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Inclusion of articles when introducing new words

While there are general trends in Dutch as to which articles go with which words, they're sufficiently unpredictable enough that it might be worthwhile including the articles in the hints. Would this be possible?

July 21, 2014



I completely agree. I think they should do the same in Danish as well, since there are no rules as to when to use en/et, like the Dutch het/de. Hearing the words together with its article all the time would make it easier to remember which article to use, and this is my biggest struggle with Dutch so far.


Danish gives me The Fear! I'd like to give it a go, but will likely chicken out and learn Norwegian, which is a bit more straightforward, and the only issue there is Nynorsk vs Bokmål.


Norwegian and Danish is almost exactly the same language. There are VERY few grammar differences. The biggest difference is the pronunciation and the spelling of a few words - so I wouldn't say that there's a difference in difficulty. Also, it's probably easier than Dutch grammatically if you already know English since our sentence structures in Danish and Norwegian are very similar to English.

I've often read a Norwegian text/article and very far down I realise that I'm reading Norwegian. The few differences just make me think it's spelling mistakes and I ignore them.


It's the phonological side of things that gives makes me a bit wary of Danish. I can listen to Norwegian speakers and pick out stuff, but Danish just makes my head melt when I hear it.


In Norwegian there is en, et and ei. Even harder. The hardest part would be to understand people from all Norway.


I wonder if that would not make us overly dependent on the cues. The thing is gender (or the articles in Dutch, to be more precise) is something you get used to. I believe that the rationale behind this is that by having to stop and think: "is this a het- or a de-word?" it'll end up in your head. If you have it at hand all the time, you might forget the instant you move on to the next sentence. I do agree, though, that the article should accompany the word in the "Words" session. It'd be easier to retrieve than having to go to wikitionary everytime.


Yeah, that's my thinking exactly. I mean, the only reason I go and get that information is so I can throw it into my flashcard program, and I format it as "het boek", "de man", "de vrouw", etc. That way, whenever those words come up, the article is just attached to it and I learn it in a way that hopefully lets me bypass thinking about which article goes with each word.


That's indeed a danger, which is why I'd only show it when it was first introduced.


Another thing about the articles - would it be possible to introduce them on the word list in the /Words/ tab?

I understand that they appear with articles in the strenghtening exercises, but i would find it useful to have the articles on the list ;)


I am sure it's possible. The Spanish course does it, the French course does it, the German course does it. At that point I stopped checking, but I think all the other courses do it.

I half suspect that the Dutch team has done it on purpose, following some theory. But as I keep telling fellow learners that they should always learn the definite article along with every noun because it's not more effort and then you know the gender for free - I obviously disagree.

PS: Yes, it's on purpose but may be revisited. See this discussion. I think this is another case of Duolingo doing (or in this case encouraging) something counterintuitive just in case it might turn out to better than doing what everybody else would do.


Totally agree with this. Right now I look up every new word I come across on wiktionary mostly just to find out the gender (and also to get the plural and diminutive forms for my flashcard program). It would be nice if the gender was shown when clicking on the word, like German and the others.


Showing gender would be nice too, and that would effectively negate the need to explicitly show the article, though Dutch seems to have collapsed from have a three-way M/F/N split to a common/neuter split, where the M/F difference almost doesn't matter. Diminutives would be nice too, but personally I'd almost just treat those as separate words.


Right, well either gender or article would do the trick. Some places show "Common / Neuter", and that would be fine in place of the article, but knowing that M and F genders take the same article has the same result as well. As for the diminutives, I just record them because they're apparently quite commonly used and almost function as a part of a noun's declension.


Have you seen this? I found it pretty useful for dealing with diminutives: http://www.dutchgrammar.com/en/?n=NounsAndArticles.16

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