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Really Liking the “No Translation” Type of Exercises

  • 1210

The French course has exercises where both the questions and the multiple choice answers are in French. I really like this format but I have not seen it used yet in any of my other courses.

The nice thing about this approach is that it doesn’t rely on translating anything to English.

Translation has its place in language learning to get some basic vocabulary down. But I think you learn more by intuiting the meanings of words from their context. This type of exercise really builds on that method.

February 10, 2020



'" But I think you learn more by intuiting the meanings of words from their context".'

Good point. That's why I think reading comic strips is such a great way of starting to read a language. You can learn new words and sentence structures by working out what they mean from the context, supported by the drawings.


Will the comic strips incorporate a lot of colloquialisms and slang words that we rarely learn on Duolingo, thus confusing us a bit? (Genuine question - not a snub) Also what are some French comic strips you might recommend that could help? Thank you.


I read Asterix and Tintin to my classes. Those are big hits. I also love Emile et Margot for all the puns. Yoko Tsuno is pretty good; kind of like a female Johnny Quest. Zombillenium is too hard for my first-year students, but my second year and up students like it. Just of few of my many favorites...


I agree. I'm building quite a stack of French comic books. Tintin, moebius, asterix, etc.


I'm going to do this now! Any idea where you can find comics in German??


Haven't heard this idea before, thanks!


It's an experiment on the French course, they're trying to make a better experience and not rely on another language. If it works, they're supposed to make such exercises in other courses. Search for "making duolingo" and look at the article about their 2020 goals, it has it all explained.


Here's the article you mentioned. I'm actually really excited about this, I think it would be a great addition.


Just read it and im very excited about the upcoming changes. I hope they make their way into the spanish course soon


I look for to it as well. I was surprised they didnt test it in the spanish course.


I agree except there should be at the very least an option to see the translation somewhere either after confirming your answer or going to the comments. I've been very frustrated with some of those

  • 1210

Yes I have sometimes had to look up the English translation. But it’s more fun to figure it out from the other words. Or (to really “geek out“) by figuring it out using similar words from Spanish or Latin.


Same, because if you don't get it perfect you have no idea what was right or wrong.


they should within the answer I'd assume... I can see it might take someone a lot longer to go thru a practice if they have to stop & figure out the translation to answer it.


The point is that your brain is actually taking additional, unnecessary steps to translate. It's a whole different skill set.


This is awesome!! Is this just on the mobile app currently, or further down the tree? I'm just starting out in French but I love this concept and so glad I picked the right language, lol!



They might be just in the newly added topics. I finished the French tree without these types or exercises, but then I found them in the new topics.


Awesome! I love Duolingo its not perfect but its free and they keep improving it (besides hearts)


WOW that's awesome that can really help boost your learning!


That's exactly what I want for languages that are very different from English, such as Arabic, because there are concepts and grammatical elements that don't exist in English and therefore can't be directly translated.


I agree with you. The grammar-translation method is not ideal.


Definitely hope it comes to other languages as well. I think my biggest annoyance is constantly having to just translate instead of showing comprehension. It's like I have to keep one foot in my English door at all times.

There needs to be a conversation exercise or questions asked in the language being learned, illustated like: "where are the keys?" "What is this woman doing?" "Does this woman hate fish?"

Questions asked also with only listening and not written would be pretty nice...


I just really want Italian and Romanian stories. French update is nice too


The stories later on are also "no translation" as well.

  • 1210

Yes the stories are that way in Spanish. I forgot about that


I completely agree too. The 18 new topics at the end of the French section 5 are really good (although pretty heavy on the mouse clicking). They take longer than most lessons, but really get you thinking in French. Kudos to whoever came up with these lessons.


I hope they add this to the Russian course soon...

It would be cool if ALL users, even non-native speakers, could suggest exercises & then native speakers simply edit & approve exercises.

Innovation studies in major corporations have shown that the best training materials actually come from those who were recently trained. As when someone is learning something for the first time, each person as their own approach because they do not know the "correct way"/ "usual way" yet. Meaning new learners may have some of the most innovative ideas of how to learn & memorize their chosen language as quickly as possible.

I'm curious as to how the community of native language volunteers is being managed to help share ideas across courses & find more ways to reward the volunteer native speakers for all their hard work... I'd like to see more users contributing, build content from the bottom-up.


This is awesome! I'm glad they're going in this direction. The goal of learning a language is not to be able to translate it! The goal is to be able to speak it and think it without translating to your native language. That's a very important distinction. You cannot keep up with spoken language if you have to translate it to understand it.

  • 1059

I find it much easier translating from my target language into English. my real challenge is translating from English into my target language. The reverse tree used to help me with this but for me Duolingo has been dumbing down and the percentage of translations into English is higher on both trees.


I don't even have them in my French course :/


It might be an A/B test. Some people get it during testing, then it's rolled out to everyone later if the test goes well.


Are you using mobile or web?


95% web / 5% app


I see your point. When question and answer are both in the the language you are learning (target langue) then you are thinking in that language which helps in conversation. Most of us learn a new language to use it in conversations not just being able to read and translate. I would suggest writing down the French not the English part. Avoid using French to English dictionary, use French to French. Learn Grammar in the target language not an English language book. More you use and think in the target language the faster you are going to learn it. Watch films, read stories, newspaper articles.... You get the idea.


Great idea from Duolingo. Would definetly like to see this format on other languages.


I agree, I love these types of exercises. Getting out of translating back to English all the time has been a huge barrier for me and it's great to have exercises that actively encourage me to keep my thoughts in the language I'm learning.


Oh wow I didn't know about this. I haven't been on duolingo and was disappointed at the lack of translation into the target language, but this sounds good!


I'd love to see this in swedish, im not there yet but It'd be very helpful when I am there to improve my swedish speaking instead of expanding it.


I hope they add this feature to the German course!


Thank you for writing this! Even the little things seem really useful to a newer learner.


I dont know why all courses are not like that, then you just need one for each language. Maybe a "tips" in the different languages.


I agree, I've really liked them.


I haven't seen this yet but I'm still pretty much at the beginning of the French course so I hope to get there in time (and get to see it in German as well). It sounds like a great idea!


Would be cool in the Polish course.


I'm having a difficult time imagining what this is about, not having attempted the French course.

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