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Improve the use of previously learned words

Am I the only one who is disappointed with how Duo uses previously learned words in lessons? I think it often misses a chance to repeat previously learned words, and meanwhile extensively uses basic words.

For example, the quantity of "man", "woman" etc in lessons already starts to annoy me. On the other hand, when returning to previous lessons I'm sometimes surprised that I've forgotten some words simply because Duo never uses a chance to include them in the following lessons.

As if there's no other way to construct a sentence to learn new words without "man", "woman" (examples of words used by Duo too often) etc and with "duvet cover", "umbrella", "stairs" etc (examples of words used by Duo too rarely).

And why not insert more adjectives? I mean there are many adjectives in "A: Pred 2" part, then practically none of them are used in the following part "Medical".

I do know that Duo takes care that you don't forget words by returning you to practice previous lessons. It's good, but why not also correct this disproportion between words used too often and words used too rarely.

And I do know that in real life the word "man" is used more often than "umbrella", but that still doesn't justify that "man" is used like a thousand times in Duo and "umbrella" (from what I've seen so far as I'm at level 10 of German) is used in "Household" part only.

Probably Duo team members created each part independently from each other and tried to rely on basic words only not knowing what other team members include in their lessons? But for the user all lessons are in a sequence, so improving the use of words in the sequence would IMHO improve Duo substantially.

I love Duolingo anyway.

August 7, 2013



I've noticed this too. Despite the fact that I've apparently learned 400+ words, I probably only know about 150-200, because how little Duolingo repeats some vocabulary sections. I think by the time you're halfway through your tree you should be able to remember der Mann or die Frau (I hope) and yet, you're right, there is plenty of vocabulary I can't remember. Household items and clothing is jam packed with vocabulary (so much there you're learning something new every single lesson you finish) and yet it's hardly ever used after.

Perhaps Duo can find a way to use more often the words you have to peek at or the vocabulary in a sentence you've failed, and slowly begin to use less of the words that you never have to peek at and the sentences you always get right (because I'm so sick of translating die Frauen essen). Like a meeting in the middle kind of deal?


When you view vocabulary that you've learned, you can tell Duolingo that you've learned a word and don't need to be tested on it anymore. I haven't done this yet, but this might help you have fewer words that you already know.


But I don't want to never hear the word again, because repetition is great for language learning, I would just like to hear it less.


I don't see this option?


Duo is a great program but it still has a long way to go in working out the best sentences to give, indeed far too much man/woman/apple nonsense.


It's a very aseptic ( lacking vitality, emotion, or warmth) learning environment populated only by generic men, woman, sons, sister, daughters, parents, places, foods etc. No names, no authentic cultural references, etc. Nobody goes to Paris and asks directions to ''the museum''. Good lord the city is filled with museums. Nobody goes to Spain and orders meat. Ham varieties alone are a industry in itself in Spain. Mostly you would get a blank stare from the waiter as he waited for you to specify which type of ham you would like. It would be nice to know that, when you want an omelet in Spain, one must order a tortilla de something such as patatas.

The repitiousness of the woman, the man, the boy, the street, the museum, the hotel, the restaurant would not seem so darn boring if you were learning some interesting cultural aspects that surround the language you are learning and about the countries the languages are used in.

Sorry, I'm a bit off topic here but I think that it would be easier to repeat seldom used words if there was an opportunity to surround the words with cultural context. I would like to see basic cultural lessons added to the knowledge trees but I suspect that is a big ask. As it is now, everything is viewed from an American English culture point of view but that is simply not how the rest of the world interprets much of the vocabulary that is taught. Culture drives how a language is used in many cases.


A couple of other things, different but also related to how Duo teaches us vocabulary. I think it's also a very inefficient practice to group words like Prepositions into one part. Short words (in, on, at, for, from, till etc) are also short in German and are easy to confuse with each other when learning and thus use one word instead of another by mistake.

This partially applies to other parts, so overall when words have similar meaning or sound similarly they should not be given in one part. This whole grouping idea ("Medical", "Colors") has to be revisited. Giving, for example, all colors in one group? Are you serious? It's not too bad for the user when learning German from English as some similarities exist, but is very bad when learning, for example, English from Ukrainian (trust me, I know). It's no better than giving the user a list of words to memorize and be done with it.

Additionally, Duo sometimes teaches words in a very inefficient way. For example, "He is independent". It's actually a bad sentence. It gives no context for the new word (independent) and it uses very little previously learned vocabulary. So such phrases are also not much better than giving the user a list of words to memorize. "The student pays for his new house, he is independent from his parents" is much better.

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