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how about "nearly right, try again!"

I was thinking about the hearts and losing lives and wondered whether there's any mileage in adapting or adding to that idea with a second level of "nearly right" or "try again".

For example, when you've missed one word or mispelled something you might be prompted to try again. Instead of it accepting bad spelling (in the language you are learning, not your own!) which it does now, it would prompt you to have another look. If you missed a word - prepositions are a classic example - if might prompt you to look again. I guess it would add yet more complexities but it might aid in the learning process - rather like a teacher telling you it's almost right!

The vast majority of the time the mistakes that cost me lives are typing errors or silly mistakes that I know how to correct if prompted. It seems that losing a life and being shown the answer doesn't necessarily help me learn to take my time and think, which is often all I need to do. All i end up doing at the moment is repeating things endlessly and feeling a bit of a failure!

Maybe it's an impossible dream, but I thought I'd share it!!

September 16, 2013



If I understood well they're already testing it with part of german's learners. http://www.duolingo.com/comment/818852


I just lost a heart for typing an 'e' instead of an 'a'. I thought it was a high price to pay for a tiny error. Sometimes I do not mind repeating, I regard it as practice.


Except if it changes a fem. to a masc. a plural to singular (I don't know at all if it's the case here, speaking in general).in this case Duo can't know it's a typo...


But it doesn't really matter if it's a typo. If it was a small error, and the learner can fix it themself, that is an excellent learning process that will stick around more than just losing a heart and seeing the right answer. It's not just about being fair, it's about getting the maximum benefit from lessons and time.


This is brilliantly said, and captures my feelings exactly. I often lose valuable points and hearts because I try to go with my gut instinct on a word, instead of over-thinking it. But by doing that I feel like I'm just memorizing the "look" of the sentence, rather than processing the deeper meaning.


Exactly! This trips me up a lot when the app asks for a translation, but what it really wants is a transliteration. For example, "Ela es uma pimenta" literally says "She is a pepper", but what it means (if I understand it right) is "she is feisty"


For sure, or when the translation uses different grammar than what you would expect in your native tongue- "wir haben rotes Nummer" means "we have red numbers", but it really means "we are in the red", financially speaking.


Honestly it has been said to make it an option. I would suggest it to be a function of practice modes, what good is practicing if it doesn't make sure you have the right answer.


It think it would undermine the "gaming" feeling of duolingo. Yeah, it blows to lose a heart over a spelling mistake, but then again, you have three of them so just be more careful for the rest of the lesson. If I know the correct answer, I don't need to think twice about it and just accept the heart loss for my mistake. If I don't know and don't understand the right translation I immerse myself in the sentence discussion and learn a lot there.


so true, really!


I suppose while the "flashcard" nature of duolingo works to a point for single words - particularly nouns - it doesn't help my sentence construction,. That's where more tradtional learning - using several sentences which can be directly compared, showing small changes - is my preference. Duolingo can't do this for me so I end up writing everything down and trying to adjust it myself, but then I don't know if it's right! I was thinking about how to add a slightly different way of learning relatively simply, I'll be interested to see the results from the German trial.


I like your idea, but i think it would be good with the base language too (in my case this is english). since it's not my first language, I often make silly mistakes and loosing a heart because of a small english mistake is very demotivating. So it would be good if they would think about the learners like me with an option to be more 'nice' with us


I think (at least for typo but I imagine for all) that it will not distinguish between if have to answer in the language you're learning from or the one your learning. It's just that when typing something, if Duo detects a typo or an accent error or maybe a small (or not so) error, then it'll ask you to rty to correct yourself.

Well that what I imagine, making it differently would be weird and it doesn't complexify to do it like this.


I like that idea too! I would love a prompt. I've had numerous situations where I typed the wrong vowel.


that is a good idea i sometimes misspell a word and loose a heart


if i get something wrong at the start and i know i would loose all the hearts i press the refresh button but that is only sometimes


I like the idea and completely agree how frustrating it is to lose a heart to a typing error, but like others have said, sometimes a typing error changes the word into another word, so obviously Duolingo can't tell that you haven't just picked the wrong word! I imagine it wouldn't be that hard to do this when it doesn't make a word though. It would be similar to how they give you a second chance when you type the answer correctly but in the wrong language like they do at the moment.


This would certainly help me, since I tend to start rushing when I run low on time. When that happens, I often make simple errors in gender or plurality (this is referring to Portuguese) that I wouldn't make were I proceeding with more care. Then again, knowing all this, I try to be more mindful of what I'm doing, so I wouldn't be crushed if things stay as they are.


A couple of times i have edited my Italian answer badly and ended up submitting it with the same word twice, next to each other. It often happens to me when I edit in Word and it gets flagged up, but Duolingo can't cope with it. Whilst in English you might put two identical words together,,, I'm thinking "had had"... surely that's easily recognisable as a typing error rather than my ignorance of Italian!


I don't understand... "had had" is a legitimate sentence construction in English, are you saying it's not in Italian?


Sorry, my sentence was very confusing! I meant to say...

In English it might be difficult to write a rule to say that two of the same words together must be a typing error - because you can write "had had", for example. In Italian, is that ever the case? Are there any occasions where you get two identical words next to one another? If not, then perhaps Duolingo could identify this as an error in the typing of the Italian translation rather than a problem of understanding. It does identify some spelling errors without taking a heart away, after all.

Hope that makes sense now - I've been studying Italian so much my English has gone a bit wild!


I think it would depend on context, and if such arrangements do exist in Italian (I don't know if they do). In any case, it's much easier to identify misplaced letters as spelling errors, rather than duplicated words. On the other hand, the program could just check if the sentence makes sense with the duplicated word, regardless of the language. If it's an awkward phrase it could then offer the correct suggestion, sort of a "I know what you meant, but this is how to say it"

It might make the program more complicated though


Yes, indeed.

I think perhaps I'll stick with the main part of my original idea which was to give a prompt when there's at least one thing wrong... whatever it is!

It could be a random function, I suppose, or you could have 3 per lesson, or whatever.

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