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The Problems with the Korean Tree

When the Korean tree became available, I was very excited. I had been learning Korean for a couple of years, but a Duolingo course would be a massive help. And I really like it: the way the honorifics system is dealt with among other things is great. But I was frustrated a lot too.

  1. Definite and indefinite articles. Korean doesn't have a distinction between them. But the course only accepts one of the two quite often, which forces you to memorize which one it is - and not actually important stuff.

  2. Plurals. Korean has a different plural system to English. 사과를 먹어요 can mean one or more than one apples are being eaten.

  3. Personal pronouns. For example, in 사과를 먹어요 there are none. Because the person is normally obvious from context and they're used to emphasize the person. But answers without a specific personal pronoun are quite haphazardly not accepted.

  4. Other inflexible translations. I'll use an example from the course: "안내인은 안내서를 쓴다." This can either mean a/the guide/s use a/the guidebook/s or that a/the guide/s write a/the guidebook/s. But only the latter is accepted.

Of course, that's a lot of different translation possibilities, which take a lot of time to implement. But definite articles, plurals and personal pronouns are some of the first and most important things you learn in a language. They should not be ignored - especially when you sound incredibly clunky if you do.

October 11, 2017



Hi Kiitos3. I think you raise some important points.

I'm not a course developer, but from what I understand, all different translations have to be input by hand. That takes a lot of time and one person cannot think of all the different translations at the time of implementation.

So, that's where this beta (and previously alpha) release comes in (it may not have been very clear, but this is not the official release of the course yet). During this beta release, users are expected to submit all alternate translate they can think of and that are not accepted at the present moment.

The developers will assess, based on their own criteria of consistency that I am not in the know of, if they accept or not your alternative translation. I've already submitted several of these and gotten messages telling me they are accepted now.

This process explains why the translations are usually much more flexible at the beginning of the course rather than at the end where less users have been contributing.

It is your choice to decide if you want to participate in this collaborative effort of improving the course during beta or if you'd rather wait for the official release.

Happy studying!


"It may not have been very clear, but this is not the official release of the course yet"

Yeah this is hilarious to me, there are so many people complaining instead of being helpful.


Are these problems also there in the app version?


https://www.duolingo.com/comment/24887752 is where I am putting my suggestions for the course.

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