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Possible to have more [native language] to [language you're learning] translations in lessons?


I've always found that it's much easier translating from the language I'm learning to my native language. It would be much more of a challenge if more questions came up in the lessons where you had to translate FROM your native language. So far, the occurrence of these seems pretty low, maybe one question per two or three lesson, if that.


June 18, 2013



I also agree! Whenever I have 0 lives left I always think "please not a [native language] to [foreign language]!" They're definitely the hardest and I also wish there were more of them.


I think it's a good idea and that the Duo team should defiantly use it more. I also find it easier to do it the way you explained so kudos to you on bringing it up! :D


I agree. In the last lessons of a skill the ratio of native-to-language tasks should be upped to give you a (small but yet) sense of accomplishment once you pass the skill.


I agree it would be great if they could add more of that :)


I agree, the multiple choice and target - native translations expose me to the language, but I haven't really learned it until I can translate native - target.

This ties into the one criticism I have of word strength as well. Duolingo's decay algorithm may already take some of this into account, but I feel like setting word strength at 4 bars each time I see a word gives a false impression of my skill. If it were up to me, I would tie word strength to question types and timing:

Correctly answering multiple choice questions for new words gives you the first bar

Correctly translating target - native completing audio questions gives you the second bar

Correctly translating native - target gives you the third bar

Correctly translating native - target after not seeing the word for some time gives you the fourth bar.

Word strength would then decay over time to ensure you can maintain that fourth bar.


Good point. I'm learning French and my native language is English. Maybe I should sign on as learning English from a native language of French to get the full experience?


I'm definitely doing this when I finish all of the spanish blocks! Reverse learning will truly help because it's going over EVERYTHING as if english was the target language.


That's an interesting workaround, but I don't see why the shares of different task types cannot be set explicitly. The actual numbers are in there somewhere, it's only a matter of allowing the user to adjust them.


I'm very curious about their methods. Assuming they have an algorithm that puts the questions together, but maybe I'm wrong. Your comment made me think of ways they could adjust the settings page - a slider where you set what you want to see (more this <--------------> more that) would be cool.


I don't think you can set your native language to French yet, from what I've heard. Also, you'd then miss out on all the listening exercises! (Though it would be interesting to hear how accurate the English pronunciation was.)


I just tried it by signing up for a second account under a different email with a different name. It's also interesting because the whole website changes to French that way.


OK, I guess you can set French to your native language then. I have my computer's OS set to French as practice. It can sometimes be frustrating!


You can change your language in settings, you can learn english from french.. the one that says: "Je veux apprendre l'anglais (je parle français)", this allows you to keep the same account too.. :)


If you do this, can you switch back and forth without losing your progress? That's what I was afraid of, so I did the fail-safe of creating the second account.


Yep, you dont lose progress, just like how you can learn other languages by clicking the flag in the corner of the screen. Just be sure you dont click "reset of remove languages" or "remettre à zéro ou supprimer des langues" on the settings page, only change the selection in the dropdown of languages to the language you want, and click save at the bottom of the page. :)


Agreed. To me the ratio seems a little higher than you report -- maybe about three questions per lesson -- but still a definite minority. Yesterday I passed German Genitive Pronouns but I'm fairly sure that I wouldn't be able to translate all those pronoun forms back into German. This balance does make it easy to progress, but I sometimes feel that I need a bit more consolidation.


Maybe it's a little higher, depending on the lesson, but probably no more than one. I assume this is all based on an algorithm but just speculating.


Yes, this is definitely the hardest thing to do. It's a basic issue of memory; translating to your native language doesn't require you to pull up any foreign words/grammar off the top of your head, but just to be able to recall the meaning of the few presented to you.

I agree that this skill probably could stand to be given more practice than any other, though I'd probably have to insist that Timed Practice allow more time if that were the case. :-)


I agree that it is often easier to translate the language that is foreign to you than it is to go from your mother tongue to the new language.


Strangely enough after I posted this, I did a few more lessons which had higher the usual number of the phrases I was looking for :)


I think there should totally be an option to vary the number of sentences you have to translate in each direction and possibly also a way to control the proportion of other kinds of exercises, like writing down a sentence in the target language.

Translating into the source language is simpler by far (at least for me) and I would like to have more translation tasks in the other direction.


Of course better to work from native language... I'm actually learning chinese and have to use english to learn because no chinese teacher speaks french here, same as I have to learn french to my wife by use of english. As my english is very approximative, this makes learning much more hard. Especially for pronunciation... But this would be a huge work for Duolingo and I finally prefer nice english-french and french-english translations to bad native (chinese)-french and french-native(chinese) translations. So, I'll recomend this site (I discovered two days ago) to my wife (whose english is rather good) for her learning of french...

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