https://www.duolingo.com/Lavinae

Word order exercise: suggestions?

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Hi all!

Seeing that word order is a large stumbling block for Dutch learners (and perhaps some Dutch speakers alike), we've been thinking of ways to create (and run) an external exercise for practicing word order.

However, we don't really know what would be the best way to go about this. If you have any ideas or suggestions or specific issues with word order, please share them here, so that together we can come up with the best exercise ever! :)

Best wishes,

Lavinae and the rest of team Dutch.

4/16/2015, 1:32:56 PM

41 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
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Could you separate them into sections? For example, practice with conjunctions that change word order, and what happens when you have 3+ verbs in a sentence ("I hate trying to remember these words"). I know those are the two things I had (have) trouble with. :)

4/16/2015, 1:36:32 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Lavinae
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Yes, that's a good idea. :)

I guess we could start with the regular S + V + O and then go from there, having big separate sections for sentences with:

  1. multiple verbs
  2. a conjunction/conjunctions
  3. a negation/negations
  4. a question/questions
4/16/2015, 1:45:41 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
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That would be great! Initiatives like this are why Team Dutch is number one in my heart. ;)

4/16/2015, 1:55:58 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/ishkhanuhi

Yes, I second this notion! Multiple verbs have been tripping me up recently, as well as not knowing when to conjugate a certain verb or leave it in the infinitive if it is at the end.

4/17/2015, 7:19:17 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/VanPaz610

that's the best idea ever! I can suggest the same approach. 1) word order in main clauses (with and without inversion): 1.1 affirmative sentences; 1.2. affirmative sentences with modal verbs; 1.3. inversion (including interrogative); 1.4) word order in multiple clauses; (with en, of, maar, want); 2. word order in subordinate clauses; 2.1. with conjunctions other than those mentioned before; 2.2 with modal verbs; 2.3 in hypothetical periods and with other model verbs.

I hope it helps :)

4/16/2015, 1:44:47 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Lavinae
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Wow, so elaborate!

Thanks!

I'll note down those sub-sections and try to incorporate them too :)

It's gonna be a real large exercise isn't it? ;)

4/16/2015, 1:47:03 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/VanPaz610

True, but... I was confused until I read the whole story on a grammar book. So, the main vs subordinate clause is necessary (and so en/of/maar/want vs all others) as well as the trick about the inversion. Maybe you can even add an item to the tree :)

Funny enough, while the de/het issue is a bit of a "act of faith" (you must know which is which, only a few tricks to infer) the word order is very much rationale: there are rules, you simply have to know and apply them. And rules are not as difficult as they seem at the first sight. And if you add an item, you can go deeper with time + space + direct object + indirect object explanations!

Last but not least: Lavinae, thanks for your extraordinary work with Dutch for English, you made a terrific work. Just forward my gratitude to the rest of the crew. If any of you is ever in 010, you'll get a free drink and cake, to be chose out of the list of the NL2 DL tree item!

4/16/2015, 1:57:00 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Lavinae
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That's definitely an idea for tree version 2.0!

You're very welcome VanPaz! :)
Thanks for the compliment and your support!

We'll definitely hold you to that offer ;)

4/16/2015, 2:13:00 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/JeffHK
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The more practice with this, the better!

4/17/2015, 1:44:29 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/residualninja

Oh my goodness, what an amazing community we have here! Lavinae, I was just heading onto the discussion board to ask for some help with word order. This discussion is marvelous.

One idea: use nothing but the lower case. I sometimes find myself cheating by looking for the capitalized letter to figure out how to start a sentence. ::blushes::

4/17/2015, 1:15:13 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Moglandor
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Even if you don't intend to cheat, it's impossible to ignore. I agree that uppercase should not be used as it automatically tells you the first word.

4/22/2015, 4:26:35 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/bemk92
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A lot of where a word goes in the phrase, depends on its function, and that order only really changes in the case of a question.

One thing that could be done is to add an option to add function labels to the words, so the pattern becomes more clear. This might require the development of some new features in Duolingo though.

Alternatively, you can try to work with the exercises I've seen in the app, where you have to put preformed words (by tapping on them) into the right order to match a given phrase in the language the student already knows. (They usually also add words that don't relate to the phrase at all, but I've never found my self picking the wrong word in such an exercise).

Hope this helps.

4/16/2015, 1:45:57 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Lavinae
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Interesting suggestions, thanks!

We'll have a talk with our mentor and see what's possible. :)

4/16/2015, 1:48:39 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/amuzulo
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I would really love to see something with differences from German word order, because I usually just speak Dutch with German word order and no Dutch person ever corrects me, so I always think I'm doing it right...

4/16/2015, 2:08:24 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Lavinae
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Haha, they're probably just thinking "Why is he making these sentences so complicated?" ;)

Noted! Can do! :)

4/16/2015, 2:11:02 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/davidcwalls
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Like amuzulo, I use what I remember of German word that I learned in school, and it has worked most of the time for me, so I would also be interested in the differences from German.

When I was learning German in school, the way I approached word order was to start with a rule, like, "verb comes second" then I made a list of sample sentences that showed a variety of ways the rule is followed (with various clauses or phrases, with modal verbs, with separable prefixes...), then made a list of sentences that show exceptions, like questions. (I also highlighted the sentences with 2 colors to show the verb parts and the non-verb parts.) Doing this allowed me to fit new sentences into the patterns I already knew without having to think through a complicated list of rules.

I have used a website called Quizlet for learning things that are too complicated to put in Memrise. That might possibly be a useful way for folks to practice.

Lastly, I have to compliment the Dutch team on fantastic work! The notes, discussions, comments on sentences are all really great, and much, much better than German or Spanish DL courses. Slightly better than Irish :-) I didn't mean to really learn Dutch, only familiarize myself before a visit to NL (in 2 weeks), but I will have a hard time abandoning it after my trip because the material is so good and the people so helpful.

4/17/2015, 4:46:49 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/WordFitlySpoken
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Maybe you could try something like the drop-down exercises currently in the lessons, only with more blanks with the different options for tricky word order type things. Of course, that doesn't really help with the explaining part of things, but for practice, I think it might work.

I'm pretty terrible at coming up with ideas, but I would be so thrilled if this actually came to pass! Thanks so much, Dutch team!

4/16/2015, 6:18:46 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/bemk92
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So that you'd have to choose out of for example:

  • Ik heb de hond eten gegeven.
  • Ik heb gegeven de hond eten.
  • Eten gegeven heb ik de hond.

and then find the right one?

This could work, because in the exercises where people have to choose out of multiple options, there usually is a difference in the words being used, rather than a play on the word order.

4/16/2015, 7:02:11 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Moglandor
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This would be a great exercise to add, and it already fits within Duo's existing structure. In addition to other suggestions, adding this type of exercise to the later levels should be a no-brainer.

4/22/2015, 4:24:48 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/somelauw
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The first one is correct; the second one is incorrect; the third one is probably correct, but it sounds like something Yoda would say ;-)

4/16/2015, 7:21:29 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/bemk92
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@WordFitlySpoken, seems like your idea is already catching on. The first correct answer has already been given :P

4/16/2015, 7:25:04 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/WordFitlySpoken
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Haha, wonderful! ;)

4/17/2015, 2:07:44 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/WordFitlySpoken
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Well, that's not the type of exercise I was referring to, but yes, that's kind of what I was saying. (I was talking about the exercises with a sentence that has a blank in the middle with a list of word options to fill in that blank.)

4/17/2015, 2:07:14 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Gymnastical
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Do you mean like those exercise where the sentence is there but one word is missing and you have to put the right one in the blank? (like begrijp, begrijpt, or begijpen)

5/25/2015, 9:11:31 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/WordFitlySpoken
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Yep, that's it. So a sentence would have more blanks with words to choose from in the places where word order is tricky.

5/26/2015, 2:00:07 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Gymnastical
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To me, a lot of the word order rules seem random. I say that because I tend to go with the word order that makes the most sense in that context and sometimes it's right but other times not. Is it normal to feel like certain aspects of a language are totally random and all over the place? And a good thing to add to that word order exercise would be to explain why those things that FEEL random are NOT random.

4/16/2015, 8:18:44 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Lavinae
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Thanks for your feedback, Maggie! :)

We can definitely explain and emphasize the logic behind the rules.

4/16/2015, 8:54:47 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/bemk92
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Yes, it's totally normal to find features in a language that seem utterly random. The one I most often struggle with is word gender. (The reason Dutch has a difference between De-woorden (gendered) and Het-woorden(neuter)).

4/16/2015, 9:21:54 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/crlight
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Knowing whether or not a conjunction is coordinating or subordinate is tricky for me, which throws off my word order.

4/16/2015, 11:59:30 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/JeffHK
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Yes!

4/17/2015, 1:46:17 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Gymnastical
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I have no idea what that means.

7/29/2015, 1:57:28 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/crlight
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A conjunction is either coordination or subordinate. Depending on which one it is, you get two different word orders.

Ex: "Hij rent omdat hij atletisch is." and "Hij rent en hij is atletisch."

In one, the verb must go at the en of the sentence while in the other, it's normal SVO after the conjunction.

7/29/2015, 12:01:46 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Gymnastical
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But what makes a conjugation coordinating or subordinate?

7/29/2015, 4:14:39 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/crlight
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That's the part that I'm confused about. I have no clue.

7/31/2015, 12:14:53 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/joct
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The thing that really made bijzin click with me was hearing short sentences starting with I think or I thought: Ik dacht dat je mijn vriend was. Ik denk dat het goed is. It sounds more direct than in English, I like it! And for inversion short contrasting sentences: Ik ga naar Amsterdam. Vandaag ga ik naar Amsterdam. Maybe more setences of that type would help beginners? Plus simple sentences with want, maar, en etc to show these sentences stay the same.

The one word order thing I still struggle with is seperable verbs, I don't think anyone mentioned them yet!

4/17/2015, 6:52:58 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/helmad
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Excellent idea, repeating patterns of contrasting pairs work well for memorization, I think. You could do this with question inversion as well.

4/18/2015, 3:56:11 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/wstockall
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When you say external do you mean external to the current course tree, or external to DuoLingo? As in will this be done in such a way it could also be applied to German or other languages?

4/16/2015, 3:26:29 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Lavinae
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External to the current course tree and possibly external to DuoLingo as well, if there is a programme or other platform we can use.

This is an intermediate solution because we cannot internally change the tree at this point.

Google docs came to mind, for example.

We could also create an on line communication platform for grammar advice...perhaps slack.com could work :)

If that works, perhaps other courses can adopt it and of course if it's a discussion platform, you can talk about German word order as well, via a then appropriate channel.

Ideas, ideas... :)

4/16/2015, 3:31:54 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/JeffHK
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I've started playing with the German tree but I know it's NOT a good idea (for me). I do one German set and then do ten Dutch sets to purge all German ( sound, spelling, word order, whatever)...

4/17/2015, 1:51:28 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Bruce_OBrien

Where do I sign up for a exercise in word order. I am definetly interested improving my Dutch.

7/25/2015, 1:42:17 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Jochem359385
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Can't you contact Dutch schools or teachers to ask how they teach it at school?

7/10/2017, 11:24:36 AM
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