Restating views on Duolingo

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Tlernen
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Re: Restating views on Duolingo

Postby Tlernen » Sun Aug 16, 2020 9:37 am

I find the so-called voice recognition system on Duolingo to be nothing but a sham. They should do like Glossika and use the recording as a tool for self-evaluation vs a native speaker, instead. Something more like shadowing. The voice-recognition software just isn't ready and will confuse learners, imo.
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Re: Restating views on Duolingo

Postby Xenops » Sun Aug 16, 2020 5:54 pm

tangleweeds wrote:I'm of this school too. I have a lot of language apps on my phone to play with when waiting for/riding transit (hmm maybe not so mucn anymore) killing time out on the porch when it's too hot. Kanji and kana apps for Japanese, Lingodeer, Duolingo, Rosetta, mandolin fretboard apps, kindle books... anything to keep me from doomscrolling social media or news sites!


I did discover today that LingoDeer does have a website proper, and that it's free, so I will give that a try. It's quite possible that what bugs me about the app will be different if I can type.

Tlernen wrote:I find the so-called voice recognition system on Duolingo to be nothing but a sham. They should do like Glossika and use the recording as a tool for self-evaluation vs a native speaker, instead. Something more like shadowing. The voice-recognition software just isn't ready and will confuse learners, imo.


These are my settings for Duolingo: if the speaking option comes up, I skip it.
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Re: Restating views on Duolingo

Postby Beli Tsar » Tue Aug 18, 2020 10:32 am

tangleweeds wrote:
Xenops wrote:Doesn't mean I can't use it as a resource. Using it as my only resource isn't ideal, but as an additional resource, why not?
<snip>
In short, I agree with iguanamon's approach: use many resources, don't rely on one. If it fits your lifestyle, why not use it?
I'm of this school too. I have a lot of language apps on my phone to play with when waiting for/riding transit (hmm maybe not so mucn anymore) killing time out on the porch when it's too hot. Kanji and kana apps for Japanese, Lingodeer, Duolingo, Rosetta, mandolin fretboard apps, kindle books... anything to keep me from doomscrolling social media or news sites!


I think this is true and helpful. Many of Cainntear's criticisms are also quite true, and Duo has dramatically failed to live up to either the hype or the possibility of AI-powered language learning.
But a range of undemanding, easy to access is still good, especially when killing time on the porch/bus/whatever. Ideally, Anki fills this time for me. But, having been ill a lot recently, I can vouch for the value of resources that take very little mental power. The best language learning is hard and intensive. Sometimes, though, we can't wrestle through textbooks or intensive reading, let alone a hardcore Anki deck, and we're too early in the learning process for extensive reading, and we're just too tired/sick/mentally spent. Duo and co. fit that well. Is it optimal? Far from it. But can it add a little more exposure at those times I most struggle to get it or fit it in? That's a different question.
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Re: Restating views on Duolingo

Postby iguanamon » Tue Aug 18, 2020 2:40 pm

Xenops wrote:... I agree with iguanamon's approach: use many resources, don't rely on one. ...

In my multi-track approach, I don't say to use "many" resources. For monolingual beginners, I suggest using two main courses- one should be a traditional textbook with audio course and the other should be complimentary so that the courses help to reinforce each other and fill in each others' blanks. I also add in some limited native material. It really depends on how thorough the textbook w/audio course is... and this can be quite different for individual courses and languages. The DLI Basic courses I used for Haitian Creole and Portuguese were quite thorough with drills, readings, comprehension exercises, a dialog and grammar.

Experienced learners with at least one self-taught language under their belt, know the formula they need to learn a language. They know how to judge the quality of a resource(s). They don't get suckered in by the hype. They know that no course in itself is perfect. They know that no single course will bring them to a high level in a language. They don't expect a course to do all the heavy lifting for them.

One of the common mistakes I see is beginners overwhelming themselves with resources to the point where it tends to dilute the impact of a good main course. There is a "marination" aspect a learner gets when concentrating on a couple of main resources when the instruction has time to soak into the mind. The key is progress and building a "virtuous circle". Do the lesson, try your best to master it (but it doesn't have to be perfectly mastered), move on to the next one. Most good textbook w/audio courses will have a built in review. DLI had built in reviews. Assimil has built in reviews. Pimsleur has review built-in with its "graduated interval recall" throughout the course. For a further description of the multi-track approach- please see my signature link below.
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Re: Restating views on Duolingo

Postby Keys » Wed Aug 19, 2020 8:01 pm

For me I discovered after a while that it was more rewarding and a more fun learning experience to do Duolingo AFTER I had done a course in the target language, when I'm not strong enough yet to practice through reading or other more fun methods. :)

A lot of the Duolingo sentence practice that would normally raise questions about grammar or word choices then becomes more of an aha-erlebnis and strengthens my knowledge of the grammar. The gamified setup of Duolingo makes it possible to keep going as opposed to more dry sentence practice tools. And there's still a lot of individual words that I didn't encounter in the course so apart from strengthening my grammar I also expand my vocabulary.

My kids who are doing German and Dutch and Klingon on Duolingo do the speech parts as well and it seems Duolingo almost accepts everything they say as long as what they say comes a bit close to what it's supposed to be, so I agree their speech recognition is not ideal ;)
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Re: Restating views on Duolingo

Postby Cainntear » Fri Aug 21, 2020 1:43 pm

Keys wrote:For me I discovered after a while that it was more rewarding and a more fun learning experience to do Duolingo AFTER I had done a course in the target language, when I'm not strong enough yet to practice through reading or other more fun methods. :)

A lot of the Duolingo sentence practice that would normally raise questions about grammar or word choices then becomes more of an aha-erlebnis and strengthens my knowledge of the grammar. The gamified setup of Duolingo makes it possible to keep going as opposed to more dry sentence practice tools. And there's still a lot of individual words that I didn't encounter in the course so apart from strengthening my grammar I also expand my vocabulary.

And if Duolingo was designed around that, it could be truly excellent. But it doesn't let me tell it what I've learned elsewhere (or what I've taught my students) and it never makes any obvious efforts to work out what I've learned elsewhere. That's what frustrates me so much: that they're so hell-bent on pretending it's something it's not that they miss the opportunity to make it really good at what it's good at.

My kids who are doing German and Dutch and Klingon on Duolingo do the speech parts as well and it seems Duolingo almost accepts everything they say as long as what they say comes a bit close to what it's supposed to be, so I agree their speech recognition is not ideal ;)

I used to play a game... I would try to see where the boundaries of what it would accept were. I ended up finding I could speak like Pingu or the teacher in the cartoon version of Charlie Brown.
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Re: Restating views on Duolingo

Postby annelions » Fri Aug 21, 2020 6:19 pm

I don't think that Duolingo is that bad, especially for absolute beginners. However, I do agree that it doesn't live up to its own hype. And when absolute beginners discover this then they might get the impression that this is the way all language learning is and give up on it forever. I love that they use weird sentences to help the learning stick into your brain. I hate that there is very little in the way of actual instruction going on. The "tips" aren't that obvious and aren't always that useful when you're stuck on a given concept. It could have been so good but, instead, we only get a mediocre app that doesn't teach nearly as many languages as should/could.
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Re: Restating views on Duolingo

Postby lavengro » Fri Aug 21, 2020 8:41 pm

annelions wrote: .... a mediocre app that doesn't teach nearly as many languages as should/could.

Just out of curiosity, how many languages do you think Duolingo should/could teach?

It currently offers the following for English language speakers:

Spanish, French, German, Japanese, Italian, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, Hindi, Turkish, Dutch, Latin, Swedish, Greek, Irish, Polish, Norwegian Bokmål, Hebrew, Vietnamese, Hawaiian, Danish, Romanian, Indonesian, Welsh, Czech, Scottish Gaelic, Swahili, Ukrainian, Esperanto, Hungarian, Navajo and Finnish.

It is actively developing courses for English language speakers in the following: Yiddish, Haitian Creole and Te reo Māori.

It has or is actively developing a wide range of courses (71) for those whose native language is not English, including for native language speakers of the following:

Arabic: English, French, German, Spanish, Swedish
Bengali: English
Chinese: English, Esperanto, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish
Czech: English
Dutch: English, French, German
French: English, Esperanto, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish
German: English, French, Italian, Spanish
Greek: English
Hebrew: English
Hindi: English
Hungarian: English, German
Indonesian: English
Italian: English, French, German, Spanish
Japanese: Chinese, English
Korean: English
Polish: English
Portuguese: English, Esperanto, French, German, Italian, Spanish
Punjabi: English
Romanian: English
Russian: English, French, German, Spanish, Swedish
Spanish: Catalan, English, Esperanto, French, German, Guarani, Italian, K'iche', Portuguese, Russian, Swedish, Yucatec
Tagalog: English
Tamil: English
Telugu: English
Thai: English
Turkish: English, French, German, Russian
Ukrainian: English
Vietnamese: English
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Re: Restating views on Duolingo

Postby annelions » Fri Aug 21, 2020 11:57 pm

lavengro wrote:
annelions wrote: .... a mediocre app that doesn't teach nearly as many languages as should/could.

Just out of curiosity, how many languages do you think Duolingo should/could teach?

It currently offers the following for English language speakers:

Spanish, French, German, Japanese, Italian, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, Hindi, Turkish, Dutch, Latin, Swedish, Greek, Irish, Polish, Norwegian Bokmål, Hebrew, Vietnamese, Hawaiian, Danish, Romanian, Indonesian, Welsh, Czech, Scottish Gaelic, Swahili, Ukrainian, Esperanto, Hungarian, Navajo and Finnish.

It is actively developing courses for English language speakers in the following: Yiddish, Haitian Creole and Te reo Māori.


For English speakers: Croatian (because I'm currently biased), Farsi/Persian, Urdu, more African languages than Swahili, other languages from India, Thai, Filipino/Tagalog, Cantonese...

There are a lot of languages that have been requested multiple times over the years on Duolingo and they aren't even in the incubator. For non-English speakers, I'm not sure what else ought to be added but I'm sure that there are things that people would like to see.

For what is essentially a crowd-sourced language platform, they really don't have that many offerings.
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