Order of Tree
I was just wondering why Duolingo doesn't teach basics like the alphabet (if there is one), counting, and colors first?
I think that is the method of more 'traditional' forms of language education. If you take a whole year of a foreign language course in school, you are likely to learn those things first (and little else!). Duolingo is far superior to that method of education. It exposes you to new concepts lesson by lesson, with little explanation on grammar or sentence structure. A lot of people want to know why that is missing...I say, who cares? There are plenty of other sites that can teach you why a language is the way it is. What other site provides you with such an in-depth trial-and-error method, which pounds the information into your brain over and over and over again, which is the only real way to learn a language anyway?
That's right, Duo is the way it is for a reason.... a very, very good reason.
I totally agree with you! About it's "little explanation on grammar or sentence structure", I like how you can usually find an answer in the Discussion thread and/or in the comment section inside Duolingo's lessons. Another thing I like is how much of a solid foundation Duolingo provides, which you can build on top of with other learning applicants.
In other words, Duolingo rocks!
The Swedish tree has a lot of grammar introduction and I've found it to be very helpful. But they also have some excellent explainers on their team--the intros are fun to read and cover just enough so that you're not completely lost going in.
But the available Swedish grammar resources on the internet at large doesn't compare at all to the resources available for Spanish. Between google and my background, I haven't really missed the lack of explanations in the Spanish tree until the ones at the very bottom.
There are different ways of teaching languages, and Duo has its way. I am not quite as fond of it as EnigmaticTiger :) and I realize that millions of people have learned languages using a variety of teaching/learning methods. As with most things, the people that 'stick around' tend to be advocates of the system (even though millions have tried Duo and 'left'). Duo's method has great value, but many learners would prefer to be told how to do something, and do it right the first time, rather than use a trial-and-error approach. And there are many places to experience that approach.
DL and others like Language Transfer, Master of Memory, etc. try to help you learn the way one learns a first language (although they must account for age, development, and natural ear--thus, it is somewhat different). They teach through repetition, feedback, and their most-likely correct assumptions that self-motivated, autodidactic learners will probably go rather far to answer seek out thorough answers to their own and inevitably others' questions.
I believe the courses with non Roman alphabets will start out by teaching the alphabet. But counting and colors are covered fairly early in the Spanish tree, and I assume in others.
For all the English to a new language courses till now, only roman alphabets are used. So there has been no need to teach the alphabets. For the reverse courses where the user is learning English, I guess the expectation is for the user to be familiar with English alphabets. Once non-roman alphabet courses are introduced for English speakers, it's a fair assumption that there will be a lesson or two for teaching the script.
In the Spanish tree, Colors are taught pretty early in the tree. Numbers, for some reason, come a bit late, just before the third checkpoint. But I guess, this would have been designed based on some research/analysis by the team to get the most efficient method for teaching the language. Sometimes, other factors may also push a skill further down the tree. For example, in any skill, you will have usage of words taught in other skills in addition to new words specific to the skill. This kind of makes the completion of the other skills mandatory before one can move on to this skill thereby forcing its placement position in the tree.
I would like to see the phonics of the alphabets taught. That has helped me a lot in pronunciation and spelling of the words.
When I started Swedish, I spent some time googling for alphabets and pronunciations, but ultimately found that it wasn't actually that helpful for me. I'm still cementing the pronunciations into my brain, but my time spent watching the pronunciation 101 videos just went in one ear and out the other. I'm getting more out of listening to radio and music (and obsessive pronunciation-checking on forvo).
But everyone is different, and I suppose you can just test out of the alphabet and phonics lessons if you're familiar enough/pick it up quickly.
I think that duolingo's way of constructing lessons work really well! of course, i'm also learning spanish at school, and I can see that this may be a bigger problem for those who don't. But I at least find it refreshing to learn language in a new way.
I too prefer the duo approach to teaching, although I have used other sites along the way for explanations of grammar. I've finished my Spanish tree & am almost finished with the reverse tree. I think I retain the vocabulary & sentence structure I've learned here better than from any other source. I wish there was a way to use lingots to buy extensions to the lessons. for example the colors skill: I believe it has only about 5 colors . it would be great if after the tree was finished you could add another 5 colors into that lesson.