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Selected words exercise

I've got an idea for a "new" exercise. I would welcome a possibility to choose words that I'd like to practice - as I can do with each word separately. Right now, it seems to me that I know better than the algorithm, which words I need to practice and such exercise would could help a lot. What do you guys think?

July 22, 2013



I think the first aim of Duolingo, next to the total translation of the web, is to learn the structure / grammar of a language with some of the more common nouns to fill up practices. Without nouns, there is no point in learning a language, so Duolingo gives you a handful to practice with (hence the sample words). However, it is almost impossible to fit in al the more common words of a language in these skill trees, therefore you need to dive into the language yourself and find a suitable way to learn words (e.g. flashcards). In this respect, it doesn't really make sense to add this feature, since it resolves just a part of the problem (the inevitable lack of words).

What I think could help to solve this problem is to build in a feature where you could add nouns yourself in different categories. So you would have a basic set of Duolingo nouns, the ones used in skills, which will expand overtime when you dive into the language and add words. These words could then be learned separately with whatever algorithms are / will be used. A word set (like animals) could also be expanded by community members, so a well crafted central repository will remain. This all would of course require a serious update to this service.

I like to hear any of your thoughts / ideas.


Now I see I either was quite unclear in what I wrote, or I don't understand what you mean. Or both ;)

My idea was very simple, I just seem to have a problem explaining it - in the section that already exists -Vocabulary, there already is a way to practice words. When you click on one of the words displayed in there, in the next window, you can click practice word, and this way you can practice this word, but this word alone.

What I would like to do, though, is to mark all of the words I have a problem with (but only from those that I have already had in the tree - those that appear in the Vocabulary section) and practice them all at once, not one by one.

I hope I'm clear enough now and if not, I'll keep trying ;)


You explained very well, so let me explain my part again. Maybe it should be in a new discussion and is that the reason why you don't grasp it. Maybe it doesn't entirely fit the content of this discussion.

I agree, there should be an improvement in the way you practice weak words or a new definition of a weak word, whether it is your idea or an improvement in the algorithm. My point is that you always want to grow in your language, right? And it's impossible to grow only from the skill trees and the inevitable lack of vocabulary in it, so there will be a moment that you encounter vocabulary beyond Duolingo and need to find a way for yourself to practice these words over time, since you can't add them to Duolingo. So why wouldn't you make your own consistent vocabulary learning system right now and add the words from Duolingo in there? For example, make your own flashcards.

That's why you should not relying too much on Duolingo for it's more a tool to learn the structure / grammar of a language instead of a vocabulary learning tool. The vocabulary are just samples to "learn" the language and it's up to you to "immerse" yourself in the language. For example, if you make use of the immersion area, you will find new words anyway, but they won't show up in your learned words tab at all.

So don't get me wrong, on it's own I think your idea would be good, but in the context of what I wrote above, I think your idea would make sense only if there would be some kind of an ever growing central repository of words in each category added by the community. For example, if someone would find the word giraffe in some kind of text, it will be added to the animal category. Together with a smart learning algorithm and your own view of which words are strong or weak, you will get a comprehensive vocabulary learning tool next to the skill based learning service of Duolingo and only then it would make sense to learn vocabulary separately out of context of the skill tree (the way you would like to see).

Long story, but in one easy sentence to summarize it: I want to see much more then only the option to check some words you want to learn separately, because of the reasons described above. ;) I think memrise will get close of what I mean, but I haven't examined it thoroughly.

If it's unclear for you, please let me know which parts you don't understand.


haha, thank you, it was exhausting now (in a positive sense). I get it and agree. I like your point of view, however, I would still welcome the option that I mentioned :D and your ideas about adding other words as well... but this attitude can be dangerous in a way that after a while we'd want from duolingo to do all the workfor us, and that's probably not the way. But it's just so...tempting ;)

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