"Ten budynek to uniwersytet."

Translation:This building is a university.

February 21, 2016

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"This building is AN university" isn't correct?


No. "an" is used before a vowel. And while of course "u" is a vowel, what really counts is that the first sound is "j".


Ah, ok, thank you for your explanations. So I sadly have to improve my English abilities ;-)


But Duolingo still marks this answer as wrong.


Counts what as wrong? 'an university'? Of course it does, it's wrong...


Ah, ok, I've overseen the explanation you wrote before.

But marking that as wrong is very rigid in my opinion. I am learning Polish and not English and in this case, the use of "an" or "a" is not so important, because they do not change the meaning of the sentence. So the answer should be accepted with a note, that one has a typo or something like that, like in some other sentences also.

Learning a new foreign language over a second foreign language with Duolingo is a bit weird. Many of my errors are because of grammar mistakes in English - I could translate the Polish sentences in clean German, but sadly not always in good English without any grammar mistakes. This encumbers my progress...


(Why there is no answer button under your post?)

Yes, it sounds arkward, indeed, but there are other sentences, which Duolingo rates as a correct answer, although there are some mistakes in it - mainly in translation from English into Polish (still in the EN-PL-Tree). In these cases, Duolingo underlines the errors in the translated polish sentences to inform the user about them, rate the translation as correct and all is fine.

So what is different here, so that Duolingo couldn´t treat this error in the same way? Why is Duolingo so rigid rating translations from Polish into English and not from English to Polish - where it would be more important? There is no grammar equivalent to the distinction between "a" or "an" in the polish language, isn´t it? So I understood the sentence correctly and if I would have to translate this sentence from EN to PL, I would also choose the correct vocabulary and grammar (hopefully ;-) ).

Again: The main goal of this tree is to learn Polish, not English and the system already makes exceptions (as I described before) - otherwise it would be nearly impossible to have success with this system for non native English speakers.

In the other direction PL-EN it is important to choose the correct forms, of course, because the main goal is to learn English, not Polish.


With each new answer to an answer the indentation rises, text is tighter and moves to the right. Duolingo programmers limited forum to six levels of answers to keep it simple and to avoid solving the problem with greater number of levels.

As far as I can tell you in nearly every course if you make mistake with articles it causes error - situation is similar in English, German and French. This is how Duolingo is programmed and rather cannot be changed by course contributors.

  1. We do not decide what gets accepted with a typo, that's what system decides on. But I'm pretty sure that programmers made sure that a wrong usage of the article will be always rejected.

  2. Every "X for English speakers" course is also a reverse tree for more advanced learners of "English for X speakers", so obviously it cannot accept things that are plain wrong, especially on such a basic level. When someone points out to us that something is simply wrong in English, we double-check that, and then delete such an answer, if needed.

  3. Given how fluent you are in English, I am really surprised that this conversation takes place over something so basic :)


Thank you for your answers. Regarding the third point: Duolingo uses game elements like "experience points", levels, rewards in form of lingots and streaks to motivate the users. If one is suspectible to these game elements, one tries to reach more experience points, a higher level, a long streak and as many lingots as one can earn.

Because the basic exercises in the lessons are very limited and repeat nearly in the same order, when you recap a lesson and the "strengthen" and "timed strengthen" exercises have much more and more difficult examples, I try to do especially the timed strengthen exercises. But in these exercises, I do not have much time to think about and I have to write very quickly, so that I produce mistakes like the "a" or "an" mistake, which I can´t correct (in contrast to a post in a forum). And to be honest, it is a bit annoying for a "language gamer", when an answer is rated as wrong because of such a small mistake, which is neither important for the Polish reading comprehension nor for the Polish grammar.

Regarding your first two points: I wrote my opinion for a solution (rate the answer as correct with a note, what´s wrong). I think, this would be a better way and more consequent: The programmers already decided to give the learners the opportunity to correct every decision, one can look-up words, which one do not know in the target language - so why the system is so rigid in the source language? Maybe it is a different point of view, but I think, they are not aware, that there are many learners, whose native language is not English. In the German part of Duolingo, we only have three languages we can learn from our native language. And lucky us, in these languages also exists a course into German. So if we want to learn other languages apart from French, English or Spanish, we have to choose the English part of Duolingo (like many others too). I do this as many others, but it is more difficult than learning from my own native language, because we need a deep grammar comprehension in all of these languages, our own, the English and the new language. That´s why I think my suggested way would be better.

And that´s why I wanted to mention about it. But I´ve understood, that the distributors can´t change this behaviour and so it is ok now. I have to deal with it.


Does all english words starting with "u" have "a" as an article? "A uniwerse"? (Weird, i never knew about it)


I think so... I believe they all will in fact start with 'ju' in pronunciation.


No. It is an unfortunate fact that not all words starting with "u" are pronounced with initial (Polish) "j" :-) .


Yeah, I now see how silly was my comment :D


And by "j", Jellei means "y" of course.

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How is a building a university? A building can house a university but it is difficult to see how a university can be defined as a building, which is considered the right answer for this question.


I was thinking the same thing. Most schools of higher education have at least 2 buildings.


I've heard of some "uniwersytety" in Poland using the term "wszechnica" to describe themselves. Are the two terms completely synonymous?


not really. "Wszechnica" is and old rarely used word. If you encounter it in the old text it may be synonym, I googled a bit and I found that:

  • some education institutions call their programs, or series of lectures "wszechnica" of something , when they mean about all ascects of something

  • some education institutons, call themselves "wszechnica", they offer post high school education, either at vocational or bachelor level

The word "uniwestytet", or "uniwersytet techniczny" or other "uniwersytet" with adjective in naming education institution is guarded by law

Art. 3. 1. Wyraz „uniwersytet” może być używany w nazwie uczelni, której jednostki organizacyjne posiadają uprawnienia do nadawania stopnia naukowego doktora co najmniej w dziesięciu dyscyplinach, w tym co najmniej po dwa uprawnienia w każdej z następujących grup dziedzin nauki: 1) humanistycznych, prawnych, ekonomicznych lub teologicznych; 2) matematycznych, fizycznych, nauk o Ziemi lub technicznych; 3) biologicznych, medycznych, chemicznych, farmaceutycznych, rolniczych lub weterynaryjnych. 2. Wyrazy „uniwersytet techniczny” mogą być używane w nazwie uczelni, której jednostki organizacyjne posiadają uprawnienia do nadawania stopnia naukowego doktora co najmniej w dziesięciu dyscyplinach, w tym co najmniej sześć uprawnień w zakresie nauk technicznych. 3. Wyraz „uniwersytet” uzupełniony innym przymiotnikiem lub przymiotnikami w celu określenia profilu uczelni może być używany w nazwie uczelni, której jednostki organizacyjne posiadają co najmniej sześć uprawnień do nadawania stopnia naukowego doktora, w tym co najmniej cztery w zakresie nauk objętych profilem uczelni

lower on the post high school education "politechnika", which has to be able to give title of "doktor" in at least 6 disciplines, among which 4 are technical sciaences; "Akademia". which has to be able to be able to give title of doctor for two disciplines,

and "Wyższa Szkoła" that has ability to give title of "licancjat" (Bachelor?) All "uniwersytety" and "akademie" are "Wyższe Szkoły" and I guess all can be called wszechnica, they are also called "uczelnia"; but when the official name of school is "wszechnica" or "szkołą Wyższa", they are not on the same level as uniwersytety or akademie

Even lower are "szkoły policealne", that grant vocational education on high school level.


Thank you for taking the time to explain that me. Very clear.


Could "This is a university building" be considered correct here? I don't know what college campuses look like in Poland, but here in the US, they are many different buildings. This may be one of those cultural things?


Well, technically not as it's not a translation, however, this is a rather poor sentence. Of course you can't fit a university into one building, maybe apart from the small private ones that only offer a few majors. In fact, the biggest universities may be scattered around the city. For example the University of Warsaw has a main campus, but also numerous buidlings in different parts of Warsaw (not sure if that happens in the US, in the movies they always show big campuses).


Thanks. I was trying to make sentence make sense to me. It's good to know it just wasn't a good sentence to start off with.


Why does the android version of duolingo not have voice tests like the apple version ? It would be so much better if it did .


Voice tests... you mean the ones when you are supposed to speak? Does it have such tests for Polish on iOS? I thought there are simply no such exercises for Polish because Duolingo never enabled them...

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