Dutch Team Announcement: Request for Feedback

Hi students, Dutch experts and forum monsters,

For the next couple of weeks report checking will be very high up on our schedules.This means that we will be putting in extra effort into dealing with the reports and trying to understand which lessons and themes you're struggling most with.

This is useful especially since we've just been given more insight into how you progress with our course. We can see a daily updated percentage of the amount of users who stick with a skill, progress through its lessons, and actually complete it in the end.

We would like to see whether we can significantly improve these percentages, these retention and pass rates, by paying an extraordinary amount of attention to the reports for a short while. :)

So...we could use your help!

  • Could you let us know which skills, lessons or sentence types are, in your opinion, lacking the greatest amount of alternative translations?
  • In other words, which skills are impossible to pass due to a lack of flexibility in translations?

Of course, suggestions are always welcome.

Best wishes,

Team Dutch

October 19, 2014


Sorted by top thread

This is how dedicated we are:

October 20, 2014

Thank you so much! :D This motivates me to go through my Dutch tree with extra vigor! :D I'll do my best to find problems :D

Thanks Jack!! ^^

Looking forward to your feedback (:

I was speeding along until I got to: eruit, erin, erop, eronder, ertussen, ernaartoe, ermee, ernaast, naartoe, hiermee, hieronder, hierna, hierdoor, hiertussen, daarmee, daarop, daarin, daarnaast. There is something about the way I, as a native English speaker, have to twist my brain around to make these sentences seem logical. I found I was avoiding these lessons, and just treading water, doing old lessons. It probably took me a month to get through them. Now finally I am past them and am speeding along again. I still don't feel good about them. I just feel like I survived them.

I am at the same lessons are you were Montalbano. All the lessons under "Er" are quite difficult and I find it hard to be motivated to get past these. In Babbel, you could be learning Family and Jobs vocabulary quite early. However I didn't like that app as they taught mainly Dutch vocabulary. Perhaps "Er" could have been put later in the tree?

Hi, I'm doing "Er" now- very carefully at your recommendation. I was frustrated with a couple of the sentences that I felt needed more context to be understood. "Fiets jij ermee? Do you bike with it?" What in the world could the "it" be here? I think you're right- it might be better at a later point in the course. Don't give up- Dutch is the coolest and most funky language!

Personally, I think it was a better choice to put the 'Er' lesson early in the tree, because it gives us more time to get used with the concept and its different uses. It still sounds tricky to me, but having the chance to put it into practice earlier made me more comfortable with it quite early as well. And the concept itself sound "so Dutch", so I'm glad they took their time to dedicate a specific lesson to it :)

Thanks for the feedback. I will have to put my head down and get through it =)

I hit the "Er" lessons as I became very interested in keeping my streak going, my time is limited. and I found I wasn't confident I could get through an exercise without striking out. Maybe if there were twice as many lessons in this section but each only 10 questions long I could have gotten through it quicker - (I see no indication Duolingo is going to give us credit to our streak for lessons in which we strike out). Whatever. It made me do a lot of reviewing of previous lessons, which was good.

One thing that REALLY helped me through the "Er" lessons were the sentence discussions. There are many precious tips given by native Dutch speakers there. I can't say I no longer have doubts, but they were definitely very helpful.

I really appreciate all the hard work you guys are putting in.

My main struggle has been separable verbs. Maybe it's just me, but I felt they were appearing in lessons here before I had been taught about them.

On the topic of alternative translations, there's one that keeps losing me hearts. It's very common here in England (and apparently in Australia and NZ according to my friends and the comments left on the sentences on here on duolingo) to use the word 'dear' to mean 'expensive'. I've reported this a few times on sentences containing 'duur', and would really appreciate it if it could be added as an alternative translation.

Thanks for your feedback. :)

We don't have a skill for teaching separable verbs, but perhaps that might be an idea for the future.

Have you not received any feedback e-mails so far?
If not, rest assured.
We have been adding 'dear' as an alternative last week and most sentences should have it by now. ^^

I appreciate you taking the time to reply to my comment! No feedback emails so far, but perhaps it has been changed since I last came across the word. Thanks again.

No worries.

We are not familiar with all the alternatives out there and if you find another word that's systematically missing, feel free to post this on a team member's profile!

If you could get them to relesse Dutch for the kindle app I would be delighted to give feed back. I just can't face the dancing text boxes that doing the course in Silk entails. That is why I am stalled at level 8.

Oh, I'll see if I can find out what the deal is with the Kindle app.

Thanks! I've been messing around with doing it on Silk, but I'd do a lot of more if it was on the Kindle.

Got an answer. Unfortunately, looks like Dutch is not going to be added to the Kindle app very soon :/

That is very disappointing:( So we probably won't get Irish either:(

Thanks for asking.

I have some feedback, this sentence "Valt het te proberen? (does it hurt to try?)" is really baffling and as a learner, it has no indication or hint that the translation used is what it means. Even my Dutch fiancé had trouble figuring out what the context was : I've already expressed my thoughts on it in the sentence discussion for it:

Hi team,

I'm on Level 8 and things have been pretty much smooth sailing. I did have some difficulty with the adjective declensions, if that's the correct term. You do have the grammar notes for this unit but it would have been helpful for me to have had pop-up messages: " use grote here not groot because....."

The articles de/het continue to be a challenge but I'm not sure that the team can do anything more than you have done with the grammar notes. (I've started making a list and the New Routledge Dutch Dictionary is a help here.)

I like your translations and, while they're whimsical, I've not found any of the "what coud that possibly mean?" sentences that I sometimes find in the otherwise fabulous French course.

Thanks again for your extraordinary commitment. Best, Jeff

For example team: I've just come across Een jaar heeft veel uren and I'm still struggling to find out why we're using "veel" here and not "velen". Help! I can't imagine that I'm the only one with this problem.

For het vs. de, I have found this website invaluable:

dank je wel! Since they're asking... I do think it would be good to state whether new vocabulary is het or de. In the French course the gender of new words is given.

This feature is planned/under development. :)

Lavinae- you have no idea how appreciative I am of the team's hard work. I'm so excited about my trip to Amsterdam in June that I could burst!

For the English course from Dutch: "Ik wil Engels leren (Ik kan Nederlands (Nederland))". Please, correct the intro to: ...(Ik ken Nederlands...). Perhaps, a supporting grammar section, explaining the difference between the verbs "kennen en kunnen", "liggen en leggen" would be helpful.

Het is : ik ken Nederlands, en : ik kan Nederlands spreken.

We zullen ernaar kijken. :)

Does this mean that you can now see which questions we get wrong too? :P When I get sleepy or disheartened I lose hearts like crazy xD

The most difficult skill I've struggled so far on the tree is probably conjunctions - but that does get easier with practice. Must say though, seeing all those skills with 8-10 lessons in them is like runs and hides but regarding translations - I'll look out for some :)

It does! There are these little yellow triangles next to sentences students have trouble with.

We're thinking about ways to make the sentences demonstrate the use of grammar in certain skills (like conjunctions) better so that it feels more intuitive.

Good point about the long skills. I think we could look and see what the metrics for longer skills say, and then we can see if it would be better to split those up in the future :)

Thanks for you feedback!

Oooh, that's interesting. Does it tell you about who and when a person gets a sentence wrong in terms of actually being specific to which user is struggling? If so, that's really cool - for you contributors, at least :P - because as teachers of the course, you need to know how many people are struggling with a certain aspect of the course to improve it.

And thank you! That sounds great. I know sometimes, personally, when I see I have a few skills coming up with a lot of lessons within them - I feel a bit off put regarding doing them so I tend to avoid until I force myself to attempt them.

No no, everything is anonymous. We never see who actually sends the reports or anything like that (probably best, for the safety of some users :P)

I understand that. I guess we kind of based our long skills on what was the norm. Could be that that actually works out contrary to one's expectations... but I personally feel like more bit-sized lessons could make things easier.

If we ever find out who that guy is who wants his Shakespeare English ("thou hast") to be accepted,…

Ha ha, please tell me you're joking. ;)

Ahaha that's hilarious! Thou hast to share with me her/his username if you ever learn it please, I wanna befriend that person. Whoever s/he is most likely just wanted to mess with the mods xD

Someone who followed my forum posts very closely would probably consider me the prime suspect, but I swear it's not me.

I do think that as a teaching aid it would make perfect sense to accept it. I think the only reason not to do that is that it would be a lot of effort for the small minority of people who can actually use the original first person singular correctly and probably have very little trouble learning Dutch anyway.

Even the first Duolingo courses are doing something similar with you vs. you all. (I have often had to report a you variant for sentences where only you all was accepted, forcing learners to write in very recent American English.) Thou vs. you all would be even clearer.

Ahh fair enough. bad Dutch skills are anonymous xD

I'm a beginner, but I am really struggling with sentence structure, i.e. where exactly to put each word. Sometimes I can get the hang of it right away, other times I still feel lost four lessons later.

Also, having a word list (like other languages on Duolingo) would help to know exactly which words I can never seem to remember.

Thank you! I'm loving the Dutch app/we lessons.

Hm when it comes to sentence structure, Duolingo rather wants students to get used to these by exposure. So we didn't want to keep some sentence structures from you until later in the tree.

We hoped that by being exposed to the Dutch sentence stuctures, students would get the hang of them at some point... but I can see that some sentence structures are quite special, so we can look into introducing these a bit further down the tree, or in a different way. ;)

The words tab is not available for the Dutch course (and other new incubated courses) at the moment, but should become available in the future.

Thanks for your feedback :)

a glossary for all words would be nice to have as reference

A glossary is planned.

I know I'm in a minority but I'm not sure this is a good idea. I have been building a glossary of sorts as I go along, adding new Dutch words with translations and comments. The problem is that I am always tempted to refer to it, to save my heart, rather than exercise my memory. Surely, relying on memory is the better way to build up the language in my brain?

Hi Team- one very positive thing that I do notice is that you've been very generous with spelling errors. If I had been penalized every time I spelled a word with a single "a" instead of a double "aa" etc., I would have been very frustrated. I still can't spell the word "schrijver" but, in general, my spelling is improving. Anyway, it was smart to take the decision to be a bit relaxed about spelling in the early stages.

I love your course, Team Dutch! Have only been on it for two months and just have to complete the last ten skills to get the tree. Which will hopefully only take a week.

You guys are to be congratulated on the most useful grammar summary you provide at the beginning of each new skill.

Your sense of humour has made this course great fun!

Questions such as the following provided many a smile:

  1. The old man told me about his relationship with a tulip;
  2. The interview with the baby was a great success; and
  3. I have no balls.

But 'fierljeppen' and the variations thereof remain a mystery to me.

Wat betekent dit? Ik heb geen enkel idee.


This is the present day sport. This is where it comes from, an easy way to skip over sloten (ditches/small canals).

Bug? Hi. I use the iPhone app while commuting on the train, but also use the website for lessons. In the past few days, my progress on the app is not reflected when I go to the site. For example, I completed two lessons on the app this morning, but the site did not show my progress and I had to do the lessons again before moving on to the next lesson.

Hi Ratsass999,

It's best to ask this question in the troubleshooting section of the forum. You can start a new thread there. Our knowledge of the technical aspects of Duolingo is limited. :)

skil "modals": have "hoeven " and "moeten" not the same meaning for 'to have'

Hi Louis,

I have read some research on the etymology of 'hoeven' a few months ago. I can't find the specific study right now, which is a pity. However, there is another source here

I'll provide you with the source when I can find it. It explains that 'hoeven' used to be a separate verb, which used to have a positive and a negative meaning ("Dat hoeft wel" was f.i. a normal sentence), but has gradually turned into the negative version of 'to need to', over centuries ("Dat hoeft niet" = the negative way in which we use this verb nowadays).

I am a 100% sure that we use the negative versions of 'to need to' and 'to have to' as translations for 'hoeven', since both are roughly used in the same way, in the English language. Going into the minor differences between both is beyond the scope of our course and not necessary for our basic translations.

Thus, in short, sure, there is a difference in the way we experience the following two translations.

"Jij hoeft dat niet te doen."
"Jij moet dat niet te doen."

Yet, this is an intricacy of the Dutch language and does not have a precise English counterpart. In English, 'to need to' or 'to have to' can be used in both situations, see the source I linked to, under 'Hoeven in andere talen'.

There is (sometimes) a tab ' immersion ' which doesn't work, maybe it is better not dispayed

Yes sir, we'll put that on the to-do list right away. As a temporary fix, please try restarting your computer.

If you use Immersion in another language and then switch to Dutch, the link doesn't go away. Sure that is a bug but the better solution is to get the immersion feature in place behind it. Is it really so difficult? I would have thought it was just another iteration of the same code. Duo doesn't have to add the content. We users would soon do that.

Have you asked the techs to do it? What do they say?

I am sure it's more effort than that. For a start, Duolingo also has a legal responsibility to monitor the texts added to immersion. In some countries they are obliged to do this right away, whereas in other countries they are not obliged to do it (and only have to react to reports) but once they do it anyway they are legally responsible.

Users from Europe are currently not permitted to submit texts for immersion, though this does not seem to be strictly enforced. Maybe this is related to the problem I described. I guess we won't get immersion for Dutch before this legal problem is solved.

Certainly I had forgotten about the legal issue, such as it is. (I am a retired lawyer and I feel that Duo is being over-cautious.) It already exists in relation to the languages which do have Immersion. Adding Dutch would surely not change the position?

Incidentally, I have added articles to French and Italian Immersion and I am in the UK (if that counts as Europe!!). The only problem I had was that Duo tended to reject articles on Italian food as unsuitable for children. Some screening is obviously needed but they evidently had not got that right.

In any case Duolingo's terms of use currently contain the following wording (under "Temporary Restrictions on Users from the European Union"): "Users within the European Union are not presently allowed to submit materials for translation or translated materials to Duolingo." There are some threads discussing this.

I don't think we can expect immersion for Dutch before this has been resolved.

And Duolingo is unlikely to give us immersion before they have found or created an equally strict filter for Dutch texts. If, to be on the safe side, they reject an Italian text because it mentions a vegetable that might also serve as a metaphor for a reproductive organ (for example; I am not saying this was necessarily the reason), then they probably want to do the same with Dutch texts.

@johaquila Ooops I broke the rules, being unaware of them.

I have realised that I answered my own question. If there is to be any review of proposed Dutch articles, it will have to be done by a Dutch speaker, preferably a lawyer if illegal uploads are to be avoided. Dutch-speaking lawyers among the Duolingo team? I think not.

With all the new language pairs coming onstream, this is a much wider question than simply Dutch Immersion. I may (or may not!) take it out to the main Duolingo forum.

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