I think duoLingo's "Words and rules" (as Steven Pinker might put it) approach to the lessons is basically very sound. At the same time, I also think the lessons that duoLingo lets us buy in the beginning of starting a new language are very interesting--who hasn't smiled at the idioms, laughed at the flirting lines, or learned some new Christmas customs?
I just wonder if it's possible to EXPAND the use of these. Maybe at key points in the tree, other lessons-for-purchase could be offered (i.e. it wouldn't be enough simply to have lingots in the bank, but you'd actually need to reach a certain point in your progression).
Examples: 1. "Dear John" phrases: the logical counterpoint to the "Flirting" lesson ("I think we should see other people" etc) 2. "Mommie talk": phrases that caretakers use with young children to engage them (Spanish for "duckie" or "choo-choo-train," anyone?) 3. "Mother talk": phrases that teenagers love to hear so much ("Wait until you have kids of your own!" etc) 4. Regional varieties--showcasing quirks in usages in different areas of that language's spread (Mexican Spanish, etc) 5. Stories/Folktales: Especially for those which are tied specifically to a particular background ("Zorro"?). Some might even be available in serial ("Don Quixote"?).
Some of these would definitely make more sense to put later in the tree, and there are a myriad of possibilities. (And naturally these also apply to any of the other languages, too.) Just thinking out loud...
Agreed. But I'd like to have bonus skills people will want to do. Like "Hair", which would be useful in a barber shop or salon. Or "Elements", which I would personally enjoy.
I guess finding the skills that people will want to do would involve gathering info about that--which might be one reason why there aren't more of these kinds of lessons. I agree that "Hair" or similarly-themed things should go over well (survival phrases--"at a hotel" etc).
Some of the new lessons wouldn't necessarily involve teaching lots of new words (such as the "rejection lines"): the words are probably there already, but they'd be presented in a new way. Just a thought...