no matter which one you choose to study. The rythm, cadence, accents in general might be different, but the core of the language is the same.

June 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/KurtThornb

Another development from French is the development of Kreyol, which is spoken in Haiti and other places. English gives rise to Pidgen English. These languages are called "creoles". Another way in which the New Word changed traditional European languages.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Davifelso

Brazilian Portuguese is used in Brazil while European Portuguese is in Europe, and the Africans nations have their own accent. But, the distances between the countries and their former overlord, make the difference, as in Angola, they speak more like Brazilians.

June 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/robertamom8

I agree that I want to measure my progress by what I know, not what other people are doing.... I pretty much ignore the shield stuff. But it irritates me that things keep on changing.

June 8, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Avi_an_Avian

I can tell you memrise is having problems too with the whole deck's fiasco. I used to use memrise but now I only use the sister site decks and the art style has changed. The same stuff is happening over there and I hear the mobile app has become trash (though I don't use mobile)

June 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/courtneysfoster

I didn't actually care for memrise. I started there, but it seemed like some of the phrases they wanted me to learn were just a little... off. And if I gave an equivalent answer it wouldn't accept. Duo does rather will with accepting equivalent answers. I like that about it.

I just started looking at Babble. It costs to get at all of the lessons, but I really like the grammar lessons they provide. that's one thing I wish Duo would do is provide actual grammar lessons.

June 8, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Alisa-Zhup

Duo does provide grammar lessons! If you go onto the "tips" section on each lesson (the light bulb), it'll give you grammar information specific to that lesson, and will later build on what you already know.

June 8, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

Well, I would call those "grammar notes" rather than lessons but they are good and helpful, for those courses and lessons that actually have them (not all do). These are all written by the volunteer course contributors too is my understanding (so BIG KUDOS for all their time & effort).

However, the exercise discussions can be a goldmine (and what actually made Duo work for me). At least in Portuguese which is kept clean of unnecessary comments. German is a mess (at least from what I saw).

June 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/katherine1882366

YES the phone app is total trash, I now use Duolingo from my web browser instead Also, I gotta check on memrise I used to use it and it was okay (like three years ago tho)

June 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

I guess that is another irritation I have is that Duo (and so many other websites) are making the websites more like the apps. If I wanted the app experience I would get the app. :(

Yeah, haha... I did not even think about how memrise might have changed since I was there last. I just know the pressure from being timed, not knowing what score I might get, the blinking "5 in a Row!" and other stuff was overstimulating. I cannot imagine how difficult that site is for those with schizophrenia (for instance) like a friend of mine who could not watch MTV because of the animated station identifiers (which freaked him out).

June 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Thomas.Heiss

@Scutigera

Quote: how memrise might have changed since I was there last.

The http://www.memrise.com web UI - for their offical 1-7 courses - got a new frontend layout (all yellow).

The new user-created course decks site http://decks.memrise.com uses a mixture of colours (it is in beta testing).

But the "old" more eye friendly colours with the orange contrast (which I liked, especially for the daily streak visualization) are gone.

I just know the pressure from being timed

Then I have good news for you: You can turn the timer OFF on the two websites!!

We have a Tampermonkey / Violentmonkey userscript ready for the web portal to accomplish this
(some web code updates from Memrise staff quite often corrupt the previously working APIs and existing userscripts).

You can find it on the community forum.

June 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/lukelearngerman

May I ask why you left Duo, stayed away due to the updates, but still frequent the forum?

June 8, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

May I ask why you left Duo, stayed away due to the updates, but still frequent the forum?*

Sure.

I think I explained elsewhere that I mostly only did 20 xp per day on Duo. But I read every discussion and I researched things I did not understand, reading blogs, and forums like reddit, and even research papers to understand. Soon I started answering the questions people had. Eventually I even started teaching native speakers things about the language they did not know.

As I have also said elsewhere, I am currently shocked by those in the discussions at level 25 who do not have a grasp of even the basic building blocks of the language. This is a new phenomenon.

Anyway, I still get emails from those discussions. Sometimes 10 to 20 a day and I still answer many of them because it keeps me sharp and it adds to the community (I really feel for those who want/need EU PT as well so I try to post on the differences so they will know).

But I just do not want to play the Duo game anymore. I do not like leagues, not a big fan of crowns, hate this percentage thing (like I cannot see what the percentage is by looking at the yellow ring graphics which does not tell me how many lessons are left), not being able to repeat (or link to) a specific lesson, and a few other things. Duo demotivated me from doing Duo. And I wonder how many others. Does the Duo analysis of their numbers data cover those of us who just drop out because of the constant changes?

Anyway, I also will see general language articles that I think about sharing with the general board but when I arrive it's almost always in chaos regarding the latest change on Duo.


Does that give me enough credentials to post here? Or do I need a certain minimum of XP each day to qualify? =)

Anyway, the discussions here are not my life (and neither is learning the language). I am in fact off this very moment to go see real-life people and will answer some more posts here when I get back. :)

June 8, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/xMira_

Thank you so much, I use Lingodeer now and whenever I say so everyone goes "wEll whY Do yOu STill go oN DUolNgo foRUms????!"

June 10, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/SSgVk3S0

Yes learning is a marathon not a sprint but if you do 20xp a day, you're taking a walk. ;-)

June 10, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

Yes learning is a marathon not a sprint but if you do 20xp a day, you're taking a walk. ;-)

Yeah well, there is a lot to miss if one is just racing through.

Meanwhile it is me who explains to them what they have missed so... they are getting where in such a hurry?

Kind of like those who blow past me in school zones only to get to the red light before I do... What have they accomplished?


Anyway, I explained my method elsewhere if you are actually really interested. ;-)

I learn & internalize, not just do rote repeating. And Duo is by no means my do all & be all when it comes to languages, and especially not life itself.

June 12, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Deb1134

I have pretty much stopped using Memrise because their free version now gives less practice on the words before it considers them "learned". I got frustrated with this very quickly. I have seen many changes with Duo. Most are okay. Some have been great in the long run. Some are disappointing. But overall it is one of the best things the internet has to offer.

June 11, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/garpike

duo is getting very commercial nowdays and we can see it by their changes

Whereas what Luis was saying about trying to cover material too quickly is most probably true, I dare say the context of this pearl of wisdom was the introduction of gems to the iOS app, which sought to 'solve' this 'problem' by coercing users to buy freemium currency in order to be able to proceed at their own paces.
This was and remains a very blunt instrument designed to raise revenue, and not to 'save us from ourselves' when we feel motivated to complete more than some arbitrary number of lessons in a given time period.

It doesn't particularly surprise me that this essential truth has been discarded if DL has now found a more effective way of monetising leagues (I assume that more repetitions = more ads, although there might be more to it than that).

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

Thank you Garpike. I was pretty sure this was the case before you confirmed it, which is why I wanted to point out the hypocrisy we are being fed in the company lines (I hate being played... grr..).

Truly one of the best parts of Duo when I started was that we were allowed to learn at our own pace and in our own way that worked best for us which helped so many of us overcome the bad school experience trying to learn in classrooms.

Now it is becoming all the things I did not like about Memrise.


EDIT: here's another quote from Luis about binging (from when the BI article first came out):

https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/22724007

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/garpike

I can quite appreciate that Luis, having raised an awful lot of money from venture cap firms at a time when DL was losing it like water, is no doubt now under pressure to make DL as profitable as possible. In the pursuit of this, quite a few of the original DL pledges have increasingly fallen by the wayside; unfortunately, I expect this trend to continue, unless he can come up with a new idea like Captcha or immersion, which monetises something useful to learners rather than retreating down the well-trodden route of Freemium, subscriptions & ads.

I do believe that Luis' intent in the whole project is good, but I absolutely agree that the way DL has tried to spin certain changes has been duplicitous. Luis plays the part of everyone's favourite (magical, tech) uncle on these forums, but we should not forget, whatever explanations he gives, that he is subject to powerful forces who want a return on their investments.

I write this as I didn't want to sound unfairly harsh on Luis in my previous post, but I can't disagree that some of the best features of DL seem to be going to pot.

June 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/ProDuoExtra

I agree 100% about the updates. Personally, the old fashioned Duolingo was much better. -learning since 2015

June 8, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/oskalingo

This is actually a terrible article (not at all unusual with BI). It simply serves as a mouthpiece for von Ahn without any critical analysis of what he says.

Here's what the missing critical analysis could include:

  • Luis conflates continued use of duolingo with successfully learning a language. That's obviously false and may indeed be the inverse. Perhaps some of the people who intensely used duolingo for only a short time and then left found better learning methods? Or realised that duolingo was not helping them much.

  • It is somewhat true that learning a language is not a sprint but a marathon. However that is far from the full story. Your language learning will benefit immeasurably from some periods of intense learning, including being intensely challenged. It will also benefit from some slacker times. Duolingo turns language learning into running endlessly on a treadmill where your brain becomes dull and conditioned to passivity (instead of actively taking charge of your own language learning). Oh, and there are ads flashed at you now while you jog in place on duolingo's tedious treadmill.

June 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/jairapetyan

I agree with your first paragraph, except for saying that it could be the inverse. In your second paragraph you say that your language learning will benefit from some slacker times. This is not true. Learning is dependent on repeating access to information (there are scientific articles that explain this, I will keep it simple) and the more often you make the connections, the stronger the pathways become. If you slack off, the information becomes harder to access and is eventually overwritten altogether. It is not uncommon that people who move to a country where a different language is spoken, and who do not continue to use their native tongue, can forget it altogether.

June 15, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Maria319403

Same with me. I don't know or care what these "features" are.

June 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Songve

Wherever there is big money, there is mischief afoot to make it even bigger. (upvote this) It is no secret that many years ago to the present, those who offer products study human psychology in depth to influence people to buy buy buy and increase sales. (upvote this) My favorite method was the old subliminal message gambit. A product like a soda was flashed in a movie too quickly to be noticed consciously but it crept into the subconscious.

So, Duolingo's worth (upvote this) is nearing a billion dollars. I have no doubt some investment firm is taking note. And that may not bode well for Duolingo as we know it. I have heard that certain economic systems enable the worst in us, like narcissism, pathological lying and lack of compassion. Look at the behavior of CEO's and even higher...

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

Yes, nothing is constant except death, taxes, change, and greed.

Ruins a lot of wonderful things. And that need to fit in... well, that's why people were motivated to smoke, and to eat bacon for breakfast. "The Century of the Self" is an excellent BBC program that delves into Edward Bernays manipulation of the crowds:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Century_of_the_Self

The Century of the Self is a 2002 British television documentary series by filmmaker Adam Curtis. ... In episode one, Curtis says, "This series is about how those in power have used Freud's theories to try and control the dangerous crowd in an age of mass democracy."

...

The words of Paul Mazur, a leading Wall Street banker working for Lehman Brothers in 1927, are cited: "We must shift America from a needs- to a desires-culture. People must be trained to desire, to want new things, even before the old have been entirely consumed. [...] Man's desires must overshadow his needs."

...

Curtis ends by saying that, "Although we feel we are free, in reality, we — like the politicians — have become the slaves of our own desires," and compares Britain and America to 'Democracity', an exhibit at the 1939 New York World's Fair created by Edward Bernays.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Bernays

His best-known campaigns include a 1929 effort to promote female smoking by branding cigarettes as feminist "Torches of Freedom" and his work for the United Fruit Company connected with the CIA-orchestrated overthrow of the democratically elected Guatemalan government in 1954. He worked for dozens of major American corporations including Procter & Gamble and General Electric, and for government agencies, politicians, and non-profit organizations.

Of his many books, Crystallizing Public Opinion (1923) and Propaganda (1928) gained special attention as early efforts to define and theorize the field of public relations. Citing works of writers such as Gustave Le Bon, Wilfred Trotter, Walter Lippmann, and his own double uncle Sigmund Freud, he described the masses as irrational and subject to herd instinct—and outlined how skilled practitioners could use crowd psychology and psychoanalysis to control them in desirable ways.

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/bob732720

People eat bacon for breakfast because it is delicious.

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

If that is so, why just breakfast then?

Anyway, it was not always so:

https://money.howstuffworks.com/10-deceptive-pr-campaigns-in-history1.htm

Back in the 1920s, the Beech-Nut Packing Company wanted to sell more of its bacon. Yes, the same company that now specializes in baby food once also produced peanut butter, coffee, baked beans and chewing gum along with its hit, jarred bacon. Beech-Nut hired Edward Bernays — the nephew of Sigmund Freud, and a PR mastermind — to help it persuade the public that they should be chowing down on more of the porcine product.

At that time in history, Americans enjoyed a fairly simplistic morning meal: coffee and a roll, for example, or perhaps some oatmeal and fruit. Bernays asked the physician working with his public relations firm whether Americans would be healthier if they ate heartier breakfasts. The doctor confirmed this. Bernays then requested he write to 5,000 of his medical colleagues asking them to agree that a heavy breakfast was the best way to start the day due to the loss of energy overnight. "Newspapers had headlines saying 4,500 physicians urge heavier breakfasts," Bernays recalled years later. The publications specifically mentioned bacon and eggs as taking care of the "problem." The campaign was a success for Beech-Nut, and Americans soon developed a taste for bacon and eggs at breakfast [sources: American Table, Funding Universe].

Another irony to this is that Berneys was Jewish (bacon is not kosher).

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/RemingtonL5

I understood the words you said, but now I can't stop thinking about bacon...

It would help if your profile picture didn't look like a strip of bacon.

I get so confused about what to eat for breakfast these days that I usually just skip it.

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

Ahah, the red in the Portuguese flag stands for blood. =]

I will let you in on a little secret. You can eat whatever you like for breakfast, and as a "breaking of the fast" you can start eating whenever you want as well (skipping it only puts it off).

I discovered this years before this writer:

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2019/05/what-is-breakfast/589411/

And here is some more about breakfast marketing:

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/06/how-marketers-invented-the-modern-version-of-breakfast/487130/

So [sadly] funny how easily we are socialized into "norms" by those who profit from us.

But since this is a language site, consider that "breakfast" is different around the world. Maybe you can have a different breakfast everyday based on the culture of one of the languages you are learning. :D


Okay, off to meet up with a friend (in real life) visiting from Greece so will answer to others when I get back.

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/MuchMyriad

In Spanish, for instance, the word refers to this same phenomenon: desayuno (with the act of eating breakfast being desayunar).

Ayunar (to fast) and des (a negation, basically).

But in German, that being Frühstück, you might miss that "early piece" of eating if you wait too long.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/LorenaRay

Until you said so, I didn’t realize that that profile picture was NOT a strip of bacon!

June 8, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Songve

Same with candy, sodas, fries cooked in animal fat, and donuts...how did people find out about it? Yep, being bombarded daily by commercials that conveniently leave out the part of rotting teeth and internal organs.

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

Yeah actually, when sugar was more of a luxury, something only the richer folks could afford, rotten teeth became a sort of fashion so much so that people even painted their teeth black to look rotten.

https://www.thevintagenews.com/2016/01/18/tudor-england-the-teeth-of-the-rich-often-went-black-from-sugar-it-was-fashion-among-the-lower-classes-to-blacken-their-teeth-to-show-they-were-rich/

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Teagan_Grey

ewww that is gross

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/xMira_

WHOA. That's crazy. It's kind of like how ripped jeans are so in right now (or maybe not anymore, idk)-- or even skinniness.

June 10, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Ak0KJJkd

I highly recommend that film by Mark Curtis - an eye opener!

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

Yes! Me too!

"The Century of the Self" is conveniently available in 4 one-hour parts on YouTube and Vimeo:

https://youtu.be/DnPmg0R1M04

https://vimeo.com/search?q=Century+of+the+self

Vimeo even seems to have EP PT Subtitles for part II:
https://vimeo.com/39004295

These are the same reason we spend enormous amounts on hair removal products too (create a so-called, "need"):

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/apr/29/female-armpit-hair-outrage-disgust-nike-ad

And this just horrifies me!

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/lysols-vintage-ads-subtly-pushed-women-to-use-its-disinfectant-as-birth-control-218734/

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/DJrossonwye

I have to admire a more recent marketing twist for a certain "breakfast biscuit" (a cookie). The beautifully-coordinated advertising and placement campaign was a work of art - all about light, nutrition, slow-release energy, nature and convenience.

I am not knocking the product - they taste O.K. and they fill a gap, but If you read the ingredients they are simply a standard multigrain biscuit, made with standard fortified flour, like hundreds of others on supermarket shelves.

The only difference is the word "breakfast" on the distinctive packaging.

Absolute Genius. ;)

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

I know, right?! We already had the "Breakfast Cookie" in my world several years ago. I totally bought into it at the time (then found out later that all grains make me sick).

Another one I discovered was that the cool store by my house had an organic salad bar for 5.99 a pound. I thought that was outrageous to spend for baby spinach so I went to the non-organic store to buy a bag of spinach for 1.59 but... just before I walked off with it I noticed the shelf tag for it which showed the price per pound was 9.12 (over 3.00 more than the organic because the bag was only 80 grams or something) so we have to really watch the packaging games too.

Well, and if we realized that the big reason cereals are fortified is because the processing strips out all the nutrients so eating it actually uses up more nutrients than we take in from that "food" and then we get nutrient deficiencies that can actually kill us. We don't hear about these things but rather get the dose of marketing that comes with the synthetic "nutrients":

http://web1.sph.emory.edu/users/hpacho2/PartnershipsMaize/Bishai_2002.pdf

Robert Williams and W. H. Sebrell, two leaders of the enrichment campaign, attended the annual convention of the Millers National Federation. After appealing to the millers’ philanthropy by describing the poor nutritional statistics from the South, they hinted at the possibility of federal legislation that would force the exclusive production of whole grain meals, that is, if vitamin enrichment was not supported. Factors associated with the wartime climate may have also motivated industry support. The decision of the British to produce only enriched flour appears to have made a deep impact on the Americans. The war in Europe may have bolstered a patriotic incentive for the food industry to do its part to keep the United States strong. Food fortification could take on the highly positive cultural function of providing vigor and energy to the nation’s defense. An advertisement for enriched bread during the war featured the picture of a soldier with the caption, “What has toast got to do with winning the war?” followed by “The extra vitamins and minerals in enriched white bread help restore energy . . . to give you the added punch you need to tackle your war job.” However, the attempt to create a new patriotic meaning for vitamin fortification would ultimately play a minor role in achieving widespread fortification of flour and bread.

Now, after making food a vitamin pill we have this (too much):

https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2014/jun/24/kids-vitamins-cereal-food-kellogg

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/GuenterSch81

You forgot Adolf Hitler, the master.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/DJrossonwye

Well, Adolf Hitler was not himself a master of manipulation.

He was merely a man child with a massive ego. Everything that happened in Adolph Hitler's life convinced him more and more that he was special and somehow above everybody else.

Perhaps the most significant aspects would have been receiving praise from his mother for being a childhood bully, and a stint in the army further convincing him of his own special bravery and immortality.

Within various groups, his rants would dissuade people from making a fuss, hoping that the lunatic would simply go away. This lack of opposition merely convinced Adolph Hitler all the more that everybody respected and feared him, and gave the weaker-minded the courage to follow and support him.

This was noticed by opportunists.

On the fertile bed of a public baying for a change, any change, established masters of manipulation used his self-belief and charisma and rode the wave, which enhanced his self-belief and power exponentially. Out of greed and laziness and vanity, and ultimately cowardice, they had created an almost-unstoppable monster.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/S.A.Debre

A product like a soda was flashed in a movie too quickly to be noticed consciously but it crept into the subconscious.

Didn't the guy who was behind the experiment later admit that they faked the entire thing?

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Marc41177

It's certainly nowhere near as effective as popular myth holds it to be.

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/garpike

Absolutely. Freud himself and his theories are essentially discredited: they bear about as much relevance to falsifiable, scientific psychology as the theory of humours does to modern medicine. People employing Freud in advertising are going to reap about as many rewards from it as someone who employs phrenology to determine customer targetting.
And people positing conspiracies involving magical Freudian effects like subliminal advertising are quite a few decades too late.

This is not say to that Freud shouldn't be recognised as an historically-important thinker whose ideas had a great influence on subsequent developments; simply that he was wrong about almost everything.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/xMira_

That's not QUITE true, not everyone agrees about everything, it's not quite conclusive that he's super wrong about everything in the world. Yeah, a lot of really great thinkers often went a little tooooooooooooooooo far about things, and Freud was definitely wrong about some things. (E.g. Often the women he diagnosed with "hysteria" had PTSD from being sexually assaulted or abused in some way.) But it's not a good idea to say he was wrong about "almost everything," I don't think. Also, weren't a lot of the modern day "subliminal" things more Jungian than Freudian, or am I just remembering wrong? Or did society make me THINK I was remembering wrong? looks into the camera and gasps

June 10, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/LICA98

downvoted after I saw "upvote"

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Songve

Congrats, LICA, you have not turned into a Rhinoceros yet and detected my, admittedly, not so subtle subliminal messages.

BTW, I like to leave easter eggs in my posts. Rhinoceros is one of them. If you haven't seen it, it is a humorous movie dealing with pressures of conformity.

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/ISpeakAlien

It is a good post, so I have no problem with upvoting it. I will give a lingot to Songve.

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Camilla-danesa

haha, i thought it was very funny and very apropos, and of course I upvoted Songve's post!

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Corinnebelle

Upvote this? What's with that? You trying to tell us to upvote what you think is a worthy post?

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Mireille836084

Excuse my ignorance, but what does "upvote this" mean? And why is it offset in parentheses?

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/mreaderclt

It's a subtle joke from Songve, the author, that plays on a key sentence in the text.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Corinnebelle

Satire.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Felix783453

Mireille, it is weird to be so direct in asking for social approval. However, given the context of the rest of the post, I suspect that weirdness was intentional. Either a joke or some scathing commentary on the fabric of social media.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Mireille836084

Excuse me❓

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/DocDan2

Subliminal messaging has already debunked. I want to contribute when I see that I am being fluent; I dislike monthly subscription. If it's free, let it be free but allow voluntary contributions. I don't mind supporting DuoLingo. Their teaching method is marvelous.

June 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Nattristis

Duo doesn't use much psychology, there are a lot of rules for that and they can get in BIG trouble if they cross that line. only thing they can legally do is make it addictive, which is a good thing imo.

June 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/kittybecca

Look at the behavior of the individual in question, who developed reCAPTCHA, a program that exploits people's labor to digitize texts and train machine learning algorithms at the point of entry to websites across the Internet. You must give him your unpaid labor to use most of the Internet. It's diabolical, and profitable.

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

I actually thought recaptcha was a brilliant idea. However, it never seems to work for me. No matter how many times I input whatever insane test it throws up (and some have been diabolical), it says I am wrong. :(

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Shreya353277

Same! And sometimes when I see a super hard one, I question my own humanness...lol

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/TARDISToni

I have sometimes wondered whether there were ulterior motives behind recaptcha. Recently, many of the newer exercises seem to have moved from text entry, which does have its issues, to identifying photos that contain street signs, cars, shops, etc. One would think this would be an easier task. Alas, due to reasons often beyond my comprehension (poor photo quality, perhaps?), I often still fail to identify all the photos "correctly." :-)

I've enjoyed this thread, BTW. Thank you! The herd/sheep mentality and the blurring of lines between desires and necessities, especially as they are carefully manipulated by advertisers, investors, politicians, world leaders, etc. has become a source of great worry over the past few years. Sometimes I fear our society is doomed ...

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

Yes! I think it was street signs I could not pass so resorted to trying the audio recaptcha challenge which took forever to load then played maybe 60 seconds of spaced out numbers (maybe all of 5 of them) over a bunch of other ear-splitting noise, and I could not pass that either even with correct numbers. Like Shreya353277 pointed out, it somehow feels like we are failed human beings (but is rather failed machines). :D

Thank you for your kind words. It has indeed been a nice & enjoyable thread with lost of very good contributions from so many even if many of us might disagree (it is okay).

As for society... well I have adopted a somewhat pessimistic optimism in that I will hopefully be dead by the time the worst of it all starts to hit. =}

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7

Luis sold reCAPTCHA to Google some years ago. I believe they made changes to it. Like you, I am also now asked to identify street signs, etc, rather than help to digitize books. :(

June 8, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7

kittybecca, you make use of my unpaid labor by using the courses to gain language skills. reCAPTCHA makes use of your unpaid labor to reduce bot traffic and digitize texts. (Or did. Luis sold it to Google some years back.)

Duolingo is not an exceedingly wealthy company. And it costs around $80,000 a day to run. (Last number I read in an article was $60,000 but Duolingo has grown since then. My guestimate might actually be short.) So, the profit margin is not all that large after server space, paying rent at headquarters, taxes, and providing a living wage and benefits to somewhere around 150-180 staff. Meanwhile, the CEO recently bought houses for folks displaced by natural disasters. Capitalism is not my economic mode of choice. And I don't fancy the fact that Duolingo is a for-profit business scooping off value produced from the labor of volunteers. Even so, it is still one of the companies I appreciate above many others.

June 8, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

I appreciate this break-down and reality check, but I still resent being played by corporate spin. I really respect honesty and being upfront so much more. There is a difference between, "we put this in place for your own good" (it's your fault) and, "we need financial support and this is one way we are exploring."

http://www.panna.org/gmos-pesticides-profit/corporate-science-spin

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misplaced_loyalty#Institutional


Well, as my thread here clearly shows, anything Duo says will come back, hopefully not to haunt but, I get that it's a fine line to walk between investors ($$) and the actual chattel (u$)

June 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/XynnAN

The idea of duolingo was also unpaid labor: making individuals translate sentences of actual websites. When they say it's free, it never is!

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Platospicantes

Diabolical, lol. I guess that's one way to look at it. I feel like I've done fewer captchas lately.

June 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

Diabolical yes! The audio one I encountered was like a Judas Priest soundtrack played backwards and I had to listen for spaced out numbers said over that. I still failed. That was after trying to find something like all of the number 5 in a mosaic of like 35 out-of-focus grainy pictures that might include addresses, street signs, business signs, serial numbers from toaster ovens, birthday cakes, and who knows what else where I have to sweat whether they are being strict that it is the number "5" and not the word, "five" or do I count that too? Doesn't matter. I failed. =]

I think few captchas now because they were blocking the entire internet. Traffic is everything on the corporate web.

June 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Klgregonis

It does seem as if the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing. The leagues (I've turned them off, by the way - I don't care to compete) encourage a lot of binging, maybe doing the same lessons multiple times just to rack up points. The health system discourages it. And the loss of the skill decay makes it harder to focus practice on what you may need to learn. So - is Duolingo following von Ahn's vision or do they now have a board making decisions based purely on how long users stay on the app?

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

It surely is no longer following what I signed up for two years ago. =]

I was okay with working through the tree (getting a non-naked golden owl), then getting all the way to level 25 by keeping the tree golden (by no means without its own issues). Now it's crowns, and leagues, and levels mean nothing anymore except I guess in discussions since we still have them (which I do like) but now I guess it takes less than a week of binging to get to level 25 (though still in basic skills).


And what I read as responses to people like me is to just set my own pace, do my own thing, not worry or even look at the other site features. Well, why even stay on site if I am going to do my own thing? If I am going to ignore leaderboards I might as well ignore them on Memrise (really a huge reason why I chose Duo back when).

Well anyway, since the original goals are either gone or without any meaning anymore, then why start competing with 13 year-olds on summer break?

Maybe we could make it like Nickelodeon (and pools) and have, Adult Swim Duo for the more mature language acquirers? :D

Well, old people (over 30) are useless dead weight in regards to marketing. Have to get 'em young to make them a Camel smoker for life.


But you are correct, Luis is the same guy who said there would never be a European version of Portuguese on Duolingo (even though Memrise has both), but insists he is helping the world by teaching Brazilian PT to those in Africa (where the European version is the official language):

https://making.duolingo.com/which-countries-study-which-languages-and-what-can-we-learn-from-it

In other regions, the situation may be even more dire. In Angola and Mozambique, Portuguese is the only official language (since both countries used to be Portugal’s colonies). Yet, the knowledge of the language is limited among the natives: half of the population in Mozambique and 40% of the population in Angola don’t actually speak Portuguese. Luckily, Duolingo can help! And indeed, Portuguese is the second most popular Duolingo language in the two countries: 21% of users in Mozambique and 12% of users in Angola are learning Portuguese. The interest might be even higher, was it not for the fact that prior knowledge of either English or Spanish is required to study Portuguese on Duolingo.

::le sigh::

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Corinnebelle

So sad to see all those guys destroying themselves with the cigarettes in their mouths. Filthy mouths, filthy lungs, a lot of wrinkles in old age. Emphysema, COPD, and lung cancer. How many children's hearts were broken by losing their parents early, how many children's lives were injured by parents spending money on cigarettes they could have been spending on their children to feed clothe and educate them (after alcohol), how many children's bodies were disfigured by smoking in vitro?

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

It is sad, but it was the reality for society for a long time. We are the manipulated slaves to marketing and even with these past examples we keep falling for the present and future scams.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Corinnebelle

I am glad you overcame it. My cousin was born with a hole in her heart due to her mother smoking. Thankfully it healed as a baby. I think my Auntie quit while she was pregnant.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/xMira_

The same can easily be said for diet coke, except two-fold:

Firstly: putting harmful chemicals into your body

Secondly: showing skinny, tiny, beautiful people drinking your product shows how beautiful you'll be and how small you'll feel, promoting eating disorders.

June 10, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

Not sure exactly what you are trying to say here xMira_ but cigarettes and diet soft drinks both put harmful chemicals into the body. Artificial sweeteners are just that, artificial (even if they claim to come from nature, if it is patented then it is synthetic in some way and the body always rejects synthetic).

Cigarette promoters certainly not only showed thin beautiful people consuming the product but, smoking was considered a great way to stay thin (in part because people would rather feed the nicotine addiction than their body) and people were always afraid to quit because it was nearly guaranteed (or at least those were the reinforced rumors) to gain a lot of weight without cigarettes to dull the appetite. Well, nicotine is a stimulant (though in the end the body's push for stasis makes smokers more tired than non-smokers).

https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2011/06/scientists-we-know-why-smoking-keeps-you-skinny/

I have been quite curious why we do not even think twice about someone smoking a cigarette in public but would be horrified if people were shooting up just hanging out on the streets during their work break, or in bars. It's really not all that different. Drug delivery...

June 12, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/xMira_

that's what I meant to say basically, just you said it better =^ . ^=

June 13, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/TARDISToni

Oh my God! Those smokers are ... all DEAD now! Clear cause and effect! :-D

Please forgive my warped sense of humor. My own husband died from tobacco use (at a fairly young age) after failing to be able to quit smoking. I often use humor as a defense/coping mechanism. :-) I'm all for the 'adult swim' idea, especially since we lost our clubs...

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

Yes! Adult Swim Duolingo! :) :)


No worries about the gallows humor. I smoked for a while so I am grateful in a way as I know what a horrible addiction it is (somehow I could always find money for cigarettes...) and now I know that there really is a way to get over addictions. Quitting (each time) made it so much easier to do with everything else that needed to go in my life. But quitting smoking was indeed one of my greatest achievements and gave me back huge amounts of freedom.

This addictiveness though is a big part of why I have such a distaste for leagues.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Lucas47252

I have to agree with at least one of your points. The skill decay was one of the greatest functions of Duolingo, in my opinion. :(

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/JorinGedam

What does 'skill decay' refer to? I'm new here, and Duo explains nothing.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Klgregonis

Prior to crowns, when you finished a skill for the first time, it would turn golden. There was an algorithm that determined how long it had been since you had seen a certain percentage of words in that skill, and the skill would revert back to it's original color, signaling you to review that skill. Sometimes you'd find five or six skills reverting to their original color. I liked the skill decay, because it pointed me to what I needed to review without having to go through a second party software, such as duome.eu. I found it very effective, but there were tons of complaints that it decayed too quickly, showed things the user felt they didn't need to review, etc. (well, you've read the forums here).

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/MaisyRose2

This is really encouraging for me. I'm very competitive and since they added the Leagues, I found myself 'cramming' to try and win every level. Yesterday I decided to give up as I didn't retain any information from these hour long sessions (or more). It's nice to hear the founder supports learning in a non-competitive way. Thank you so much for sharing.

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

Next week Duo will start selling ADHD drugs to users so we can concentrate more and sleep less. =]


It just all seemed hypocritical to me, especially since the excuse given again and again for "health" on iOS was to slow people down, keep us from binging. Then they roll out leagues?

Thanks to you too for sharing your story of confirmation that lessons are not retained, and well done for being self-aware enough to withdraw from them (I guess if we take our profile private we can eliminate leagues on our profile – though one person says you still get thrown into the leagues, but just cannot see that anymore... grr..).

Duo is going for the addictive behavior jugular. It is unbecoming on their part.

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/bicolingo

I think there are some key phases in language learning when binge behaviour isn't necessarily a bad thing. A lot of people understand the basics of a language for years, but remain stuck somewhere between advanced beginner and early intermediate level. Getting to intermediate level is a very steep climb, and very few people manage to do it without long periods of complete immersion (ie. living in a country where the language is spoken).

For those of us who don't have the option of immersion, what can we do? If we study a lot each day, AND do it persistently over a long period of time, it's no longer a binge.... it's dedication. So it's not about the amount we study each day VERSUS how persistently we do it... it's both. A small effort per day may be better than heroic but sporadic binges, but doing a lot of work every day over a long period is better than doing small but regular amounts.

If someone happens to be in one of these growth spurt phases, they're going to rank higher in the leagues than someone who isn't. No big deal. During those phases, it's probably a good motivator to keep up the good work. The presence of the leagues isn't a problem; taking them too seriously could be.

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/MuchMyriad

But if they're in such a growth spurt, wouldn't they also be utilizing other sources of learning as well? I wouldn't expect that to necessarily be all Duolingo-focused. That seems it would limit the learner to a limited scope.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/bicolingo

For sure. Speaking for myself, I also also use plenty of other material... textbooks, novels, news broadcasts, audio books, etc. But I use Duolingo a lot during these growth spurts, because I like having lessons divided into lots of small bite sized pieces with specific themes, lots of drill, and instant feedback. I don't know how well Duolingo would work without these other supplements because I've never used it in isolation, but I find it works pretty well for me and it's a nice tool to have in the kit.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Mereade

Duo wouldn't work much without the other resources. That's why actually "binging on it" and leaving (temporarily or for good) is one of the right ways to use it. The few times I was using it without other resources for a longer amount of time, I hit a wall at which I was no longer learning but just memorising the examples in the exercise without real learning (without understanding the grammar and being able to apply the learned content in other sentences). So, combining Duo with other sources is the better way to use it, but that of course is harder to measure.

We should remember, than while the CEO originally had the priority to teach languages, he's now got a very rich company he wants to be richer and richer. That is normal. So, it is only natural that he's not talking at all about Duolingo being used in a wider context. The problem are sometimes the media, who present it like Duolingo= language learning, instead of Duolingo=a tiny piece of language learning. And that a learner who leaves Duolingo=a learner who fails gives up on language learning :-D

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/bicolingo

May I ask, when you hit that wall with Duo, how were you working your way through the tree? Were you completing all five levels of a topic before moving on, or were you "hovering"? And were you going back to periodically review stuff you'd already covered?

The reason I ask this is because, up until a few weeks ago I was working through all five levels of each topic before moving on. A lot stuck, but a lot of it didn't; on review it often seemed I must have been sleepwalking through the lessons.

A few weeks ago I started "hovering"... doing clusters of four or five units, getting them up to level 4, then moving on to another cluster, then going back and completing level 5 of the earlier units... and it has worked SO much better.

I agree with your general remarks though (and also with Masquedesronces). Duo by itself is not going to be enough, but it's a good launching pad, and it compensates for some of the weaknesses of other courses. (I've never yet found The Perfect Course in any language... although "French in Action" comes closest for me).

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Amanda192704

That’s the way I find works best for me, move ahead to the limit of my comprehension then go back and do the other levels of earlier topics. I have to say it’s easier to learn French than Japanese without external resources. The language is easier and the resources are more complete in Duolingo with stories and more topics.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Mereade

I was doing all the crowns (usually in groups of several lessons in a few days). That was not the problem. The problem was hitting a wall, that the amount of example sentences and the explanations here simply weren't able to sufficiently cover and break through. More practice on Duolingo at that point meant more right answers, yes, because I was memorising the available examples and parroting them right after a few tries. But I was unable to use the grammar and words in my own sentences (which is something I was perfectly capable of in the early easy part of the tree even without other resources). The problem was not using Duolingo wrong (and I have more than enough experience with language learning to know).

Duo works really well combined with other resources (that's why it is stupid that testing out or "cramming" and leaving is being criticised so much). It does have advantages and limits. But it is simply wrong to assume that just doing more Duolingo will remove those limitations. Not even if you get more xp with repetition, not if you stay here forever. It's like expecting a second grade maths textbook to prepare you for a maths degree if you keep reviewing it for a decade. It simply won't, but it will have a good role at the very beginnings of the journey.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Mereade

There is no reason to think they aren't using other sources too.

It is actually normal to either have these "growth spurts" and spend many hours on other resources and Duolingo until the end of the phase, or to switch between phases of intense Duolingo and then intense other resources.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Lucas47252

In my opinion, Duolingo is a great and fun learning tool. I personally would hate the idea of studying from textbooks, etc. But of course I get your point of ideal language learning. Anyways, I have to agree with bicolingo on "The presence of the leagues isn't a problem; taking them too seriously could be." :)

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Masquedesronces

I think that would be a good point if the material Duolingo offers was a lot more extensive than it is. I appreciate that Duo is a good introduction to a lot of languages and I don't mean to be discouraging, but I don't think cramming the very basic elements it teaches will get you beyond an advanced beginner level in most standardised tests, and it certainly won't help you develop the kind of proficiency necessary to have even basic interactions with the natives.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/bicolingo

Yeah, I think the ability to have "basic interactions with the natives" can only come from immersion. It's sobering to be able to read newspapers and novels, but not be able to have a fluent conversation with a plumber. Been there ;-)

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

I think that if someone is needing a boost then their best bet is to get some off-Duo interaction whether that is an in-person class, one-on-one tutoring, language exchanges, or just films, podcasts, radio & TV in the target language (pretty easy to find in this internet age now) or, what has worked best for me, google research. I take the questions others ask on Duo and see if I can find the answer. So, spurred on by Duo I learn a lot, but it is not actually on Duo (until I share it). For me I have actually gotten way more from the exercise discussions than from the exercises on Duo.

And really, that is the heart of it and what has made Duo so great up till now is that we really do (if these revealing comments are any indication) learn in remarkably different ways that Duo really allowed for so we could tailor the site to our needs (even if we don't all advance to experts cause that is okay too). That's what I really believe we need more of here. The ability to customize to our individual needs.

So, allowing leagues to be an opt-in rather than a pseudo opt-out. See, it turns it I guess that we can get leagues off our personal pages but we are still enrolled and others can still see us in the leagues (even if we cannot see them and I personally find that creepy). Some people despite setting their privacy to avoid the leagues are still getting the league notice emails! When I say I do not want to be a part, I mean I really do not want to be a part.

But there is also talk of some of the so-called participants in the leagues being actual bots created just to spur us on to do more. To binge. Manipulative. This seems all the more plausible as one person did the math on one possible bot and to get the XP s/he had at the time it would have meant doing a lesson every minute for at least 8 hours straight (no eating, sleeping, doing other things, maybe even no potty breaks). If not a bot, then cheating with a script?

How does cheating by others help any of us?

When I started, XP had some value. Now it has been devalued so much as to be basically meaningless. It is like a Venezuelan currency. I am at level 18 after two years of doing an hour or even several nearly everyday on Duo. It was not a constant cramming of repetitive exercises for points but really exploring why this or that about the language. Now, for many months I have answered the questions of others and I am amazed at those at level 25 who do not know even the most basic things about the language. How can that be? It appears that Duo is failing these people.

How can I know so much more than they do when I was only doing 20xp per day? I would never get out of Bronze league that way and if I did I would soon be demoted (demotivated is more like it).


Well, regardless. I am not sure that Duo is the place to go from beginner to intermediate... especially without a bunch of other resources.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/bicolingo

I guess what matters most to me is the simple stuff: the course material is out there, and we can all use it as we see fit, depending on our aims and preferences. We're all responsible for our own learning. All the rest -- the lingots, the XPs, the leagues -- don't matter much to me, one way or the other. From my POV, if someone doesn't like certain features, the smart thing to do is just ignore them and focus on getting the best out of what the site provides. That's how I see it.

But from reading a lot of comments, I see that a lot of people do find those other aspects psychologically important, even upsetting, for whatever reason. And for those who do, I agree with you, you should have the ability to fully opt out of something if you find it disturbing or distracting.

June 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Trace715221

Isn't this this same thing as the Tortoise and the Hare? These people binging 2k xp in one day, every week, are not going to stay in the higher ranks for long. They'll burn out in less than a month. The person who already does duolingo every day, might look at the league and be motivated to go a little bit further than their daily requirement, just to stay above that promotion line. I already felt like I wasn't doing enough time to really learn spanish as fast as I'd like. This gives me the motivation to go a little bit further every day to reach my goal.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/HalynaHurd

Finally, a reasonable opinion!!!

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/ISpeakAlien

Duolingo's behavior makes absolutely zero sense. They claim that cramming is the worst way to learn a language, so they made Health and are going to bring it to the website. Then, they made Leagues, which encourage cramming.

If there are both Health and Leagues, there is no purpose or benefit to using Duolingo.

Oh, I just remembered that they reduced XP for testing out of skills. That explains things.

Use an ad blocker on Duolingo's website. If they lose money, they cannot ignore their users.

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

Yeah, the "health" thing and the excuses made for its existence is part of why I posted this today. Leagues are in direct opposition.

Consistency is key in language learning. :)


Well, I have the ad blocker on because the ads changed so often they sucked up all my computer memory. :( I did try to be virtuous though.

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/MuchMyriad

The thing with the "health" system is that it runs counter to what the purpose of Duolingo is purported to be. I recall interviews or articles about why the site is set up how it is, and that was the point that was offered: Learning grows through mistakes. To then punish those mistakes defeats that point.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Corinnebelle

Is that what's happening to my computer?

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

I don't know, but it is possible. If you have your computer on but not with Duo open in any tabs does it perform okay?

Yahoo news is another I have to avoid as it freezes every tab/window on my computer.


And that brings up another point. The marketing of Duo is that it brings free language learning to the masses including those who cannot afford it any other way. But, if it requires bigger, and better, and newer hardware to access with all these updates, then it's not really as easy to acquire for everyone after all.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Corinnebelle

I don't know it is the problem, but it's good be aware of it.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Thomas.Heiss

@ISpeakAlien @Corinnebelle

Quote ISpeakAlien : so they made Health and are going to bring it to the website

Quote Corinnebelle: I hear health is coming to the web

Well, I heard and read nothing....

Would you both please be so kind to give concrete sources from Duolingo staff or community managers who exactly said this about the web portal and where?

The last official thread from staff was about "April 2019 Updates": https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/31849174

It was said therein that HEALTH won't be coming to the website and that they have no plans for doing so.

..(...)..

Android

Their Android mobile plattform on the other hand is a different beast.

Even their FAQ thread mentioned that they wanted to (BETA) test health on Android at a given time: https://support.duolingo.com/hc/en-us/articles/115002887326-What-is-Health-

Health and Gems are only available on iOS for now. We will be testing these mechanics on Android in the future. We do not currently have plans to bring this (health) to Web.

If the "Android future" is now and (much) sooner than expected, well this stands on the other side of the card; nobody forces us to use their tapping mobile app.

With the new announced hardware keyboard Android phone "Fxtec Pro1" coming out I would expect that Duolingo app programmers finally add the missing "toggle keyboard" option for a FULL typing experience - like the web portal supports it already.

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

Thomas.Heiss, I am sorry, I cannot find it but I am nearly positive I saw an admin commenting multiple times in some discussion in the last few weeks that "health" is indeed coming to the website because despite what anyone says on these forums about how awful it is, they (Duo) have metrics to prove it is effective (at least as they are disinterestedly measuring – "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it" -- Upton Sinclair) . I wish I had thought to bookmark it because it was a bit shocking to have the admin be so brazen and frank (even if it felt a bit dismissive) but at least it was seemingly truthful and frank and sans manipulation tactics (someone else even commented on that and how much they appreciated the willing and honest answers).

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Thomas.Heiss

@Scutigera

Thanks for pointing that out what you came across in a thread (very helpful to know in advance).

I regularly practice old stuff in my three Portuguese courses....so this would refill the health circle a bit, hopefully.

But I really like to do my own typing errors and learn from them, especially when I am trying to construct my own sentences on the web.

The PT->DE and PT->EN reverse trees are a different beast.

I came across a sentence example (out of the blue sky) which used the "personal infinitive" form triggered by the "apesar de" usage.

I found this verb form very shortly mentioned in "Prepositions 3" tips and notes.

The normal verb conjugations are even listed in the "Future Subjunctive" T&N table, but with a slighly different applicable usage (future, uncertain events).

I am not aware that I practiced the "personal infinitive" in any of the 91 EN->PT skills?!?
Do you maybe know one??

The html formatted Portuguese T&N (web) possibly contain nice sentence examples here and there, but those are usually not added to the Incubator :-(

I was so perplex that I of course got this sentence very wrong!

..(...)..

The usage of "timed practice" won't allow too much thinking anyways; maybe it would be good to have an option to exclude several (more complicated) "grammar / verb tense skills" from a quick global re-strengthen session?

When the blue global practice button selects the bottom "grammar skills" of my EN->PT tree, which it usually does not before the last "words-progress percentage update" I am sometimes into trouble and I get more wrong than right.

Or maybe I am just lucky that I can re-strengthen more skills more quickly with the new picture and multiple-choice exercises (less typing) and the presently easier difficulty factor?: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/31856908

I really would like to review and practice dedicated "grammar skills" more specifically as it then gets easier when you can focus on one skill...
......but I know I should practice them more often than I do them right now (especially those more complicated verb tenses in the middle or the bottom).

I wrote down some of my brainstorming ideas here:

https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/29304553/HOWTO-Different-ways-for-spaced-repetition-with-skill-strength-viewer-user-script-and-extension

So with health activated on the web my life would get a bit more complicated here on Duolingo, definitely (not for the better).

Quote: (Duo) have metrics to prove it is effective

Well, then why have they reduced typing on the web?

How can the selection of a multiple-choice answer (answer options 1-3) be more effective than free typing/recall testing?

Trau keiner Statistik die Du nicht selbst gefälscht hast! :-)

IMHO staff has basically ruined my two reverse trees Portuguese experiences with all those picture exercises and multiple-choice activated as I do not have to write anymore in the Portuguese language (wrong PT->DE/EN translation direction) as much as before: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/31856908

Quote: I saw an admin commenting multiple times in some discussion in the last few weeks that "health" is indeed coming to the website because despite what anyone says on these forums about how awful it is

I could understand it from the business point.

They have already learned how they can drive their IOS users crazy and how they can trick them into buying more GEMS with real money, not once or twice but multiple times.

I would guess that their newer A/B test in asking for 400 GEMS for simple "skill crown L1+ level test-outs" was even successful.

As the last ressort we have the feature "health shield": https://support.duolingo.com/hc/en-us/articles/360016054151-How-do-I-enable-the-Health-Shield-iOS-

Maybe they implement it on the web then?!?

If both things are available (health + shield), you can push more and more users into a "Duolingo Plus" subscription to generate even more income.


But as Duolingo still lacks:

  • a FULL user customization and - more advanced settings (typing vs multiple-choice, no picture exercises L1/L2+ above, configurable ratio of translations into Portuguese, etc.)
  • and there seems to be almost zero Tampermonkey user scripting support in lessons

I would definitely not sign up for "Plus" at the moment just because of the requirement of the installation of a "health shield" to avoid health.

Either live with it or search for something else (which would probably make more sense after gaming Duolingo for 2,5 years).

Schöne Pfingsten!

Best regards / Viele Grüße

June 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

I cannot answer to all that you wrote Thomas.Heiss but it is my understanding that Duo does not officially tackle the Personal Infinitive. A google search of, "personal infinitive" + duolingo.com + Portuguese turns up maybe three discussions including this one:

https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/3144880/Why-doesn-t-the-Portuguese-course-have-the-personal-infinitive

Which has a link to a "Learn Portuguese with Rafa" page that explains it.

But this recent Duo post also seems to go into depth on it (though I have not read it yet so do not know if it is recommendable). His opening lines makes one wonder why it does not get taught here (but maybe when Duo converts the PT course for CERF certification that will get added):

https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/26513299/The-Portuguese-Personal-Infinitive-Infinitivo-Pessoal


As for the post by the Admin that I can no longer find, I hope I am wrong (not usually but it does happen on occasion :D).

PS: Your English is quite good (excellent even). I apologize for getting "fancy" with it. I just really love the language, and I read so much all my life that these less used words seem so natural to me but it turns out that even most native speakers find them fussy. Who knew? =]

June 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Thomas.Heiss

@Scutigera

Quite sad that my (limited) English skills leave me a bit behind in reading and trying to understand everything from your above comment.

But thanks for challenging my English skills as non-native speaker! :-)

Quote: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it" -- Upton Sinclair)

Google translate (nonsense): "Es ist schwierig, einen Mann dazu zu bringen, etwas zu verstehen, wenn sein Gehalt davon abhängt, dass er es nicht versteht".

Found German Zitat: "Es ist schwierig, jemanden dazu zu bringen, etwas zu verstehen, wenn er sein Gehalt dafür bekommt, dass er es nicht versteht."

Now this English sentence makes more sense to me ;)

June 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Marc41177

Well, it makes no sense if you assume the reasoning is what they say. It makes more sense when you consider that the real reason may be money.

"Health" is a common strategy for online games to make money. It's hardly unreasonable to assume that duo, who implement other features of online game, is doing it for the same reason.

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/MuchMyriad

Perhaps, but -- and I commented this elsewhere in this topic as well -- interviews from way back indicated that the site was built on the knowledge that learning is built upon mistakes. If this monetization system is built around punishing those mistakes, then, by the creator's own admission, the site cannot truly be focused on helping people learn.

It's not that Duolingo shouldn't receive money. It's that it should be a learning tool first.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Firetrix

I feel leagues are only good for keeping those who see it as a game rather than a learning opportunity. I have never let Duo define my learning objectives, it is nearly a tool to achieve my language learning goals. I think it is a mistake for those who truly want to learn to place all there focus here. I don’t see the point of leagues nor do I see a point in worrying about XP points.

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/ngraner42

The conclusion does not follow from the observed data. Those people who disapear fast may be disapearing becasue they have learned what they need and are moving on.

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Mereade

Exactly. I did this twice. I crammed a part of the tree and then moved on to other resources. It worked perfectly, Duolingo taught me what I had wanted it to. It is harder to do now, with the crown system and some changes to the trees though (the newer updated trees seem to be much slower at introducing the grammar), but I wouldn't say that is purely a bad or good thing.

Cramming is not the problem, what you do after that is the key. But Duo has no way of knowing what happens next and a flawed idea of what success is. In another article (I think last year), they clearly defined a successful user as one who never leaves Duolingo and keeps using it. Well, isn't someone still reviewing a basic course after several years either a failed learner or at least a learner who is wasting time that should be invested in more advanced methods and resources?

Also, what is the recommended pace then? The Spanish tree has 678 lessons (info on duome), which equals 8136 exercises in all the crown levels (another user counted the pattern and shared on the forum). Duo seems to not want people to test out and the highest streak requirement is 50 xp per day, that is 5 exercises. At that pace, you would complete the Spanish tree in 1627 days, which is almost 4 and half year to get to A2 :-D :-D :-D

Don't get me wrong, I don't doubt that most beginners give up. They give up after a part of the tree, a few units of a paper based course, a few classes. That is the main problem. Not whether they learned just a little or a bit more before quitting.

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/ngraner42

When I was doing my French tree I felt very comfortable doing 15 a day. In 4.5 years I would want to be B2. At two years I can read and watch Youtube in French and am happy with my progress. There was a period where I was doing 3-4 hours a day studying French and that did not seem excessive, since it was summer break and I had the free time.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/BennySevil

I average about 200 xp a day; some days more, especially when I practice the easy languages, but I languish on the hard ones, which is ok. I tend to really slow down on languages that don't have the latinized alphabet system. duo may be hard to follow if it is the only tool used by I know that it is a lot better than using flash cards.

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

And that is great. You are working according to a daily level that you are comfortable with, even when the "reward" goes down on the more difficult lessons.

But I guess I am missing the point of the leagues which discourages the difficult lessons.


I agree that Duo is better than flashcards alone but even Duo has their own flashcard site with Tinycards which is at least integrated with Duo's stories.

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Marten.J

If he wants us to be using duolingo for years then why doesn't he structure course trees for A2 B1, B2 C1 and C2 as well. One can't spend years at the same level A1!

"Thank you, Duolingo, for the foundation you have given me in learning the languages I always wanted to learn, but its time to say GOODBYE, AUREVOIR, ADIOS, TSCHUSS, SAYONARA"

June 8, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

Well apparently they have done this with CERF Certification, for Spanish (and I think French too?) at least (but it is a start):

https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/31573948

June 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/AroounMara

When I started learning Hindi I wrote the alphabet hundred of times until I got it someone referred to it as penance but for me it was practice

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

That's great, if it is a choice. I too did the practice again and again when I first started here as well (I used to think Duo's practice was random but I guess even back then it was not).

But now, people are resorting to all kinds of tactics to gain XP, including going back to the very basics and doing the very first lessons over and over (quick, takes less than a minute, gets 10+ xp), or even writing a script that does the work for them. One person engaged her friend to help so she was racking up XP from two different physical locations at once. I have read that some people have found a way to get massive points via TinyCards. People are getting enough points in 3 days to rocket them to Level 25 which I have not even reached yet in 2 years.

I like to do a couple lessons and really understand them, read the discussions on each exercise (and there are more exercises in the more advanced lessons) which can take an hour or more each day. But even then it was nice, in a personal way, to level up after putting in several weeks (or at least days).

Frankly, I cannot imagine what drives others to do this binging, but it is quite an illustration in appealing to the primal desires of the human race. It does not matter what it is, as long as we are best at it (as measured by some totally arbitrary scale) . =]

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Lucas47252

Frankly, I enjoy the new Leagues feature. I also find it crazy beneficial! At least for me. I'll tell you why.

In the past years I tried Duolingo a number of times, always failing to stick to it. Now, with a 135 day streak I can say that the key of my consistency was... That I didn't pressure myself into getting more than 10 XP a day. All my other friends would do what the writer of this post just mentioned... the would get super motivated, earn 100 XP in a day, then neglect Duolingo for a week. Rather uneffective, if you ask me. And then they usually stop using Duolingo entirely after some time.

Alright, long story short, I stopped pressuring myself. On busy days I would complete only 1 session, just to stay consistent. On others I would do 3,4,5.

Now, here came my problem... I felt like I am not progressing fast enaugh. That 10XP a day helped me form a great, consistent habit (First Step!). However, to take things to the next level, I just needed this Leagues update. It motivates me to practice more (when I have some extra time), but it still doesn't "punish" me for taking it easy on some days.

In conclusion, my method for maximizing our Duolingo experience:

Step 1: Make it a habit; reach a streak of 100+ days. No one cares about your XP. ("Long term consistency trumps short term intensity" -Bruce Lee)

Step 2: Increase your lessons per day to at least 3. With one lesson a day, I found it pretty hard to remember everything. I close Duolingo before my brain would even realize that it's practice time.

Step 3: I don't know, let's find out together! :)

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/TARDISToni

If I might add my (unsolicited) opinion:

Step 3: engage in interactive language learning behavior outside of Duolingo. This can take many forms, but the best one I have found is, engage in conversation (especially spoken, whenever possible) with native speakers of your target language. I have learned to speak several languages fairly fluently over the last 35 years using old-fashioned methods (textbooks, exercises, reading, talking with native speakers). After spending a year and a half on Duolingo reviewing old languages and learning new ones, I think it's fair to say that Duolingo is a great learning tool, but it has to be just part of a multi-pronged approach. No one is going to become fluent in speaking a new language by working a Duolingo tree alone.

That sounds both pretty simple, and pretty self-explanatory. But here's an illustrative example. Recently, a friend of me asked me what my "system" was behind my relative success in language learning. I was a bit confused as to what he meant. He replied, "You know, what did you buy? Books, flashcards, training programs?" I told him I had never used any of these things in any of the languages I have learned; the keys are (1) repeated, constant, long-term, progressive study of the language and its grammar, and (2) communication with native speakers and, when possible, (3) immersion in the target language. It quickly became apparent to me that my friend was looking for a 'magic bullet' that would somehow instantly put the language in his head, without his putting in the additional efforts that language learning requires.

Moreover, I was slightly mortified to hear that this same friend had a German girlfiend (his target language), and HE WASN'T SPEAKING TO HER IN GERMAN. (When I was learning German, speaking German with my German boyfriend - and, later, Russian with my Russian boyfriend - daily was an invaluable part of my, well, 'learning system'. :-) ) So I asked him why he was overlooking his most obvious resource: his girlfriend. He replied, "It's too hard! It takes me way too long to even be able to formulate a basic conversational sentence. I just can't come up with the words!" He claims to have worked his way through the entire Duolingo German tree, all the way to Level 25 (when it still existed), but apparently, he still finds it too much work to have a basic "What did you do today?" type conversation. Upon initiating just such a conversation with him in German, I found that he could, indeed, DO it, with a bit of encouragement and help; he just wasn't pressing himself to.

This, to me, exposes the inherent flaws in Duolingo's tree approach. Success will vary from language to language, and from user to user; Mandarin Chinese, of course, is going to be much more difficult to master on Duolingo than Spanish, for a variety of reasons. But it's far too easy to work your way through a full tree using not much more than guesswork and short-term memorization, especially if you don't put your studies to use outside of Duolingo. As we have seen from the stories of bingeing behavior, you just don't retain the information once you've gotten beyond the lesson that requires focusing on it. I think my friend really thought, at least on some level, that completing the Duolingo tree = instant language mastery, and was quite disappointed when he realized that wasn't necessarily the case. One needs to put in the effort, the actual practice, and yes, the trial and error of making mistakes, and learning from them. Is it hard? Is it work? Of course it is. If it were easy, we'd all be speaking multiple languages fluently!

Anyway, that is just my two cents about using Duolingo as part of a multi-faceted approach to learning. I do agree that the more lessons per day, the better ... one should really put in at least one hour of in-depth study/practice per day, and ideally, two hours or more. Then, take advantage of every other opportunity available to you: books, listening to music, TV, movies, and above all, interactive conversation. Every little bit helps! New frontiers in language learning have been opened up by the internet; that's undeniable. But while you can do a lot, foreign language acquisition will not come about by sitting in front of a computer alone.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Camilla-danesa

i totally agree. Practice outside of duolingo. And it's also good to read out loud all the questions, it helps your brain retain it when you also speak, not just read the questions.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/TARDISToni

And then there's making mistakes while having these conversations in the target language. There's nothing like those glaring errors that will help you to never forget a certain word or phrase again. One of my personal favorites is the time I referred to the "emergency brakes" on my student dormitory in Vienna, much to the bemusement of the Viennese gentlemen working at the front desk! (Long-ish story.) :-) This is one of the things that confuses me most about Duolingo's implementation of the Health system, which punishes the student for making errors. Mistakes are invaluable, and the funnier they are, the more memorable they are!

I also suggested that my friend take a German class at a local community college or cultural center, or find a tutor, or some other such resource where he would be with others who are speaking the language. Classes don't need to be expensive, or at a top university. His response? He "doesn't have the money for that." Hmm, but he has the money to spend ~$200 a time on these questionable flashcard sets and other self-proclaimed "language learning systems" he was originally asking me about. Priorities .... :(

June 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Lucas47252

By the way, respect for people with streaks of hundreds or even 1000+ days. I admire your dedication! :)

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/cjr37

It is not the binging on language that is the problem. It is the stopping. I am on a bit of a binge at the moment, but it is largely outside Duolingo. When I have been busy, I have still checked each day into Duolingo. The streaks encourage this, although they can be too easily lost. I am not sure that league tables of XPs are a good idea. We could do with scores based on langage tests to encourage real learning.

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/ryagatich

I'll gladly meet my 30 XP/day target and continue my streak on a daily basis. I'll likely never win in the leagues, but my goals are to actually learn the language - not necessarily win the game...

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/SingeGainsbourg

I am spending a couple hours a day on Duolingo now; but it's like he said, it's a marathon, not a sprint. I worked my way up to doing long runs. I did 10 XP a day for years, and supplemented my Duolingo with so many other things- reading, videos, audio. But I showed up every day. Now that I know I'm committed, I'm running these daily marathon sessions because I feel comfortable doing so. And a lot of that time is spent on leveling up, reviewing, and seeing what I may have missed, overlooked or not fully understood the first time around. And I use the hovering technique! Can't emphasize that enough.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/JAndrzej

OK, but if this is true then why did Duo remove those "decaying" skills we had before?

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

I no longer know what is true anymore. Duo gives out Blue pills. :(

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/LICA98

well 10 million ca$h fixes most of your mistakes as well

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

Except it all comes in the form of Lingots... or "Gems" if you are in that Duo system. All you can get are bonus lessons, like "flirting" & "idioms" (that make no sense at all). Well, you can get bonus XP if you don't make any mistakes (everyone following the below discussion received this email):

Making mistakes (at least in safe places) can be one of the most effective learning tools there is:

But Duo is now busy discouraging them.

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Spudra

I personally love the leagues, but understand the reasons why some people don't. I do indeed do more easier tasks to get some extra xp. But to be honest I need to do that anyway. Repeating things you've already learned helps remembering it. So combine that with new stuff and you progress fast en will remember things well.

I also use offline methods (for Japanese I bought a book called Genki, a course for Japanese which I highly recommend).

Combining al these things will help you improve very fast without having the fear of "deranking" in a league. So far I've ranked to Sapphire without even trying. Only now in sapphire I might have to put in a little more effort to rank up, but I don't mind staying the same rank for a week+ either.

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/DCLittle

That's why I tend to run practices between completing trees. To make sure that I'm retaining everything. Having to type it out instead of choosing the tiles helps a lot.

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Randolfino

Absolutely. I do a mix of new trees and old practice every day. I understand the complaints about leagues, but to me they're just a little extra motivation to make sure I include the daily practice in my routine.

June 8, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/DestinySurviver

Though to be fair, I only aim for 50 XP a day. It's not too little but not too much neither and at the end of the day, I can remember the content I taught myself in that 15 mins

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Roody-Roo

I dont do leagues or care about leagues. But I think the purpose of the leagues is to push people to practice earlier lessons more. This practice will help people learn better. So it's not strictly accurate to say leagues harm learning. If they're not helpful to you, just ignore them, as I do. But they are helpful to other people, so leave them alone.

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/MikeNolan6

Don't you wonder how 'hands on' Luis is with Duo? From his reputation as a teacher at Carnegie-Mellon (my older son went there), some of the things Duo does seems like the opposite of what he would have been teaching people was 'best practice'.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

I think this is one reason that privatizing education is not a good idea. Corporations do not follow "best practice" unless it relates to profit.

And yay for your son to be in such a prestigious school but as we've also seen recently, the rich & famous can not only buy themselves into a top named school, but pay someone do to the work for them too (a Walmart heir famously did this and also had some school building named after her). This is part of why I have always thought it is not the degree nor the place, but what we take out of the teaching no matter the reputation (it is also why I hate resumés/CVs & job interviews which basically just beg for, exaggeration, lies and fudging so it is the best conman who wins).


Still, I imagine you are quite proud of your son's achievements. I hope my little rant did not take any of that away for you. I certainly did not intend any of that to you personally) :)

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Hugh231007

I think it depends on what you do with that time. You can earn points by doing new lessons but you also earn points for practicing. From many years of music study on Fiddle etc. the technique is to spend about 20 minutes a day on something new, another 10 minutes on practicing that. Then if you are a serious student you start playing things you already know pretty well trying to perfect them or just enjoy them. One can spend as much time as desired in that period because you are playing, not practicing and it should be fun. At the end of a session one can go back and quickly run through the new stuff for a couple of minutes but no longer. When learning a new technical skill five minutes at a time is optimum. These are mechanical skills and muscle memory takes about a week to kick in so doing more is counter productive. It's more important to do it slowly and do it exact. It's amazing what happens, a month later something one could barely do is easy! I got all this from highly advanced teachers. It works and should work here. I also compare language learning to learning new songs which take a lot of time. Have fun!

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Klgregonis

I have frequently likened language learning to learning how to play a musical instrument, or dance, or do a sport. You can learn the technical stuff (put your fingers here, the note on this line means this sound, etc.), but without practice it's never going to become automatic. And once you learn the basic technical stuff on an instrument, you have the whole other thing of playing with others. In music, you don't have to learn how to improvise. In language, you do - which is yet again an entirely different level of expertise. Plus, if you stop practicing, you lose skills (they come back pretty easily, though.)

June 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Diane72505

While I certainly am not cheating, I will admit to working more each day thanks to the creepy leagues. And by working more I am learning more. I have been at this for 350 days so I am not a newcomer. One point about working more rapidly--I find I keep reusing words and concepts more intensely so they settle down more firmly in my brain. Perhaps a balance is needed between all out racing and overly leisurely strolling.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/HuziMoto

I wonder if he relises some people just want to try it for a couple of days?

June 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Ampharos64

The fact it does take a long time to learn a language well is all the more reason to get through the early stages quickly if possible. Duo is the very early stage. Learning full time or several hours a day is absolutely doable and efficient if you have the time.

I was a bit more than double the time I'd have liked at 74 days on the Tree, so not especially fast for a closely related language, but have done Ok catching up on reading. On day 178 of French from scratch now, been through several books, and now reading and able to understand Du contrat social -it's not actually that complicated-, which was one of my key goals when I started. I'm now moving to fuller and fuller immersion. I think people who spend a long time on beginner stages unable to really do anything with a language are more, not less, likely to burn out. It's very boring to be in that situation, after all. A native English speaker spending years to be able to use French is unnecessary. Duo has an interest in keeping people on it for a long time when they don't need to be. Using native media makes it being part of your routine automatic. I don't have time to be bored, I have piles of interesting French stuff, which just so happens to be full of common vocab, like that Duo teaches - I'm not going to be forgetting it. It doesn't even always matter if you didn't understand all the grammar at first, you are going to be seeing the correct version a lot.

Don't 'binge'? Watch me! Now, which French TV show next?

June 8, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Thomas.Heiss

@Ampharos64

Hi,

interesting comment!

If you "binge" and can keep up with that for several months and not only 1-2 (3) weeks it may make sense.

I would want to advise not to learn much more than you can review the next days/weeks or spread across multiple learning/review sessions per day....otherwise your "backlog queue" may hit you hard.

If you take Duolingo clubs (and League are even worse) for a specific language course (e.g EN->PT) into consideration:

Beginners signed up on Duolingo, started a new language course, joined a club, were able to gain a lot of XP for 1-2, maybe 3 weeks and then completely dropped off (from the language, from Duolingo, etc.) before or when they reached language levels 9-10 in that course.
And this is were Leagues even have a more serious issue with random people competing for 1500-2500+XP per week either per language or in 2-3 multiple languages at the same time.
No so many people can keep up a HIGH learning rate for several months (or years).

My Portuguese experience:

If you learn your 1st Romance language totally from scratch you need to stop with cramming for a while after you have learned your ~70 (7 words x 10 lessons) Present 1-3 verbs (infinitives + conjugations) / Adjectives / Adverbs, hit the pause button and focus purely on reviews the following days.
Same holds true with grammar (demonstratives, prepositions, contractions, determiners,...), verb tenses and reviews.
Honestly, it took me a while to drill those previously learned words on the Memrise web portal with (full) typing/recalling in the L2 target language where Duo's own main focus is reading and multiple choice...
......learning even more NEW skills / words - every single day - after those learning sessions would have been counterproductive before allowing them to actually sink in.

Example:

I "learned" 1000 words on Lingvist in 11 days and 20 hours to be able to see how many words I could possibly learn during the given timeline before they introduced "Lingvist Unlimited" subscriptions in 2018 and the new words/day ratio limit and how their system works for reviews.

June 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Ampharos64

I would want to advise not to learn much more than you can review the next days/weeks or spread across multiple learning/review sessions per day....otherwise your "backlog queue" may hit you hard.

In general, I'm with you on that. I think it depends how easy it is to place the material you're trying to learn in context. Anki is basically magic, but I did find the backlog brutal when I was adding over a hundred kanji a day, without having more context than the Heisig English keywords. I'd do it differently if I were to do it again. French words in context in sentences though, are no problem whatsoever. Fifteen minutes of Anki reviews a day and I'm done, and guaranteed to recall everything. Ignore the new words, don't worry about them, and it'll show you when you need to be reminded, then they move from being passively understood into active use over time.

Duo works quite similarly. There's only a limited need to review because, especially if you're doing it at a decent speed, the words will be showing up again in one of the later lessons, in time to remind you. I think beginners often get trapped in a reviewing cycle because they're going slow. Most of the beginner vocab words in Duo are also so common that you can't avoid them in native media - that acts as the review. I don't actively try to review the words from Duo now, it just happens as long as I read and watch things in French.

Honestly, at this point I can barely find new words though, certainly not at that rate. In Anki after Duo, I was adding 30-40 words a day but I've given up now, I can't find that many. XD French is just full of cognates, which don't really need learning actively unless it's one you especially want to use immediately, otherwise exposure is enough.

So, rather than someone doing this having to sustain a high learning rate over a long period, in a way that feels obviously intensive, it's really 'a high learning rate for a month, or two at the outside, read one book of reasonable complexity -Harry Potter is good- intensively over about a month, then watch TV or do whatever you want'. I would actually like my routine to be more intensive for vocabulary -I just haven't worked out how to get more new words faster- due to my goal of achieving a high level of reading comprehension, but people who want to hold basic conversations have no need to do that at all. At that point they'd have most of the words they'll need and can talk around those they don't.

I did go from as much total scratch with French as a native English speaker ever can, but...the languages are just so intertwined. For us, a lot of the new words Duo teaches aren't going to feel all that new. It's the ones that do that might call for more attention.

June 10, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Mereade

this is very true! while rushing too much can be a problem, we are seeing the opposite around duolingo these days. the glorification of extremely slow learning. but lack of progress is definitely a contributing factor in burn out (i've seen it happen many times both on and away from duolingo). yes, duo wants people to keep returning and seeing ads forever. and i get it, some learners feel better, when they label the faster learners as cheaters or people doomed to fail and burn out. but the reality is more complex. the people that get through the beginner level faster have more time left for improvement beyond that :-) binging can be a wonderful and useful learning phase, if you follow it with slower progress or maintenance.

June 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Areyoume123

This is so true. When leagues started I was doing a Skill and speeding as fast as I could through it because of the XPs. It's amazing how little I actually remember from that same Skill. All the lessons are like new to me now that I'm practicing it all over again, even tho I was getting everything correct when I was ~sprinting through it before. You need to understand, process and absorb new information and that takes t i m e. I'm learning at my usual pace now, but whew, I'm staying away from leagues for good.

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

Oh wow! Look at all the comments! :)

I want to thank everyone for their input and all of you who have added to the discussions here in such mature and kind ways (as Bill & Ted would say, "Be excellent to each other" and you have).

I will go through and respond to some other comments as I am able but just want it known that I appreciate everyone's input and support here on my simple little discussion thread. :)


Now, go outside, all of you and get some fresh air! :D

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/JamieBrint1

This is similar to anti-virus software sellers who make viruses.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/brandyjc

Not to mention the Atlantic article from a few months ago where the writer complained that he didn't learn enough Italian from Duolingo to enjoy his vacation...after 2 WEEKS of study. Well, duh. ;)

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

Oh, I thought this would be funny to read so I looked it up. Turns out the writer did Duolingo for over a year (not two weeks) and then pointed out some of the flaws of relying on Duo for fluency:

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/12/language-apps-duolingo/573919/

I recently got in touch with Luis von Ahn, a co-founder and the CEO of Duolingo, to ask whether my experience was typical. I expected some defensiveness from him about my need to use books to get the conversational skills I had hoped to get from Duolingo. But instead he laughed and told me the app had done exactly what it was built to do. “The biggest problem that people trying to learn a language by themselves face is the motivation to stay with it,” he told me. “That’s why we spend a lot of our energy just trying to keep people hooked.”

Well, there is more at the link of course. :)

I really like what the Atlantic has been doing lately. Thanks for bringing this article up so I could find it too. :)

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Corinnebelle

Interesting article. Duo isn't really focused on holiday phrases except for the new Spanish and French courses. Doing a language book along with the online course really helps! You notice Duolingo actually did work to familiarize him with the words.

June 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/vKleistSora

Leagues have not affected me much, probably because I've been studying languages for years. Twenty years studying English, eight years studying Japanese and one year studying German. Duolingo for me is just one more tool to practice what I have already learned. Maybe because I'm new to Duolingo or maybe because I have engraved in my brain the idea that becoming good at something, from Physics to playing the Piano, is a Marathon and requires studying and practice from several sources and not just one. Maybe those affected by the leagues need to use another learning source outside Duolingo??? This app is not everything and if you are also learning your target language outside this app, why not having fun with the leagues?? From my point of view, maybe I'm mistaken, the leagues feature would only damage those who use Duolingo as their only learning source.

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/BenKuip

i cram, but i also spend a lot of time practicing. i just took a lingot from you

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Obake158

Thanks for sharing. Here's a phenomenal book (short read) that will change the way you look at Mastering any skill, profession, hobby, study. It's really great: http://index-of.co.uk/Social-Interactions/Mastery%20-%20The%20Keys%20To%20Success%20And%20Long-Term%20Fulfillment%20-%20George%20Leonard.pdf

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/salihua

If they know that then what are the shields for? That is a blatant reward for massed versus distributed practice. All I can say is that rewarding people for doing a huge number of lessons increases the click rate for ads. Considering the number of users, I would think that this would be unnecessary. Perhaps a form of reinforcement for moderation? Extra lingots for stopping after making three stupid mistakes? or stopping after reaching a level? or stopping after .... the idea is to stop before you get bored, frustrated, or that point where you are forcing yourself to do it because you are trying to beat someone or reach an impossible goal. I am redoing two trees now so I can switch between languages, go up and down the tree, change topics, and play. That helps, but I still know that there is a point to stop or else it turns into a chore. If I am not looking with interest at a new Chinese character, then I am not going to learn it well. So, Duo, cool it down. Find a way to reinforce NOT spending hours up the tree.

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/EdenEames

I binged several times before I got serious about learning a new language. It felt good to complete several lessons back to back and see my exp go higher. So I'd get like 700 exp in one day, do my 5 lingot wager with high aspirations and then....not go back to Duolingo for 4 months.

It took a lot for me to keep to a goal and be consistent. I rarely succeed in forming positive habits but I can safely say that I've done so now with Duolingo. I've been using it as a supplement with Rosetta Stone for French and I can say that I do feel like I have learned a lot, though I'm nowhere near confident enough to speak in public or even to another person. Duolingo makes a lot of unnecessary changes frequently, but at its core I do find it to be a very helpful tool for learning. I hope to continue this habit of consistent learning as long as I can.

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/francestmeyers

I need help with grammar rules; for instance I always put on an s at the end of a word, or leave off the s at end of a word; such as which is correct: quiere or quieres

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

I think the Spanish forum is best to answer this question (since the only Spanish I know is because of Portuguese):

https://forum.duolingo.com/topic/2

But if it is like Portuguese then it is the difference between formal and informal (T-V distinction):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T%E2%80%93V_distinction

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T%E2%80%93V_distinction#Spanish

Or as I prefer to call it, familiar and unfamiliar, but also this really is about "Grammatical Person" that I think everyone who learns a language (at least a Latin based one) needs to get really comfortable with:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammatical_person


Here is one explanation:

https://au.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080831112940AAEOaiA

June 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/N5yOturW

No more leagues! I never realized, but it does tend to stress me.

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Jeanne448353

I joined Duo to refresh French grammar. Duo has been a fun way to learn. Suggestion: provide the option to opt out of the leagues and rankings. Measure me against my own progress.

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/LobstaJohnson

you can do that now, Jeanne...just go to settings and set your account to "private." Voila'! Leagues magically disappear! Enjoy!

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Mitzy__

looks at leagues Oh really?

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/aly247

Completely agree with that quote from the CEO! That's why I focus on keeping my streak, because that made learning new languages into more of a habit I do every single day instead of something I do every once in a while in a short amount of time. It takes a bit to really use the language and really get the sounds right when speaking, etc.

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Ivan703467

great point! the leagues feature is a harmful distraction

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/SamG234973

I love this learning app. I mostly use it on my computer and it's very fun.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/KJMinchie

I find this a bit ironic because they just started leagues which encourage users to earn as much XP as they can in small amounts of time.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/RobinLewisKane

I still have no idea why I should care about lingots. The only motivator is not wanting to lose my streak. I don’t compare myself to others. I have no idea waht those crown points mean either! It’s funny. I’m still enjoying learning, however...

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Little_Tatws

As much as I love Duolingo and don't see myself leaving any time soon, I wish that they would listen to the people. I didn't mind the Leagues at first, but now that I've been at the same level for almost a month now, I'm wishing we would go back to clubs. The clubs were never that great for me, but I wish that they were back for the sake of everyone else.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/HogGravynChtlns

Fully agree with what he is saying and it is a bit ironic that recent changes in duolingo seem to run counter to that. Being a ferry commuter, Duo works great for me because i spend a large chunk of my day sitting in a line, but I accept it for what it is and it's limitations.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

This actually brings up a good point. I do not use the app so I am not hooked up to the net as an extension of my hand meaning I cannot spend most of my day and free time doing Duo. I cannot whip out my PC while waiting in line to pay for my groceries, or at the doctors office so that puts me at a disadvantage when it comes to leagues...

Actually, it is amazing to me to see what a difference so-called "smart" phones have done to commuting (and eating communally). :)

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/09/well/live/hooked-on-our-smartphones.html

In just 10 years no less!

June 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/sidloki

There are also badges that encourage us to do more in a day.....for example the overachiever badge where you need to earn 200 xp in a day. Or the big spender badge where you need to spend 200 lingots, and in order to get lingots you try do more and more lessons in a day.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

The badges are interesting in that I do not find them so extreme. They are a lifetime thing not an everyday reset and honestly when they unveiled them they were retroactive so without trying I had already achieved most of them (won't be sharing anyone's email with Duo though for the "Friend" Badge, especially not knowing how it is used and stored). There were also several more badges in the beginning than there are now, and there are less and less as time goes by. :(

Also telling is that one of the badges here is to earn 200 xp in a day which was considered quite "crazy" at the time. Now it is just daily mid-level in the leagues.

June 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/donaldjmccann

The more I plod on, the more indications of progress are taken away. It took me 500 days to turn the Dutch tree to gold, now it shows I have 43 crowns in Dutch. I was encouraged to spend a little extra time when there was an opportunity to level-up, but now that little pleasure is gone. I have thousands of lingots which are of no use to anyone, and changes just keep happening making things worse and worse.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Thomas.Heiss

@donaldjmccann

Quote: I was encouraged to spend a little extra time when there was an opportunity to level-up, but now that little pleasure is gone

There is something better as "only" language levels.

Duome's newer course ranking competition L1-L5 crown + golden "legends":

Dutch: https://duome.eu/en/dn
French: https://duome.eu/en/fr
Spanish: https://duome.eu/en/es

You can also see the "competition state" of your current language/tree icon on your profile page for all your trees here: http://www.duome.eu/donaldjmccann

Enjoy....

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/bagobones

What about the persons living in countries their target language is spoken, that has to speak it every day, every time they go outside. No one gets more practice than them, vs people sitting at home doing 30 minutes a day? My bet is on the people that is living in the country, for learning most, and not burning out, not the people doing the correct amount of spacing out..

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

I am a little confused on what you are saying here "bagobones" but as someone living in the country of my target language one might be surprised at how little use one makes of the language and how little unlocks without some guidance. I learned almost nothing, nothing for the first couple years (though it helps, or not..., that the Portuguese are very English proficient) until I took a class but that was way too short. I still can go entire days without saying something in Portuguese, and many days nothing much more than greetings and salutations.

June 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Klgregonis

Indeed. I teach ESL - I have people in my classes who have been living here for 10 years or more who are still beginners. They can answer questions like what is your name, and understand cashiers in stores when they tell them what the total is, can say hello and respond to how are you, but that's about it. And if you think about it, an awful lot of communication in your mother tongue is confined to just that set of skills. In my area, it doesn't help English learners that an awful lot of the clerks in the stores are bilingual, and that the clerks will respond to someone who is (to them) obviously Hispanic in Spanish even if the speaker is trying to use English ( I have the same problem when I try to use Spanish in stores here).

June 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

Yes, I get that with the store clerks too, which bothers me at times to think that they see me as, "out of place" in the line of humanity that goes through the store. But, they are eager to practice their own language skills and to be helpful and I am grateful for that. I usually answer back (as much as possible in Portuguese). I love the store people though because they have actually taught me a lot about numbers (slowly repeating them while showing them on the receipt for instance) and ironically other things like the word for the "pit" in dates. :D

But at one of my jobs I hear things in Portuguese which I mostly understand, yet answer in English. It is just so automatic.

That's in part because one of the hardest things for me has been picking words out of the stream of sound of real speakers (not a computer), sometimes especially if there are several people talking and music too in the background. This is finally starting to happen for me, and it's exciting. Everyday I marvel at how much more I can understand but it is a long path.

And the in-person classes I finally found (that I can actually afford) had Spanish and French speakers in it so they already had a grasp of basic Latin grammar. I was left in the dust! I did do better than I otherwise would have thanks to Duo but it was a good lesson on how much more there is to learn beyond Duo. And how many different ways to learn it such as Questions & Answers rather than translations.

In the end I am really grateful because now I understand just how difficult it is and how unfair it is for those in the US who rarely learn another language themselves (last estimate was 20% compared to over 90% in Europe) who complain about those not learning English.

Well, I even endured the full treatment of a couple Brazilians yelling at me (face to face) to learn Portuguese, with mocking and all. I just let them go on. It does not serve me to defend myself to them or to let on how much I understood. :)


Thank you for teaching. You are helping to unlock a new world for your students.

June 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Pricilliya

i'm so excited to learn a new language. i know we have to spent more times to being a master of the language, but i'll try my best and learn step by step. thank you for shared this article. :)

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/EstJojo
  1. Learn to write the alphabet and master the sounds
  2. Listen to phrases spoken by native speakers; speak them, write them
  3. Learn to modify the phrases that you have learned

Where is…I'm going...do this or that...I'll be...how was...do you need...

We don't really say a lot of things on a daily basis; you could probably communicate in any language in as little as six months given enough example sentences.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/adancito2018

I binge and I've been around for years so it's not applicable to everyone.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Donald840855

Agreed. However, I understand a lot more now about German than I probably did in the last 15 years combined. Certain words I have heard all of my life and I did not know what they mean. Even the grammar makes more sense now (even if I still struggle with the fact the German has three words for the English word the (der, die, and das)). There is no rhyme or reason to it. You simply have to learn the article for every noun. I never try to race anyone. Sometimes, I just have more free time and I try to use every minute I can. If I am busy, I normally do between 50 to 100 XP a day. On a off day with no activity planned, I can easily do anywhere from 200 to 700 XP in one day--but that is not often. I am trying to become fluent and not compete with others.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/gea123gea

indeed very right

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Contrappunti

I see a lot of people complaining about leagues, but I don't completely understand why they are a problem. If someone's gonna cheat then let them cheat, at the end of the day I know they're not learning anything and I am. I quite like the league system, just yesterday I was about to give up practicing on one of my languages because I wanted to play video games, until I noticed that somebody with an insane number of XP surpassed me in the top 3 ranks, that alone motivated me to continue.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/HuziMoto

And what is cheating anyway?

June 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

Here is a cheating example (just one):

https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/32478952

And the experiences of another:

https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/30827863


As for my own reasons for not liking leagues (most of which I have already expressed elsewhere), this includes the cheapening of the XP (meaningless now, as are levels – this also takes away a couple of the yardsticks Duo originally gave us to measure our progress); not being able to opt-out (yes, we can sort of turn them off via our privacy settings – along with our friends – but turns out we are still enrolled behind our backs and others are seeing our progress and measuring themselves against us despite we are not seeing it and that is just a little creepy in my mind; leagues are distracting, changing all the time, even emails to keep up; leagues encourage the binging so that those who are learning slower feel like they are not doing enough (even if they cannot do more – people with jobs, school, children, aging parents, etc).

I am sure I could come up with several other reasons, but it is not important really because the real heart is it doesn't matter how much someone else likes leagues it should not take away the legitimacy of those who do not (and vice versa – yet another reason it should be opt-in, not opt-out).

June 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Juan980516

Great post. Absolutely bizarre juxtaposition between the CEO's comments and the new direction of the app in the past year or so. The CEO is right, of course, and the new approach of the app is wrong...

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/jennycheri1

wait...there is cheating on Duolingo? How is that even a thing?

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

Yes cheating! Here is just one story (and just one way):

https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/32478952

And another experience:

https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/30827863

Whenever there is motivation given there will be ways found to cheat. Perhaps this is more human nature than even procreating (a whole lot of "cheating" going on there too).

June 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/HuziMoto

Maybe using google translate but I argue that isn't cheating because you are still learning and that's all that matters

June 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Hxvan
  • 1185

Maybe Duolingo is adding leagues, as a temptation, and if we fall in this, then we cheat, we eventually understand that the correct way is as The Duolingo's creator says: this is not a sprint, but a marathon.

Here is an example: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/32478952

June 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/kris50600

Great. I've been learning a lot recently as I learn in the morning and at night and write down the completed segments I've done, and it really helps me massively. But i'm not on the same level as so many others who are speaking a different language like second nature.

June 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/EmileeKaiser

That actually makes a lot of sense to me, I experienced being burnt out from cramming when I first started but I made a schedule to do it for just an hour every day and it's so much more productive now that I've spaced out my time.

June 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7

I have "crammed" for uni courses. Leagues does not come close to the same thing for me. I am in 8th place on leagues and generally spending half an hour or less a day studying. If I bumped it up to an hour, I'd likely be between 2nd and 3rd place. From experience, I know that 2 hours nets me around 500XP. The person in 1st place in my league has just under 1,000XP and it is already Friday. They aren't cramming. And everybody after them are not either.

During uni, I was spending 3-4 hours a day 4 days a week of concentrated study, trying to learn as much/fast as I could to pass tests that were always speeding at me. If I were spending 3 hours a day on Duolingo, I'd be leaving everyone else in my league in the dust.

A person can enjoy Leagues and manage themselves so that they aren't cramming and burning out. If they are unable to effectively manage themselves, last I read, the apps had a Health feature that slowed folks down when they began cramming faster than their ability to retain the information. (Plenty of people hate the feature though. So, those folks can either get the Health Shield to bypass that or use the desktop version which does not have the Health feature at all.)

I've been on Duo for 5.5 years. :)

June 8, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

Well, Uni does not last forever either (plus summers, spring break, winter holidays...). There are people on Duo with legit streaks of 7 years now (and those with streaks of 50+ years now).

https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/32355971

I know I have seen posts by you saying that you were having difficulty, at the time, even getting 10xp most days.

I know I went through a major life burnout in college after taking 18 to 24 credits each session and also working 25+ hours each week. I do not recommend it. It has taken me years to recover.

I also think that after 5 years on Duo you understand well how the site works so that part is a breeze for you.

But... it seems there is not just one big league (probably why they are called leagues, in the plural). Seems we get queued up and sorted like chattel by the time we start during the week. So people in Europe are more likely to be with other people from Europe, plus with those in the US who are just waiting for the next league to start so they can start building their points... If someone does not start a league until Tuesday they are far less likely to be in with the ultra uber-competitive types. So your current league may be mostly composed of people who don't really care, or are ignoring them, don't even understand what the heck they are (not everyone even knows about or, has access to the discussion boards) or, those who have changed the privacy on their profile so do not see the leagues.

Cause this is one of the big flaws I see in Leagues. It seems it is 100% opt-in. Sure, we can get it off our main learning page where it sits as a constant distraction to be managed (sit a candy bar in front of a 5 year-old and see how long they can manage not eating it), but it seems that we are still enrolled in leagues and people still see us as their competition and we still show up for others as being in the demotion zone and whatever else. Our profile is still competing even if we do not know it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford_marshmallow_experiment

Well, I would certainly like a "Leagues Handbook" that explains everything about how it works including whether there are bots being used to encourage more engagement, but I personally do not want to be someone else's motivator ( or demotivator as the case may be) especially even after I have done what I ineffectively can to not be a part of it.

I certainly do not want to feel some sense of shame for not doing 100 or 200 or 500 xp per day. Geez! 100xp per day used to be considered really working it.

As for the health feature, that also makes leagues unfair for iOS users (and soon Android) because they have a governor on their abilities to compete... well, except that the way people are competing is by doing the very basic lessons over and over and over and over again. I really thought, the cat drinks milk, the girl drinks milk, the boy drinks water, the man drinks milk was bad enough when the crowns were introduced. Seems they just were not the right motivator. Kill your neighbor is. =}

Well, and that's yet another part I do not like. Be better than others! Sink that person who is above you! Make them lose! I am not a fan of encouraging that attitude in the world, and especially not with languages which should be uniting not dividing.

June 8, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7

I was at nearly 1,000 day streak when I got sick and lost track of time. I wrote about it here.

When my long streak was going, I was skipping or cutting short backpacking trips, etc. and pushing myself when I should have been looking after my health better. And losing such a long streak was negatively impacting. I'm more relaxed about my streak now and enjoying studying again. I still notice my streak and it gives me a little boost now and then. And losing it when i'm fatigued or spending time with friends doesn't derail me. I don't need to be all or nothing to get a boost from features.

I have a brain injury, so, I won't be fluent in another language, though I was in denial and tried many times and became very discouraged. I almost quit studying completely. I wrote about how changing one's language goals might be helpful for some folks like it was for me here.

I enjoy studying anyhow because one can do a lot with even just a little knowledge of another language. I've written about some of my more extreme experiences using what little I know here.

In light of those situations and the smaller ones I haven't written about, keeping that enjoyment matters to me. For now, I'm enjoying Leagues and I'm still enjoying Crowns. I don't keep track of the total number Crowns count across the entire course. I don't find it motivating so I ignore that bit. But, working my way up to 3 Crowns in English for Spanish speakers, and moving my XP level to 20 in Japanese, English, and Dutch has kept me motivated to review this year.

Additionally for Crowns, I also like that I'm encountering material that was previously removed because of the high fail rate. It's a bit more challenging. When that material was first dropped, the forums were full of complaints from folks who'd been around and enjoyed the extra challenge. Crowns offers the chance for those folks to continue engaging harder material and do more review, but doesn't make it mandatory for folks who want to stick to a course that has removed sentences that people tend to get wrong more often.

I've completed the Spanish <> English courses multiple times already. So, I find having new external motivators refreshing and useful. Here and there I encounter a new feature that just doesn't do it for me. Duolingo changes though. So, both the features I like and don't like will probably disappear in the future, as Duolingo continues testing things.

As for the Leagues, I am both competing with and cooperating with the people in my same level. I can't play without them and vice versa, so I appreciate their participation and I hope they appreciate mine. However, I agree it would be awesome to try out features in the future that are even more strongly tilted to the cooperative. So, that's a great idea and I'm glad you brought it up! :)

June 8, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

When my long streak was going, I was skipping or cutting short backpacking trips, etc. and pushing myself when I should have been looking after my health better. And losing such a long streak was negatively impacting.

This!

I think you have finally found a balance, but how long did it take you? At almost 1000 days it seems nearly 3 years. If it takes you that long, how can we expect others to have that balance when they first get to Duo?

I have a brain injury, so, I won't be fluent in another language, though I was in denial and tried many times and became very discouraged.

Yep, me too. Rear-ended at speed. Sometimes I forget (a bit of amnesia) until I am stressing over not understanding, and then it comes to me (along with all the grief around it) again. But I keep trying and I keep learning. Building new pathways for new neurons.

Additionally for Crowns, I also like that I'm encountering material that was previously removed because of the high fail rate. It's a bit more challenging. When that material was first dropped, the forums were full of complaints from folks who'd been around and enjoyed the extra challenge.

I am intrigued by this because what we saw in the Portuguese tree with the introduction of crowns was a bunch of really flawed exercises that had high failure rates because they were set-ups for failure (or very, very poor teaching). One particular case had the answers for two similar exercises mixed up so the discussions for both of those were filled with people who did not understand why they failed and native speakers trying to explain but no one realizing that it was because the two answers were absolutely wrong for their respective exercises. That was indeed a challenge for me to figure out but I think it goes beyond "duo-type teaching" and was not (hopefully) intentional on Duo's part. Indeed it took 5 years for someone to get it.

As for the changes... for me I adjusted to the moving of the goalposts several times and finally just gave up. I am a cat, not Charlie Brown (though Luis does seem to be Lucy).

https://www.bluecross.org.uk/pet-advice/how-play-your-cat

Don’t lift these toys so high that you encourage your cat to jump up. Allow your cat time to “catch” the fabric creature with its paws and bite at it, otherwise your cat may get frustrated or lose interest.

June 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7

Scutigera,

I remember when Cowns first came out that some material with errors accidentally slipped out with the other stuff. I think those have been caught and removed now. If anything is lingering, it's bugged out.

Releasing materials that were high fail rate due to errors wasn't intentional. Crowns was supposed to bring back the more challenging sentences, but not the broken ones.

Whenever Duolingo introduces or updates stuff, I mentally put it into the category of "alpha testing". It helps me to adjust my expectations to be on less of a roller coaster. I even wait a month or two to seriously decide if I like or dislike the feature. And even then, I try not to get too upset nor too attached.

Duolingo isnt searching for a perfect place to land and settle down, as far as I can tell. It's going to find a great idea, then release a bunch of other ideas that will likely end up not performing as well as that one. And it's going to keep trying new things that fail until it finds the thing that out-performs the previous top performer. And like that, the cycle continues.

Im sad to read you also experienced a TBI. You'd be surprised how many of us there are on here. Several are here even as a sort of physical therapy, officially or unofficially.

June 10, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Richard966353

It can be hard for some people to not focus on the leagues, once I learnt to ignore them and just learn for myself, and making a habit every day was when I really felt an improvement. The streak is much better to help you than the leagues.

June 8, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Birdy582648

I agree. I am guilty of sacrificing learning for points myself. A friend of mine does Duolingo more methodically step by step by step with all of the boring repetition and although not getting the big point scores or advancing in leagues retains much much more than I do when "sprinting"for points. My competetive nature does not serve me well in language learning.

June 8, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/EstherFair1

Duo has changed a lot from when I first started it There are so any updates. I think I prefer how it used to be.

June 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/MaryCohen1

I wanted to improve my "high school level French," so I started the course on Duolingo. I also added a course of English, setting up my profile as a French speaker because in that way, I had to read the instructions in French, too. Initially, I set a target of a minimum of 50 points / day, but then set a better target of more than 1,000 points / week. I have been doing the courses for about 3 months and have seen improvements in my understanding of the language and ability to use them. It is definitely not a sprint and I know I would be even better at the language if I took notes. While the early lessons are very repetitive, it was good to know that I could unlock levels and more on to a higher level more quickly. Now that I can do the stories, I am enjoying different expressions and aspects of the app. Thank you.

June 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Life2p8e

Well, they capped xp earned from testing out and checkpoints due to leaderboards. Somebody help...

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Corinnebelle

I don't mind leagues. They're fun as long as one is realistic and only does them for fun! Obviously if you are competitive or a lot younger it is more of a problem. I heard they classified gaming addiction as a mental health problem now. I never was competitive on here anyway. I'm learning a harder language and there simply isn't much possibility when it isn't that easy to do.

Duolingo is trying to capture/hold the gaming type people with this move. Numbers speak whether they lose some users a long the way, as long as they gather more, that's all they want.

I hear health is coming to the web, I don't know I want to see Duo turned into a gamer's paradise where you are so stressed out by the game that you are more focused on getting it right to win rather than to learn.

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Thomas.Heiss

@Corinnebelle

Quote Corinnebelle: I hear health is coming to the web

https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/32508836$comment_id=32514694

Quote ISpeakAlien : so they made Health and are going to bring it to the website

Well, I heard and read nothing....

Would you both please be so kind to give concrete sources from Duolingo staff or community managers who exactly said this about the web portal and where?

The last official thread from staff was about "April 2019 Updates": https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/31849174

It was said therein that HEALTH won't be coming to the website and that they have no plans for doing so.

..(...)..

Android

Their Android mobile plattform on the other hand is a different beast.

Even their FAQ thread mentioned that they wanted to (BETA) test health on Android at a given time: https://support.duolingo.com/hc/en-us/articles/115002887326-What-is-Health-

Health and Gems are only available on iOS for now. We will be testing these mechanics on Android in the future. We do not currently have plans to bring this (health) to Web.

If the "Android future" is now and (much) sooner than expected, well this stands on the other side of the card; nobody forces us to use their tapping mobile app.

With the new announced hardware keyboard Android phone "Fxtec Pro1" coming out I would expect that Duolingo app programmers finally add the missing "toggle keyboard" option for a FULL typing experience - like the web portal supports it already.

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Corinnebelle

Well that is good for now, "We do not CURRENTLY have plans to bring this to Web". Sounds like it may happen. I hope it stays the way it is.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/herbtarlek

Très bon !

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/WilliamHun485499

Yes, I agree I have flirting idioms timed practice and i don't want streak freeze or the wager. I now just look at 71 lingots like what am i supposes to do with these. Here is a lingot for that great statement.

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/MathewRugg

Yes so true

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Mireille836084

I can appreciate what the CEO is saying. I agree totally. However, with the French, I am trying to find my level. I know some French, so I have been testing out of the lessons to find the place where I would be learning new terms in French. It's a different story for Spanish. I am strolling, doing a little every day to reinforce the new words and concepts solidly in my mind.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/taehunq

Thank you for sharing this info.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Felix783453

I don't know, Scutigera. I'm new to Duo, and I think the leagues can be kind of fun. They motivate me to do one or two more lessons than I would have done in a day otherwise, and I don't think I'm "going nuts and cramming." I average about 250xp/day.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Narmit

I figure the leagues are fine. A method that someone could use so that they don't burn out so fast is by doing one lesson per day and then doing practices to keep up their xp.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Ian460982

I just use an ad blocker and ignore the leagues. I think that if you really want to learn the language then you have to make it a routine

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/stewacide

I'm sure not all courses are the same, but with Spanish there are so many lessons in a unit and so many units that even +200XP a day isn't pushing very fast at all. It'd still take years at that rate to get all the crowns.

I think the main problem with leagues is that it should match people (as much as possible) in the same courses at about the same level. Besides, I assume those who are really competitive and gaining lots of XP are doing it mostly through the practice button.

Personally I've found leagues quite motivating. I've gone from 50-80XP a day to 100-200XP.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Stergi3

I totally agree with Luis. But you can not declare your intention and interest is to give free language lessons to the poor and in the same time make a profit of millions. Unless you think that offering free courses can give you using with some magic trick millions. There is no free meal. Duolingo could not exist without the work of some hundreds of volunteers and some millions of learners. It is obvious in a crowd sourcing company. More ads more money. More ads more sales. This is the idea. Brilliant!

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/GuenterSch81

Thank you for the tip. So I just have to march on. Guenter

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/EzraMae19

Thank you. Very informative.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Fifimittens

Fascinating discussions on this post, especially Scutigera and Songve. Thankyou. Competitiveness, and altruistic helpfulness are in built to all life forms - altruistic helpfulness COULD be regarded as the fittest way for survival. Mankind a tribal animal, not a solitary hunting tiger. But aggressive capitalism, aggressive competitiveness seems to be the way the world structures itself, and that manifests in so many subtle and not so subtle ways. Including here. So what might have been a bit of friendly jostling to stay in some kind of mutually encouraging endeavour with a few friends can very easily hook into obsessive gotta be the leader of the pack, winner takes all, by fair means or foul. The game aspect of Duo, which can be useful to keep you learning, then takes over, so points become the goal, not learning the language.

But....if some just chase after the mastery of league tables, it really shouldn't matter if your own goal is the learning.

I'm still grateful this programme exists at all. Though I'm also using other methods, Duo has kept me slowly plodding through for over a year, so that a bit of daily practice happens. I'm feeling myself up to go and make a lot of silly mistakes in one of the duo local meetings, as making mistakes IS the way to learn better

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

Thank you Fifimittens. Glad you enjoyed the discussion (thanks for letting me know). I think you might really enjoy this New Yorker article about how facts do not matter to humans, in part because of this need to belong (I found it when I first opened this thread).

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/02/27/why-facts-dont-change-our-minds

This article is pretty interesting too (which I found trying to find the one above again):

https://www.newyorker.com/tech/frontal-cortex/why-smart-people-are-stupid

One thing I have noticed about humans is that many of us will spend an inordinate amount of effort figuring out how to avoid doing things the way they need to be done.


I hope you have great times at the local meetings and make lots of mistakes. :)

June 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/DocDan2

I don't know what league is about, I just want to spend as much time as I can. I'm retired and have time. I don't care about competing in the. How did I get into it?

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/YarkoRab

The leagues discourage many people, the clubs encouraged them, what a nonsence ...

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Hxvan
  • 1185

But some of us didn't even have the chance to try clubs.

June 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/FiniZangen

My advise to anyone: Just focus on learning. Don't pay attention to the leagues and other fancy stuff. Nobody is here to practice the most, but to lean a language. I started to practice Spanish long before the leagues, and now they are here, I don't pay any attention to it at all. I'm just focusing on learning, and I practice when I feel like it, and for how long I feel like it. It does pay off though, to practice a little most days, to "keep warm" and not forget what you already learned.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/KonigderSprachen

That is a really good point.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/TaaeerZA

These leagues are absolutely nonsensical. Merge some of their aspects with the old club system but the status quo needs to be done away with pronto!

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Ongakujin

I can see what you mean. But for me, the league does get me to push one or two more lessons when I would just end. I think pushing yourself a little bit out of your comfort zone (as you would have to in immersion) has benefited my growth. Appreciated the post!

June 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

I appreciate your post as well, and I am curious if you don't mind, why did you need the leagues to push you out of your comfort zone?

June 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Turlur

You can always choose to ignore leagues.

June 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/SeanMay4

I guess Duolingo isn't really a language-learning app; it's a getting-people-to-use-Duolingo app ... with language-learning elements.

June 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Rex157274

Thank you for this helpful post. I have used Duolingo for a long time, but am now frustrated by the exercises that say (1) write in Chinese what you hear and (2) write the given English text in Chinese, when there are no Chinese characters to use. Both are impossible if you don't have a Chinese keyboard!!

June 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Ronald-B-Weasley

Great post, and quote! While I do several lessons every day, I always spend them out, so that I don't ending up cramming!

June 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/roger9105

I agree. I need time to absorb the language

June 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/AndriusBas

Great article!

June 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Wooden_Gear

Yeah, I totally agree. I actually crammed for Hindi and Chinese because wanted to remain 1st place on the dashboard, so now I have this random spike of around 300 XP on Monday (which I would ever really do). After that, I still lost 1st spot and I didn't really learn anything at all, so basically I was a waste of time.

Also, you can just earn a whole bunch of experience by just going through the Basics (which isn't technically cheating but still it's sketchy).

June 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/eqicEvGy

So true...I spent a little time every day working on my Spanish for a long time...it has finally paid off. Just recently I have been able to actually read the Duo stories and understand what I am reading without too much difficulty. I'm loving it. The more I read, the better I get. Your program works, but it does take time and work. Gracias.

June 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/TonyWalter9

I agree completely with the comments above. The great thing about Duolingo is that it works exectly the natural way to learn. When you see preschool children learning they do it in a natural way. They are not afraid when they get it wrong, they jus tkeep on repeating till it gets right. Sometimes they can get a bit frustrated, but they don't beat theselves up about it. some learn quicker than others but at that age they don't know it. The DL and other methods work in the same way. If you just do it every day without making any effort to learn, it happens.
I am well past the age when people assume that it's easy to learn new things, but I am learning without "trying". I stop as soon as I start making too many mistakes, realise the brain is not going to take in any more. and it just works.

June 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/dpatkat

Perhaps the choice is reflected by population, and where most tourist go? Brazil.

Brazil: 200 million. Angola: 30 million. Portugal: 10 million. Macao: .6 million. Cape Verde: .5 million. Sao Tome and Principe: .2 milliom

June 8, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

Did you mean to reply to the sub-thread (that is above for me) regarding Brazilian versus Euro Portuguese?


I am guessing you found your numbers on this page?
http://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/portuguese-speaking-countries/

Which leaves off Mozambique (another 30 million) and other PT speaking places such as Guinea-Bissau (1.9 million), East Timor (1.3 million), Equatorial Guinea (1.3 million), Goa (1.8 million), just to start.

Other countries that are invested in European Portuguese include, Namibia (2.5 million), Botswana (2.3 million), Maurtitus (1.3 million) Senegal (15 million), and Nigeria (190 million), among several others.

I give the other South American countries and Japan to Brazil (despite the Portuguese were in both of the last two countries first, and at least 5 million currently in Brazil are actually Portuguese), but there are a surprising amount of Venezuelan refugees in Portugal (out of a Portuguese language class of 25, more than half were South American refugees with the rest coming from all over the world).

Well, and then there is that Portuguese diaspora (largely due to the long dictatorship followed by the financial crisis in the last decade) who currently makes up a third of Luxembourg (though wikipedia has outdated stats that put it at only 82 thousand), a significant part of Andorra, and makes Paris the city with the second highest population of Portuguese people (behind Lisboa –  with 1.7 million total in France).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portuguese_people_in_France

Not kidding, I recently met a native Luxembourgish couple who came to Portugal for 6 months hoping to learn the language since all their friends in Luxembourg are from Portugal.

There are also significant populations of Portuguese in New York, New Jersey, Boston, Toronto, Vancouver, London, Germany, The Netherlands, and in Finland among others. In total the number of Portuguese and their descendants who are outside of Portugal could be well over 100,000,000. That's a significant number. One hundred million.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portuguese_diaspora

And they all want their children to learn European Portuguese (well, and if the comments on Duo are any indication the children also want to learn Euro PT too because they want to visit their extended family in Portugal, not Rio).


But population of the countries does not seem to be a point for almost all the other languages on Duolingo as we can see by the languages it already teaches:

Danish (5.7 million), Greek (10.7 million), Hungarian (9.8 million), Welsh (3.1 million), Irish (4,8 million), Swedish (9.9 million), Czech (10.6 million), Dutch (17 million), Haitian (11 million), Norwegian (5.3 million), Hawaiian (1.4 million), Hebrew (8.7 million), Finnish (5.5 million), Catalan (7.6 million)

In the case of the Irish (4.8 million), Welsh (3.1 million), Hawaiian (1.42 million), and so-to-be Navajo (0.4 million), then the Duo attitude as applied to Portuguese is, just let them speak English.

And Hawaiians might be just as interested in learning Portuguese since the Portuguese were there long before the kingdom was made a state (the ukelele, the steel guitar, Hawaiian sweetbread and many other recipes are among the many things that came from Portugal, not Brazil). Portuguese immigration to Hawaii started in 1788 (it was not a US state until 1957).

Then there is, High Valerian (0 million), Klingon (0 million), and Esperanto (0 million)

However, there are over 740 million in Europe who are more likely to snag a 19€ RyanAir weekend trip to Portugal (multiple times) than go to Brazil (even once). Then there is the Erasmus education program:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erasmus_Programme

And of course, the refugees which is a special group that Duo has expressed wanting to help.


As you can see, it is so much more than just a few numbers (though I think it is just as likely for a North American to go to Portugal as Brazil, there are a ton of Brits and Germans in Portugal staying long-term, and buying up cheap real estate).  

June 8, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/rla951

I try to do at least 5 lessons every day; if I happen to have extra time, and I'm not to tired from my overall day, then I'll do some more. I'm not going to get wrapped around the axel by "losing my streak," getting into the "demotion zone," or getting to the next higher "league." I just want to learn Spanish, and Duo has been a tremendous help with that, but I'm not going to stress and be side-lined by xp's, streaks, leagues, etc.

June 8, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Myst17021

Thankfully that's how I'm going with it. This time around at least.

June 8, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/F3ytouched

I just don't bother competing. I got up to gold without trying to hard and my goal since then has been "don't drop off", which at no more than 6 days a week and 3 lessons a day has been more than doable. I condsidered going for platinum or whatever the next level up was, but honestly, I found trying to keep it up exhausting.

June 8, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/PeterRombo

Didn't know where to ask this question, but here goes. Should I try to go all the way through DuoLingo and obtain the same crown level before I return to the top of the list and elevate to the next highest level, or is it better to go as high as I can on each subject before going on to the next?

June 8, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

Hi PeterRombo. This is a common question, especially for those new to Duo, but also those who have been here a while.

Personally I think the answer is very... personal. If you prefer to learn new stuff then keep going through the tree, and realize you will reinforce some of the earlier lessons. Or, do 5 lesson modules, then go back and take them up to level 2, then more new material, and then back to review again. Or however it works best for you. That's one of the great beauties of Duo is being able to individualize your learning.

What I would suggest is to supplement your Duo learning with other sources whether those are blogs, discussion sites like Quora or Stack Exchange, books, podcasts, classes, exchanges, or other games, etc., is up to you but it adds to the comprehension and overall learning.

June 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/MarilynRos7

I love Duolingo and the Stories (when I am on my computer). I enjoy learning French and sometime other languages. I have learned more on Duolingo than by any other method. I do not understand the point of the Leagues, however.

June 8, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Kiara521955

ive been actively learning 5 languages for the past 11 months (I'm a polyglot). I find this very true, not for me, for the people I know that have given up on a language they wanted to learn "so bad".

June 8, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Chris888753

But it can be fun to inundate oneself in the language for a day.

June 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Chris888753

Je suis un homme. Merci beaucoup. A bientot! Ich bin Mensch. Vielen Dank. Bis bald! Soy hombre. Muchas gracias. Hasta pronto!

June 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexKon777

Yes, that is true. I only do 10xp a day.

June 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Andrew134089

I like that article because it describes my first attempt at learning, I went in with hundreds per day but went out fast. Now I have a streak going and only do more than basic if I feel up to it and plan on doing that until I finish all the languages on my to-do list.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/HazimFaisa

Learning lots for my university in Europe that I'm attending soon!

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/DirtyHarri3

what is total immersion? that's kind of what people who are practicing all day manage to do. And I'm finding that if I work on my lessons, tiny cards, stories, watching DVD now with Spanish subtitles...I'm actually starting to think in Spanish, not real well, I am 74 and have a bit of a short term memory problem. But it's starting to come together better since the leagues. Before, I would only do my minimum points for the day. Now, because I am home and retired, I have the luxury of practicing all day....not steady though. I take breaks, play the piano, do some art, watch TV, but I am getting 400 - 500 xp a day and feeling like I'm learning. Practicing a lesson over and over....there is some good to that because it gets into your head. That's part of what DUO is about, making us practice the same stuff over and over. Just because a person runs through their tree only getting all of the skills to level 1 and getting an owl does not mean they have learned the language either, yet that's what a lot of people do. How many people here complain about how many owls someone has? If you are here to learn a language, do everything you can to practice. So much time on these forums to complain is hurting your practice time.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/DanielC001

This has been my 3rd or fourth year on duo thanks for sharing

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Alisa-Zhup

I disagree with what you said about leagues. Yes, maybe leagues partly support cramming, but not if you want to make it through all five of them. Making through all five of the leagues would take practicing for five weeks straight, which seems pretty spaced out to me. And if you want to keep your position for even longer you have to keep practicing. I see where you're coming from but I also see where Duolingo is coming from :)

June 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

Maybe you have not read this yet (just one person's story):

https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/32478952

And the experience of another:

https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/30827863

June 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Tortra1

I came onto Duolingo in a full sprint and in just 50 days I already know the Spanish basics.

June 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/BrooklynnF570275

i can see you

June 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/alex388578

i dont do that

June 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/EbChurchil1

:p

June 8, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Amigacat

It is so much easier to learn a language Duolingo way, I am so grateful for that

June 8, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/SimonGatenby

Err. Just don't follow the leagues if you don't want to!

June 8, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/PeterRombo

Pour moi, competition is always a motivator. I say "atta way" duo!

June 8, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Caleb128118

GIVE ME LINGOTS!!!!

June 8, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/MillerGillian

When did Duo get so American? No English person would ever say "the front desk", it's "reception", same as in French, because so much of our language is from the french!

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/MickLynn

I'm English and i say front desk By the way Duolingo is an American company, therefore American English !!

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Donald840855

Some English people do say front desk but I agree with the nature of your comment. Duo translates foreign language to phrases in English no one would ever say or it is awkward. For instance, one lesson marked a translation I typed in wrong because I started off a sentence as "Seventy men eat chicken (which is a more natural and a more likely response; also correct)" instead of "The seventy men eat chicken (which is also not wrong but it is awkward for English speakers)" Duo should be more in tune with the nuances of a language. I have also seen German translations of English phrases that I know a typical German would never say. It seems to be a common problem.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

At least in English I think most of the Duolingo awkwardness comes from the sentences being so out of context. There is absolutely nothing wrong with, "the seventy men eat chicken" because it means specific men, not just some men. If context is added it might be, during the conference, the seventy men eat chicken while the forty women eat bean burgers. There is one sentence that is like, "he orders one tea" and a commenter in the discussion said no one, not ever, never, never would order "one tea", it would only ever be, "a tea" but if I go to a coffee shop I might order two coffees, one hot chocolate, one tea, and three waters. The people who work there are just as likely to use these conventions too (I know we do where I work; one of my jobs). Well, I hate the absolutes. I cannot tell you how many times someone has said, no one ever says that or, that is never used despite that is exactly what I speak, write, and indeed read. I am not no one. And, English is spoken in many places.

Well, that's not to say that there are not some sentences that do not work well, and of course I do not know about the German (though it too is spoken in many varied places, not just Germany).

June 8, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Birdy582648

I am American and I feel that Duo uses too many British terms, go figure!

June 8, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/lukelearngerman

Because English is from England maybe...

June 8, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

English is actually from France and Germany, with a few other influences from Denmark and such (this includes Portugal which introduced tea time).

http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20170823-the-true-story-behind-englands-tea-obsession


Well, and then there is the theory that American English preserves the original British English better than in the UK which was affected by "posh" and status that comes from accents.

http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20180207-how-americans-preserved-british-english

June 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/CandySpani1

Are you saying that cheating is ok? Do you think that it helps in learning a language? I don't.

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Alisa-Zhup

OP is saying that the new Leagues system supports cheating and they don't like how it does.

June 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/124515-Sag

hey guys

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/kris50600

hey

June 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/124515-Sag

OMG

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Caleb128118

Please give me lingots... I wanna give them to another guy... Don't worry... Just give

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/FrenchByte

Is this the world record for most disliked and most disliked with most lingots?

June 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

I doubt it, but for every 10 downvotes s/he loses 10 lingots... or should anyway. :D

June 8, 2019
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