I'm well into Alphabet 4 in Arabic, and can honestly say that I haven't learned one word. Am I the only one? I don't understand how learning takes place the way the lessons are structured?
Actually, this course is one of the rare courses where you get the sound of the words. So suck in the way of pronunciation and the melody of the language. Just learn to pronounce the letters properly and get used to to make a strong pronunciation very often in the middle of the words and on the last syllable if this is needed too. There are some kind of rules were you have to emphasize the words, sth like the third syllable (counted from the end of the word) when there is not before a long vocal and so on. If you can pronounce the words properly then there are so many opportunities outside Duolingo where you can learn Arabic.
Thanks for the encouragement. I'm familiar with the melody and pronunciation of the language, as I grew up with it being spoken in my home. My parents were 1st generation American, and my mother often spoke Arabic with her friends (so the kids wouldn't know what they were saying! :)). But I never bothered to learn. Kicking myself now! Spanish and French were easy - but my ancestors' native language, not so much!
I think the first words that are taught with an actual translation show up in description, so you're almost there. I think they want to make it easy for people by allowing them to focus on the writing first before having to worry about the meaning of words. I personally wouldn't mind learning the meaning of the words while learning how to sound them out, but I guess they are afraid of overwhelming and scaring off learners if they teach things too quickly.