Do you plan on offering russian?
To all waiting on russian, learn the alphabet first and how to write it, it will help a lot trust me, there's an awesome app for iphone and it quizzes you I have studied the alphabet for a week now and I am almost there, it looks complicated but is not, many sounds are the same, many letters are the same, and many words are phonetic. I love the sound of russian. До свидания! Do svidaniya! notice the russian letters, first one is a D and O, pretty simple, then on the second one, C sounds like S, B like V, и like ee, д like D, а like Ah, н like N, и like ee, я like ya. The nice thing about russian if you know the alphabet.
True, Russian writing is phonetic. We don't even have such thing as spelling words by naming their letters. If we need to tell the exact spelling of the word, we divide it into syllables and say it slowly. The differences between spelling and pronunciation are only due to reduction.
Don't you think that Google Translate failures with Russian have a reason, and the same reason may make Duolingo not so effective for learning Russian too? This reason is the structure of language which is quite different from what we have in English. I seriously doubt the effectiveness of learning Russian by translation without serious grammar explanations. The same goes to teaching English to Russian speakers although this is a little easier.
This does not mean I don't welcome Russian on Duolingo! I would be excited to see and test the course, to watch your progress with it and to help you because I'm Russian =)
English, French and German have much more in common than any of these languages has with Russian. Google Translate only confirms it because it works fairly well with these languages.
For us Russians learning English is also quite a challenge and if we undertake a second European language it is very often easier to learn it using English. That is why I learn French and German here on Duolingo and not on some Russian site.
Good luck with Russian! :-) I'd be happy to be mistaken about its difficulty.
It's super easy. You can start reading it in an afternoon if you want. It shares letters with the Roman (this one) and Greek alphabets and has a few of its own. It's lots of fun and looks so beautiful. Russian spelling is far more representational of its prononciation than that of English, so it's not as daunting as it looks. You'll feel so accomplished the first time you fill a page with your own Russian handwriting!
I support this. I looked at an outfit called Busuu (sp?) which claims to do something like duolingo. It was a complete fail. I even sent them a comment that they look at Duolingo to see how it can be done.
To Duolingo I send this. Do not model your Russian course (if any) on Busuu.
Making great progress on French with Duolingo. Very happy. Very impressed. It doesn't even seem like work in the way that previous approaches have been.
If Busuu were the only source I would never have been able to learn a language. I only learned a few German words there. I learned a lot of German on LiveMocha but Duolingo is much better for learning grammar structure. I like how Duolingo weaves the grammar into the lessons making it almost seamless. It reminds me of the way I learned English.
Yeah, it wasn't very good. I tried babbel on mine, the UI was much better than busuu's, but then I realised I had to fork over monthly payments in order to learn more than a fraction of French. What annoys me is that they're funded by the EU and still demand dough from their users!
While Duolingo doesn't have Russian yet, I recommend you to take a look here:
It's fairly basic and short, but at least covers the Cyrillic alphabet, the general rules of pronunciation, some grammars and the cases. Not a bad choice for beginners.
Thanks, protostellar. That looks like a good site, and I'll look it over more closely after writing this. I'm about at this level: http://www.ruscomrus.com/ (it's a really good site for listening practice; the new "for beginners" lessons are only a little easier than the other set, actually). For me, anyway, it would be great if dulingo offered Russian because the exercises provide really good practice. They're not perfect, but they provide the best online grammar/spelling practice I've ever seen. And the translation is fun too.
I think that the grammatical challenges of Russian are not substantially different than the challenges of grammar between German and English. i.e. the case system and the near irrelevance of word order (which I do understand is more pronounced in Russian.) Or at least not substantially different enough to pose a problem. It's one of the reasons I was surprised they did German first. So I don’t think it really changes the teaching model. I feel like Duolingo mostly operates like a workbook and listening lab most of the time with question and answers not unlike those in a regular language class. However, I do think this question of grammar raises a point about duolingo which could really stand improvement which is that even the short grammar helps in early lessons are so helpful, but then they drop away just a few levels up. (The French subjunctive lesson is a case in point - it is safe to say I know nothing new about the subjunctive after using that lesson and may in fact understand less than I did when I went into it). Always having to be hunting and pecking for explanations for why things are the way they are is so Rosetta stone. :) I actually ended up starting RS Russian since I doubt it will be coming to Duolingo soon and I think I get 10 times more out of Rosetta stone just knowing what the cases are in Russian and that they exist, even if I haven’t memorized tables.