https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FerranDiya

Using keyboard for "Match the Pairs"

I'm aware that this is a minor quibble but as someone who prefers to mainly use the keyboard on my pc it would be wonderful if all tasks within a lesson could be completed with one, including the match the pairs task. If I remember correctly, this is possible in Memrise by selecting each piece of vocabulary through the number keys. I hope I'm not repeating an old request.

Sidenote question: I used to be able to use the "keyboard" on my phone as well but that option seems to have disappeared. Have I just overlooked something or is this a change?

Thank you in advance

September 6, 2019

9 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tizerman

It would be convenient to have labelled keystrokes for all of the clickable elements within an exercise, including to repeat the sound.

As you say, it's a minor quibble, but would also be slightly less fiddly than using the touchpad of some laptops.

September 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FerranDiya

Precisely. The experience would just go more smoothly, especially if you do not have a mouse. And I would hope that this is not a difficult fix since that exact option exists on memrise with the same system.

I am curious why this thread is downvoted, should I have posted it in troubleshooting instead?

September 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tizerman

Re: the earlier downvotes,

The title of your post was perhaps leading people to assume that the content would be a general criticism of multiple-choice answers, rather than your constructive suggestion to enhance input options for the same. I'm guessing, of course.

September 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/garpike

Someone did make an add-on that allowed this some time ago (I'm afraid I can't remember what it was or whether it still works). However, I do remember finding that DL pair-matching exercises tend to have so many pairs that using the keyboard is much more inconvenient compared with Memrise; you cannot just use numbers, and so it became a matter of memorising all sorts of other, arbitrary and changeable keys, which I found detracted from the language-learning point of the endeavour.
In the end, much as I'd have preferred just to use the keyboard, I went back to the mouse as it was a lot more time efficient.

September 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FerranDiya

Interesting. I would definitely prefer an inhouse solution, since I work on different pcs where I cannot necessarily install what I like. But if you should remember it, please do tell.

Your other point is well taken, though, since I also remember that when more than 10 options were available the system became pretty inefficient. Perhaps if one could also switch through the options via the tab key, that would cease to be a problem?

September 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/testmoogle

I commented after yours to give the link to the add-on I believe you were describing, however I forgot to reply with what I wanted to say.

However, I do remember finding that DL pair-matching exercises tend to have so many pairs that using the keyboard is much more inconvenient compared with Memrise; [...]

As far as I've noticed, match the pairs exercises are never more than five pairs. I think it's always between three to five pairs? Therefore, having a maximum of ten tiles, they can all be numbered: 1-9 and 0.

I believe what you are remembering is instead what can happen if you also use the add-on for the selecting word bank tiles in sentence translation exercises, since it's these exercises which very often often have more than ten tiles to pick from to build the sentence? In this case it does go 1-9, 0, A, B, C, though to Z. Most people wanting to use this add-on I assume are people who type the answers instead of using the word bank and have this add-on to avoid having to switch to the mouse just for match the pairs? So I expect that most people who use this add-on won't have the word bank turned on for sentence translation typing exercises in the first place.

However, although I've never tested this myself as I don't use the word bank, the add-on (userscript) does actually allow you to create your own custom numbering order. So you could presumably change it to something a little more intuitive like maybe 1-9, 0, Q, W, E, R, T, Y, ... ^^

you cannot just use numbers, and so it became a matter of memorising all sorts of other, arbitrary and changeable keys, which I found detracted from the language-learning point of the endeavour.

I agree with this issue you raise. Even when it is just numbers, to me it still feels like much/most of the challenge is in trying to hit the correct key for the tile you wish to select rather than it feeling like a language learning exercise.

For a long time I've had an idea about making a userscript that changes the match the pairs exercises to become proper typing ones. I've had various ideas on how it could work, the following idea being my favourite:

Add an empty text box next to (beneath) each one of the six/eight/ten tiles. (Only the text box for whichever word tile is in focus needs to be visible at any one time.) The text box of the first word tile gets initial text cursor focus automatically when the exercise loads. Upon each individual keypress, it checks the content of the current text box with the text of each of the other word tiles and highlights the ones which are a partial match. If more than one tile matches, it waits for the user to type some more of their answer. When only one tile is a partial match, the user can press ENTER to confirm this tile is the one they want to pair. Or if the user wants to type the full answer, then, when only one tile matches at all and it is a full match, it automatically confirms this matched tile without needing to press ENTER. If the tile pair is an incorrect answer, then the text box is cleared so that the user can type a different answer. If it's the correct answer, then, when the pair of tiles disappear, the text cursor automatically moves focus to the text box of the next remaining word tile in the list. The user may also press TAB at any time to skip the current word tile and move focus to the next text box.

(With some languages like Japanese, having to switch input between English/romaji, hiragana, katakana, and kanji on each text box in the list, it could be quite inconvenient with how the tiles are scattered randomly. Therefore, potentially the tiles could be automatically sorted into a different order to bundle similar script tiles together to reduce this issue to some extent. This can be done by checking the unicode range of each character in the word tile text to try to determine which language and which script it is written in.)

This idea might sound complex when reading it, but the finished product should feel very easy and natural to use. It would take quite a bit of work to create this though. I've made fairly similar typing add-on userscripts to this on a couple of other language learning websites (albeit in slightly simpler situations), but I'm fairly content with just skipping all match the pairs exercises on Duolingo most of the time so I'm unlikely to ever get round to creating a userscript for this myself; however, there's no reason why someone else with more motivation couldn't create the exact thing I've presented. ^^

September 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/garpike

As far as I've noticed, match the pairs exercises are never more than five pairs. I think it's always between three to five pairs? [...]
I believe what you are remembering is instead what can happen if you also use the add-on for the selecting word bank tiles in sentence translation exercises, since it's these exercises which very often often have more than ten tiles to pick from to build the sentence? In this case it does go 1-9, 0, A, B, C, though to Z.

You might very well be right about this. I only used the add-on briefly and quite a while ago. I remember finding it surprisingly inconvenient and soon abandoning it, but it is very plausible that my brain was filling in the gaps as to why this was the case in an incorrect way.
I probably was indeed recalling word-bank tiles when I mentioned letters (I turn the word-bank on and off all the time, as I want it for some languages and not for others).
However, even the pairs exercises were still very inconvenient compared to Memrise. No doubt this was because Memrise prompts one question at a time that can be covered by four fingers on one hand (which anyone can do quickly with ease), whereas here one needs to 1) determine a correct pair (with foreign-language hat on), 2) remember numbers to this pair (with English hat on) and 3) co-ordinate correct key-presses with only eight fingers to cover ten keys and then repeat another four times. I'm sure any user could become very proficient at this with practice, but it was, in itself, more of a brain-finger co-ordination exercise and certainly a distracting addition to what I was actually interested in learning.

I've had an idea about making a userscript that changes the match the pairs exercises to become proper typing ones. [...] With some languages like Japanese, having to switch input between English/romaji, hiragana, katakana, and kanji on each text box in the list, it could be quite inconvenient with how the tiles scattered randomly. Therefore, potentially the tiles could be automatically sorted into a different order to bundle similar script tiles together to reduce this issue to some extent.

I was drafting my own version of this complaint in my head whilst reading your suggestion before it. I used to be able to switch keyboards easily using hotkeys in Windows 7, but this doesn't work in Windows 10 (the feature is supposed to be there, but is unusably-buggy and Microsoft has never bothered to fix it), so all my keyboard-switching involves the mouse. This would presumably only ever be an issue with Japanese (and Korean if DL ever decides to add hanja).
Also, with Mandarin, I presume this would require inputting pinyin with diacritics, which would not be very convenient for many people (you might like to consider writing the script so as to accept tone-numbers which are then automatically converted into the relevant letters with diacritics).
It certainly sounds a decent idea that would work well and make pair-matching more engaging for other languages, however, and would reduce the 'right-answer-by-process-of-elimination' problem from which DL suffers in these exercises.

September 8, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/testmoogle

I've been using the userscript made by CyberShadowMD for two years now. It has worked perfectly this whole time! Here's the link to the original forum post for it:

Keyboard UserScript
https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/24851618

That said, I nearly always just press the "skip" button on all "match the pairs" exercises (and also I bound a hotkey to the "skip" button). The "match the pairs" exercises are so dull and tedious (especially on a PC using a mouse); but thankfully, for just this exercise type in particular, Duolingo doesn't actually penalise you at all for skipping them. ^^

September 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MopasMipy

I'd love that!

Sadly, in those I immediately notice the parallel words ex. "Sir" & "SeƱor" while the others are random words & that sucks because I'm not reading the entire sentence!

I know I can make myself read it but let's be honest, this suggestion would be the best for me.

GL! :D

September 6, 2019
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