Lost in translation

Alright, I’ve just watched the Orientation video for the famed French in Action class. I  am left with two thoughts:

      1. Being fatigué (or fatiguée, in my case) is a lot worse than being tired. (see 15:23)
      2. Also, and related: it may not be possible for a person born and raised in central Illinois to be fatiguée, at least not in public.

Which brings me to my first question: how does one say “Great!” in French?

Or: Good!

As in:

Pascaline: Hi, Catherine, how are you?

Catherine: Great!

Or, alternatively:

Pascaline: Hi, Catherine, how are you?

Catherine: Good!

(Is it rude to say Great! (or Good!) in French? With the exclamation mark?)

That’s my second question.

Mysteries of the apps

Meanwhile, on Doug S’s recommendation, I’ve also devoted myself to Duolingo & Tinycards, which seem terrific and well worth my time.

But I’ve hit a snag:

  • I’m stuck on the difference between bonne soirée and bonsoir
  • I can’t figure out the meaning of Duolingo’s color coding, or its skill charts, or the rules that govern when I get to move on to learning words for food; nor do I know what an ‘xp’ goal is or what “60/20” means in relation to my xp goal, or whether it’s good or bad that I have “6 hours left.” Six hours left till what, exactly?

The plan seems to be for me to carry on learning (or “strengthening“?) Lessons 1, 2, 3, and 4 until a time to be determined, and not by me.

Maybe you have to know when to say bonne soirée before they let you learn the French word for bread.


Duolingo___Learn_French_for_free 2

Is there a Missing Manual for Duolingo?

3 thoughts on “Lost in translation

  1. Duolingo basics:

    “Gold” (orangey-yellow) skills are skills where you’ve completed all the lessons (but see also below).
    When you have completed all the skills on a horizontal line, the next line becomes available for work. You can always go back to old skills for more practice. It’s not clear to me what the difference are between other colors.

    By default, your goal will be two lessons (20 xp) per day. You can set that higher if you want. The time remaining is the time until midnight by which you need to have finished the lessons to keep your streak of continuous days running. Long streaks of continuous days give you “Lingots”, which can be used buy … well, not very much, really. (I currently have over 1400 Lingots.)

    As you add experience points, you can gain levels in the language. These give you more Lingots.


    After you have been working on a language for a while, old skills will start to decay and turn back to their base colors. You can take refresher lessons in those skills to push them back to “mastery”.

    If you go to your profile, you can see your progress. If you look down the right side of the page, you can see a place to invite friends. (There are way too many “Catherine Johnsons”, or I’d send an invite, but I’m listed under my name.)

    Let me know if there’s anything I can help with.


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