Past and Future tenses
Why does it take so long before past and future tenses of verbs are taught? It seems like I have to learn so much obscure vocab, before I can learn how to have a basic conversation.
Now that I'm going through the German tree, which I believe is what the original post was talking about, I agree. Because all of the most complicated things in German are things that you need to construct even the most basic of sentences (German plurals, noun declination, adjective declination, etc.), it takes forever to be able to do anything. The German tree is only Present tense for roughly 60% of the course. What's more, it spends so much time focusing on vocabulary before teaching you verb tenses. After over 2 months of German, being in level 11 at the moment, I can say "Although the old doctor likes eating chicken at home, he does not like cats.", or other similar senseless sentences, but I can't say "I ate bread yesterday" or "I will eat bread" or even "I would eat bread". I feel that the German tree needs to get its priorities straight, since at least for me I would rather learn how to say 20-30 things in varying tenses, perfect them, and then move on to increasing vocabulary knowing how to conjugate any verb I learn in any tense, especially because Duolingo is such a great practice tool that it's kind of a shame that most of the most complicated tenses are in the last few lessons, so that you've only gone through about 5 lessons with those skills when you've completed your tree, and since nothing comes afterwards you can only practice those skills by strengthening those specific Units, often with only 30-40 questions, so you often memorize all of the questions before you've actually learned the material.
Anyway, I think I've ranted enough, but I think that in the context of the German tree the original poster is right.
I think it's better to get to know the basic structure first, then you're learning a lot of words (which is good, since learning them earlier gives you more time to work on them), then you learn the more complicated tenses, which tend not to be something that takes time to learn, but rather something that once you understand what you're doing you've got it.
I'm finding the same, my French friend is always correcting me saying "use the past tense" but I tell him the way I'm learning only teaches me the present and near future tense, so until I learn that I'll keep using the present tense to discuss what happened yesterday. We often end up reverting back to English which is great for him and but not so good for my learning/practise.
If I can't find anything that teaches it in a nice way like Duolingo, I might even try writing my own web app to achieve this (for basic French to begin with). Although it seems like a waste of time writing a web app from scratch to only re-invent a worse version of a wheel (duolingo being the better wheel) that is already built into Duolingo, I just can't access it until I've learnt about the household.......... face palm
Like you said ryan5, I can talk all about how that duck is eating the bread and is playing with the swans, but why would I need to say that. It would be much more useful to be able to say "I ate bread yesterday".
I agree. My Goethe Institute course brings in the simpler conversational forms of the past much earlier than Duolingo. To have ANY kind of a real conversation, you need to be able to work with the past and future. I'm looking at the sea of stuff I have to go through before I get to these elements and am a little discouraged. Duolingo is super for drilling and some other things, but seems to drop the ball in some areas.