To keep in mind when helping out...
Often I need clarification with grammar, so I go to the discussion board for help. However, often times help is in the form of "Oh, well that's just because blank is the *insert grammatical term here". The problem with this is that sometimes not all of us are familiar, or have perfectly learned, those grammar terms. It then requires looking for clarification for the clarification. It's all very sequential--if you haven't learned prerequisite grammar terms, it makes learning later concepts which refer to earlier ones all the more difficult.
The short-term solution I propose would be to keep in mind, when helping someone out, that they might need a refresher. It might be beneficial to perhaps, briefly, explain what a certain grammar term you're using means again, in simple language, instead of assuming everyone will perfectly know what you mean when you say "indirect object pronoun". This helps reinforces learning of terminology through the same spacing effect Duo uses.
The long-term solution I propose would be for Duo to integrate the learning of abstract grammar with spaced-repetition, instead of just having the tips and notes sections as they are now. This could be done using online flashcards; through this, all the requisite grammar terminology could be mastered and brushed up on as you progress through whatever language you're in. In short, it streamlines the process.
What do you think?
To be honest with you I don't think you can learn to use a foreign language well as an adult without knowing grammar terms. It is your responsibility to learn them. If I try to answer a question I assume that you understand or are willing to look up the relevant terminology just as I assume you speak English.
I think the point of a forum is to ask very specific questions that you cannot simply google, if you can google them.. like "what is a gerund" then it's not really fair to expect people on a forum to do that work for you.
Sorry if that seems a bit mean. :S
(I am looking for a comprehensive grammar terminology deck for Anki or similar apps, so if anyone knows of any, feel free to share)
I agree with you up to a point. Yes, you should be able to study a foreign language without being a master of all the grammar terminology. On the other hand it does help to brush up on it if you want to understand why certain words are used. For example, I can explain why you would use me, te, le, nos, les in some situations rather than yo, tú, el, nosotros, ellos, but it makes a lot more sense if I can talk about subject pronouns and object pronouns. I guess it all depends on how deeply you want to understand the language, and since you're on the discussion board I'm guessing you do. But to be fair, I'm an old school grammar geek.
Excellent point! I know very few of the various grammar terms. To me, learning all the terms would be like a foreign language unto itself. I figure if millions of foreigners can learn the language without knowing all the terms I can probably do it, too.
It would help, it's true, but then google is your friend, and if you pause to look up grammatical terms you will soon be tossing them around with the best of us. But I actually find a quick example to be easier to understand. Such as "The past participle (as in 'he had eaten') is easy to construct."
While I don't disagree that more specific grammar instruction could be helpful on duolingo, I think it goes against Luis von Ahn's educational philosophy.
I never learned any "parts of the sentence" grammar terms beyond verb, adverb, adjective, and noun before I started learning Spanish. With English, the grammar is so haphazard that it seems easier to just learn the feel and sound of the language than to learn every rule and every exception (and every exception to the exception... ). I don't bother with grammar terms in Chinese, either, for the opposite reason: the grammar is so straightforwards that, for me, it's not worth bothering to learn the grammar terms.
Spanish has both complicated and (generally) rule abiding grammar that I've found it really worth the time to learn a few of the big grammar words. Google will probably be able to explain these terms much more clearly than a random person on duolingo, so if someone mentions a grammar term I don't know, I just google it.