Ran out of patience... Trying English from Chinese!!
I have heard that this course was altogether impossible for people who had no knowledge of Mandarin, although I knew a few characters, 中文，男人，女人，& 我， I decided I don't want to wait for Duolingo to make Mandarin for English speakers so I am taking the reverse course as a native English speaker to get a head start. I am using google translate to get the pinyin so that I know how to type each word as I work from my PC. I will be committing to one lesson a day and a lot of review. I tried the first lesson, it seems doable, although will be tougher than anything else I've delved into on Duolingo. Does anyone have additional FREE resources for learning Mandarin？ as I have no job and am going to college (freshman), as I may not be able to get through the course without additional resources…… Wish me luck! And happy language learning everybody!
It supports either character set. As does Chineseskill. This is selectable via settings/options or similar.
If you know no Mandarin at all, you will, at the very least, need a decent grammar book and dictionary to consult. I'm not sure what the point of doing the reverse tree here is if you haven't done the HelloChinese and/or Chineseskill trees, both of which are plainly modelled on Duolingo (and both free). I'd suggest learning at least a few hundred of the most common characters first. You can find a frequency list here.
This userscript ought to provide you with Mandarin audio in the reverse tree.
I really wouldn't bother. I did most of the tree (Eng from Chinese) by testing out and I don't feel it's a very effective way to learn Chinese. The course teaches English grammar concepts and often uses quite odd looking and stilted Chinese sentences.
I would suggest waiting for the proper Duolingo course to come out. Apart from HelloChinese and Chineseskill there is also the Memrise course. I have tried all three and they are not bad at all.
I am studying the reverse tree, and personally, I think a beginner may face too many unknowns using it: Hanzi, pronunciation, and grammar as well. So, I recommend that you first study HelloChinese (plus some Hanzi flip app/site), then come back to it later after you’ve equipped yourself better.
But if you still prefer to go through with the reverse tree, I suggest using a Hanzi reading plugin like this one, to spare yourself switching back and forth between the lesson and Google Translate.
Here's another - https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B6gkvp11Q0FgZ3pWT0FsQ2ZtSGs
Search for "YoYo Chinese" on YouTube. YoYo Chinese is a paid online subscription Mandarin program, but they have a good variety of material posted on YouTube. Mandarin is a fascinating language that is very rewarding to study. I wish you all the best. :-)
Chinese is now in the incubator. It says it'll be out December 17th, but I'm not sure if that is just an unrealistic goal or if the Duolingo staff has been working on it prior to releasing it into the incubator.