from my experience Swahili speakers who frequently only use English as a medium of communication from secondary school onwards, constantly make the same grammatical errors in English when talking. After all using the Swahili grammatical system, the ommission of eg definite or indefinite articles is just a fact of life - if you never use them in kiswahili why would you automatically know when and which ones to use in English? It is only native English speakers, or those whose language does have definite and indefinite articles, who twitch when they are wrongly omitted or applied. Gender is another example - if you read the East African English medium papers you get used to the random use of he, she, him and her his and hers - often not only getting the gender of the person wrong, but also in the same journalistic piece mixing the gender of an individual up. Mind you, I still get cross when my grammatically correct answer is marked as wrong! I just keep on reporting.
So true, and there are even some small differences in the use of articles between British English and American English (e.g. in hospital vs. in the hospital)
I have no complaints about missing the articles in the suggested answer, I have problems with the requirement that they be omitted. The teacher or a teacher should both be accepted. Instead this course seems bent on teaching us East African English. Sometimes instead of Swahili.
Why "the teacher" is not accepted ? I can understand that it's not possible to accept all correct solutions in many cases, but accepting only a grammatically incorrect phrase doesn't make any sense.
The course was rushed through into Beta release prematurely so that the CEO could speak about it. Towards the end of the course, you really get the impression that the creators (who, by the way, have day jobs in the Peace Corps and don't get much for their contribution to Duolingo) were rushing through it just to have something there by the premature deadline. I can really imagine them typing things in until 3.30am (saa tisa na nusu usiku) and not having the opportunity to have the English corrected. It really does get frustrating, but our role during the beta phase is to help improve it by using the report function (not writing here - this is mostly for support and interaction with other users, not the course creators) ... I've learnt a tremendous amount through the course, even while swearing and giving my fine the finger. Just keep plugging away. This is nearly the end of the course, from memory
Of course, I get all that and it is understandable if not all correct answers are accepted, or even if the English translation is totally irrelevant to the Swahili phrase. What I can't easily get is how one produces an answer that is not grammatically correct. It looks like it's been produced by a bad software translator and there are the same mistakes all over again and again. There is no way that even a less than fluent English speaker would make the same mistakes so many times. It's not a complaint, it's just genuine wonder.
Yeah, my guess is that the contributor who did a lot of this has a good passive knowledge of English but not such a good active knowledge, especially when it comes to the use of articles.
I am very sympathetic about issues with articles and other grammatical factors that aren't really featured in Swahili. But I am frustrated that these complaints have been made for over a year and not addressed. I know that the creators are busy. Everyone is busy. Lots of people speak Swahili. Get more help. And as a former Peace Corps volunteer myself, I resent that Peace Corps is always referenced as a reason that they can't get to this.