Can we talk about how we don't learn new words in Arabic?
I'm sure I'm not the only one who has a good understanding of the Abjad. It seems like all the lessons are concerned with the sounds, and still relying on the Latin alphabet.
It seems that every new lesson going forward is still concerned with the difference between shadda and non-shadda letters. I GET IT.
Also I recognize some of the words when the lesson asks, "what word goes with 'baab'". Why doesn't the lesson say that باب is door?
I used to be a native speaker of Arabic but I forgot nearly all of it when I was very young. I took Arabic in college and it's been almost 10 years since I took a serious lesson (any Al-Kitaab people here?). I tested out of 7 lessons, which is not surprising since I know the Abjad well, so why am I still tested on the Abjad!!!
Sorry for my rant, I was really excited to see Arabic in beta and only want to help. I mean if you're going to ask the users about 3-letter words, right there is the root for nearly everything, so why not tell us what it means!
I think a course should (and in most of the languages I do it does) target the weakest learners; those who have never been in contact with the language at all.
I also strongly believe that the Arabic course will grow. There will be more vocabulary and grammar because 33 skills, including all these letter lessons (which are necessary for people like me!), is just insufficiently comprehensive material to really know something of the language.
The course is a good start: It works, we can use it - and on this basis it can and certainly will be extended.
I've made it through the existing tree in beta to all level 5s and I wish there were virtual flashcards for the words that are real words. This would help a little with the feeling that repeated practice of words you don't know or which might not be real words is just wasted time. I'm grateful they got me started and I want to keep it up daily until the expansion, but it's a dull plateau to be in.
As you mention, you can test out the things you already know. Obviously understand the writing system is fairly crucial if you are going to learn a language and so far I find this course way better than the Hebrew one (which lacks sound and do not really teach the writing system). Though it would be nice if there was a clear separation between the lessons teaching abjads and the rest.
I've tried a few courses with different alphabets. They are all about the same. It's a great way to learn to read the letters and that's important. I would prefer to learn the meaning as well as just the sound. As far as learning vocabulary goes, I've found that memrise is much better. I find the Duolingo system annoying, but I know that it works well for some people. I'm looking forward to learning many strange sentences when I'm done with the letters. And I'm also hoping that I will be able to conjugate verbs correctly.