My thoughts on the course so far
This is not my first time studying Swahili. I have used many different programs, and I have also studied formally in the classroom for a short periods of time on two occasions here in Tanzania. I am actually currently living in Tanzania, and I use Swahili on a daily basis. Nimekuwa nikiishi Tanzania kwa miaka saba sasa. I really like the activities you have, and your Swahili is very similar to the structure of what I hear on a daily basis. You can tell there are Tanzanians who are working on developing this program. The weaknesses I see in this course so far is that many times you are counted wrong when you are actually correct. There are still kinks to work out, but that is why it is still in beta. Also it is very hard to skip activities. I have tried but so far have not been able to. Most of the time the mistakes I made were not enough to be counted wrong or because I already know some Swahili I said something in a different way. If you have not went through the activity it is hard to know which word you need to use. For example I got counted wrong once for using child for mtoto instead of baby. There are other things that are very hard to translate word for word in English and for it to make sense. I believe once all of the kinks are worked out, this will be one of the better programs for learning Swahili. (Tanzanian Swahili) Thanks for all of the hard work! One of my biggest needs is to increase my vocabulary, and this course is helping me a lot. Because I have already studied Swahili grammer, I have not read all of the notes, but once I finish going through all the different activities, I plan on going through all the activities again. Right now, I am trying to do as much as I can without looking at the notes to get an idea of where my weaknesses are.
I think the problems with a/the / no article in the translations, as well as the 2nd person singular/plural distinctions, which are neutralized in English, are so bad the course is basically unusable and should never have been released even in beta. I've never had this many issues with any other Duolingo course. I also know quite a bit of Swahili, and my placement test didn't get me very far because of the mistakes in the course. And now I'm considering just ditching the course, since testing out of the skills is too difficult when so many correct answers are not accepted.
This needs to be addressed asap.
I feel that quite a few of the "correct" English constructions are awkward. A native English speaker would not actually say things the way the program here requires. Also, there are inconsistencies, where a word or phrase is accepted one time, but not in another lesson. However, the biggest weakness seems to be in the short (or nonexistent) lessons. I feel that for Swahili, the noun and adjective vocabulary needs to be included in each lesson. This is because noun classes and declensions are the difficult part of the language, more so than verb conjugations. We need to know each noun class and the correct adjective prefix. Many times the right prefix is missing in the mouse-over. It will say "yako, wako" but not "lako" for instance, even though the missing one is the right word.