1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Subiect: Troubleshooting
  4. >
  5. When the given answer is with…


When the given answer is without diacritics in RO the writing using diacritics should be suggested

ROMANIAN: Când răspunsul dat este fără diacritice ar trebui sugerată scrierea cu diacritice

Momentan am văzut că sunt acceptate ambele variante de scriere ca fiind corecte, atât cu diacritice cât și fără.

Dar în momentul în care răspunsul oferit este fără diacritice, acesta este evaluat ca și corect, fără să fie date alte sugestii de scriere.

Limba română gramatical corectă este scrisă cu diacritice. De aceea cred că în momentul în care din răspunsul dat lipsesc unul sau mai multe diacritice, răspunsul ar trebui notat ca și ”aproape corect” iar scrierea corectă cu diacritice să fie sugerată în partea de jos.

Așa e la cursul de germană pentru vorbitori de engleză de exemplu: dacă scrii fără umlaut îți acceptă răspunsul ca ”almost correct” și îți sugerează scrierea cu umlaut.

Tot raportez lucrul acesta în secțiunea alte situații.

ENGLISH: When the answer given is without diacritics (a instead of ă; a instead of â; i instead of î; t instead of ț; s instead of ș) the writing using diacritics should be suggested.

I've seen that right now both writing variants are accepted as correct, both with diacritics and without.

But when the given answer does not use diacritics, it is evaluated as fully correct and no other spelling suggestions are given.

The grammatically correct Romanian language spelling is with diacritics. That is why I think that when the given answer is missing one or more diacritic characters, the answer should be evaluated as "almost correct" and the correct spelling with diacritics be suggested below.

That is how it is in the German for English speakers course, for example: if you give your answer without an umlaut, it is accepted as "almost correct" and the correct spelling with the umlaut is suggested.

I keep reporting this in the other situations section of the report button, to no effect.

February 6, 2014

16 comentarii


This is actually intentional. If you are learning English from German, Spanish, etc., you will notice that in none of those languages there is a penalty/message for leaving out accents or umlauts.

We wholeheartedly agree that when you are learning a language, you should be made aware of its spelling rules. However, when you are typing in your native language, we think it is safe to assume that you already are aware of those rules but are ignoring them because of keyboard limitations or time constraints.

Since this is an English course for Romanian speakers, we do not show a message that diacritics are missing, but you can rest assured that once the reverse direction (i.e., a Romanian course for English speakers) is launched, we will make it clear that the proper spelling with diacritics is shown along with a reminder to use it. :)


Yes, but the meaning is sometimes different. Romanians learned to understand meaning from context even without the diacritics because they were introduced very late in the keyboard compared to the time computers began to be used here.

Like I said in my reply above to ndwaldner, in the first lessons it's not that big of a problem. But as you get to past and future times and different subordinate clauses the diacritics matter. So users should not be left with the impression that it's ok to always type without diacritics, because it will bite them back later on.

For example a very basic difference is often between nouns with a definite and non-definite article. If you say "the girl" (definite article) that means "fata" and if you say "girl" (non-definite article) that means "fată"; no other difference than the change of a to ă. See what I mean?

I also think this is a very important step to take now so that it will be easier for the reverse course later on. :)


The reverse course will use the impeccable data that the English from Romanian team has created. They did not leave out diacritics, it's just the grading system that ignores them for native speakers.

In a lot of other languages, diacritics change meaning as well, but our strategy is to be lenient at all times (again, only for native speakers of the language in question). In Portuguese, "maça" means "apple" and "maca" means "hammock". Consider the case where leaving out the cedilla created a Portuguese sentence that could be translated as "I eat a hammock". Considering that the author of the sentence is a native Portuguese speaker, we ask ourselves the question "Did this person really just write about eating a hammock, or did they simply leave out the cedilla in the far more plausible word maça (apple)?" Duolingo's position for all languages is that the native speaker can always be given the benefit of the doubt here and we will always accept a translation if the only thing that keeps it from being perfect is the lack of diacritics.

It is not the goal of the course to teach Romanian to native Romanian speakers. If the learner translates "girl" as "fata" and their answer is accepted, they may come to the incorrect conclusion that "girl" is the definite form. However, before they even move on to the next lesson, they will be asked to translate "fata" into English. When "girl" is rejected as an answer and they see that "the girl" would have been the correct translation, the prior misunderstanding can easily be corrected. This makes the learner stop and think when they are typing in their new language, English. We believe this is more effective than interrupting them when they are typing in a language they already know, telling them to pay attention to the diacritics which, in the vast majority of cases, were left out on purpose.

I hope this helped to make our decision process a bit clearer. :) I promise that we will not teach learners of Romanian sloppy spelling. But keeping in mind our goal to allow everybody to learn a new language, regardless of resources, we will also not make life harder for learners without access to a proper Romanian keyboard who would never pass a timed practice session because typing the diacritics using alt codes would make them extremely slow.


In addition, your examples are not the same or really realvent to what she is saying: -- With "maça" vs. "maca" - because "I eat a hammock" is obviously non-sence, a learner does not gain understanding if DuoLingo suggests they use diacritics. However if suggesting diacritics helps learners recognize that there is a non-obvious difference then why would you not at least suggest it. Sure, give them the benefit of the doubt, but they should at least be told if they could have misunderstood.

A blanket policy is not always the best, because it means that you have to treat every language as the same. When we both know the diversity of languages, in every facet (from writing systems to syntax) there are no two languages the same. But you are choosing to treat them the same?

And as for "make[ing] life harder for learners without access to a proper Romanian keyboard who would never pass a timed practice session because typing the diacritics using alt codes would make them extremely slow." Really? I have passed many timed German practices without having a German keyboard. You always have buttons for äöüß if you expect them, or you simply give a warning if they are forgotten. Which is what she is asking for. She said that she doesn't think that it should be marked wrong, simply suggested or corrected. At the very least, show the correct answer with diacritics.)


I think that ariadna.m is trying to point out that if an English speaker learning German is translating the German sentence "The girl likes to talk" to English, and they write "girls like talking" or "girl likes to talk" Duolingo would say that it is incorrect. But when translating from English to Romanian, learners would not even be told that they misunderstood "the girl" to mean "girls", because the only difference is diacritics.

It seems to me that if a learner is never told that there is a difference between "the girl" and "girls" (both are marked correct") they may not learn that they are not the same.

It's the opposite of then English speakers are learning other languages, they have to get every plural correct, and all "the"s and "a"s all must be present and placed correctly. (IE: they must translate the same meaning, even if that requires having to type extra characters.) But learning FROM Romanian, the same level of precision/understanding is not expected, and the only difference is because they have to add diacritics rather than type more letters.)


Just a random question: when an answer given is without diacritics, does it change the meaning? Or is it just correctness or style? In German the presence/absence of umlauts changes the meaning. You need diacritics in French to distinguish words, too.


The meaning is different in a lot of situations. I'm only at the begining of the lessons in the third tier of the course and there have been only 2 situations so far that I can remember but when you get to past and future times and different subordinate clauses the meaning changes quite often.


Thanks for the answer. :)


șoc=shock soc=elder Totally different :)


Actually soc=elderberry. In English, elder is a synonym for "older". Elderberry is a plant (a shrub). Not the same thing.


Yeah I knew elder was also a synonym for older; I used Google Translate and didn't do any real sanity checks.


As erdnuss mentioned, considering that you're a native speaker, you shouldn't be disturbed by this tiny little inconvenient, for English is the language that you are trying to study, therefore you are supposed to know your mother tongue well enough in order to make out the actual meaning quite easily. If it were the other way around (to learn Romanian from English) it would make sense.

As you said, you saw that in the German for English speakers they indeed mark the answer as "almost correct" and the suggestion regarding umlauts is made, but keep in mind the fact that you are a beginner in German. (not the case in Romanian...) (Been there, done that..)


In my case (lvl 10 in learning French from English) I still get "almost correct" suggestions about the accents.)


That is because French is your foreign language. In ariadna.m's case Romanian is her mother tongue and it is considered that once you choose to learn a language from another (for example English from Romanian, English from French, English from Spanish, etc.) you do not need to pay that much attention on your own mother tongue's spelling rules, whereas if you are studying Romanian from English, French from English, Spanish from English, you Only know English, hence you need to be reminded to use the diacritics/accents/etc. The same thing with French from German, where you get "almost correct" just if you forget the accents, and not the umlauts.


Yeah, these things work properly as far as I've seen.


I was comparing that to making it an actual mistake that costed a life.

Îmvață o limbă străină în numai 5 minute pe zi. Gratuit.