https://www.duolingo.com/fischerfs

The Numbers 3 Skill Needs Some Work

First off, I'd just like to say this has been a brilliant course so far. I feel like it's very informative and makes what seems like a solid language a little easier and less daunting to learn.

However I've encountered numerous (no pun intended) problems with the 'Numbers 3' skill, lesson 3.

First off, this would happen on every single question that required the English translation. https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/321619908108615680/361878253537067009/unknown.png It wouldn't accept the actual number (eg. 423) but rather the full '4 hundred 23' which is really unnatural.

Also, the 'hints on hover' seem very misleading. They often give the wrong word or declension of a word in this lesson. This has made it difficult to get the correct answer.

To add to this, you don't know until after trial and error. There are no notes for this skill, so it was difficult to find out how certain words decline with certain numbers. I'd have liked to see some tables similar to earlier skills so I knew how this works.

I'm hoping this isn't the case with later skills, but I wanted to point this out, especially for others who may reach this stage very soon, too.

September 25, 2017

2 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/nueby

Thanks for your feedback! I fully appreciate why that nonsense message you got for the "4 hundred 23"-euro cat would concern you. I have what I suspect will be a mixed bag of welcome and unwelcome things in response.

The most comforting news may be that I and the rest of the team are not bonkers, so no, we do not believe that "4 hundred 23" is any better than "423" either. However, where we may part ways is in the acceptability of "423" as a "translation" of "čtyři sta dvacet tři" or as a translation of "four hundred twenty-three" in the opposite direction.

Much depends on whether or not you actually want to learn the compound numbers in Czech, and whether you think the reverse users of this course who are actually using it to learn/practice English should be able to learn the corresponding English numbers. I do not believe that typing "423" accomplishes much else than perhaps demonstrating passive comprehension of the number words. In particular, verbal production of that number is then untested. And I said perhaps because Duo in its wisdom accepts all of the following as "typos" for 423: 23, 42, 43, 243, and 432. (Additional "typos" with the decimal point or comma can be produced.) From our position this is not an acceptable situation consistent with volunteering our free time for good cause.

We currently do not accept digits in this skill at all, natural or otherwise. (Safest course for users: Translate words as words, and digits as digits, should they be presented to you.) Here is our setup for the exercise in question:

I am selling [a/the] cat for four hundred [and/] twenty-three [euros/euro/EUR].

Where is that nonsense you were shown in that? Nowhere. It originated in Duo's half-donkeyed (nanny filter, see that digit?) measures to implement word-digital substitutions over the contributors' heads. Those measures currently cannot cope with higher numbers, only with their smaller bits and pieces (and have not begun to dream about handling declination). So no, we did not produce that, and repeatedly reporting "solution is unnatural" for every sentence for which you insist on typing in "423" and the like is just going to delay the exit from beta without ever reaching the responsible party.

Of course, if you do not like that you have to enter "four hundred twenty-three" or "čtyři sta dvacet tři" instead of the convenient "423", then your problem is with us and will remain so until Duo either manages a full donkey in both languages or replaces me. I am about teaching, not brown-nosing users. That bias tends exist for all highly productive contributors, so my replacement may be a murky proposition. Our priorities (Duo's vs volunteers') cannot be the same. Why not relent on the "from" (English) side? Because of the reverse usage partly motivated by the notorious lack of L1->L2 translation exercises, and because the "typo" recognition algorithm makes all kinds of digital garbage "close enough". It all leads back to Pittsburgh and their quest to be popular with ever more users.

The rest of what I have to say is all in agreement with you. The hover hints were not complete. I am adding them for the higher numbers now.

You are also correct that the T&N are missing in this skill. Unfortunately you are also correct that they are missing in the later skills for now. It is a beta course only three weeks out, so some patience is in order. It would help if more colleagues could write the T&N, but it is tough on them because they did not make the grammar-heavy skills. Those T&N are up to me.

Here is my plan: I will keep an eye out for skills with which the users struggle and prioritize adding T&N to those, earliest skills first. The remaining overt/covert Numbers skills are a priori on my to-do list before any others, mostly because number declination really is a bear, especially in compounds above 100. No ETA, no deadline, they will just show up one day. Of course, so may new sentences to demonstrate the 100+ concepts better. Unless I do manage to get myself fired, in which case 423 (and 23, 43, etc.) may start to be accepted, but the users may not learn much, and there may not be any more T&N to help them not learn it :-)

September 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/fischerfs

Thanks for the informative response!

After reading this, I now agree with your reasoning with the numbers. I didn't realize the typo mechanism could be bypassed this way, so I assumed since numerals are generally accepted in the others it would be similar here. But I wholly understand your decision for this, and I'll keep it in mind when doing future number-based questions. I also apologize for the reports on each question, I realize now that was probably not a completely wise decision, so sorry about that.

I'm glad that the T&N and HoH are being updated, thanks a lot for improving them!

Again, I love the course itself, and I'm glad I've been able to grind at it lately, so thanks so much! I hope to continue and reach the end very soon, and I wish you luck for passing beta!

September 26, 2017
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