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Why so few output exercises?

I notice a huge imbalance in input/output exercises. There's a LOT of input exercises (listening and transcribing, translating from Spanish to English) but very few output exercises (translating to Spanish). This causes me to have many errors on such exercises, even though I regularly finish all timed rounds with over 1:30 remaining in the timer. The site calls me a master of the basics, even though I barely learned to spell some words.

I think more focus should be given to output exercises, or we should be given a different type of practice - maybe make 3 types of practice (input focused, output focused, random).

I know this input exposure helps me understand Spanish better, but frankly, I feel like my writing is lagging badly behind because of this.

Note: There is now a Google Plus community available where this question is also mentioned: http://gplus.to/duolingo

December 6, 2012



I agree, there is too much target -> base language exercises and not enough base -> target language ones.

  • 2321

@swader; it is an old issue which Duolingo - for its own reasons - has not, and probably will not touch; but for those of us who do Spanish, there is an out -> simply add a new language to your profile: "Quiero aprender ingles; yo se espanol" and even if you do not want to do the exercises, it gives you access to all the English-Spanish translations/traducciones you want to handle. Try it and enjoy !!!


That sounds like an interesting thing to try, cheers


bf2010 this is fantastic, I just did basic 1 and basic 2 on Spanish -> English and it is EXACTLY what I needed, thanks! I'll repost into the Google Plus duolingo community as well, feel free to join us there everybody http://gplus.to/duolingo

  • 2321

Glad you like it!


Except then the audio is in English.


Good idea, I might give that a try some time


Interesting, will also give this a try. But still think duolingo should provide a tweak to this 'output' issue, so that learning is adequately reflected under 'I'm learning Spanish".


I agree with you, according to my experience, it is way easier to understand foreign languages than to actually translate or interpretate what you want to say.

By the way, there is something you should always remember, translating something is easy, bots can do that. Interpretating something is the hard part, you have to know a lot more about the subject, who is it intended for, etc.

I hope your suggestion gets approved, or they try to improve their system.


I feel the same, I can understand spoken and written French reasonably well but struggle constructing French sentences.


So it happens in other languages, too. Good to know.


I find posting notes on my stream can help because I need to compose my own sentences. Having written conversations with other followers could also help. I actually have been disappointed that more people don't do this. With limited vocabulary it's difficult to be very sophisticated but I would be delighted to open the stream and read comments from others in the language we are both trying to learn. Even simple stuff like "Heute sehe ich zwei Eichen in meiner Stadt." (True!) And others can correct my mistakes as well.

  • 2321

@ddyson; you are right that composing your own sentences is necessary to learn a new/old language. To my mind there are various reasons that does not happen very often on Duolingo: 1. Writing on your stream (and maybe making a fool of yourself) is something people do more often on social media (facebook, twitter, google +; etc) where people write to people they have chosen themselves and call them "friends". 2. Many/most/nearly all people in discussion groups etc are no longer (if they ever were) able to answer or respond to an initial question/statement, which makes a post sadly "white noise" of a group of users who shout out an opinion/statement to the world. 3. Socializing takes time (and effort); I tried to do it on Duolingo and found that nearly half the time spent there fell on doing work in discussion groups (usually in English and not in the languages I am learning) - so I decided I needed the time for the initial language learning process :-)); Thanks for listening

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