Chinese (Mandarin) for English speakers
Like many people on this site, I can't wait for Chinese to be released into the incubator. Obviously I understand that with the Chinese writing system this course would be very difficult to make and it may be many years before this is possible.
What if the course only taught us to speak, listen and read though? That would be a much easier course to make. The English for Chinese course already makes people read the Chinese and translate to English, so the reading wouldn't be a problem for the Duolingo software. We could hear the Chinese and write our answer in English for the listening. And speaking shouldn't be a problem either. Or what if they taught us to recognise the characters (reading) and to translate into Chinese / speak, using pinyin? As long as the course doesn't teach us to write the Chinese characters, it should be much easier to make.
What do you guys think? Would the course still be worth making if it didn't teach writing? Upvote if you agree that the staff should consider making a simplified course so they see this post!
I'm also waiting for duo's mandarin course. If you want to learn Chinese, I would recommend hellochinese it's a free app based on Duolingo! And pleco is the most popular dictionary you may also like.
It is in Incubator now: https://incubator.duolingo.com/courses/zh-CN/en/status I hope it's not a glitch :D
The problem is that if the exercise says "type what you hear" (i.e., listen to this Chinese, then type it in Chinese), and you hear it say wo xie bu dong then you can just type that without knowing what it means, and you'll get the answer right. Furthermore, even if you do know the answer, you'll be doing the same thing.
I am native Mandarin Chinese speaker, and would really love to see this course added to Duolingo! I has volunteered to contribute to this course but has got nothing back... Hope it can be in Incubator soon...
PS: I can help you with your Chinese here if anyone has any problems they would like an answer to.
Hi Duolingo team, is there a way to only focus or set the mandarin course to learn to speaking rather than reading too. Some of us are only interested to learn how to communicate for travel or work and won't need to or aren't interested to learn to read or write. Is this option available? If not have you considered this? I look forward to hearing from you.
An update: on Luis von Ahn's latest AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit, I asked him for an update on a Chinese course and he said this: "Hopefully we'll have it by the end of the year. How fast we make it depends on how well the Japanese course does."
Well Duo is not very efficient for speaking and of the other skills, writing and reading is very important.
The trouble I see is that all evidence points to Duolingo being relatively unwilling to vary its format even when a language calls for it. Like when you're learning English from another language and you get noun declension questions despite the fact that English is barely inflected.
It's also not necessarily a bad thing to want consistency - If Duolingo advertised that they taught Chinese and then I found out I wouldn't be able to write it, I wouldn't be impressed.
That aside, the staff don't consider jack unless volunteers come forward to do it. They don't really choose languages - the volunteers do.
Duolingo already has volunteers for Mandarin Chinese. Right now English for Chinese speakers is still in beta and they're working on that before they start Chinese for English speakers.
Or maybe they can say that this course is for people who know how to read and write in Chinese and they are not going to teach you how to write the characters. So the learners need to learn the writing system elsewhere
Why can't they do the same thing as with the Russian course where you can switch between the native writing system and the romanization? I think it is not as difficult. I do not think that the writing system is the problem. I just don't know what is the problem in the first place.
The Russian one throws sentences at you while giving you the option to flip back and forth between the two alphabets. The problem with Mandarin (I imagine) is that the Hanzi are tiny and complicated and composed of multiple components that would be lost on a beginner.
That being said, I really hope they bump up the font size for Mandarin if they introduce it. I've done the Mandarin reverse tree into English and it's not so bad. Unfortunately, learning an English alphabet is much simpler than English speakers learning the Chinese writing system.
So, that, in addition to inputting pinyin, would be somewhat of a challenge. It's not like Cyrillic where you have a keyboard with limited letters. Your ability to write in Chinese depends on your knowledge of the pinyin transliteration, which then depends on your ability to memorize the hanzi, which likewise requires a foundation of some basic radicals and such.
It just demands a more creative approach. I imagine having a virtual keyboard provided by Duolingo, with questions like "Which word means beer? Select from below." and then eventually "What does 啤酒 mean?" Until you get to questions like "What does 我不要啤酒 mean?"
That hanzis means beer. The first one (啤-pi) is more related to beer itself. The second one (酒-ju) is linked to alcoholic beverage in general. The phrase means I don`t want beer. (Wo bu yao piju).
With over a billion people speaking Chinese it's a worthwhile endeavor.
Try ChineseSkill, it's the best replacement for a non-existing Duolingo Chinese.
Have you tried ChineseSkill? It's the best replacement for an unborn Duolingo Chinese!
I really don't think Mandarin Chinese is suitable for learning in the current Duolingo way.
here is my analysis:
Why You Cannot Learn Mandarin at Duolingo?
Phillbo, your suggestions sound reasonable and it could be something to improve the current learning method.
I really thing there should be some change specifically designed for language pairs like English->Chinese and Chinese->English.
I agree that Duolingo alone wouldn't be very effective in teaching Mandarin, it's the wrong style of learning. Duolingo teaches best by example, whereas you need to memorise loads of characters in learning Chinese. I've been learning Mandarin on Memrise, which is great. That's great for memorising characters, but very poor for learning grammar and examples. So I think Duolingo would be a very useful tool alongside other language learning resources, and I would love it if they launched a course.
I think that Duo has a great system in place. Even it is was not ideal, having something to address Mandarin would still be better than nothing. And I do the same with Duo in other languages, let Duo teach me grammar and use other resources like Memrise as well.
I have been using Speechling, that R/languagelearning recommended. You listen to native speakers, record yourself, then a free coach gives you feedback on pronunciation using sentence. It has been helping immensely with wrapping my mouth around Mandarin. http://www.speechling.com
Mixing that with Mango Languages (check out your library, to see if you can get it for free) has been helping me train my ears.
I learned to speak Mandarin through pinyin - the romanized form of it. Even now, I can communicate relatively well in Mandarin although my reading ability is pretty bad. Not sure why Duolingo is against that method of learning.
I think it should have text in mandarin so learners can read mandarin if they ever travel to a mandarin speaking country.
Writing Chinese is a far cry. It will be more than enough if one can read, listen and speak Chinese.
Woohoo! Mandarin is finally been incubated on september 2017!! :) 0% hatched by now, but it's estimated to be finished on december (they should go very fast).
I think that would be a great idea. You don't really have to learn how to write the symbols though. All you have to do for that is memorize the symbol and then picture it in your head and raw what your imaging. Or it'd be easier if you were looking at the symbol.
By the way - if anyone wants to learn mandarin, there are some good courses on Memrise that teach you the basics (and it's free). http://www.memrise.com/courses/english/mandarin-chinese-simplified/
Make sure you guys give ChineseSkill a try!!! It is the FIRST app that came out to fill in the void as we wait for Duolingo Chinese. It has a flashcard feature too, so you won't need a second app for that.