Words: Please add gender and capitalize nouns
Right now the Words list for German does not capitalize nouns. This is an error in German, just as much as not capitalizing the letter I in English would be.
Also, it would be really helpful if the gender were indicated with the nouns on the list. Example. der Mann . This would help the new learner to associate the gender with the noun. Alternately it could be indicated with a notation in parenthesis or a subscript. Ex. Mann (masc).
This is a pretty major learning point for English speakers, especially those who have never learned another language. It is a pretty be learning point to understand that nouns have gender and that the gender is associated with the sound or spelling of the word rather than some innate quality of the noun in question.
I would also suggest that the elaboration of a noun when you hover over it should include the plural form. There are so many ways of pluralizing German words compared to the patterns in other languages that this ought to be introduced at every opportunity.
I see this brought up multiple times a week. I agree wholeheartedly every time and will continue to do so until Duo does something about it. Like you said, the non-capitalized nouns is an error! Considering that Duo is meant as an educational tool, correcting wrong information should be high priority.
While I wholeheartedly agree that nouns should be capitalised, if you click on a word in the list it shows the gender as part of an info box in the top right hand corner. However, they should probably also show the gender with the word when revising as that is really useful and lots of different parts of speech in German depend on gender.
You're right about the info box within the Words list. However, many nouns are first introduced in the actual lessons. There you can only hover to get a translation. I've noticed that in the German lessons there is only an English translation. Maybe the thinking is that since hovering gives the English, it would be inappropriate to give the gender of the German word that is being glossed. However, even within the info box, the German nouns are not capitalized. This really just isn't correct.
I am pretty sure the pattern is this: When you hover over a German word you get the gender at the bottom, when you hover over an English word you don't.
The irony is that the gender is only really helpful when you are doing English to German translations, but on the other hand it would not make much sense to show the gender at the bottom for en English word, since it can have multiple translations with different genders.
Now I'm really confused, because when I went back to look at the exercises, I am now seeing gender at the bottom of the box that opens when I hover. I don't know if this is a matter of having different browsers on different computers, just not seeing it before, or different features in different exercises.
I was just looking at my list. One of the issues that strikes me is the lack of correlation between singular and plural nouns. The list really treats them as if they are completely different words, rather than two versions of the same word.
For example, kinder [sic] is listed as neuter and meaning kids. But there is no indication that it relates to das Kind. For many new students, this will result in their learning twice as many nouns as necessary. It may also keep them from realizing that there are patterns in pluralization. Plus I'm trying to think of an occasion when the gender of a plural noun would matter. If I remember correctly, the declension of adjectives and articles is the same for all plural nouns, regardless of the gender of the noun.
I totally agree with this. The verbs are a big thing, too. They should be on the "Words" list in the unconjugated form, and there should be a conjugation chart in the info box. (At the very least, if Duo isn't going to give us "Vocab" back & let us do mini-lessons on a particular word, they should improve "Words" so that it's actually useful, as opposed to completely & utterly useless!)
I disagree that the word list is "completely and utterly useless." I copied and pasted the entire word list into an Excel spreadsheet, from which I could sort any way I want and/or add notes (such as plural forms, gender, etc.). I found this very useful. Duolingo could make all the information we need more easily obtainable, but I am sure that my own efforts to research on other sites and rearrange the information to suit my own thought pattern helps me retain it.
OK, I should clarify: The "Words" list as it exists on the site is useless. Sure, you could spend a whole bunch of time creating a spreadsheet to catalogue the data in a meaningful manner, but the only help the website provided you was a page to copy from (not to mention that as you learn more words, you have to add them to your spreadsheet by hand). The "Vocab" page USED to basically do all the work of your spreadsheet, plus had built-in mini-exercises to practice with, before Duolingo replaced it with "Words".
I too have made spreadsheets with verb conjugation, the pronouns in different cases ("he/his/him"), etc. My point is that Duolingo spent all sorts of time destroying a helpful feature & rendering it into such a state that the only way it's at all useful is if you completely change it on your own time.
a lot of the words in my list don't have any translation when hovering over the work, or even when I click on it. I have to go to more information before I get anything, and sometimes not even then. I keep notes, have made a spreadsheet, but I'm still messing up with der, die and das. Freaks me out.