Duolingo & ChineseSkill = ???
It's hard to argue with 2 things... one Duolingo is an amazing new language learning platform and two Mandarin is one of the most spoken languages in the world. I just started using ChineseSkill as I like many have been waiting what seems like forever for Duolingo to release English to Simplified Chinese. I must say ChineseSkill did a great job on the over all user interface and content on their latest app release. However it is still missing the social and immersion aspects that make Duolingo so great. So... why not work with ChineseSkill in getting this on Duolingo. Seems both companies could have a lot to gain from working out a partnership. ChineseSkill states on their website that there was interest in working with the incubator when originally released. They say that they were halfway through the development of ChineseSkill at this point and never received a reply. Even if this is not the best route I just really want Chinese on Duolingo and like many others will then become an avid user. Thoughts?
Just stumbled on this topic. I'll reply since it is still up to date.
I've been using ChineseSkill for quite a long time and I really like how the developers work to improve it. They made it free and the current 1.6 version introduced a great new UI and some useful changes. I also reported bugs and suggested features and in both cases my suggestions were apparently taken into consideration so that's awesome.
I sort of gave up on Duolingo introducing a Mandarin course because it is taking forever and I can certainly see how it can be problematic (tones, characters, pinyin etc.) So that's another point for Chineseskill for stepping in and getting me going.
That said, Duolingo features one hell of a really good paradigm of teaching (and I'm saying that as a linguist) I simply love how you can exercise the crap out of a language by doing and strengthening lessons as much as you wish. Chineseskill is not that robust yet. Also while I often use Duolingo on my iPhone I also like to do it on the big screen of my computer with a keyboard which is not possible with CS.
All in all, I think that after some more improvements (like by the time 2.0 or 3.0 comes out) they will truly become a valid standalone app for learning Chinese, not just a Duolingo spin-off. But YES, a collaboration would be beneficial for all three sides (Duolingo, CS and us users.)
It's really interesting, will Duolingo launch Chinese learning courses from European languages in the future?
Actually I tested this app and i listed my result there. http://www.sinostep.com/chineseskill-vs-duolingo-who-will-be-successful-in-chinese-learning/
There seems be a pervading theme among languages offered by Duolingo: they all utilize primarily the Roman alphabet. It seems like Duolingo has been avoiding languages which use alternate alphabets for a while now (for English speaking courses, that is). Recently we've seen some languages enter phase one with alternate alphabets such as Greek and Russian, but those alphabets are still somewhat similar to the Roman. The biggest outlier so far is the addition of Hebrew to the incubator. Part of the success of Duolingo revolves around the standardization of its courses. As long as you know the language, it's relatively easy to use Duolingo's model to develop a structured course. I'm guessing that as it stands, Duolingo hasn't developed a strong enough method for teaching non-western alphabets and writing styles. That's why we don't have Hindi, Arabic, Japanese, Mandarin, Thai, etc. And as for the other languages I mentioned under development, we have yet to see how these will be implemented on a mobile device.
Your suggestion that ChineseSkill and Duolingo work together to develop a training program would also be my solution to the problem. Working together they could develop a new app that would incorporate ChineseSkill's design for Mandarin instruction, which they could then reverse engineer and use for other languages that don't use Roman script. In my honest opinion, though, unless Duolingo merges with another company like ChineseSkill which already has the software assets available, we are a ways away from seeing more far eastern languages in the incubator. Duolingo is still a new company and has already proved to be very ambitious with their current lineup of languages. They may need more time to iron out all the kinks in their current format before branching out to different things.
Amen! I now use Chinese Skill to review and improve my foundation in Chinese, but certain aspects of Duolingo would greatly enhance the CS app. I like the genuinely enjoyable aspects of using Duelingo, that practically keep me addicted to studying. Also, Duolingo seems to have mastered the art of measuring one's progress and reminding one to study. I find those dimensions absent from Chinese Skill in its current incarnation. Why not put together the best of both apps for a hybrid app in simplified-character Chinese? It would surely be a mad hit!
FYI, I have barely been able to use ChineseSkill for over a year now, since it's only in app form. My iphone has been messed up for a long time and the sound malfunctions a lot, so when it's not working, I can't use ChineseSkill. I won't be getting a new one until I finish school next year, unless this one stops functioning completely and I have to. So, I just stopped learning Chinese, for now. Unfortunately.
I suppose it may be because Chinese Skill is TOO similar. So that may seem pointless to a giant such as Duolingo. Plus, Chinese Skill is more of a start-up than a complete company in that it has one direct mission: to teach interested folk Chinese. Duolingo has it more varied—not as much as Rosetta Stone of course—to where you can multitask.
But I may be wrong and it could be something like Duolingo working on a new interface that may even be MORE minimalist. Enough to bring Mandarin, Cantonese and the other dialects on board and bring users from CS over so that they can be the undoing of this still-likely competitor.
I would absolutely love to see Duolingo do Mandarin. Waiting patiently for that. I've been using ChineseSkill for a few months now and I absolutely love it but I also like the ability to learn on the computer and it's restricted to just an app. Waiting patiently for Mandarin on Duo.