Oct. 1st, 2012

tmcg: (googlewilly)
Just before it came out of beta, I got an invitation and signed up at Duolingo. I picked German, since I'd already studied Spanish, and French wasn't quite ready yet. Over the summer (also working with Michel Thomas recordings, which I can't recommend highly enough--but more on that another time) I climbed my way module by module and (painstaking) translation by translation up to Level 15.

I'm still happily plugging away at German, but recently I got itchy to find out what happens once you've mastered all the modules in the skill tree. (When you've done all the lessons, you've finished the module; you can then, either by accumulating skill points through translations or by testing out of the skill module, acquire Mastery, at which point the module's colored rectangle in the skill tree turns gold and displays a golden trophy.) So I switched to Spanish and set out to turn all the modules gold, in the process also brushing up my Spanish, which needs it.

A couple of nights ago, testing out of Determiners, my last remaining ungilded Spanish module, I turned the whole tree gold! Since you get a fullscreen trophy when you master a skill and a sprightly trumpet flourish when you level up, I expected something cool. Animated fireworks? The sound of a cheering crowd?

But there was nothing! All that happened was that the Duolingo-recommends-you-do-this-lesson-next star appeared on a mastered module about halfway back up. An understandable continuation, since Duolingo trades language lessons for translation services, and they want you to keep translating, especially as you get better at the language...and there's a virtue-is-its-own-reward pleasure in seeing all those gilded, betrophied rectangles...but still. There should be cheers and fireworks before the crushing realization that you have embarked on a Sisyphean task.

Ah, well. In case anyone who sees this wants to connect over there, I'm TMcG there.

Update, October 2nd: They've redone the lessons page and separated translations out entirely. Much controversy has ensued! So far I like the new setup, and it clarifies a lot of what I was scratching my head over in this post.

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