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Bu fheàrr leam... better practice questions

I know this has been talked about before, but I'd be interested in other people's experiences as regards the practice questions on the Gaelic tree.

I finished the tree, all gold, exactly three weeks ago. I've been doing the practice lessons diligently since then, concentrating mainly on the skills nearer the bottom of the tree, and I probably do the ones below the second castle at least every other day. I get a lot of very easy questions, for example matching the right picture to a simple word, or easy multiple choice, or typing a simple word (often as simple as ball, bus or cat). If I have to choose between "drochaid" and "droch fhaid" as the word for "bridge" once more I will probably scream. I have turned off the word-bank tiles to make it a bit more difficult, but in fact mostly that just results in questions being duplicated within a lesson, as the word-tile ones are repeated again later as free-text entries anyway.

I've also been trying to listen to as much spoken Gaelic as I can, and I've included the old Can Seo programmes in that, although I do appreciate the spelling is out-dated and not to be trusted. Anyway, I got to episode 18, "Cò's fheàrr leat cofaidh na tì?"

There was a good explanation of the structure of the "Is fheàrr leam" sentence that made me feel more confident about using it, but that prompted me to realise that I haven't seen a single practice exercise with that construction in three weeks. It's in the "Food 3" skill, and that one is right in the middle of the part of the tree I practice most. I'd say I've done it at least a dozen times since I gilded the skill, probably more. I'd virtually forgotten the construction existed.

Is it just me? Have other people practising on gold skills had this exercise?

There are other things I don't remember seeing in practice lessons. Thoir dhomh. (Another one from Can Seo where I suddenly realised that had come up in Duolingo but I hadn't seen it since I gilded the tree, and I'll never be able to pronounce it anyway.) Fhìn/fhèin. Anything other than the first person singular form of " 'S e .... a th’ annam."

The dumbell practices are even dumber than the individual skills practices. I've had a number of these lessons that were 19 click-on-the-word-you-just-heard multiple choice questions. I had one that was 19 variants of "Ciamar a tha..." without even venturing out of the second person singular.

I know this is a recognised problem, but is anyone else finding it as big an issue with the Gaelic tree as I am? Is anyone getting harder questions? I don't want to give up practising, but I'm wasting a lot of time clicking on pictures of a bird or a bridge or an old woman, and forgetting the more challenging constructions.

February 24, 2020



One extra wrinkle I'd forgotten about is that a few days ago I did a "Practice Quiz" and that did have some more challenging material in it. In fact I was quite thrown by it. I'd got used to breezing through the practice lessons, occasionally making a boo-boo through inattention, or encountering a spoken sentence I couldn't make out, but basically never encountering anything I didn't basically know the answer to after a moment's thought. Then suddenly I was being handed stuff I hadn't seen since I gilded the tree and only barely remembered.

I thought I would have another go at that and was met by a stern-looking owl telling me I needed to practice more before I took another test. What good is that when the things I need to practice aren't coming up in the practices and I spend my time on baby-level questions?

And I don't think you get any XP for these "Practice Quiz" sessions.


I too am endlessly doing practices.... but ...Hey it is still a game... keep doing easy ones to get the points and avoid demotion, but it would be good to have some new stuff some time soon.


I don't know how much the leagues are influencing my behaviour here - they probably are to some extent. Mainly I don't want to give up practising because I do need the reinforcement, but at the same time I feel I'm wasting an awful lot of time clicking on easy answers I've clicked on a dozen times before while not even being exposed to the more challenging material any more.


There are other things I don't remember seeing in practice lessons. Thoir dhomh. (Another one from Can Seo where I suddenly realised that had come up in Duolingo but I hadn't seen it since I gilded the tree, and I'll never be able to pronounce it anyway.) Fhìn/fhèin. Anything other than the first person singular form of " 'S e .... a th’ annam."

'Thoir dhomh' is in Home 2, but there's more practice with 'thoir' in Tree 2. Likewise with other forms of "'S e .... a th’ annam." I know that doesn't help you right now, but I can say it's on our radar.

The way the exercises work, there's a limit as to how many we can add (pretty much one per sentence). We could add more sentences, which is definitely something for us to look at, but if we added them right now then they would be without audio, so I wouldn't be willing to do that for the time being.

As for what exercises you receive through practice, that's a Duolingo thing that we can't affect, I'm afraid :(


As far as I can see, this is a problem with Duolingo and not something you can really do anything about. In fact while practising today I did come across "is fheàrr leam" once, and also "thoir dhomh", as if to prove to me that they do come up. (Like once in a lot of practices.)

I think it's the sheer number of times I'm asked to "type 'ball' in Scottish Gaelic" or some other really simple word (ball, car, ris, cat, and similar occur frequently), and the perennial choice between "drochaid* and "droch fhaid" for bridge, in relation to the infrequent occurrence of challenging questions. It seems like such a waste of time to be repeatedly presented with the same really easy questions, when the time would be better spent revising things that are actually hard to remember.

But people have been complaining about this over multiple languages and I don't think individual teams can really do much. Which of these three pictures is "ball"? Followed about four questions later with "Type 'ball' in Scottish Gaelic" - wading through these time and time again to get to the stuff I really need reinforcement in is just tedious. But not your fault. Thanks again for all your help.

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