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we need somewhere within duolingo that explicitly explains grammar

We need somewhere within duolingo that will explicitly explain grammar rules.

It would help so much to be able to read over a basic explanation of the conventions of the language we are learning

September 22, 2013



Duo seems to be a long way away from having an interest in this, appearing to favor the inductive 'learn from your mistakes' method and relying on fellow learners to explain things in the discussion forum. One reason I say this is because, rather than than answer a very basic question about Spanish that has been posted in the general forum, a moderator will just announce that 'it is being moved to the Spanish forum.' I would think they could both answer the question and move it, right?

The current emphasis on scores, awards, streaks, and other 'game' aspects suggests to me that people that want to 'study' a language are not being regarded as highly as those that want 'game their way through.' My two cents, reflective of my learning g style. I'd prefer to know how to do something and be successful as I attempt it rather than 'learn from my mistakes.' ;)

IMO, if a person wants more grammar than Duo offers, one needs to be self-reliant and get a good dictionary and grammar, online or on paper, and pick up a used college textbook, and use them. There are good free sites that will explain the grammar, andI expect they are as readily available on French as in Spanish.


I'm sort of on the fence about this one. I, like you appear to also, really like to understand the grammatical rules behind a language. I started learning Spanish in high school with the standard approach of rote vocabulary and studying grammar. Even though I took 3 years of it and passed all three with near perfect scores, I still was completely unable to do anything useful with Spanish such as listen to and understand podcasts, music, or television. I was also largely unable to read native materials without great difficulty (including children's books).

A couple of years later, I ended up befriending, and later dating, a wonderful lady from Mexico who spoke English about as well [poorly] as I spoke Spanish. During this period, I paid zero attention to grammar and simply learned through immersion. I really started to get a feel for what just sounds right and what doesn't. This is exactly what we do in our native language. We don't always know why, but we just know when something isn't right.

Later, I decided I really wanted to improve my fluency beyond the intermediate level, so I started to dig into various grammar books. What I found when going through the "rules" is that they are almost always more like guidelines rather than actual rules as there are almost always exceptions. I definitely don't want to discount the usefulness of this exercise, as it was most certainly useful, but I recall thinking about exceptions I had naturally picked up while reading the so-called "rules". In many cases, I ended up questioning things that I knew "sounded right", versus what the rules said they should be which actually led to me making more mistakes than I was making before studying the grammar.

This happens in English all the time too. For example, one of the first rules that is taught to English learners is that to make a noun plural, you add s or es and change y to ies. Then shortly thereafter one encounters words that don't follow the pattern like woman and women, tooth and teeth, and foot and feet. After a little more time, they likely run across half and halves, fungus and fungi, crisis and crises, etc. Just when they think they have seen most of the patterns of the irregularities, along come the ones that don't change from singular to plural like fish, aircraft, and species.

So, my point is that while I see the benefit of learning the grammar, and I won't discount it completely, I contend that you learn far more from simply immersing yourself into the language and getting a feel for what sounds right versus what rules (that aren't really rules) say.


...a moderator will just announce that 'it is being moved to the Spanish forum.

Just to clarify, not a moderator's doing. Moderators don't have that capability.

IMO, if a person wants more grammar than Duo offers, one needs to be self-reliant and get a good dictionary and grammar, online or on paper, and pick up a used college textbook, and use them.

Seconded. That's the only way to successfully grasp the language you're studying with Duo. Duo is just an exercise book. I have 20-30 bookmarked German dictionary and grammar links, and I use them quite frequently.


> I would think they could both answer the question and move it, right?

No, they rarely could. The Duo mod who moved your question is not necessarily an expert in the language (they may be an expert on another language). Moreover, even if they do know the answer, in any Internet forums, there are a limited number of mods and they are always very busy with other stuffs; a mods' primary duty is to keep a safe and pleasant environment for everyone, not to answer everyone's questions. On the other hand, there are a larger number of native speakers that frequents their native languages' discussion forum and will happily answers your question.

> IMO, if a person wants more grammar than Duo offers, one needs to be self-reliant and > get a good dictionary and grammar, online or on paper, and pick up a used college textbook, > and use them. There are good free sites that will explain the grammar, andI expect they > are as readily available on French as in Spanish.

That's a very good tip. There are many different ways to explain grammars and IMO finding one that fits your own style of learning are better than having all learners use a single resource.


"Gaming your way through" is now you learned your native language. When you were three years old, you kept saying "I runned". You Mom didn't hand you a chart showing the conjugation of the verb "run". She just correct you "Oh, you ran?" You didn't care about grammer, just abot being understood and praised for understanding.

My English grammar is decent, but it's only in a few areas I can give a proscriptive rule for grammar (and much of that from studying Latin in high school). My knowledge of grammar is more a sense of "that sounds right; that doesn't", which comes from an unconscious statistical analysis of all the English I've heard and read over a lifetime.

Duolingo is trying to give you a corpus (a body of data from which your mind will compute those statistics) for the language you're studying The Duolingo corpus is necessarily much smaller than your native corpus, both in extant and in depth.

I'm working through the German skill tree, and I'm consciously trying not to memorize rules, the genders of works, declensions or conjugations, Because no one does this when talking or writing in their native language; they just "know" it's "die Frau" when she's a subject and "der Frau" when an indirect object because that "sounds right", even if they have no idea of what a "subject" or "indirect object" is. Doing a "table lookup" ("Die, Die, Der...) is at best an intermediate step to compensate for not "internalizing" the word.

For at least the first several years of learning a language, you're going to make mistakes. Even after that, you're going to use constructions that are natural in your native language, but unnatural in the second language (you'll notice this all the time even in good non-native English speakers, for example, the use of "today morning" in false analogy to "yesterday morning" or "tomorrow morning", by native Telegu speakers.) Don't be afraid of this. Once you get to a point of rudimnetary communication in your target language, you'll be able to improve t by practicing it.


Duolingo is great for learning vocabulary and improving one's basic understanding of a new language. Other free or paid resources are necessary if one wants a more detailed guide regarding language rules. For example, I use Spanish Dict (free), Study Spanish (free), and Rocket Spanish (paid) to supplement my Duolingo experience. I find Duolingo the most fun and the best resource for daily Spanish practice and learning new words. I find the other resources more useful for learning specific language rules. While it would be nice if one resource had everything, for now we need to rely on more than just one.


I use Study Spanish as well. it offers lessons that explain some of the basic rules of Spanish grammar, though of course the free information is limited.


I disagree. In my opinion, developing stand-alone grammar sections is one of the last things duolingo should spend its limited budget on.

There are so many resources for learning or looking up grammar for all the languages offered. Many thousands of grammar books have been published on all the main languages of the world and there are also many free online grammar resources available, as others have pointed out.

What duolingo offers is fairly unique and quite innovative. I would much rather they continue to develop along the lines they have already established and particularly I would like to see more work put into the immersion (translate the web) part of the website. This is what will earn them money and is also a very interesting activity for users. Plus, of course, the community tools for adding more languages.

The contextual grammar advice that duolingo already offers is all I want from the site. If I need more then I look elsewhere and am happy doing so.


I think Duo would easily have enough volunteers to help develop more of a grammar guide. We're not talking about a textbook worth of stuff here. Just a simple guide to por vs. para or imperfect vs. preterite (I'm not sure if French has equivalents but I would assume so).


There are lots of good resources within reach of a google search. My favourite, and one often cited in the comments, is spanishdict.com. I find that I study quite a bit of grammar and background material when looking for understanding this way. I don't think that DL can do everything; it would have to change its logo from a wise owl to a sprawling octopus!


Even if they don't have the ressources to write such pages themselves, they could lust make a wiki page where users can write explanations, others can edit them and so on, sort like the immersion translations. I'd rather write down my explanations on a topic on such a page than explaining the same problem over and over.


This is where I am lacking. I can remember nouns easily but have no idea what a subjunctive perfect present article is or how or when to use it. I accept that duo is free and I'm slowly picking things up but I wish there was a way to incorporate more of the underlying theory to assist me.

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