How long do bloggers think lockdowns last?

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Cavesa
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Re: How long do bloggers think lockdowns last?

Postby Cavesa » Thu Jul 30, 2020 11:10 am

ryanheise wrote:If it weren't for Duolingo, perhaps the "lazy" learner would never have put any effort into languages at all.

And from Duolingo's perspective, they can make whatever product they want to make! So it's funny to me that some people care so much. A single product simply can't satisfy all market segments, and companies will always receive complaints from the other market segments that are not being served. But it is actually up to the company to say no to those other market segments in order to build a more cohesive and intuitive product for the target market.

Anyway, there are OTHER products out there in the world, aren't there? Just use the ones you like : - )


That sounds nice in theory, but the problem is that Duo has got such an omnipresent marketing, that it is a bit hard to avoid it.

People care so much, because Duo had so much promise and decided to go in a certain way, that is a bit against the original idea (it was originally meant to be a good learning tool).

Other market segments? Duo has overshadowed everything. It has unfortunately become the synonyme for independent language learning on the internet, which is very unfortunate.

I think people care so much, because some of us are fed up with seeing tons of well meaning but mislead learners online, asking basic stuff, and getting discouraged because all their supposed "hard work" has been almost worthless. And because we get underestimated, when we admit learning without a teacher, as everybody imagines as just as the Duo users. And because it is hard to recommend newbie learners other tools, as Duo's marketing is simply everywhere.

rdearman wrote:If I had to bet on someone with resolve and grit who is thick as a brick, or a super intelligent lazy person I would bet on the person with grit every time.

I don't use Duolingo but I can from the brief look at it see that they do have a community of users. And that community is also recommending other places for example clozemaster or other apps. So I suspect that the duolingo marketing is been corrected by the users such that anyone who thinks that exclusive use of Duolingo will teach them and language is being quickly corrected.

So I think whatever the drawbacks of the management of Duolingo the community of Duolingo seems to be a good counter balance to the effect of capitalism on the website.


Thank you. I would bet on the person with grit too, unless they were wasting they grit on playing with Duolingo.

The community has some better members, but it varies. When I was leaving, the toxic part was clearly prevailing. Duo may not do as much open marketing about the more problematic issues, but it certainly doesn't stop the misleading or toxic currents in the community. When I saw so many people wishing others to burn out and fail at learning, just because they were getting "too many league points" (isn't that the point of the leagues? to get many points?) and similar stuff, I was disgusted. And even those recommending the other resources usually recommend them as if the other resources were supplements to Duo instead of the opposite.

Saim wrote:
I don't "personally" know any Duolingo user who is actually under the delusion that they'll become a fluent speaker just by just using this app.


Why does every discussion on Duolingo need to include this red herring?

The issue isn't whether Duolingo can or can't bring you to fluency, and the criticism of Duolingo is not that people think that. The question is whether it's at all a good way to teach you some basics of the language.

"Wouldn't it be great if every learner were a serious learner?"


I certainly don't think so.

People can be casual learners if they want to, and should we really turn them away by telling them they need to get serious and stop enjoying this gamification stuff? Only if someone expresses that they want to be a serious learner should we treat them as such, otherwise let them be.


When my friends who aren't language enthusiasts talk about Duolingo I say it's not bad for the basics but you'll have to move on from it eventually.
When my students talk about Duolingo I say that I'm not a huge fan of it but it'll probably help if you're also taking classes.

When on online language learning forums I talk completely differently.


Thanks for pointing out the red herring! Really, nobody is criticising Duo because it is a beginner's course. It would be as much of a nonsense as criticising other courses for this. It is being criticised for doing badly what it is meant to do, which is teaching and drilling the basics.

I am all for people being casual or serious learners, slower or faster, aiming for higher or lower levels. I just dislike it, when they are being lied to. Unfortunately, the Duo marketing, presentation, and learning mechanisms are making the most casual learners believe they are the serious learners. And that is the problem.

It creates too high expectations when it comes to the results, it doesn't motivate them to look for something else, and it makes them oblivious about what real hard work on a language really is. Be a casual learner and have fun, it's great! But something is wrong, when you come on reddit and complain like "I've been working so hard, spent 200 hours on Duolingo, how comes I cannot understand a movie yet? What podcast can I supplement Duo with? How many more hours of Duo do I need? And why are they several translations for the same verb, why is it sometimes "hago" and sometimes "haces"?"
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Re: How long do bloggers think lockdowns last?

Postby ryanheise » Thu Jul 30, 2020 11:43 am

Saim wrote:
ryanheise wrote:That's a really interesting statistic (if it's true


It's not true.


Hold on just a second, please. :-) Can you please provide the numbers? You cut out the part of my comment that said it surely depends on how you count. So can you share how you are counting native speakers of Irish? I've looked, but I was not able to find any numbers to confirm what you're saying.

If you genuinely want to hear a counter-argument to your quip that "It's not worse than nothing", you may just need to express it in a less hostile way so that these Duolingo supporters feel welcome to join in a constructive discussion.


My point is that I absolutely don't have any goodwill towards Duolingo, and that's because of the way it's marketed and how popular it is. If you personally want to write a more positive review, feel free to write it.


OK, but I'm actually referring to a different point that you made:

4) it's ineffective, and no-one has any counter-argument to this other than "it's not worse than nothing"

Perhaps you can at least show some goodwill to the users of Duolingo? I'm not one of those users, by the way, but I know they exist because I follow their logs. I just don't think straw manning and ridiculing their arguments as "it's not worse than nothing" is an effective way to invite those quiet forum members to come out and share their opinions. It may be fine if you wish to show no goodwill (to Duolingo), but if you're genuinely interested to hear the perspectives of Duolingo users on this forum, this is not the way to do it. By now, the hostility and negativity in this thread is bound to make people a bit nervous to share their opinions, or at least feel like its not worth the effort to have their opnion understood and not straw manned.

I don't "personally" know any Duolingo user who is actually under the delusion that they'll become a fluent speaker just by just using this app.


Why does every discussion on Duolingo need to include this red herring?

The issue isn't whether Duolingo can or can't bring you to fluency, and the criticism of Duolingo is not that people think that. The question is whether it's at all a good way to teach you some basics of the language.


That comment wasn't directed at you, so we could very well be talking about different points here. (Apologies for the confusion.)
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Re: How long do bloggers think lockdowns last?

Postby rdearman » Thu Jul 30, 2020 12:05 pm

Cavesa wrote:It creates too high expectations when it comes to the results, it doesn't motivate them to look for something else, and it makes them oblivious about what real hard work on a language really is.

I don't think Duolingo is alone in that regard! Look at the bloggers I mentioned at the start of the thread, they are implying fluency during a 2-4 month lockdown. "Fluent in 3 Months" or Pimsleur which will teach you to "Speak like a native." Michel Thomas will teach me to "Learn a new language in hours, not years". Assimil will get you to C1 with "4 to 5 months of work at the rate of 30 to 40 minutes per day."

Seriously, all of them have marketing people with overactive imaginations and sell snake oil. I think it is a little unfair on Duolingo to single them out as the ones who set expectations too high.

I realize for a lot of people learning languages is easy-peasy, but honestly I think for average humans (or below average like me) language learning is a difficult uphill struggle and if marketing departments were honest nobody would start. I mean if marketing people were honest, would anyone by a Macbook? As they say: "The only genius at Apple works in the marketing department."

An honest assessment of reaching C1 level I posted earlier which was about 3000 hours of work, or the same amount required for a bachelors degree. Do you think any of those users would start if the marketing department lead with "ONLY 3000 hours of mind-numbing hard work! With just 1.5 years of work at 40 hours a week you can get to C1 level."

Anyone who believes what they say in advertisements needs a reality check anyway. Perhaps I'm too cynical, but when was the last time you bought something which was as good as the advertisement said it would be?

I think it would be nice to separate the COMPANY from the PRODUCT a little here. It seems to me that the PRODUCT isn't any worse than Clozemaster for example, although it would seem to be a little quicker to progress levels in Clozemaster. I still have yet to see anyone do a balanced review of Duolingo on the forum, although Eido did something which got buried in this thread. https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 19&t=15697

So, anyone willing to take a stab at doing a balanced review of Duolingo? I tried to do a balanced review for Clozemaster: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 14&t=15696 which someone could use as a template?

There does seem a lot of hostility toward Duolingo and as a non-user I still don't understand the Pros and Cons of using it. Honestly, I think it must work for people, or nobody would use it. Duolingo seems a bit like Marmite you either love it or hate it.
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Re: How long do bloggers think lockdowns last?

Postby Saim » Thu Jul 30, 2020 12:14 pm

ryanheise wrote:Hold on just a second, please. :-) Can you please provide the numbers? You cut out the part of my comment that said it surely depends on how you count. So can you share how you are counting native speakers of Irish? I've looked, but I was not able to find any numbers to confirm what you're saying.


Sorry, I'll admit I misread that part of your comment, I didn't notice you were talking about the claims in that thread.

That thread isn't the Duoling PR claim about Irish. Here is a longer explanation of the Duolingo PR claim.

As for the thread you linked to, it's a perfect example of Duolingo and the community around it spreading confusion about minority languages and language learning.

How is this possible? Because Duolingo is completely awesome!!

You must be feeling an immense feeling of pride and responsibility right now hahah

We can keep this language alive! :D We're going to pull a Hebrew (a language revival). :D

I would like to see more minority languages making a come back. :) That's why I think it would be cool if there was a Luxembourgish, Romansh and Yiddish course made.

Woah.. Duolingo is absolutely revolutionary. Thanks, Irish team and Duolingo! That's amazing!!!


Do you see what's wrong with all this?

Perhaps you can at least show some goodwill to the users of Duolingo? I'm not one of those users, by the way, but I know they exist because I follow their logs. I just don't think straw manning and ridiculing their arguments as "it's not worse than nothing" is an effective way to invite those quiet forum members to come out and share their opinions.


It may be a slight exaggeration but I'm not aware of any serious defense of Duolingo that doesn't implicitly recognise it's not very good.
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Re: How long do bloggers think lockdowns last?

Postby Cainntear » Thu Jul 30, 2020 1:11 pm

tarvos wrote:But don't pen me the same essay fifty times to tell me something I already agree with.

Sorry. I've heard so many people argue "the invisible hand of the market will save us" recently that I took your comment at face value and missed the sarcasm.
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Re: How long do bloggers think lockdowns last?

Postby Beli Tsar » Thu Jul 30, 2020 2:08 pm

rdearman wrote:
Cavesa wrote:It creates too high expectations when it comes to the results, it doesn't motivate them to look for something else, and it makes them oblivious about what real hard work on a language really is.

I don't think Duolingo is alone in that regard! Look at the bloggers I mentioned at the start of the thread, they are implying fluency during a 2-4 month lockdown. "Fluent in 3 Months" or Pimsleur which will teach you to "Speak like a native." Michel Thomas will teach me to "Learn a new language in hours, not years". Assimil will get you to C1 with "4 to 5 months of work at the rate of 30 to 40 minutes per day."
.........
An honest assessment of reaching C1 level I posted earlier which was about 3000 hours of work, or the same amount required for a bachelors degree. Do you think any of those users would start if the marketing department lead with "ONLY 3000 hours of mind-numbing hard work! With just 1.5 years of work at 40 hours a week you can get to C1 level."

Anyone who believes what they say in advertisements needs a reality check anyway. Perhaps I'm too cynical, but when was the last time you bought something which was as good as the advertisement said it would be?


Totally agree here! And the other, very pernicious, force at work for apps and websites is that they feel compelled to present themselves as the one true app, the one ring to rule them all. This isn't just Duo - any app or website looking for funding ends up presenting themselves that way.

The reality is that there's a proliferation of great apps that are good bits of a language-learning toolkit. But they are terrible if you think that they can do the job on their own. And many of them not only advertise but price as if they could! Glossika, LingQ, all of them offer prices that are realistic if they are your main source of language learning, but unrealistic if you realise that the learning they offer isn't that different to a fat textbook.

Clozemaster is to be commended for the way that they present themselves - as a particular piece of the puzzle, for a stage in learning, not the be-all and end-all.

But without a much broader understanding of just how hard language learning is, among both buyers and venture-capitalists, that's going to remain unusual.

And, as has been pointed out, if we separate the companies and the hype from the reality of the tools themselves, they often aren't bad. People 10 or 20 years ago would have been amazed at how good our tools are now.

That's even true of Duo. Without getting too far into the argument it's not great compared to a serious textbook/lessons/your-method-of-choice. But if I compare it to, say, the French I learned at school, it's incomparably better. I wish I'd had it then! It sets the bar too low; but the bar, generally, for most of us, has been somewhere beneath the floor for some time...
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Re: How long do bloggers think lockdowns last?

Postby Cainntear » Thu Jul 30, 2020 2:36 pm

Cavesa wrote:People care so much, because Duo had so much promise and decided to go in a certain way, that is a bit against the original idea (it was originally meant to be a good learning tool).

This is exactly it. I resent Duo because it had so much promise, and it squandered the opportunity. I have not yet restated all of this in this particular thread, so I will go back and write a more detailed criticism, probably at the weekend.

Other market segments? Duo has overshadowed everything. It has unfortunately become the synonyme for independent language learning on the internet, which is very unfortunate.

Very much this.

10 years ago, we were all moaning about Rosetta Stone, and people kept saying "If you don't like it, don't use it! No problem!" But RS dominated public discourse about language at the time. It kept getting uncritical reviews in the newspapers -- free publicity. They spammed you at airports. They followed you around the internet, stalking you in bright yellow in targeted ads. As soon as you talked about language learning to friends or family, someone would ask "Have you tried Rosetta Stone?" and you'd be forced into a polite description of why it's utter trash.

Why don't we constantly gripe about RS here the same way we did on HTLAL? Has Rosetta Stone as a language-learning regotten less godawful? Only marginally. The big difference is just that it's no longer the big thing. What has eclipsed the bright yellow sun? A big green owl.

Is Duolingo worse than Rosetta Stone? Absolutely not. But it is vastly more influential than Rosetta Stone ever was.

But something is wrong, when you come on reddit and complain like "I've been working so hard, spent 200 hours on Duolingo, how comes I cannot understand a movie yet? What podcast can I supplement Duo with? How many more hours of Duo do I need? And why are they several translations for the same verb, why is it sometimes "hago" and sometimes "haces"?"

This is the sort of question I'm seeing on the Gaelic forums: "Why is it madainn mhath but feasgar math?" (gender agreement, noun/adjective) "Why is to ((whatever)) sometimes ((past tense form)) and sometimes ((future tense form))?"
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Re: How long do bloggers think lockdowns last?

Postby galaxyrocker » Thu Jul 30, 2020 3:22 pm

tarvos wrote:It makes sense to go for ad views if you want revenue in this capitalist world. Did you expect Duolingo to be a non-profit?


When an organization's original stated goal was to bring "free language education to the world", explicitly mentioning those poorer countries that are learning English, yes, I'd expect that to be the goal of a non-profit, not a for-profit company. Yes, they've pivoted their goals now, but that was their original intent (and they still tout it every once in a while)
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Re: How long do bloggers think lockdowns last?

Postby galaxyrocker » Thu Jul 30, 2020 3:26 pm

ryanheise wrote:Hold on just a second, please. :-) Can you please provide the numbers? You cut out the part of my comment that said it surely depends on how you count. So can you share how you are counting native speakers of Irish? I've looked, but I was not able to find any numbers to confirm what you're saying.


The issue with that specific claim is how Duolingo counts users. As long as you've done one lesson in the past year, you're counted in their stats. That means it's a basically useless stat and we can't actually tell how many people are truly "learning" Irish on Duolingo (i.e. doing lessons regularly, etc.); it's a meaningless stat, used solely for PR. That said, you definitely shouldn't count all Irish people as native speakers of Irish; most of them decidedly aren't, and, even after years of education, can't pronounce the language correctly (this is another issue I'm not going to go into here -- see the Scottish Gaelic thread for some more info, or my log), let alone really speak in it.
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Re: How long do bloggers think lockdowns last?

Postby tarvos » Thu Jul 30, 2020 3:36 pm

Cainntear wrote:
tarvos wrote:But don't pen me the same essay fifty times to tell me something I already agree with.

Sorry. I've heard so many people argue "the invisible hand of the market will save us" recently that I took your comment at face value and missed the sarcasm.


Don't worry about it, mate. I'm cynical about people, I thought that was obvious from the way I spoke. I was just stating the obvious - Duo want your money. Most companies do, and they'd be lying if they said they didn't. No anger here!

When an organization's original stated goal was to bring "free language education to the world", explicitly mentioning those poorer countries that are learning English, yes, I'd expect that to be the goal of a non-profit, not a for-profit company. Yes, they've pivoted their goals now, but that was their original intent (and they still tout it every once in a while)


Don't b-b-believe the hype! Companies do a lot of marketing. And everybody is learning English with Duolingo, that it sucks doesn't matter to them, now does it?
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