Estimate for Chinese and Japanese?
Do you have an approximate time period for the release of Japanese and Chinese?
March? April? Summer? Spring? 2013? 2014?
Just an estimate would be nice. thanks
I've started learning Spanish last year and I'm still about to reach the first level. Blame lack of time. But the duolingo teaching program is excellent, this is because a package was prepared thoroughly, and it takes time starting from selection of teachers, inclusion of materials and formalizing the structure. Going back to the estimate as to when Chinese and Japanese will be offered, I think it will also take some time. I suggest an alternative. Let this be a volunteer community effort, to be led by the native or those with formal training in Chinese and Japanese. If duolingo agrees, we can have a section labelled "Experimental" or "Learn at your own risk" for those languages. The materials will come from the experts, and the lessons will evolve as time goes on into a formal beta stage. Those who sign up would be aware that the lessons are experimental and can be changed at any time. It would need a lot of patience, and time. My experience taught me that I could use only about an hour weekly. And I had no time at all over the past few months. But those who get involved will have a satisfying community experience, both for the teachers and the students. Then when the formal lessons in Chinese and Japanese start, those who have been learning will already be at a higher level.
I think Chinese and Japanese will require a significantly different system setup, if only because of the different writing system. However, I would be very much in favour of an experimental community-created section for languages that fit the existing system, for example Swedish, Dutch, Indonesian, Polish, Esperanto...
I don't think so, myself. It's easy to type Japanese characters on your computer, you just have to install the language. I keep seeing this point in the forums, "The characters are different so it won't work so well", but it's not so. Every symbol is a combination of a consonant (sometimes two) and a vowel. Ka, tsu, mi, ro... Typing that's not hard. Personally, I truly don't see the different writing system posing any problem for input - at least, for Japanese. Can't speak for Chinese. As to processing, there might be more difficult -- however, places like Google translate handle kanji recognition just fine (and so I assume hanzi). Every time I see this objection, I really a stumped by why people think it's so much harder, just because the characters look different. They can still be entered very simply, and I get the feeling -every- symbol - Asian or not - is just a string of code to the system...
One of the reasons it requires a different setup is because students have to be taught to read the script. So far, Duolingo doesn't have anything resembling script lessons. For Chinese, these would have to be ongoing and each word should be taught with both Chinese characters and Pinyin. For Japanese, you could put Hiragana/Katakana script lessons at the beginning and then ignore Kanji or always provide Furigana to solve the issue of learning two things for each word BUT the back end of the system still needs to be changed in order to store the pronunciation of each word, so that students won't be confused by the same character appearing with different readings without explanation (and also for the sake of the machine voice that shouldn't mispronounce words). Another reason there have to be major changes in the back end is because Chinese and Japanese are written without spaces, meaning that the system cannot use the same functions to swap out words, to keep track of vocabulary, determine if a sentence consists of known words and so on. These functions will have to be adapted, and identifying word boundaries in Chinese and Japanese is a difficult issue for computers all on its own.
as a chinese native speaker, i think it is really difficult to add Chinese courses here. why? wooo, Chinese is so flexible. for the same thing, you have many ways to say it. i have been learning french here. i do not know other language courses here, but i know their words consist of abc to z, and chinese is different. if it could happen, duolingo needs to spend more money to hire IT workers to construct one more system.