difference in difficulty between German and French
Doing both languages I get the definite impression that the French course is more difficult than the German. And no, that is not because my German is so much better. I judge the difference on complexity of phrases (French Beta is more complicated) and on the trouble I have translating into English. From German I nearly never get it wrong and from French it happens often. I am not referring to the duolingo errors here. A few days ago I learned how to test out of a skill and in German i just hop along from skill to skill. In French I get stuck immediately. Just to be sure, I jotted down some things in the German escape tests: There is one test in which I had to give the translation of one (1) word instead of a sentence four times, of course with article, but that doesn't count. That should not be in a test on your general knowledge of a skill. Then: in Feelings I got one phrase twice, once as translation, once listining to German to type. I got even one phrase thrice; once G/E, once E/G and once listening/typing. Further most phrases did not get past the difficulty of: "Has du Zeit" or "Wohin schwimmt er?"
I think I get your point here - the German is too easy and repetitive? On one level, I agree. The repetition of the vocabulary is mind numbing in the German lessons (don't know about the French.) But on the other hand, the construction of German is what Duolingo chooses to focus on. In that case, I'm often glad that they aren't throwing in new words. Unlike French, nouns take many different endings in German. It really pays to learn all those first and then expand your vocabulary.
But I do agree that people eating sandwiches or looking at ducks, over and over again, gets a little tedious.
I agree on the necessity to learn those nouns and adjectives (don't forget the scourge of Dutch children: the adjectives). Perhaps you will agree, that more animals like chickens, cows, horses and sparrows would be nice. And as of food: Sandwich (N), Portion (f) Pommes, Birne (f) are good too. The examples I wrote down are from "testing out of a skill". There it is stupid to test single words or give repeat performances of a phrase. I would test on a broad scale of knowledge and DuoLingo is acting like we are dealing with a normal excercise.
It seems 'test out of a skill' simply takes a random selection of exercises from the normal lessons of the skill. Sometimes you get 'lucky', and get a bunch of short phrases or even just words from the first couple of lessons; sometimes it's the other way around.
I also noticed quite a big difference in the way the lessons are composed for French and for German. And incidently, my point of view is reversed: my French is fairly good (professional use), while my German is limited to seeing "Der Alte" with Dutch sub-titles ;)
French lessons: poor (sometimes even wrong) pronunciation, but reasonably well structured lessons, and a fair assignment of skill-points through regular translations.
German lessons: clear pronunciation (just hit the slow button when in doubt), but more repetitive lessons and more confusion with homonyms. Very poor skill-point assignment from regular translations, especially on higher levels.
This also varies a lot from one skill to another (depending on the amount of effort / expertise invested?)
@weerlicht. That is a nice analysis. I would like to add one shortcoming of French though: the homophones, especially visible between singular and plural. I German they should drop the huge amount of single word questions. It is much better to introduce and exercise words in a context and by using the right phrase the article gets learned also.