https://www.duolingo.com/AnPO3oSt

Is there any way to avoid the 'type the answer in Russian' questions?

For my purposes, these questions are so useless and time-consuming (relative to the other questions types) that they're threatening to make this (otherwise very useful) language platform useless for me. Is there any way to get around them, even if I sacrifice some quality? Many thanks to Duolingo for the wonderful opportunity--and to anyone who can help! Brian

June 16, 2019

21 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Grant7586

Brian, learning Russian is going to be time-consuming regardless. What are you trying to achieve, if the written questions (in English) and the audio questions (in Russian), that both require a typed answer in Russian, are useless?

June 16, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/AnPO3oSt

Thanks, Grant. I have two, seemingly opposite aims in learning Russian: (1) to read the Russian masters (going well), and (2) to listen and talk to my farmer neighbors in the little Ukrainian village we live in (who actually speak the Ukr-Rus mix called Surzhyk, but I'm working on the Russian side)--neither of which would be anything but hampered by the time and effort spent in learning to write the language. I can see no day, however distant, when I will ever need, or care, to write Russian (that much), and my time available for Russian is hard-won and precious. (I suppose I should have said 'less than useless'.) But this Duolingo is otherwise a truly impressive and commendable achievement. I'm so sorry to face giving it up.

June 16, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Grant7586

Hi Brian, Understood - they are seemingly opposite aims, apart from conversational Russian, you need to improve your reading of Russian but don't want to waste time learning to write as well. Honestly, I don't know an app/something that could cater for your specific needs. Although Duolingo has some quite worrying flaws, it is free, I use it on my laptop (it has a Russian keyboard) or at anytime on my mobile - its helped/is helping me a lot and is generally very good. Back to your question, I don't know what to suggest, in terms of improving your conversational Russian if you're in a village/remote area, there are many websites (like "italki") where you can search for a language partner: so you can look for a Ukrainian near your village who wants help with their English - in return they'll help you with your Russian or Surzhyk. It's free, you can meet your language partner face-to-face or online using Skype or Whatsapp etc. But obviously that doesn't have the convenience of Duolingo being there in your mobile to use when you've got free time etc. I'd do a search in the Duo's forum for competitors/alternatives to "italki" and about resources that will help you with reading the Russian masters. Hopefully others will come on here with better/more helpful advice.

June 16, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/AnPO3oSt

Thanks once again, Grant. I'm clearly an odd duck, having lived hereabouts for almost ten years now, and still unable to follow a conversation (fluent Rus-Eng wife actually discourages my Rus ambitions--loves me English, I think...hope). As I said to Slogger, it seems it's back to muddling for me, with many thanks for the thoughtful suggestions. Good luck to you! Brian

June 16, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/jacksmo

I'm sorry, but this is just ridiculous. You cannot expect to learn a language through some expedited process. By typing in the language, you are forcing yourself to actually learn the vocabulary and start thinking in Russian. If you don't want to put in the time and effort to learn a language, then don't learn the language.

June 17, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/AnPO3oSt

Hahaha. I'm not expecting to learn 'the language', of course. I've read the Torah five times (and wrote a book on the wordplay), never having typed a single word of Biblical Hebrew--though I'd be hard pressed to order a kosher pickle from a sidewalk stand; etc., for six other languages. I learn what I need to learn OF a language; I don't want to think in Russian, finding thinking in English quite baffling enough; and I've only one (ridiculous) life to live.

June 17, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/AnPO3oSt

Eureka! At least as of Adj. 1, most all the new vocab and syntax has been contained in the first three levels (can anyone confirm if this happy trend will continue into the more complex sections, I wonder?), where the Russian typing requirement is minimal to non-existent; so (at least thus far) there IS a quite simple way to plow ahead (ridiculously) without it: simply skip Levels 4 and 5. As my main trouble is HEARING the words I already know, at speed and (what a pleasant coincidence of the text-to-speech) half-garbled, my reading knowledge is rapidly coming into play in the oral context, and I'm rollin' along. Thus, to lica, and anybody else, like me, stupid enough to seek non-typed Russian facility, I can happily say (thus far): there IS a way, and an easy one at that.

June 17, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/LICA98

nope there's no way

June 16, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/-Nusya1-

ALT

June 16, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/slogger

Note: I have not read all the discussion but will make some brief suggestions, anyway. [Added: now I have.]

Using a cellphone interface should do away w/ most or all of the typing, but the lessons are much less productive (of effective learning).

On the web interface there is a little switch that says something like "Use Word Bank," which if selected will make the interface mostly one of pushing little word tiles around, but this too is less productive.

Maybe one of those suggestions will help.

However, IMHO, you will learn much more, including the language skills you are interested in, by typing in Russian. Compelling yourself to have to form good Russian words and sentences--which is what the typing exercises do, and is what pushing little word tiles around does not do, as you do not have to think up the words, yourself--is probably the best way available on Duo to get yourself to be thinking in Russian.

[added] Removed one of my suggestions, as it would actually have made more typing in Russian (tsk). Although, if my prev. paragraph has convinced you, try English for Russian speakers, where you should type more Russian but probably hear none or almost none (I've forgotten).

Given your aims (since I've now read them), you might try looking around youtube for an audio introduction to Russian in English (such as Russian World--have your speaker volume turned down at the beginning), and then try a "slow Russian" podcast, of which there are a few on YouTube. For those, of course, you need not type at all. Best of luck!

June 16, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/AnPO3oSt

Thanks Slogger (and for the slogger's advice). A couple of freak strokes a few years ago, point-and-peck typing at the best of times, and the very limited aim (to follow barnyard conversations in my village), plus a thousand other demands on my time, really do make the typing thing impractical, though I recognize the deep and long-term value of, well, slogging in those trenches. I can't find that (to me) promising 'word bank' option, and feel like a maddened monkey when I hover over the English terms, see a time-saving dropdown with word options, and CAN'T choose one! Happy enough to (spazzily) type in English, love the basic structure and orality of the site, but look to be squeezed out by this one irksome requirement. Tried the Russian World thing, but really do need to respond as well. Shall keep muddling about, with many thanks for the suggestions. Brian

June 16, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/slogger

Thanks for your reply. It's always good to know that someone reads these notes!

What device are you using? When using a computer (not a telephone), Duolingo's "Word Bank" option is on the "Write this in Russian" pages at the bottom. Below "Write this in Russian" and the text-entry box there are three buttons from left to right, "SKIP", "USE WORD BANK", and "CHECK': if you've selected the button already, it will say "USE KEYBOARD". If you need a screenshot I can put one up.

You might try a flashcard "course" like memrise. Memrise has made changes recently, I think bifurcating into "memrise-created" and "user-created" courses, so I can't direct you around their site, but there are a lot of "courses" (decks of flashcards) that are already available for Russian. Similar programs are Anki and Quizlet. Some allow you to merely inspect the cards and then "flip" them; others ask you to type in an answer.

Anyway, good luck!

June 17, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/AnPO3oSt

Thanks a lot, Slogger. No 'Wordbank' on MY ('type in Russian') pages, anhow--only Skip and Check (I'm on a laptop); can't see how to feed you a screenshot, sorry. But my systemic workaround is workingaround beautifully...though I fear more ugliness in the later sections... As for anythingbutduolingo, I think I'll just plow through to the end here (it's a damn good system otherwise)--should be less than a month at my present pace--and then посмотрю, где я нахожусь. And thanks for the good wishes--same to you! Brian p.s. Do all those flags mean you're simultaneously learning five other languages? (I find all this 'motivational' stuff silly and distracting, to be honest.)

June 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/slogger

You're welcome. I'm on a laptop, also, using Linux. I figured that the "word bank" / "no word bank" switch was available to everyone. It could be I've got it because I'm a PLUS user, or it could be that Duolingo is doing an A / B test of the feature, which is something they do a lot, or it could be something else. If it's an A / B test, you may be able to use the version w/ the "USE WORD BANK" by creating a new user id and hitting it lucky by getting that version of the test.

To make a screenshot available, load it onto a page on a site like imgur.com, copy the image's address (i.e., URL) and display it on Duo this way: ![](URL), for instance, ![](https://i.imgur.com/gVtYpsS.png?1), which is the address of my screenshot below (there should be no space or break between the right bracket and the left parenthesis):

All those flags mean I've started those courses on Duo at one time or another.

Well, I'm glad that what you've worked out suits you. Enjoy Russian!

June 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/AnPO3oSt

Thanks once again, Slogger. They appear to've A/B-ed me at least a phonetic option now, so I can write 'frukty' for фрукты. But like I said, it's all about HEARING (and some speaking, which I can practice in the 'write in Russian' sections, while gloriously failing to get more crowns, lingots, flamey things, flag numbers, bronze level race victories, etc....damn!), so I'm счастливый, and coincidentally LIVING in Shaslyve, Ukraine, near Izyum, so it all makes sense!

June 21, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/xsombrax

i don't think that time spent on this exercises are more expensive then the progress in language, such different from english. while you read you're also learning how to write, same works the other way. (sorry if my english is bad, i'm ukrainian :D)

June 21, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/AnPO3oSt

Thanks. Going well. (Better than my Ukrainian for sure--bonne chance avec la langue française! B.

June 21, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/ArikaLuka

Hey, you can make things easier with this (only on PC tho). Start > Type in searchbar: keyboard/language settings > Add: Russian > Switch inbetween your main language and russian on your taskbar > WindowslogoKey + Ctrl + O (opens up desktop keyboard on screen) [ps: might have to enable this option trough easy access settings)

June 22, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/AnPO3oSt

Thanks A-L. Tried that (before I found my nifty workaround). Someday I may find a need to write, but you know, as a professional editor and writer in English, I'm beginning to regret, in a big way, the whole oral-to-literary move in humanity in general. Life starts, and increasingly ends, in the barnyard for me.

June 23, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/PantsleLonika

Why on Earth would you bother being on Duolingo, or any other platform, to 'learn' a language and avoid any part of the process? The way the site is set up is to design maximum retention - typing in Russian (which can be tricky without a R. keyboard but can be overcome with something like Google Input Tools) actually helps you keep some stuff in your brain. There's a way to remove having to speak or listen to the Russian, but not typing in Russian, but half the learning is proving you can read AND write. If you just wanted to get better at reading and understanding Russian, which is easier for sure than actually speaking it or writing it, then Duolingo probably is useless to you.

June 23, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/AnPO3oSt

Certainly useful to me, thanks. Rrrollin' along, listening, speaking, reading and not writing (much); already picking up large swaths of my barnyard conversations. (I tend not to think every brain, or aim, is alike, sorry.)

June 23, 2019
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