Idioms require special training

I'm no linguistic expert, but It seems to me that Duolingo should segregate the training of idioms from the training of literal sentences. What is happening now is that when someone, by bad luck, has to answer three idioms, misses and fails a lesson, he will repeat the whole lesson which will not necessarily train him in idioms. So he will repeat that lesson until, by chance, he gets a set of literal questions that will allow him to finish the lesson, still untrained in idioms. Also, an experienced Duolingo User will always look for the literal translation, but when an idiom comes I freeze, because I never know if Duolingo understands it as an Idiom that needs a figurative translation or if I have to just go along with it and translate it literally. If there were "idiom flags", learning would be improved.

October 3, 2013


Some expressions from Quebec, just for fun:

Tiens bien ta tuque = hold on to your hat //// Je te tire la pipe = i'm pulling your leg.... and no, ''pipe'' and ''leg'' don't mean the same thing lol ////// Je n'en reviens pas = i just can't believe it /////
J'en ai par dessus la tête = i'm swamped ////// C'est une affaire de rien = it's a piece of cake //// J'en ai plein mon casque = i've had it, i'm fed up, i can't take it anymore //// Prendre ses jambes à son cou = to get away running like a mad men //// Ça coute les yeux de la tête = it costs an arm and a leg //// On décrisse = let's get the fu.. out of here ////

Man, i'm having a hard time... everything that comes to mind is pretty much sexual lol Man, j'ai de la misère... tout ce qui me vient à l'esprit est plutôt sexuel lol

October 8, 2013

Allo! Thanks for les expressions Quebecois! I'm actually very interested in learning more Quebec-y idioms and sayings. I'm Canadian and love the Quebec style of French. If you are willing to provide more common expressions, I would be very interested to learn. Merci!

October 9, 2013

Bien merci Naturegal pour ton intérêt!! Funny enough, nothing comes to mind right now :( . But I'll come back an add some more to my original post with time... And i guess it would be even easier if you were to give me some english idioms that you'd like translated... Hasta pronto! = À bientôt! = see you soon

October 9, 2013

Thanks. Idioms can be so entertaining. Prende ses jambes à son cou = Seine Beine in die Hand nehmen. (So in German it's the hand not the neck.) I guess the sexual idioms can be very useful in everyday life, too. ;)

January 17, 2014

In fact, yes, ta perdu la parole means "don't you know what to say?" as for did you lose your voice would be "ta perdu ta voix?"

October 5, 2013

This is an excellent point. And it goes beyond the complex examples noted below. Simple things like "il faut" may be unclear to a new speaker because they are not expected to be translated literally. A flag on idiomatic phrases would be extremely helpful from the bottom of the learning curve to the top.

October 5, 2013

I agree with this idea 100%! Also, should Duolingo ask questions about french culture as well?

October 6, 2013

This is drifting a little off-topic. Anyway, I don't expect them to create new questions following specific themes (as commercial textbooks do), since I'm pretty sure the sentences are sampled from translated texts in an automated manner. That's how Duolingo works and why it's free. Maybe that is also why they don't flag idioms, because they may not know it is an idiom until someone tells them so.

October 7, 2013

agreed. Any examples?

October 4, 2013

"T'as perdu la parole?" was translated as "Did you lose your voice?", it could be signaled as an idiom so the user would feel free to write "the cat ate your tongue?". This way we would associate idioms between languages.

October 4, 2013

But as you said, MauroQuil, the best solution, big way, would be to treat the idiomatic expressions as separate things, as lexical items really. Duolingo should introduce words in the order of how common they are (their frequency), more common words earlier. In this scheme an idiomatic expression should be introduced when it is as common as the words that are introduced.

December 7, 2013

Agreed. I'm not complaining about not having enough idioms, I'm talking about how their natural idiomatic translations are being rejected in favor of their literal translations (which don't mean much to nobody)

December 7, 2013

You bring up an excellent point did you send a copy to the support tag at left.


December 18, 2013

no I did not

January 5, 2014

I think we are getting closer with the idiom lessons, but DuoLingo still requires feedback anytime they don't quite have it we need to report at each lesson.

January 5, 2014
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