Spanish Future Tense Lesson is Terrible!!!
Some feedback for DuoLingo:
My Spanish is already pretty good. I'm mostly using Duolingo for review on the go or to squeeze in practice on days when I don't have time to translate pages out of a novel or newspaper. I just finished the future tense lesson on the Spanish tree and it is TERRIBLE. You do not form the future tense by just sticking "i am going to..." in front of everything. >.< There is a proper future tense which duolingo recognizes as an acceptable answer if you have an opportunity to input it (like translating from English to Spanish), so why isn't the future tense lesson actually teaching it??? This is a HUGE disservice to people genuinely trying to learn Spanish. They are going to come across the future tense in a piece of writing or hear someone using it and have no clue what the other person is saying. This is sad, and kind of embarrassing, because the future tense really is one of the easier ones.
Can we PLEASE fix this? I'd be happy to lend a hand.
EDIT: I'm not talking about the very first lesson on the tree. I have done ALL of the future tense lessons - "Ir Future," "Future," and "Future Perfect." NONE of them actually teach the future tense. I mean, I guess the Future Perfect lesson arguably uses it, but it must be insanely confusing for people who don't already speak Spanish to know why haber suddenly has endings on it they've never seen before and haven't been given any kind of guide to. They're technically learning the future perfect tense without having ever learned the future tense.
EDIT #2: People seem to be assuming that I haven't done the later future tense lessons (or don't believe I've done them) because I'm only a rank 11 in Spanish, since people with rank 16 or higher haven't gotten to these lessons yet. I should clarify that I will probably be done with the tree in the next week or two - I only have 8 lessons left - and am only a rank 11 because I tested out of the first half of the tree when I joined Duolingo. I didn't accumulate as many experience points as someone starting from the beginning, so if you just look at my rank it looks like I shouldn't be as far along in the tree as I am. I really have done all the future tense lessons, honestly!
I agree. The future skill lessons do need improvement. It's important to learn both the ir + infinitive and the future tense forms. The future tense is fairly basic. At least duo doesn't reject future tense in Spanish in response to translating going to + verb. That would be even worse.
I also noticed that the subjunctive/imperative skill was mostly imperative and not much subjunctive. In another message, someone mentioned that they were working on a Spanish 2 module course. I'm hoping that that will have more practice/lessons on subjunctive, conditional, and the more complex verb tenses in that module.
The subjunctive/imperative units are lacking in many ways but I would imagine any student trying to the subjunctive tense doing extra research online to get a better grasp. Or hopefully they're getting a lot of daily input.
daily input = listening to audiobooks, news, watching movies, playing video games, television programs or reading news articles, childrens books, novelas, comics, etc. OR listening to random strangers speak your target language.
output = speaking and writing.
It is not a big deal. Duolingo doesn't claim to be a comprehensive language learning site. You will find the future tense in the reverse tree. I'm sure the future tense isn't the only unit that can use some improvement.
Any student that utilizes Rosetta Stone, Duolingo, or Memrise should actively seek other resources in order to learn their target language. Sticking to one source would be a great disservice.
I agree that you should always use more than one resource in learning any language. I have used several in learning Spanish. But this is a huge oversight of a very basic and necessary element.
I think it wouldn't be as big of a deal if they just said, "We're not going to cover future tense at all." At least then students would know they needed to look elsewhere to learn the future tense. But what they have here on duolingo is a misrepresentation of the future tense which then misleads students to believe they have a proficiency or skill that they don't.
I don't look at it as a misrepresentation. The Verbs: Future has some future tense verbs like será, estará, comerás, beberé, tendremos, veré, haré, llamaré, llegará, y quedará.
You may want to take a look at Luis Von Ahn's Reddit AMA.
. . . and Luis Von Ahn's reply
The very honest answer is that I, personally, don't like vocabulary, grammar or verb conjugation. My dream in life is to be able to teach you a language without you needing to read textbooks about indirect objects. In fact, I consider the use of grammar to be discriminatory against those who unfortunately didn't have a very good education in their own native language (which is the majority of the world's population). I think slapping 30 pages of grammar before every lesson is the easy way out -- instead we should strive for something that everybody can consume.
That said, we ARE working on these issues -- they just move slower because we're more excited about other things.
O_o That is the most bizarre perspective on teaching a language I have ever heard. Most people don't have a very good education in their native grammar, so let's ignore grammar and conjugation as much as possible in favor of teaching them something oversimplified and pidgeony that doesn't actually allow them to communicate with a native speaker? That's educational empty calories that will set up a lot of less determined/time-wealthy people for frustration and failure.
Grammar and conjugation are the fundamental building blocks of any language. Saying you can learn a language without learning grammar or conjugation is like saying you can learn math without using operators. That's just not computing for me. :S
How does someone who doesn't like vocab, grammar, or conjugation get involved in organizing a system for learning languages??? That is language. I am really, really confused. I can only supposed he means he doesn't like the traditional, academic way of teaching a language, but it kind of sounds like he's throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
I can understand why grammar and conjugation tables might be intimidating and difficult for someone without a good education in their native language, since they are usually structured around some comparison of the two grammar systems, and if you can't identify the parts of speech in your native language it might be hard to understand the comparison being made. But I don't see that as a reason to not teach people the correct conjugations by repetition or mimicry of phrases. I also think you could teach grammar and conjugation in more interactive, gamified ways, like conjugation memory games, or grammar mazes, or puzzles. (Psst, duolingo, partner me with a programmer and I will design these!)
That being said, I retained very little of my knowledge of English grammar I learned in middle school. Which is not to say I am ignorant of English grammar. I excel at it now. But almost everything I know about English grammar I learned from studying Spanish. I might be an outlier in this respect, but I think Luis is overlooking people's ability to learn about their own language by learning another.
Just another tidbit you may be interested in. There are many language learners that have learned and achieved native-like fluency without grammar.
Von Ahn's opinion concerning grammar being discrimmatory sounds a bit odd but after reading a number of academic papers concerning grammar (particular linguist, professor emeritus Stephen Krashen and some others), including some blogs from many language learners . . . I just don't place a huge value in grammar for the language learning process. It will definitely help or aid the process as you have a lot of contact with the language but it isn't absolutely necessary in the beginning. Just my opinion. I'm currently playing around with French sans an emphasis on grammar. Of course there the issues of efficiency but that's another subject altogether.
There's a highly esteemed mathematician that posits that you can teach math without force-feeding all the rules and syntactical information of mathematics. You can practically create your own operators if you want, just as long as you can prove your observations. ;-)
When we learn music some teach notation right away, but many real musicians will argue that chords are the place to start. I think its just a case of this logic being applied to language, and it makes sense, trying to sort out the acidemia while trying to absorb the information I need to actually use a language makes for a heavy burden, but learning how to play music, or speak language provides a wonderful context to actually understand directly vs intellectually.
The fact that so many people finished the tree and don't realize the future tense is missing proves the OP's point that duolingo needs a new future lesson.
I agree because I was so disappointed when I got to that skill. I mean I was really sad and felt cheated.
I'm late to the party, but I have seen you repeat something throughout this thread that is simply not true.
While it is entirely accurate to say that far too many instances (any number greater than 0, in my opinion) of the future phrasal construction sneak into the future tense lessons, to claim as you have that the future tense is not taught at all simply ignores reality. The following words (extracted from the Duolingo's vocabulary overview object) are taught within the Verbs: Future skill:
beberemos, beberá, beberán, beberás, beberé, comeremos, comerá, comerán, comerás, comeré, estaremos, estará, estarán, estarás, estaré, haremos, hará, haré, llamará, llamaré, llegaremos, llegará, quedaremos, quedará, quedarás, quedaré, será, serán, serás, seré, tendremos, tendrá, tendrás, tendré, veremos, verá, verán, verás, veré.
Personally, I think this list should be much longer, but covering 39 forms is still far from not being taught "at all." You say that you could count on one hand the number of times you saw them while working through the tree, yet I just ran out of fingers before completing two practice sessions for this skill (edit: actually, before completing one practice, see below).
Ideally, the two skills should not overlap, with the future phrasal skill teaching only that construction, and the future tense skill using only the future conjugation. Unfortunately, the reason for the blurred lines between these two skills seems to be caused by a failure to adequately differentiate between the two constructions on the back-end. I will agree wholeheartedly that it needs to be addressed, but I don't know that hyperbolic, half-accurate posts are the way to affect this change.
As for which construction is more commonly used, as I understand it (and someone please chime in here if I'm off base), the phrasal construction is used far more frequently throughout Latin America. The fact that the phrasal construction gets more coverage in a course that describes itself as teaching "a version of Spanish closer to what you'd hear in Latin America than in Spain" this shouldn't be too surprising
Edit to add: The following is a list of sentences presented in my most recent practice session for the Verbs: Future skill with Duolingo's default translation for each:
- Nosotros comeremos otros emparedados. / We will eat other sandwiches.
- No lo haremos. / We will not do it.
- Tendremos que decir no. / We will have to say no.
- Ellas serán doctoras. / They will be doctors.
- ¿Con quién te quedarás? / Who will you stay with?
- Estará lloviendo mañana. / It will be raining tomorrow.
- Llamaré de nuevo más tarde. / I will call again later.
- Vamos a ver tu casa. / Let us go see your house.
- This year we will eat less. / Este año comeremos menos.
- Spring will arrive soon. / La primavera llegará pronto.
- Tonight I will drink and eat a lot. / Esta noche beberé y comeré mucho.
- Llegaremos a la ciudad en dos horas. / We will arrive in the city in two hours.
- Nos quedaremos aquí hasta el domingo. / We will stay here until Sunday.
- Today I will exercise more than yesterday. / Hoy haré más ejercicio que ayer.
- My brothers and I will be doctors. / Mis hermanos y yo seremos doctores.
- Tomorrow I will have more money. / Mañana yo tendré más dinero.
- I will call the police. / Llamaré a la policía.
Note that there's only one instance of the future phrasal.
Wow, you had a radically different experience of the lesson than I did. I was not being hyperbolic when I said I only saw the simple future tense in three or four sentences. You're the only person on this thread to say they saw numerous examples of it.
Did you continue to see examples after the first two lessons? The few examples I did see were also in the first two lessons, after which it was entirely ir a +inf. examples.
I agree that teaching the two skills should not overlap. This paired with randomization of the phrases might account for some of the difference in what we were each exposed to in the lessons. If so, that in itself is something that needs to be fixed.
In the future, however, please refrain from accusing people of lying or exaggerating because their experience does not correlate with yours. Your experience is not authoritative, especially given the number of people on this thread who attest to having the same experience with this lesson (and we're at 60-something posts now? which makes attacking only the original post a rather weak position). Your contrasted experience is useful in getting a better picture of what the problem might be, but you alienate yourself and others from constructive dialogue if it's presented in an antagonistic manner.
I didn't accuse you of lying, I said that you had repeated something that is demonstrably false by telling us all that the Future Tense is not taught at all. Being inaccurate is not the same as lying, as the latter requires a degree of intent. I offered no opinion on which is the case.
You'll note that I repeatedly described my experience as "practice sessions." This is because I wasn't talking about the lessons themselves since I completed them ages ago. My recollection of the lessons themselves, however, is that there is much more overlap with the Future Phrasal skill, but there were still numerous instances of the future tense in the first throughout.
That recollection, however, isn't entirely relevant because the tree was reorganized nearly 2 years ago, and it seems like the future tense forms are indeed now concentrated into two lessons, and the remainder of the skill is filled out with the phrasal construction. This is due to the fact that the skill was expanded, and there are far too many lessons in the skill for the 9 lexemes (39 forms) that are introduced. The difference was made up with purely phrasal lessons rather than adding new vocabulary/sentences.
No new infinitives are introduced in this skill, which is why subsequent practices skew more heavily towards the proper future tense. It's important to remember that the course involves more than just completing the lessons once and moving on. Subsequent work increases the exposure.
Frankly, I agree (as I previously stated) that this needs to be fixed. I merely take exception to the repeated claim that the future tense is ignored outright. Ideally, these phrasal forms will be removed from the lesson and replaced with appropriate future tense examples.
I'd say grammar as a whole is a bit underexplained or underemphasized on duolingo, but I believe that's Ok. Personally I like to study grammar, it saves me a lot of time and makes me a better learner.
But I also know what other people think. Many who aren't as compulsive as me about language learning just don't like learning grammar. They just brute force memorize what the duolingo exercises teach them. It's perfectly fine, even if it takes longer or achieves a slightly less organized understanding of grammar. Duolingo would be relatively useless if it scared away "casual" learners.
The strength of duolingo's exercise system is that it constantly tests and reinforces language features and words, and does so by embedding the words in different contexts and fragments. It's the perfect extension of ordinary flash card drilling software. I'd even say it rivals human teachers, since no teacher I could afford would have the patience to do these kinds of exercises with me every day for hours, but the system still takes good guesses about what I know and don't know.
That's what we're asking for. The problem with the current lesson isn't that the grammar isn't being explained. It's that the correct grammar/verb form isn't being taught at all, either through explanation or the repetition exercises you like. Instead they have substituted the proper tense with a helping verb (the ir a + infinitive). So where you should be learning the future tense (Estaré allí = I will be there), you are instead learning to use a compound phrase (Voy a estar allí = I am going to be there). While both are technically forms of the future tense, the first one conveys more certainty and is more likely to be used when talking about things further out in time, while the compound one is more for things that will happen or be done in the near future, or about things which are intended but the outcome is not as certain (like "I am going to be a doctor when I grow up" vs. "I will be a doctor after finishing medical school").
We're not asking them to change Duolingo's technique. We just want them to include this basic skill.
Nope. I have done all of the future tense lessons on my tree. All I have left of tenses is the conditional tense (which is not the same thing as the future tense, though it may occasionally be used to talk about things in the future about which the outcome is uncertain), the subjunctive/imperative, the past imperfect, the past subjunctive, and the conditional perfect. There are no more lessons on the future tense.
Nope. I have done all of the future tense lessons on my tree. All I have left of tenses is the conditional tense
Then I stand corrected. I apologize, and I do agree with you. Future tense is too important to be lumped in with "voy a..." lessons.
It's been a while since I finished my Spanish tree, and I did it as a refresher course (I could stand to do it again, truth be told), and I do remember thinking the last part of the tree moved way too fast and grouped too much together.
I wonder if you'd get any response if you applied in the incubator to be a course contributor? Or maybe write to the course developers directly on their profiles; your offer might be appreciated.
If you did conditional, go back up four rows to Future and Future Perfect is the row below that. I myself haven't done it yet.
I went through the future a little while ago. I was so upset that almost the whole section was ir+a+infinitive and we already had a skill covering that. I totally agree with you. I am having to do the work outside Duo.
Sorry, I thought maybe that you might have done it on the phone and didn't have access to the tips and notes, and seeing you here in the discussion that you could check the web version. I believe you as I know people who know the language better can finish the tree with a much lower level. I purposely am taking my time, because I am learning so many at a time that slows me down. I have only finished the French tree. That would be great if you helped out with this.
I don't think that are talking about the future perfect.
I just love the course, keep it simple to help people like me grasp understanding. There are lots of other one subject lessons on the web to learn specific topics in deeper depth.
Thank you for this post.
Anyone who wants Spanish grammar and verbs explained to them in a brilliant way should listen to the free Complete Spanish 14.5 hours audio course available from Language Transfer. http://www.languagetransfer.org/#!complete-spanish/c1313
I was struggling in Spanish until I began listening to those lessons which contain simple explanations of the way that Spanish works and make topics such as pronouns and verb forms (including the future, conditional and subjunctive) really easy.
The argument about the role of grammar in teaching a language is pointless. Surely everyone agrees that:
1) Do we have to have formal lessons in grammar using the old-fashioned terms, where we learn the rules out of the context of the living language? Of course not.
2) Is it really helpful to have patterns pointed out to us and explained as we meet them so that we can understand what is going on when we come across new forms for the first time? Of course it is.
Please consider the fact that the "ir + a + infinitive" construction IS a legitimate form of the future tense. Just like English relies on helping verbs to construct a future tense (I will go to the store tomorrow. or I am going to the store tomorrow.), so does Spanish. Of course the separate future tense that you mean involves verb conjugation, but its use among native Spanish speakers is less frequent than the "ir + a + infinitive" construction, so less emphasis is placed upon its use. This course was written by a native Spanish speaker, so it was designed to place importance on Spanish as it is used by native speakers. I will ask my mentor about adding instruction for regular and irregular verbs in the form of the future tense that does not make use of helping verbs.
Ok, thanks, Jenna. Yes, the ir a + inf. form is a legitimate form of the future tense. I never meant to imply that it wasn't. It's just not the only form, which is what I would have come away with from the Duolingo lessons if I were learning Spanish for the first time. It concerns me because I read a lot in Spanish, watch movies in Spanish, and have a few native speakers I talk to on a weekly basis, and I see/hear the conjugated form of the future tense far more often than the ir a + inf. form and would be utterly lost if I didn't know it. From the replies on this thread, it sounds like experience is pretty split between those who think the conjugated form or the ir a form takes precedence, and that it may depend on what country your teacher/native speaker friend/study material is from.
I still think that having a basic knowledge of the conjugated form is an essential skill, especially for those of us with more exposure to places/people/materials where it is used more frequently than the ir a form, and I really hope you guys can add it into the tree. I would be happy to help with that if you need someone to construct sentences for the lesson. I'm not a native speaker, but my Spanish skills would definitely be up to that. :)
You can form the future using as model the three 'perfect verbs': amar, temer y partir
1st Conjugation. Verb Amar (termination -AR)
2nd Conjugatión. Verb Temer (Termination -ER)
3rd. Conjugation. Verb Partir (Termination -IR)
You can use this model for all REGULAR verbs... if you know the infinitive form of a verb.
Verbs comprar, dormir and beber
'Yo comprare' es equivalente a 'yo voy a comprar'
I whole-heartedly agree and will see what I can do to give users the opportunity to strengthen this skill within the course, although it may not happen until we add more to the tree itself. Thanks for all your input!
Listening to native speakers in Andalucia, Spain I would say that they use a fair mix of the informal future (ir + a + infinitive) and the simple future. Personally i often find it easier to use the simple future.
Interesting! I remember being chided by a Costa Rican friend for using the simple future once. When in Rome, I guess! :)
Probably not so much! After all, the Pope is Latin American, Italian and Spanish are both Romance languages, and people from all over the world flock to Rome for the historical and cultural sites. I bet there are plenty of Spanish speakers to be found on any given day. :)
I read somewhere the other day that the lexicons of Spanish and Italian differ by 33%, so you might be ok :)
Give an example of future tense. Because I remember words on tree that I am calling future tense. Estará, comeré, beberá
Yes, you are correct that those are future tense words. But I can count on one hand the number of times I saw them while working through my tree, while the rest of the hundred or so examples were all the ir a + inf. form. Also, no explanation for how to conjugate the future tense was given, the way it is for other tenses, so most people learning Spanish for the first time aren't getting the tools or exposure they need to learn the future tense. They'll end up falling back on the ir a form and have problems communicating or comprehending if they run into a person or material that uses the conjugated form.
no explanation for how to conjugate the future tense was given
Do you mean other than the conjugation tables provided for every verb?
I believe many Duo members want to learn enough to get by comfortably in a Spanish-speaking country while on vacation. This is only my opinion. I also think most people appreciate a valiant attempt to speak their country's language and will overlook quite a bit of imperfection.
I agree with you about the future tense...I've completed my tree, already have a degree in Spanish, so I've done future and wondered where it was here in Duolingo. It is true, they seemed to have skipped it, and it is one of the easier things to learn.
There is another section on the regular future tense much further down the tree (Next to Spiritual). They start with this form because people have already been taught the present forms for " to go" and so already have a head start on this version of the future tense which is used differently then the other one. This is specifically given as " Ir future" or "Verbs: Phrasal Future Tense".
Yes, that lesson next to spiritual is the one I'm talking about. I've done all the future tense lessons. None of them actually teach the future tense.
They don't have any information in the Tips and Notes?
I also rely a lot on this website for grammar: http://spanish.about.com/cs/verbs/a/future_ways.htm http://spanish.about.com/od/verbtenses/a/futureintro.htm http://spanish.about.com/od/verbtenses/a/forming_future.htm http://spanish.about.com/cs/verbs/a/future_uses.htm
No, there are no tips and notes in the future tense lesson. It isn't taught at all.
Then, I totally agree with you that this should be added.
I would also like to see a sticky grammar page for Spanish like these in other languages:
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/3732817 (Dutch) They were the first to come up with this idea of putting a grammar page in the discussions. They actually haven't added future tense yet, but this language is fairly new.
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/4277962 (Irish) Another grammar page that is still under construction for a new language. (I see you are taking this language too.)
There is this Spanish grammar tips resource through the Wiki, but Future has not been added yet: http://duolingo.wikia.com/wiki/Spanish/Grammar_tips
i am doing that one and it is an average lesson for me, but it gets hard when i translate into spanish
It is covered nicely well down the tree level 16. Be patient. I think they teach the "ir a infinitive" first because it is so easy and commonly used.
I agree. This person seems to be a bit clueless, though I don't mean to be crass!
I don't think this is any more of a "disservice" than not teaching "vosotros." If you want to talk to Spaniards then you can just look it up and learn it yourself, if you want to read formal writing then you do the same.
The future tense is not unique to Spaniards or formal writing. It is used on a daily basis in any Spanish speaking country.
Well, I have had Spanish teachers in the USA, Mexico, and Argentina tell me that a person can get along just fine using only the "ir a" version of the future. Of Duo's many shortcoming at the latter part of the tree, I think the weakness and confusion teaching the future is not as significant as the general "let's rush through this and get it over with" feeling I had during the last few lessons.
I agree that native speakers would be able to understand you. From experience, though, I don't think you would be able to understand them, unless they were aware your only knowledge of the future tense was "ir a + inf." and they modified their speech so they never used the proper future tense.
I'm not quite at the end, but I agree it's getting more and more rushed as I progress. I think I would be very frustrated if I were learning Spanish for the first time.
I, also, had that feeling of "a lick and a promise" in the final few lessons.
Not in Argentina, as far as I have been told. Otherwise... yeah, that's not formal.
It's definitely showing up in the lessons on Future for me, though... at least for the first two lessons before inexplicably switching back to the ir form. Maybe you just had strange luck and it never showed up throughout the lesson? Since it's definitely there.
I think it showed up in maybe three or four sentences. Which must be really mystifying to most learners, since there is no explanation, and also very misleading since it looks like the exception to the rule instead of proper grammar.
Yeah, the whole end of the course is a bit of a train wreck. I'm not sure why Imperfect is so late either. Hopefully it'll get a makeover sooner rather than later.
Sorry, I hadn't released that. Most of the Spanish speakers I hear use "ir a..." to form the future. That might just be a Puerto Rican thing, though. It's still easy enough to learn by yourself.
"released" You mean realized. "must" You mean most. I'm not trying to be rude, just helpful. Your posts do indicate a strong understanding of English.
I am new to this site, is it proper etiquette to make posts like this?
Thank you, I'm bad at typing, so any corrections that will help people understand my posts are welcome.
Most of theposts I've seen that correct people on this website have been welcome, so I wouldn't worry about offending anyone.