Not progressing with Duolingo and need help
I have been stuck in the same section now for nearly 2 weeks whilst learning French. I was progressing well and was very motivated, but now I am going backwards. I have completely lost confidence and patience with the programme. I use my French Grammar book to support my learning and find it much more helpful than the programme, but it doesn’t tell me how to pronounce the words in French. I suddenly find Duolingo introduces a new verb and I am then supposed to accurately spell the variations, this is the same with the spelling for adjectives which is very frustrating. The whole emphasis of the programme is around the grammar but I don’t want to learn French to an exam level, I want to be confident at speaking the language so I can communicate with brother in law and his family. I want to enjoy learning a language not fail because I forget to put an ‘s’ at the end of a word. I no longer enjoy learning French and I don’t believe that this programme is the right tool for me. Can anyone suggest any other learning tools or programmes that I can consider and does anyone know if I can get my money back for my Duolingo subscription.
I have been learning French on Duo for a little while now and Spanish for a long time(even though I had some background to get me started there). Here is what I have learned. 1.If I spend too much time on repetitive learning, I get bored. 2.I have a hard time with introduced conjugations as the lesson progresses. 3.I have a short attention span. 4.Learning on Duolingo can be fun if I do it the way that works best for me.
So, like @Janet240859 said, don't try to master a skill before you move on. I get up to level one and then move on, and then go back and build to mastery later. So when I work I'm doing a mix of the basic intros for new skills and the more difficult versions of past skills. I also love the stories, especially for Spanish where I know enough to translate with semi-ease. The french plurals and conjugations are difficult for sure, since they all sound the same when pronounced, with occasional exceptions. Very frustrating, I get it. But if you vary what you are doing a lot and experiment with listening to music in french or watching videos and such, just consuming some level of french media on a regular basis, it can help to stem the boredom and thus help with motivation.
As far as your grammar book and not getting what you need out of the program, have you tried reading the tips page for each skill before you start learning? Sometimes there is very helpful information there to help with the odd words that need to be conjugated and such. It also helps a tad with grammar. I find working with a separate book to be frustrating, so I use an online dictionary (SpanishDict is a great spanish one. I don't have any specific french recomendations yet) to figure out specific words if I need extra help.
Finally, there's no shame in experimenting with different platforms or mixing and matching to find what works best for you. I use mostly duolingo and then supplement my vocabulary with quizlets because that's what I find most helpful, in addition to just passively enjoying music in the language.
I hope at least one thing I said was able to help you. Good luck on your language learning. Even if this isn't the right setup for you, I hope you find something that works and never lose your desire to learn:)
I don't know if this is going to help you but I suggest you to try using Memrise. It's a free website just like Duolingo the difference being that it shows a video clip of people saying the word or phrase so that you can understand how it is said right at the start of it. You can also go and revise what you have learnt so that you don't forget it and so it stays in your long term memory. I think that it's a very good website to improve your pronunciation. Here's the link if you want to check it out- www.memrise.com :)
There's already some great advice here but I would add, I don't think it helps when you think about getting a question wrong as "failing". Mistakes are an important part of the learning process. As you say though, if you're only interested in speaking and don't care about grammar, Duo probably isn't for you. Perhaps Pimsleur or a private tutor would be more helpful (either in person or on a site like italki).
The following TTS system might help with pronunciation https://ttsmp3.com/text-to-speech/French/. It has three "French voices" Céline, Léa, and Mathieu. You type in your French sentence and it will do its best to "say" it. (Computer generated, so it's imperfect but a good start.)
Another helpful pronunciation site Forvo. What's wonderful is that the words/sentences are spoken by native speakers. https://forvo.com/languages/fr/
And lastly, there are several websites that present verb conjugation information. For starters, I'd suggest Reverso, because it also has TTS where it will pronounce the verb for you. That can be helpful when trying to hear minor differences between different variations. Whenever DL "gives" me a new verb - I look it up on this website and study the variants. For me, this has been an effective way to study verbs. https://conjugator.reverso.net/conjugation-french.html
I also really like Judit294350's suggestion of Pimsleur. Sometimes you can find them at the library. It is very helpful to develop one's "ear".
W-Ruggles. Thank you very much for your suggestion and links. I have found them very helpful. Much appreciated. I am still persisting with Duolingo and feel a bit more motivated to continue but also try different platforms to broaden my understanding and “ear” for French.