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https://www.duolingo.com/PatrickSnyder

The Esperanto course shouldn't be focusing on English typos

I recently had an English typo during a review session: "Crocodiles are not aligators" The question was marked wrong and a tip came up saying "The word is aLLigators"

If it was an "English for Esperanto speakers" course, this kind of correction might make more sense. This isn't the first time I've seen a tip correcting English typos rather than focusing on correct meaning, and I think it's a bad direction for the course contributors / maintainers.

If the system doesn't understand the typo, fine, let it stay incorrect. If the meaning is subtly different, please do correct it. But why go out of your way to add an explanation about the English typo? Wouldn't it be better to just accept it? It's a test of Esperanto, not English.

I'd even be in favor of accepting grammatically incorrect English, since it can help someone wrap their head around another language. An example from the notes in this course's "Education" unit: La libro estos legita. (literally: The book will be having been read.) The book will have been read. But it would be insane to ask a course contributor to think up all grammatically correct and literal variations.


Edit: 2nd example

My mistake:

From the earth grows plants.

Tool tip says "... GROW plants (plural)"

This is absolutely my English error. I'm fine with it being marked wrong by an automated system. It's a clear case of subject-verb inversion, and subject and verb should agree in number, in English. But this is a non-issue in Esperanto.

The reason I opened this thread is because there is someone manually catching these errors. And they're adding these tooltips instead of thinking, "Ĉu la lernanto komprenis la sencon?" Is there a limitation to the system where the same contributor can't set it to 'almost right'? Ideally, those tooltips should be mixed with an 'almost right' answer.

2 years ago

9 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Larry_the_Zebra
Larry_the_Zebra
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Saluton! I feel your pain as I, too, really hate getting things marked wrong for typos or the like that I didn't actually mean. And 'almost right' vs 'wrong' seems to be arbitrary. But consider: many non-native speakers of English take the courses meant for us native speakers because those courses simply don't exist for their native language. Translating from 1 foreign language into another foreign language is tough, especially when you only have an intermediate grasp of one and a beginner grasp of the other. It's not fair, nor realistic, to say 'hey, learn English perfectly and THEN you'll be allowed to learn Esperanto (or whatever language)' Duo knows that there are tons of people who do this. That's probably who these corrections are aimed at, and not at us 'real' English speakers. At least that would be my guess. I think they are trying to help them, not us.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PatrickSnyder

Thanks, and I agree.

It's not fair, nor realistic, to say 'hey, learn English perfectly and THEN you'll be allowed to learn Esperanto (or whatever language)'

This is my point. A contributor or two are manually adding explanations for English typos. If they are going to manually catch these as possible answers, I think the policy should be to mark them 'almost right'. The Esperanto was correctly understood, and that's what's important.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
salivanto
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I don't think this is how it works. In some RARE circumstances, yes. For example, clothes and cloths were manually entered in as valid "typos" to avoid frustrating users. In most cases, though, its the Duo software which decides whether a word is "close enough" to the correct answer. That's when you see it marked "almost right".

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PatrickSnyder

Sorry, I believe there is a misunderstanding. The Duo software does do that, and that's fine. I'm talking about the tool tips that sometimes pop up after an incorrect answer. They are in black with white lettering, and pop up over the box where you input your answer (not the red area on the bottom).

Those are definitely put in manually (and are often very helpful). Usually they are used to explain subtle differences in the language you're learning.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
salivanto
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Yes. I had misunderstood. My take at this point is that a course contributor got tired of getting reports from people saying that their English spelling errors should be accepted as a correct answer. Seems reasonable to me.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/louis.vang
louis.vang
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Many English speaking students has learned a lot more correct English with the correction of their errors in translations from the learned language.

Also, myself, as a non native speaker, has learned a lot of the English language, learning other languages from and to English, with the correction of both languages in the courses.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Vanege
Vanege
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Are you sure Duolingo would accept your wrong sentence, even without the explanation?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PatrickSnyder

It's completely fine for it to be marked wrong.

I assume what happened is that someone 'reported' their typo as being correct. When a contributor saw it, they added the explanation of the English spelling. I think the correct response would be to not focus on the English typo at all. Either leave it wrong (putting time and effort elsewhere) or mark it as 'almost right' (which shows the typo anyway).

I respect the contributors a great deal for all of their amazing work. This is more of a policy suggestion.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
salivanto
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For better or worse, this is a function of Duolingo and not the Esperanto course specifically. My spell check still works on the English sentences so sometimes I'll use it to correct my English mistakes to try to mitigate this frustration.

2 years ago