Weekly Incubator Update: Tracking Progress from March 1st to March 8th
Yes, there is another graduation. No, it is not one of the ones you have been waiting for, nevertheless, it is exiting! The German for Russian course has just graduated from beta. Congratulations to the contributing team and to Team Duo!
From the initial 5 courses, now there are as many as 28 courses that are stable and official. That is almost a 6 fold increase!
This was bound to come after the past few high performing ones. This week the progress has been slower. The mean was 1.26% and the median was 0% for the last week. The Norwegian team has once again lead the efforts with 7% progress.
PHASE 1 Progress:
Turkish for English - 80% | 88% | 100% | 100% (+0) ^
French for Portuguese - 92% | 96% | 100% | 97% (-3)
Ukrainian for English - 75% | 76% | 91% | 92% (+1)
English for Thai - 84% | 86% | 86% | 87% (+1)
Esperanto for English - 80% | 79% | 82% | 83% (+1)
Hungarian for English - 79% | 79% | 79% | 79% (+0) ^
German for Italian - 64% | 65% | 66% | 67% (+1)
German for Turkish - 63% | 65% | 65% | 67% (+2)
Russian for English - 60% | 61% | 61% | 64% (+3) ^
Norwegian for English - 37% | 49% | 56% | 63% (+7) *
Spanish for German - 49% | 51% | 54% | 58% (+4)
Spanish for Italian - 54% | 55% | 56% | 56% (+0)
French for Italian - 47% | 48% | 50% | 51% (+1)
German for French - 40% | 44% | 47% | 49% (+2)
Spanish for Chinese - (New) 39% | 43% | 43% (+0)
German for Portuguese - 22% | 27% | 34% | 38% (+4)
French for Chinese - (New) 36% | 37% | 37% (+0)
Swedish for Russian - (New) 35% | 36% | 37% (+1)
Romanian for English - 26% | 27% | 27% | 27% (+0)
Polish for English - 14% | 15% | 15% | 16% (+1)
Vietnamese for English - 8% | 10% | 12% | 14% (+2)
Greek for English - (New) 1% | 2% | 3% (+1)
Yiddish for English - 0% | 0% | 0% | 0% (+0)
Mean - 4.32% | 2.13% | 2.91% | 1.26% (-1.65)
Median - 3% | 1% | 1% | 1% (+0)
Mode - 3% | 1% | 0% | 1% (+1)
* This week's Leader Extraordinaire
^ The Turkish, the Hungarian, & the Russian teams' progress is as per their own calculation.
Here's what the contributing teams shared during the last week:
Apesar de termos concluido a fase de tradução, ainda temos que revisar e testar as unidades para que vocês tenham um curso bom e estável desde o início. Falta pouco, pessoal.
At 63% This Week!
Progress is coming steadily. Below are our new numbers:
Complete all words: 1549/2480 Complete all word images: 160/161
I took the liberty of creating two new skills that our base tree did not have, namely Computers/Technology and Philosophy:
Technology includes words like "website" "subscribe" & "home page" while Philosophy includes things like "reason" "fate" & "truth".
I hope the course participants enjoy the new skills. We hope to fill in the "gaps" that the course does not touch on as much as possible, but it's hard to cover every corner of reality with fewer than 3,000 words. Hopefully we'll get pretty close to that, as language learning is a numbers game (words, words, words)... Working hard.
-The Norwegian Team
Hello everyone! We are actually done, now everything is up to the Duo Staff. We reported several bugs some time ago and waiting for them to be solved. Meanwhile we keep checking the alternatives and audio (and more tips, but we already have them for many skills), but this is not a limiting factor, we'll anyway do these during beta as well. We really don't have any idea when the course would be released, as we haven't heard anything from the staff. We are looking forward to the release of the course probably even more than the users :) Let's be patient.
TL;DR Slower week. But the courses are steadily making progress!
The next update is expected on Sunday, 15th of March at 3:00 pm UTC.
Previous Update 22-Feb to 01-Mar
Keep going Team Polish, Greek, Esperanto and Russian (And team Vietje of course!)! And team Yiddish, Hungarian Romanian, I know you're probably planning the rest of your tree, you will surprise us! :) Can't wait to try Turkish the coming weeks! Congratulations again, Team Turkish!
I think the problem is that most languages use English words for technological things, so it might not be really necessary to teach them :)
Not necessarily, among the heaps of English loanwords in this area, you will almost certainly find some native words employed for internet and computers.
of course there are some, but most are in English. it is also difficult if you just try teaching the few native words, it is difficult to form sentences. Anyway, it is good if it is done of course. not just very necessary
Well not necessary for reading, but if I want to talk to someone about a piece of technology, it would be nice to know whether that language used a loan word for that particular piece of technology or not.
Well, Duolingo is a technological resource, and social networking sites are some of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to communicate with the world. So, I do agree with Vedun. Technology is in my opinion an absolute requirement for communication, or at least something which sparks communication. Also, technology is a very complex term despite its appearances, even other animals aside from humans use it .
Perhaps rather than technology, every tree could have a skill called Tools, and maybe even a skill teaching words required for "survival ". I recall once remy having stated that one of the important words initially omitted from the French tree was something related to being thirsty .
It'll just be easier to learn then! I think users would really appreciate a Technology skills to know which are loanwords from English and which words are different in the language they're learning.
Oh awesome! I didn't know these existed. I'll definitely be able to further add to my vocab with these. Though, they seem to still be lacking a lot of useful words in Technology though like smartphone, computer, internet, website, etc. Also, Russian isn't one of the languages for which there are bonus skills.
I still think every team adding some of those skills to their tree (probably after the tree is created so they don't have to impact their timelines) is best.
I don't know how up to date with the overall list of skills this is, and they are scattered, but the bonus skills are/will be part of this course.
I agree it would be great to see them on Duolingo proper, but in the meantime: enjoy! :)
Thank you flootzavut!! Lingot for the info. I can finally start learning Russian now!
This is true, but with loan words there is still the matter of gender if the target language has grammatical gender. And plurals may be formed differently than in English. There's probably enough there to form a skill in most languages.
"We are looking forward to the release of the course probably even more than the users :)"
I doubt it! :)
I'm sure there are people who would say that the German for Russian course was the one they've been waiting for :)
And it's always exciting to see Polish moving! Śmiało!
That course is my absolute favorite too. Going through it was like brain massage, I could feel all these new connections sprouting :)
Hah, that's such a great way of putting it!
I have to revert back to EN DE on a regular basis, because my brain protests - my Russian is soooo out of practice, and I really am still all but a beginner in German - but sometimes when I get a rhythm going it's really... yeah. Brain massage. That is exactly the word, I cannot better it!
One time when the Russian came up I had a hallelujah moment, knowing instantly what the German was, clicked the green button and... then I realised I was in the English for Russian speakers course. I felt an idiot, but also a strange kind of pride in managing to make a no error, no matter how foolish, that didn't involve accidentally typing in my mother tongue ;)
I'm looking forward to the Swedish for Russians speakers course with a kind of masochistic impatience. I didn't know much German before Duolingo, but my Swedish is non-existent. That will be brain massage with hobnailed boots!
So you're not taking Swedish for English speakers beforehand on purpose, just to make things more interesting? I think I like how you think. :D
I totally know the feeling, so many languages, so little time! The first lessons in all courses tend to be very similar, so I fear the day when I'll be totally fed up with the format. Hopefully it won't be too soon. :)
It's not so much on purpose as not having got inspired by the English to Swedish course and thinking/hoping that by the time it comes out my Russian will be in much better shape! My first thought when I saw the announcement was hey, now I have a definite reason to learn Swedish ;)
@flootzavut Oh, sad to hear that then. If you can think of anything special that should be improved, you know who to tell. At the moment I'm working a lot on how to teach definiteness in the Russian course, so there will be a lot of exercises where you need to choose between en bok and boken or similar, things that probably won't be very useful to speakers of languages with a distinction between definite/indefinite (and not necessarily easier for people whose first language is Russian, since they can't just look at the English sentence and pick the corresponding form).
I don't think it's a fault of the course - I don't think I got far enough into the course for that! I realise, rereading my post, that that came out wrong, and it does sound like it's the course. I think as much as anything it's that I'm already learning two Germanic languages, albeit no Scandanavian ones. I didn't continue with it beyond the basics/phrases lessons, which as far as I remember are very similar or the same in all the languages I've tried on Duo.
I am also trying to learn Esperanto, revise Russian, dabble in Hungarian and Estonian, and revive what little I know of Croatian outside Duolingo, so I don't think it's so much a comment on Swedish as it is on me having eyes bigger than my belly when it comes to languages!
I didn't get very far with Danish or Irish, either, and the only reason I'm continuing with French is because it seems a shame to waste my pre-existing French knowledge and so I can play on the French for German speakers course ;)
I tend to pretty much always take the placement tests even if I know nothing, because it gives me a taster of a given language, including some of the beginning vocab, which makes the first couple of lessons somewhat easier/quicker to do.
So far I've only managed to jump skills in languages where I do genuinely have some prior knowledge, but I usually get at least a few questions right which is a nice confidence boost, and it provides a bit of extra interest right at the start and also makes those first couple of lessons a little easier.
I try not to think about all the languages I may never get to even try, never mind learn. I am just interested in way, way too many things!
I'm looking forward to doing the German from French course. Still in phase 1 at the moment.
Ohhh yes! Me, too. I've done a little on the French from German course, but my German isn't really good enough and I'm not interested enough in French. However, my French is, probably, good enough that the other way round will keep it ticking over and I actually like German a whole lot more and so am willing to expend the effort to learn it.
Long story short: I am waiting right along with you.
I believe they are advancing. They just don't report their numbers to jitengore, so we have no way of knowing how much they have advanced. But when they do report again, the jump will be several percentages.
their word count did not increase. of course we cannot know if they have been testing and/or planning.
But this is the third week they didn't show any progess here. Did the word count not increase on previous weeks either?
Let's hope so. Just imagine if their situation is similar to Korean team's several months ago.
I would say don't see it as an only resource for learning Hungarian, you can start learning it by watching "basic Hungarian" youtube videos and doing courses on Memrise too. Though our language is pretty much fckd up when it comes to grammar :) Tomorrow I'm supposed to teach the accusative case at my university, and oh boy...
I'm really looking forward to start Esperanto on Duolingo when you guys are done with the course. I can't seem to manage learning three-four languages in the same time, and maybe learning everyday just a little on Duo could help me progressing in Esperanto at least without taking away time from the other languages.
Let's hope it has the sentence " To be or not to be that is the question" :).
That sentence ("Å være eller ikke være, det er spørsmålet.") is actually much earlier in the course, in Conjunctions.
Nice, all you need now is a skill on history, geography and mathematics and you'll have covered the basics of the subjects a child may learn in primary. I've always wondered why most trees I've gone through don't even have "fraction" or "decimal", multiply, divide. Or a word that is very often in the news, for example, in French, "coup d'etat" or "guillotine","carte blanche", "lettre de marque" ,
I'm sure at least one of those might have been covered if we had a history skill. :)
In case of Scandinavian countries, I'm sure there are a lot of fun historical and informative elements that will drive us berserk while teaching many useful sentences.
So, I figured I'd ask this here, because I would feel silly making a whole new topic post for this: If we are signed up to receive a notification when a language, let's hypothetically say Turkish, has hatched. What does that look like exactly? I mean, will it be up in the upper right as if it were any other new notification? I just want to know what to be looking for in the next few days/weeks/whatever-it-ends-up-being.
If I remember correctly, I received an email notifying me that the course had been hatched. I can't remember if there was an accompanying notification on the site, though.
The progress fell from 100% to 97% this week cause we re adding bonus skills for all of you! ;) We are running to release it very very soon! :D
Interesting, are you simply adapting the existing bonus skills from the "Original six" courses, or are you creating your own?
In any case feel free to put in as many lessons and words in those bonus skills. It'll be fun to use some lingots once again (after a long time). :)
Excellent. But what happened to the third Bonus skill?
I presume it is probably reserved for Christmas. Hopefully they'll have at least 5 lessons each :). Unfortunately, Duo's staff bonus skills only have a max of 3.
Why has Hungarian made no progress for the past month? I was looking forward to it......
Because those who create the Incubator courses are volunteers who have a life. Maybe they don't have the time right now to do it. Please have in mind that they don't get any money for creating our amazing courses. Hungarian will come. We just have to wait patiently.
I know, but I was hoping for at least 1 percent every week or two. It just came to a sudden stop and has stayed that way for weeks.
It seems that the Norwegian team is shooting to have more words than all other courses, except maybe Russian which also wants to have ~=2500.
I've always wondered why the teams leave the tips and notes for last. Considering that there are ample wikibooks that they can outright copy and paste from or simply add one for each day they work on the course. Well, perhaps it echoes Prof von Ahn's view of teaching languages without in-depth grammar instruction/explanation.
because course creation process is dynamic. we don't simply create a skill and never touch it again. We sometimes realize we should have also taught "X" in Y skill. Or it was actually too early to teach "X" so maybe we should move it, or maybe it is totally confusing so we should remove it completely. So it doesn't make sense to write tips and notes without knowing the final content of the skill - except for the very basic information.
Well, that's a tad bit different from software creation process. More information is the database is almost always better, unless it is repeated. So even if the notes for those skills were created and then later they were removed. They could still be re-used somewhere. Also documenting is a very important part of software development, and tips and notes would count more or less like documentation.
In any event, I understand your perspective. It makes sense to consolidate all information in the end, considering that you don't need to add a new tree to add more notes and you can get feedback from users.
So in the end it might be better.
We've been writing Tips as we go for Esperanto. Now we're at a stage to go back and look at them all and make sure they're concise and not too technical. We even have a wiki page tracking which tips will be complete, etc. Fortunately two of our latest members on our team are teachers, so this task is right up their alley! :)
Hmm, I think that is a bit harsh...I don't know if I am just imagining the sarcasm in your last sentence, because I am British, but if I am then my apologies :)
I've always been on the side of Luis with the lack of grammar instruction/explanation. It sounds completely counter intuitive, but I think there are very solid reasons to consider that point of view. It might be considered too minimalist, but I think it is a backlash from the fact that traditionally, students are drowned in instruction and explanations before they even have any idea of what is being explained to them. They have no idea how to frame anything in a useful context, and mostly switch off because they can't imagine how any of this confusing description of something completely alien will ever be any use to them. When that heavy handed, instructional approach fails, the students are blamed instead of the method, and you end up with countries like mine, where the vast majority of the population are completely, personally convinced deep in their very souls that any language study at any level is futile. A tiny minority of their classmates in school might have got it, but they were special, not them. I am usually looked at as one of the special ones, but even I feel like I am an idiot, most of the time.
On the other hand, what we have in Duolingo is a free entry, no strings environment that trains people purely with positive reinforcement. It doesn't try and pre-load people with an idea of what is right or wrong, forever leaving them with nagging doubt. Trying to forcibly transplant the rules of a language into someone who has never heard it, let alone spoken it, is a confidence trick that is doomed to failure. Instead Duolingo accepts that people start off from a blank slate, and instead of shoving the intricacies of the language down peoples throats, it subtly forces people to think for themselves and try to understand --- I mean the resources to answer any questions are spread far and wide all over the internet, book stores, libraries and inside other people's meaty juicy brains everywhere, BUT, it is the very act of personal initiative to ask the right questions that is the critical factor, it actually makes people care about what they are learning, because it stokes feelings of personal satisfaction.
Or to put it more poetic terms, if you want someone to hunger for knowledge, you have to take special care to leave them a little bit hungry :) We're not making foie gras, there is no need for the feeding tubes!
I think excessive grammar instruction was before the second half of the 19th century. I am not old enough to have ever seen it. It puzzles me why people use it in discussions as a strawman teaching method to blame; for one, you'll be hard pressed to find it in a real classroom. And, to be fair, Duolingo is close to the grammar-translation method with excessive grammar instruction, only without grammar instruction. All the drawbacks, however, are there.
In my experience, if you learning a similar language, like German from English, it works to a point, until you encounter non-trivial patterns. I gave up at adjectival declension, which didn't seem to follow any logic, and even be different under the same circumstances. Probably, about 20-30 sentences is a bit too little for a rule to become clear :).
Well, I haven't seen a regular classroom for 15 years, so I might me out of touch. I can say my dad can still recite streams of conjugated latin words. I don't think it is a straw man argument, I think we are still suffering a hangover from that mentality, and I genuinely believe something we are doing (in the UK) is broken because it doesn't seem to produce any results. Whether it is different now than when I left school I have no idea. I doubt it though.
From what I remember growing up, language classes that I had were weak, unengaging and largely seen as an excuse to relax and goof off by the pupils. I actually spent years not learning anything after that, because I believed you needed classes and that is just an expensive commitment, but since I got over that hump, I think I have managed to teach myself more than school ever did... maybe one day, I'll even be confident :)
No, there was no sarcasm intended. I'm sure Selcen and Amazulo might have structured their answers differently if they detected that.
Just to be really clear, I'm not a fan of excessive grammar instruction either, much like Prof von Ahn, I dislike spending excessive time memorizing verb tables or conjugation. Perhaps where we differ is that I believe that there needs to be a balance between no grammar explanation and the right explanation at the right time. So if I had any say on the matter I would hide the tips and notes until a student failed a lesson once or twice, because failing is a very important learning experience.
A tutor, for example, looks at body language, frustration, perceives the general effort a student makes, watches the student fail, and then, based on his knowledge of the specific student offers explanations using analogies and things familiar to the person.
Of course, Duolingo also manages to teach patterns subtly without any specific explanation such as when the German interface makes the ending of each regular verb slightly bold. However, the current courses are limited in some ways (almost no conversational practice), and any help should be welcome.
I'm not on a development team so I can't say for sure but I would imagine it's because the tips and notes may include references to other points and vocabulary covered, so you would need to know exactly where everything is before you put the notes in or you might refer to something that hasn't been covered yet.
I'm still new to this is there someplace I can read how the incubator works. Like what exactly phase one is and stuff.
Today's (3/15/15) WIU is running late - expected to be posted by 4:30 pm UTC.
Love seeing Team Polish making progress. Keep it up! I'll be waiting here as long as it takes.
Okay, I admit that I had stopped reading these reports for about a month. Now I see all these courses for Chinese speakers! That is so awesome! Great job, teams Chinese! How about adding Arabic for Chinese? Might inspire the Arabic for English course to follow.
I hope the hungarian course is done soon - we have been waiting over a year - i have had several hungarian friends offer to help with making it - and none have had even a reply. I know the language is very different and so will be harder to make.... and i know you are volunteers so we can't complain when we don't pay, but please accept help if you need it. There is plenty on offer.