Les pensées d'un petit chien au sujet de la grammaire
(Thoughts of a little dog about his grandmother.)
If you are just beginning French like me, and in despair over noun gender, verb conjugations, accordance and the placement of adjectives in a sentence, don't forget that this is only really important in written texts. When you write something down there are a number of implicit disconnects at work, otherwise why are you bothering to write it down? The reader may be unknown to you, in another place or time, and may not have the knowledge or context of the situation you are trying to build upon. Unless you are using online chat, they cannot even challenge or question what you write, so your work needs to be understandable to an unknown audience and stand alone in its meaning. Hence all the rules and conventions. Of course, an additional complexity arises if they don't speak your language and you will need to be doubly careful not to be misunderstood.
So what has this got to do with me? As a small dog, I cannot speak a word of English or French, just a series of woofs, growls and whimpers. But if I want to go out, or have a thorn in my pad, or my human has forgotten to feed me, I don't get out a pen and paper and start writing prose. Because I am in the context of the situation, I can still communicate. I can stand at the door and wag my tail, hold my paw up and look pathetic, or stare longingly at the refrigerator and bark when my human passes.
If I can do all this with no language, think what you can do with even basic French. Be inspired and learn words and phrases that will be useful in conversation. Duolingo is text-centric only because that is the nature of the medium, but spoken sentences do not need to be perfectly formed, spelt and punctuated. Do it well enough and no one will even know you can't write either (that's my other secret). Make that your first goal and the grandmother will come later.