FAQ for the Swedish course
The Swedish team decided it was time to put together an FAQ, to answer some very common questions in batch. :)
Q: Why didn't you accept my synonym for mom, dad, or another family member?
A: We know that there are a lot of variations in what family members are called throughout the English-speaking world. But each translation has to be entered manually. There are some shortcuts, but not that many. So if the average sentence has 4-5 variations, and the word "mother" appears in about 30 sentences, we need to add it 120-150 times - possibly more! If people have 6-7 different synonyms for "mother", that's suddenly 720 additions minimum - and then we get to "father", "grandmother", and so on. Adding more variations to the 4-5 ones we do accept for each family member is simply not feasible, and since it's not that hard to use the "proper" names, we ask you to please stick to those throughout the course.
A Swedish proverb states that Kärt barn har många namn - A treasured child goes by many names. The Swedish course has certainly proven that! :)
Q: What's this "Tree 2.0" thing I keep hearing about?
A: We're currently rebuilding the course to make it even better, and to add more skills. For more information, please see the initial feedback thread here: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/11580398
Q: Oh wow, that sounds great! So when's it coming?
A: We don't know yet but we're actively working on it. :)
Q: Why do I have to spell out numbers?
A: When translating from Swedish into English, we do accept numbers - meaning both "twenty" and "20" are accepted, for instance. We might have missed some instances, so please report those. But when translating into Swedish, our intention is for you to learn the pronunciation and spelling of the word, so we don't accept numbers then.
Q: How does the typo system work?
A1: Generally, you're allowed one typo per word as long as it doesn't turn into another word. This can be very annoying at times, when it's obvious your answer was correct, but we can't affect this - and for the most time, the system works fine.
A2: One thing the system doesn't get quite right, however, is the use of apostrophes. For instance, when writing a phrase such as "my parents' apples", Duolingo will assume that the apostrophe is not part of the sentence, and tell you that you had a typo. This bug exists in all courses, and we can't affect it.
A3: Another occasional problem is that sentences might have extra spaces if an optional word is missing. For instance, if both "all of the apples" and "all the apples" are accepted translations of a phrase, Duolingo might tell you that you had a typo in the latter because it thinks the "of" should have been replaced with an extra space. This we actually can affect, so feel free to report it. :)
Q: Why won't you accept phrases that obviously mean the same thing as what I entered?
A: This is usually because of one of three things:
What you entered is almost but not quite synonymous, and has a direct equivalent in Swedish.
You changed the sentence construction. We'll accept small deviations, but since a major aim of the course is to teach not only Swedish vocabulary but also how things are phrased in Swedish, we tend not to accept solutions that move around things a lot.
What you entered is technically correct, but unidiomatic. We get loads of these reported in Swedish by people who are obviously not native Swedish speakers. And while we encourage people to report mistakes, reporting things that are correct in English and hence "should" be correct in Swedish is not generally advisable.
Ultimately, there are hundreds of sentences where it could be argued either way. We try to be accepting, but we do make mistakes, and we reevaluate our decisions continuously.
Q: I forgot to report my problem when I encountered it, what do I do?
A: If you encounter it again, simply report it then. But if not, we have a few million learners, so if there's a problem with a sentence we are very confident that someone else will find it shortly. :)
Q: I'm not from the USA, why are you using American English?
A: We try to accomodate as many of the major English variations as possible. If we've missed a common word or spelling, by all means please do report that. However, we also need a default translation for every sentence, and Duolingo's courses for English speakers are all geared towards American English mainly. Should you dislike that policy, take it up with Duolingo - not with us, because we have no say over that. We've removed hundreds of reports about how much better British/Canadian/Australian English is, so please, please don't do that.
Q: I found an error. Should I use the "report a problem" button?
A: In general: sure - if you are certain that you're right. If you're not, we encourage you to post in the comments thread for the sentence, so that others can help you. If you're sure, please do send a report - that's the main way we can improve the course!
That said, we get tens of thousands of error reports, and over 90 % of those are very obviously incorrect. Please read your translation an extra time before sending, and please try to be extra careful if you're not a native English or Swedish speaker (depending on what you're reporting). Sorting through all of these error reports is manual labour, and actively prevents us from spending time developing the tree further - plus, there's a very real risk that we miss actually correct error reports amidst the sea of incorrect ones.
Q: What should I not write in a "freewrite report"?
A1: However you choose to write it, just please be aware that we can't see what you got wrong. We've had thousands - literally - of reports that say things like "My answer should have been correct", and we have absolutely no idea what you entered, so all we can do is to delete the report. We also can't see who wrote the report, so we can't ask, either.
A2: The typo system is not handled by us (see above), so please don't write reports about "My answer was only a typo, you should accept it!"
A3: Please don't write to tell us how superior British English is to American English (see above).
Q: Should I write a comment when I don't understand what I got wrong?
A: Yes! Definitely yes. It's an excellent way of learning, and there are many users - natives and otherwise - who post marvelous answers. However, we have no idea what you entered, nor what kind of exercise you got - translation, type what you hear, etc. - so please be explicit in writing out exactly what you got wrong and what exercise type it was.
Q: Can I delete comments I've written?
A: Yes, although we prefer if people don't delete their old comments - they might still be of use to other learners. If you really have to delete a comment which has replies, please ask a moderator to instead - otherwise it'll make all child comments unremovable.
Q: The voice says "dom" but the spelling says de or dem. What's up with that?
A: Both de and dem are pronounced dom by the vast majority of Swedes. In fact, they're two of the most commonly misspelled words by natives, so don't get discouraged if you get them wrong. Now, we accept dom anywhere that either of those are accepted (and if we don't - shoot us an error report!), but it should be noted that dom is colloquial.
That said, however, the "type what you hear" exercises have an annoying bug which will mark you wrong if you type anything but the default translation - even if there are multiple correct choices. Unfortunately, this leaves us the choice of either making dom a default everywhere, which would be terrible for the course, or having learners be told that they're wrong for writing dom, which is unkind to learners.
Ultimately, we think that the latter option is better - and we do want to teach you de/dem anyway. Hopefully, Duolingo developers will eventually fix the bug to make the problem go away.
Q: Is it i dag or idag? The machine says I made a typo!
A: In short: both are perfectly fine. The Swedish language council recommends the spelling i dag, so we go by their recommendation as a default, but both are always acceptable in any kind of writing.
The problem is that Duolingo stopped recognising this a while ago. So if you type idag, it will occasionally claim that you made a typo. Rest assured that you did not. We've reported this as a bug as well, but we don't know when it might be resolved.
For more information, please refer to Arnauti's thread here: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/12941839
Q: Why do some "translate to Swedish" excercises use unidiomatic English?
A: It's important to learn Swedish sentence construction, and we'll occasionally use the English phrase that corresponds the best with the Swedish sentence in order to force you to think in that way - even though it might mean that another English phrase would be a lot better. Further, this is closely related to the next question in the FAQ.
Q: Why do some "translate to English" exercises use unidiomatic English in their default translations?
A: It's mostly because of the way "translate to Swedish" exercises work. These are generated from the "translate to English" exercises automatically, using the default translation for each sentence. In other words: if we choose the most idiomatic English translation in the "translate to English" exercises, this may occasionally lead to "translate to Swedish" exercises that make little sense to have in the course. Ideally, we would have preferred to separate these concepts entirely, but we have no technical option of doing so.
Q: I've never heard the word "swum" before! I'm a native English speaker. Clearly it does not exist.
A: Sorry. Despite the massive amounts of reports requesting to remove words like "swum" and "rung", we'll stick to the grammar books on these ones, if only for the benefit of learners who don't speak native English. :)
Q: Other courses offer bonus skills, why don't you?
A: Two bonus skills have been prepared and waiting for a very long time now. Unfortunately, they are being held back for technical reasons. We don't know what these reasons are, nor when they might be fixed, but we'd be thrilled to finally offer you some bonus lessons.
On a related note, the Swedish team thoroughly dislikes the flirting bonus skill, so that's not coming at all.
On a side note: If anybody hasn't noticed, the ever-excellent devalanteriel is a "new" member or more correctly, has actually been a member of the Swedish team for some time now. I keep emailing Duo staff to tell them to fix that green ring, but apparently they're busy doing other stuff. Anyway, three cheers for devalanteriel or actually four, since that's how we do it in Sweden. Hipp hipp!!
Actually three or four cheers are a regional thing. In Skåne we do three, trefaldigt leve. Of course there's usually one or two in every group who can't count and do one more.
According to the link Wifedear found the reason to this can be found in that Skåne still is using the Danish number of lösen. http://blogg.vett-och-etikett.com/tre-eller-fyra/
I'm sorry, I must amend my previous answer. Apparently the option for reporting an alternate translation is called "My answer should have been accepted" as well - if you use that, then we do get the answer you provided as well.
That exact phrase, "My answer should have been accepted", is also very common as a so-called "Freewrite report", so I thought that was an error. Perhaps it still is, but it's not as stupid as I thought. So please do continue to send such reports, and I apologise for my mistake.
I went through this with other languages - you only need to redo the parts that changed (so if a skill had new lessons/words added). If an early skill was modified and you're further up the tree, you do not lose the progress - it's just that an early skill shows as incomplete.
Looking forward to Swedish Tree 2.0! I hope there will be lessons on: particle verbs, phrasal verbs that are NOT particle verbs, idioms, compound words, constructions, for example - 'too X to Y' -- 'för trött för att försöka', more on word order (although Arnauti's post on that topic is great)
I appreciate very much all the hard work and diligence the Swedish team has put into this course! Three Cheers (or Four)!
Thanks for this! The de / dem explanation tripped me up the first time I tried Swedish in another app. Nice to see it here for those just starting out. Now if only the sj and related pronunciations were as straightforward!
I'm sorry people are abusing the report system for English issues and the choice to use American English. Maybe you can give them a warning and then just squelch them for a time? Perhaps those kinds of reports can be automatically directed to a lower priority status to deal with as time permits, much like automatically sorting junk mail in your email.
I'm looking forward to the 2.0 version of Swedish. You folks do a wonderful job for us and hopefully you realize how appreciative we are for all your hard work.
If you use duolingo vocab manager app on the google chrome browser it tells you how many words are in your current duolingo vocabulary. It is probably not exact and might very well double count words that have several similar translations into english. However I am at level 16 and according to the vocab app I have 2844 words to study.
'... please be aware that we can't see what you got wrong. We've had thousands - literally - of reports that say things like "My answer should have been correct", and we have absolutely no idea what you entered ...'
Since the revamp to the website, is it the case that you now see the answer when 'my answer should have been correct' is selected?
I used that option earlier, then remembered this FAQ, and wrote a comment as well, and both were dealt with quickly by one of your excellent team. Is it safe to assume we can just use the report button?
Yes, absolutely. What happens when you choose that option is that what you put is shown to us in the admin backend, like this:
However, we have had thousands of reports that just literally said "My answer should have been correct", and those are the ones we want to avoid. :)
Also, a lot of people comment in the forums that "I should have been right!" but without telling us what they actually entered. Since we can't know how - nor if - they got things wrong, that makes it impossible for us to help.
Not officially, as far as I am aware, but there is a workaround. If you press the tips and notes button (the lightbulb icon), it'll take you to a page like this one I'm refreshing in the Welsh course:
You can replace the "tips-and-notes" part in the address with a number, for instance:
This example would repeat the second lesson of the science skill in the Welsh course. That skill has five lessons available, so you could replace the 2 with any number from 1 to 5.
Please note that this will not work in the apps, only in a browser.
As a native English speaker, I see no problem with "Swum": "I swam the Channel, therefore the Channel has now been swum". Wish I could remember the proper linguistic term here! "Past perfect passive"?? Same for "Rung" by the way - "I rang the bell, therefore the bell has now been rung". Ah, the benefits of a Scottish education! :-)
Oh dear, British English speakers complaining to the Swedish Team warranted 2 separate mentions above! Obviously I can't be sure but maybe not all of the reports like this you've received were totally serious :)
Unless they've been living in an isolated cave for their whole lives most people in the UK realise that American English is the international lingua franca XD
I think maybe people just kinda get shocked when they type something in their native language and they then get a big red message saying "You're wrong!"... you know how serious people get about DL haha
Just my thoughts :) (we're not all bad, honest! And anyway I notice that 'trousers' is accepted as a translation of byxorna, and the same with 'elk' for älg).
Well it probably depends on the teacher's personal preferences. As i learned English at school (in France) all my teachers absolutely hated US English but for one - who was half American. One of them actually had us repeat each and every word until she was satisfied we didn't sound like Rachel from friends.
We Americans don't necessarily sound like t.v. actresses.
Some Americans like a British accent better than their own.
One of my Swedish cousins had to choose British or American English in school and stick with it. I don't know if it's up to the students in every school in Sweden or not.
Thank you patatedouce - that makes me feel a little less bad about our English way of insisting that British English is the correct version even though I believe we have the Americans to thank for Duo if it originated in US. BTW, if your native language is French, your teacher did a very good job, or you were a very good learner! (sorry, there isn't a direct "reply" button to patatedouce).
English is English and American English is a regional variant.
Seriously, I have no problem with American English being the default. We get so much American tv over here that we hear it all the time anyway. I do get annoyed with myself though, when I want to use a word and can no longer remember which is the English and which is the American...
You are right that the UK has more people than New Zealand, Australia, or Canada. My guess is that American English is the default because it is by far the largest population of English speakers. Out of curiosity, I looked it up:
Ireland 1% [of the world's English speakers]
New Zealand 1%
(above 5 countries combined = 29%)
I'm not saying that American English is superior in any way. I'm just taking a guess at why it was chosen as the default.
iOS gives a more fine-grained/individual control over app permissions, so you have to set them in iOS as well as in your duo account.
My version of iOS is older (10.x), but if yours is anything like mine, you can check:
Settings -> (scroll way down to the bottom list, which is alphabetized by app name) -> Duolingo
and then make sure that microphone is set to "on" there, too.
It's conceivable that you might need to also set the setting there for notifications to true, I am not sure.
But that Settings -> duolingo is another place to check to see if that gets it working.
This is a late answer, but for anyone else stumbling over this thread: Speaking exercises only work in Chrome browser on PC. (And you have to enable it in the options while using Chrome, the option won't even show up on other browsers)
As for the android app I have no idea what is going on, I do have an option for speaking exercises and it's enabled, but I never got any speaking exercise.
Hi all. First comment here and user of the Swedish course for a few months. I just happened to notice that the duolingo app in the Apple app store shows an image of speaking and recording into the phone Spanish phrases for playback, but I have not seen this for Swedish. Is this feature only available for certain languages?
Why are the exercises starting with ‘choose the best translation’ and translate English into Swedish questions?
Most of the courses start the first questions in each game by familiarising you with the target language, so you’re translating INTO English, which I find much better.
When I started the Swedish tree, I don’t think it was this way round - is this an experiment, or a new thing? I’m finding it quite difficult to work this way round, and much prefer to see the language used first (but not with the ‘choose the best translation’ question before having even come across the words involved!).
This is actually something we are not able to affect at all as course contributors - at least not as far as I am aware. It could be that it's a new thing in Swedish, or a new thing in general, or an A/B test, or just coincidental - or something else entirely. I'm sorry that I don't have a better answer.
I am under the impression that the mods for Swedish wrote this FAQ, not duolingo.
Duolingo software cannot run without people to input, correct, and maintain the questions.
But also duolingo institutes policy that they must follow; and one of those is, apparently, that the default they must follow is American English.
In practice, the duolingo software requires every question to have a "default" answer, presumably the one given when the two languages are switched, since they offer both forms of a question.
EDIT: My intent is to support the mods (I feel that the Swedish mods, in particular, are very dedicated and hardworking, and really give thought to our questions and try to explain things well, and providing the best understanding of Swedish), NOT duo's forcing American English as the default.