1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Arabic
  4. >
  5. Too many alphabet lessons


Too many alphabet lessons

If you already know Arabic script and you just want to review/learn vocabulary and grammar, it’s very frustrating to have to wade through alphabet lessons all the way up the tree. (I tested out of 21 skills and there are still alphabet lessons).

If you don’t already know Arabic script then its still a bit overkill. It’s not a very difficult script so I’m a bit confused why the alphabet lessons continue past the alphabet skills at all. While there are nuances to the script, most can be learned through exposure after learning the letters.

If the point is to teach pronunciation, Duolingo just isn’t the right format for something like that.

June 27, 2019



I more or less know the alphabet also, but I really like the extra lessons involving the extra markings which have always confused me. The developers of the course organized it very well!


I like the alphabet idea to teach people how to read the Arabic script. But it should be focused on the alphabet section. I've completed all countries 1 tree only to be tested 2 out of questions on a country and 8 questions on the alphabet


Yes, this combination of alphabets and grammar/vocabulary lessons is frustrating for users who already know Arabic script (such as many Muslims who can read the Quran).

I just did the second level of Country 1. Because I did the placement test, I already had one crown for this lesson. The second crown had 5 lessons, 4 of which were alphabets and only 1 was actually about countries.

I think two solutions would be either (1) cut down the percentage for alphabet lessons in a level, or (2) separate the alphabet lessons in a different topic that goes side by side with the grammar/vocabulary topic. That way, some of us can test out of the alphabet topic without missing out the grammar/vocabulary lessons.


Actually, most Muslims around the world cannot actually read the Qur'an in Arabic. Most of them rely on translations from Arabic.


I think you're mixing up the ability to read the Arabic script and to understand the Arabic language.

I've been able to read the Quran since I was little, but for the better part of my life, I didn't understand a word of it and had to rely on translations to know what it meant. The only word I knew was "wa" (=and), and it was only so I knew where to restart my recitation if I stopped in the middle of a sentence.

This is also the case for many Muslims around me, and I think many Muslims in Indonesia.


That is a good observation. Wonder how the system arrived at that result. I have not counted. I want all I the alphabet I can get on the srs when my time comes up. Our class did not have transliteration so all that is new to me. I have experience with just the alphabet and the diacritics. I can see if you are accustomed to the transliteration or IPA (not the beer) that would become a source of uncomfortable repetition. I am happy this is not the case for me though. ^.^ Plus my goal is to listen to the pronunciation till my ears bleed or my ears re-attune. I truly am enjoying this Arabic Duolingo ^.^


Keep in mind Arabic was just released into beta a few days ago, they are probably going to keep upgrading and adding new skills ASAP.


I understand that, this is a suggestion for improvement going forward


I fully agree. There are way too many. Some sort of balance should be struck. Like the Hebrew course does the complete opposite by throwing you in the deep end with the letters.


Exactly. I would honestly be ok with them having maybe 6 or 7 skills dedicated entirely to the alphabet at the beginning of the course, Or even all the way up the tree, but as separate skills so you can test out of them if you don’t need them and you don’t have to go through repetitive alphabet drills when you are trying to learn grammar and vocabulary


Yeah, I find it distracting when I learn a new word and then am given a bunch of letters. I like learning the transliteration... but I wish there was more emphasis on vocabulary/grammar.

I think one way (and I am sure it’s been mentioned) is to completely separate the skills. I’ve had issues testing out of skills because a bunch of vocabulary that I haven’t learned is on the test— even though I can read the sentence, I fail the test because I don’t know what the words mean.


I agree, At least they should be separate skills. My problem now is that there are some words even from the very first skills that I'm not familiar with. 95% of the skills however are just the alphabet which I already know, but I'm not able to 'test out' of them since I don't know the few words and sentences that are there.


You could always do a placement test, no? [I mean that's what I did in order to try it] :o


I’m not talking about the Alphabet skills at the beginning of the course which are definitely needed, I’m talking about the Alphabet lessons within the vocabulary skills all the way up the tree. As I mentioned, I did take a placement test which put me 2/3 of the way up the tree and there were still alphabet lessons


Ohh sorry... My bad ;p


if you already know the alphabet, then you probably learned all of the forms (initial, medial, final, and stand alone). Duo is not taking this approach, so people will have to extrapolate the actual graphemes from context. This, arguably, is harder to do and probably deserve some extra lessons. That being said, yes, it's frustrating to someone who already knows the script.


I find the pronunciation, the diacritics, minimal pairs, alphabet reinforcement excellent. I have become very familiar with the loss of langauge skills and knowledge in both first language and 2L. Sadly I watch many highly educated adults lose their native language proficiency after emmigrating. This includes the loss of the familiar feeling that the native writing system may have given them. So I appreciate all the (phonemes, diphthong, minimal pairs etc.) contact time Duolingo deems prudent to maintain the working knowledge (of the language) in both long term memory and real-time practice. But that is just me.
Duo has included options for those with greater proficiency. I really enjoy this experience. I do find everything helpful for my journey in recovering my lost Arabic language. I can still read though hehehe. Words and expressions return like mystic knowledge or lightning from a clear blue sky. It is a crazy experience, but good one, thanks to Duo Arabic. The pretest was offered. I took it. It placed me out to 24. I experienced the same reinforcement. I do not knock it though. I want to inculcate this language in my lazy, puny soul so I do not ever lose it again. It took me 64 weeks of Intensive language and culture study to learn what I did 30 years ago. Duolingo is rejuvenating not only my memories, but the door ways into an amazing culture and language rich with history, art, science, math. So Rock ON! Duolingo! Keep up the great work. I noticed you exaggerated some pronunciations and then later reintroduced the material at normal conversation speed. I love that technique. I will return to the beginning of the course to retrieve my speaking proficiency after I complete the lessons/skills ahead of me.


Yeah, it gets annoying when you already know how to read Arabic. They should just keep the alphabet at the at the top.


I can't agree. I've started Arabic from 0 and find that the number of lessons is totally fine. I need them. And mind you my mother tongue uses Cyrillic alphabet, plus I've studied Japanese, Thai and Sanskrit, so it's not like I`m a dummy in visuals, I kind of can use 5 different writing systems. Still, this one is not easy for a newbie.

Plus, for those who do not want to go through those lessons - there is no need to, right? You have a choice. However if they take away some of them - those who need`em will have no choice.


I’m not talking about the Alphabet skills at the beginning of the course which are definitely needed for people starting from 0. I’m talking about the alphabet lessons within the vocabulary skills which continue all the way up the tree. The Arabic alphabet can be hard to learn at first, but once you understand the basics, you don’t need to be constantly drilled on it when you are trying to learn vocabulary and grammar


Oh, okey, may be I`ll live to agree with you then:) Thanks for this explanation!


Yeah, for someone starting from scratch the repetition is awesome and I’ve learned some things that have confused me in the past (native speaker, but never spent much time learning written). The issue is even though I tested out of so many skills... I’m still getting alphabet and a lot of it is very repetitive.


the problem is that there is no way to test out of these lessons. if there were some way to disable them, i'd be happy, but there is not, and i'm feeling very frustrated with the course because of that.


Did you really learn Sanskrit? That's great, how much Sanskrit do you know?


Oh - there will be more alphabet, later? Okay. What I want to know, then, is why they don't teach the whole alphabet in the beginning lessons? I have done alphabet 1-4 and then when I look at arabic script elsewhere, I am disappointed to still be missing almost half the letters!


Maybe they were worried that cramming all of them in the beginning is too difficult, considering that each letter has more than one form. Maybe.


i guess if you already know Arabic then duolingo is not for improving. Arabic is my first language and i am fluent at it so duolingo for me is far to easy and repetitive. but to new learners Arabic is a hard language so repeating is necessary.


I fully agree. Also when I choose to do a practice lesson, I want to practice vocab and grammar, not alphabet. However all exercises were (again) on alphabet.

Learn Arabic in just 5 minutes a day. For free.