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  5. Danish course developers:


Danish course developers:

You did an amazing job and should be very proud of yourselves. Thanks so much for making this course so good!!!! :)

August 23, 2016


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As a native speaker, I must say the Danish course certainly has its flaws.

One example: There are a lot of "Danglish" sentences that would never be constructed that way if it weren't because there was already an English sentence that needed to be "matched".

I recently came across the English sentence "What time is it?", with the "correct" translation given as "Hvad tid er det?"

Even though that might seem right, "hvad tid er det?" means "when is it?" (as in when is something happening -- a much less inelegant way of saying it would be "hvornår er det?"), not "what time is it?"

Something like that is really unfortunate, especially because it is virtually impossible to detect for a non-native speaker, exactly the people the course was made for.

September 1, 2016


Make sure that you report these as you see them. As a native English speaker, I notice of course the errors in the opposite direction. I find that, if I report the errors I see, they are eventually corrected. I even have gotten a couple of nice thank you notes. The work seems pretty much to be done by volunteers. And, in my view, we the users, are more or less an extension of this whose role is to assist with polishing. The editor in me is amazed at how rough things are when they are put up. But, I suppose, I am locked in a mindset from paper publishing days when "publishing" something meant that it could no longer be corrected.

With gratitude for all who contribute.

September 25, 2016


Yes, I do indeed report mistakes when I see them, and I too have received thank you notes when my corrections have been implemented.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the Danish course is bad; but it is definitely a "work in progress", and you should take what you learn from it with a grain of salt (I suppose that might be true for all the courses).

Completely off topic, I'm curious why you've apparently decided to focus on such a small language as Danish. If you don't mind me asking, I'd love to hear why :)

September 25, 2016


Yes, it is a work in progress. I love it and it absolutely amazes me as part of a larger shift in how people learn languages. Three things Duolingo has added which seem to me to be game changers: the game quality, the social quality, and the crowd sourcing (with use of volunteers). What they have not figured out, it seems to me, is how to use the same methods to help people at the intermediate level (someone is going to move into that space I am sure) and apparently how to earn money with it.

Some things about Duolingo mystify me a bit. I don't quite understand, for example, why they have not introduced second level trees. With Danish, for example, there are a whole lot of very specific topics that it seems could be taught the same way. I was just working, for example, on use of nogle, noget, and nogen. There are a bunch of such topics that everyone works on at the intermediate level and which, it seems to me, could be taught in exactly the same method. I understand, of course, why Duolingo does not do an intermediate level for Danish, but why not for the big languages? Duolingo recently introduced Tiny Cards because, it seems, they did not like how flash card apps like that were diverting people from Duolingo. But, it seems to me there is a larger issue in the fact that, really once you get done with the 101 level, you need to go elsewhere. Except for those who like to learn the 101 level of many languages, this seems to be rather like the store who asks all their satisfied customers to go elsewhere if they want to purchase a second level to the game. I am grateful, grateful, grateful for this wonderful free gift we get, for the volunteers who make it happen, and for the community, but this mystifies me. I use it a bit almost every day just as a kind of meditative thing and for bits and pieces I get from reviewing the basics (as this morning the reminder that in Danish "afraid of" is "bang for" not "bang af".)

It seems to me that the lack of intermediate or higher levels not only ask, in effect, good customers to go elsewhere, it also takes a way a lot from the social part of it. It feels to me rather like making friends at a bus stop. Everyone is always moving on. And, interestingly to me, it seems that rather few are moving on to working on intermediate levels of Danish. These seem mostly to be those with Danish significant others--the fact that Danes are so lovable seems the biggest single incentive to moving on to figuring out when to use nogle, noget, and nogen! In my very limited experience, aside from these people, most seem to move on either to the 101 level of another language or to something other than language learning.

As to why Danish. As you can imagine that is something I get asked a lot because I have been quite intense about it for quite a long time. I have a tutor from Denmark and a conversation partner with whom I meet weekly. First, I suppose, is that I like learning languages. It is relaxing for me in the way that for my wife it is to do Sudoko or to read trash novels. After working a long time on Russian, French, and German, I was interested in a different sort of challenge. We had a number of chance happenings connecting our family with Denmark, starting with a couple of wonderful Danish exchange students. This built on many connections to Europe and some slight connections to Scandinavia. And I liked the fact that it was a "little" language. I like the fact that, once you get beyond knowing a little tourist Danish, people think that you must be planning to immigrate.

October 4, 2016


Very interesting, thank you!

I think I share you reasons for learning -- it's much more just for the pleasure of it, rather than any practical application. And I agree with your assesment of Duolingo. It is very good (I find their "game-ification" especially compelling), but there's certainly room for an intermediate level.

As to nogen/nogle/noget: Many Danes have problems with nogen/nogle, since they're often pronounced the same. But nogen/nogle is most often analogous to the English any/some.

Noget means both any and some, but only when dealing with uncountables: Butter, fire, beer, etc.

I hope that helps :)

October 4, 2016


Great explanation. But the challenge for me is not the explanation. It is getting myself to do it correctly habitually--while doing everything else!

October 4, 2016


So, did you get them to change it to 'Hvad er klokken?'

October 6, 2016


Yes, deep gratitude for those who have prepared the feast!

August 23, 2016


I agree - you've done a great job.

August 29, 2016
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