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Duolingo’s new Chinese course now live!

It’s official: Duolingo just launched its Chinese course for English speakers on Android, iOS and WEB!

Sign up for the course and start your Chinese language learning journey (did we mention this is Duolingo’s first ever simultaneous course launch to all three platforms?).

Along with Japanese, Chinese has been one of the most requested language courses in Duolingo’s five-year history. This is not surprising, as more than one billion people worldwide speak the language. This launch is an important milestone not only for us but for the millions of people worldwide who will be able to learn the language in a free, fun, and effective way!

Find out about the learning science behind the new Chinese course and its new character challenges in this blog post.

Whether you’re learning Chinese for pleasure, as a challenge, or for educational or professional purposes, we are hoping this course will offer an enjoyable journey through the intricacies of the Chinese language.

This course would not have been possible without the help of our other contributors: Sasha-O, crush, foshhh, Lynn_Mo, Ontalor, wangster25, Yue.T-C, and Z.Shan.

We hope you enjoy taking the course as much as we enjoyed creating it!

谢谢 - xiexie - thank you!

November 16, 2017



xiexie to all the contributors. My Mom was watching over my shoulder as I went through the greetings and numbers. She became a bit emotional watching me finally learn her language.


Why didn't your mom just teach you Chinese?


People don't always have time to do that. And when one immigrates with a child, it is often thought to be better to make sure the child learns the language of the place that they live in first. I had a similar thing with Hindi, my "native" language.


You don't "teach" a child a language really. My parents spoke to my in Yiddish. They never sat down and taught it to me. If you speak to the child in your native language, then he or she will eventually learn the language on their own.


And a lot of new immigrants DON'T speak to their children in their native languages for many reasons. Some think it is better to integrate quickly by speaking only the new country's language(s), and children tend to mix languages for the first few years of their lives which can freak parents out. I agree that's it's a good thing to speak the native language around children, but please be aware that it's not always black and white.


that's what my parents did. They didn't teach me a language, they simply spoke it around me and I assimilated that way. I grew up with both languages being my mother language- Chinese at home, English at school. It's a beautiful thing to be bilingual! :D Of course, some parents don't have the time but I was blessed (and I recognize it everyday) that my parents were able to be around me so much for my childhood.


First of all, she worked 3 jobs - wasn't home much. Also she thought it important for us to learn English since we moved to the states a few months after I was born. She was trying to learn English herself so. English it was.


Well, your mother gonna be a good help in your way to learn chinese. Nothing better to have a native speaker in your own house.


Absolutely! She has already started using Mandarin with me. :)


Lucky that she speaks Mandarin though. A lot of Overseas Chinese speak other Chinese dialects although I believe this is changing now and mandarin is replacing Cantonese as the lingua franca.


I'm glad to hear you're learning your mom's native language. It is so intertwined with one's culture and roots, after all. :)


Yesterday I replied to someone saying there was no way Chinese would be released today



This is amazing, thanks again!

One recommendation for future development: the exercises where you match a Chinese character to its sound should include the meaning of the character. As it is, now you just see a new character and match it to a sound without any meaning, then you do matching exercises where you match a number of new Chinese characters to their sounds without any meaning. It's not until the sentences that you learn what (some of) the characters mean, and that's not an ideal way of learning vocabulary.

But that's just a thought for the future; again, thanks so much!


Agreed. I can match the text to character, but have no clue what it means in English. Hoping that develops over time - I'm only a few lessons in.


This was exactly my thought. Maybe over time it starts to sink in though?

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A million thanks to Duolingo for giving us the opportunity to make this happen. It's an honor to be able to work with everyone on releasing this course. We'll continue improving it during the beta phase. Please feel free to give us feedback.

Additionally, I have created an official "Club" for all of you, mobile users. Chinese Club invitation code

2017.11.16 EST


Hi! I'm so happy this course is available because I'm moving to Taiwan soon. I know it's probably not exactly the same, but it's giving me a head start.

I noticed that the course is heavy on matching sounds and characters, but i was hoping you'd put a bit more emphasis on the meaning of the words! For example, there could be an exercice where the learner is asked to match the Chinese character with the proper English word. (You know, like the other language programmes!) Sorry if i'm not using the right terminology!



oh I'm late, sadly the club is already full.


Great job by the Duo team for the long awaited Chinese course ! I noticed that Japanese, Korean and Chinese courses are not rendering well on my Windows phones. I hope this will be fixed soon. Thanks in advance.


A person only can join one of the clubs for the language. 如果已經加入或建立了一個club, 就無法參加另一個club. 希望在網路上也能看到club的信息。


Much thanks for the Mandarin Course!

Couple questions for HelpfulDuo:

(1) Can you let us know when/if we will get traditional character support for the Mandarin course? If so, could we also get the Taiwan/Republic of China flag flair?

(2) Is a Cantonese course anticipated in the near future?

(3) What's the hold up on the Klingon course release? Can we get an update on the capitalization/apostrophe recognition issue? The Klingon team says the fix is something that must be done on your end.

(4) ETA for course pages for Yiddish and Haitian Creole?

Thank you in advance!


Fingers crossed for a Cantonese course! Now that Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese are all up and running, it seems like the right time. Plus, now that the characters thing has been solved, the only limiting factors should be volunteers and Duo HQ...


Yes please, please traditional and even more so on Cantonese. There are 80 million Cantonese speakers that is more than most of the languages on duolingo.


I've now written an extension for Chrome that will seamlessly converts Duolingo's course into traditional. Let me know how you like it.



First of all, this course is FANTASTIC! Very comprehensive... In fact, I feel like it's significantly more comprehensive from a vocabulary standpoint than the Spanish course.

I have found that the tolerance for my English translations is too small. Right now, if I type something like "telephone" but Duolingo expects "phone," I'm getting marked incorrect. I've found that for the Spanish course, it's much more forgiving... Hopefully this will be corrected as more users come online!


I assume that's just because the course is new and more stuff will be added continuously.


9 months later and I still find the answers to be way too restrictive. I wonder what the deal is...

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Thank you especial Z. Shan and each and everyone of ALL the Team !
This is a SPECTACULAR achievement !

你好 (nihao) to the introduction of this great language .

Which is greeting that is ever so dear to me. ( family story )


Wow! This is great, I honestly thought I could be waiting for years


We were waiting for years.


It's wonderful to have the world's most spoken language on Duo :) I have always wanted to learn it.
Congratulations on being the first language to be released simultaneously. The course has also come up relatively quick. That blog post is really interesting too. Thanks Team Chinese!

PS - Will we be taught the Simplified or Traditional characters?


We can suggest duo supports both Simplified and Traditional, just like how the HelloChinese app does.


Obviously simplified characters ! It's easy to draw and understand, and popularly used worldwide.


While I agree with you 99%,

The character for "love" doesn't even have the "heart" radical like in the traditional version. Kind of makes it look colder ;(


Simplified characters ruin the etymology of many traditional characters. :(


I have now written a plug-in that seamlessly converts duolingos course into traditional rather than simplified. I hope you enjoy it and its Logo ;)



Ah, I see. But I thought the traditional characters brought more authenticity to the learning process.


I've been studying Mandarin for about 6 years in school (despite the fact that I only got ahead to level 5, RIP), and I can personally attest to the authenticity of learning Simplified characters, haha.


Don't worry too much about it - I used to think that the fact that there were two different versions of chinese characters was completely insane, but a great deal of the differences between the two systems become very obvious the more you learn about them. It doesn't matter in the end what you start learning with, in time, you will develop the ability to learn both, if that is what you want to do.

Also if you read the blog post, they plan to add traditional characters eventually anyway. So, everybody wins :)


Nobody really uses them in Mainland China anymore. (source: 3 years learning Chinese)


Here is a photograph of a modern informational sign in the Large Goose Pagoda complex in Xi'an, written entirely in traditional characters (they all were; I've no idea why, but it certainly contradicts your assertion, as most visitors there are mainland Chinese—source: I took the photograph):


Firstly, yes they do. Secondly China isn't the only country on the planet. I hate to sound rude but 50 million people still use traditional.

If you want to learn Chinese etymology using simplified, you simply can't because many of the characters that give meaning to characters are removed or distorted.


although this is true, Taiwan still uses and teaches traditional Chinese. Taiwan, although treated/dealt with as an independent country (with other international powers other than China), is still considered as part of China to most mainland Chinese as it has been conquered by them/was part of China, and so the mainland Chinese mainly believe that Taiwan is still on Chinese territory, and thus belongs to China. (as a native Taiwanese person, living in the U.S)


But is this true only of daily and most technical usage, or does this apply to traditional scholarship on literature and the classics? My contact with the field is limited, but I had the impression, perhaps mistakenly, that traditional characters were still used by scholars on the mainland. In any case, I can see why simplified characters would be prioritized, and while I would prefer for both options to be supported (like in HelloChinese), I’m totally fine with having just one of them. Most programs teach only one, and it’s easy to learn the alternative character versions from a good dictionary.


I have written an extension for Duolingo now that makes the course traditional rather than simplified. So now you have a choice :)



...and means you won't be able to read anything that was written before 1956...


I think you're being a little tongue in cheek here, but for the benefit of anybody else reading this isn't very accurate.

  1. You'd have to be reading something published/written prior to 1956 and not republished subsequently in simplified characters. That's a pretty limited circumstance.

  2. Learning to read traditional characters if you already know simplified characters is not particularly difficult. The differences between the two sets is not that great, and a lot of characters with substantial differences can be guessed from context.

Writing traditional is another story though, if you think you're going to be writing a lot of traditional characters by hand then you should learn traditional. If you just want to be able to read and write on a computer then it really doesn't matter which character set you start with. Just pick the one of the region you're in, it'll take you 4/5 years to learn it anyway.


You'd have to be reading something published/written prior to 1956 and not republished subsequently in simplified characters. That's a pretty limited circumstance.

I think you are being wildly optimistic about this. The vast majority of books lie in obscurity in libraries; only a very small minority are popular enough to merit the time and expense of careful reforging and editing to make them accessible to readers who only know a substantially-changed orthography. I can pick up a book (in English) published in 1700 and read it easily (only the long esses would be a little distracting); a Russian would be considerably more distracted by numerous defunct spellings and characters, but would probably still manage it; a Turk would find it completely impossible unless he had already learnt the prior script. With Chinese, it is probably somewhere between Russian and Turkish: some of the simplifications are obvious, or longstanding borrowings from cursive, but others are arbitrarily unguessable concoctions dreamt up by the committee that was under political pressure to come up with them.
And if there is any implication that anything popular enough to be 'worth reading' will always be re-published in simplified characters, it will also probably be translated into English somewhere, so why even bother learning Chinese? I, personally, like to read things in the form in which they were written.

Learning to read traditional characters if you already know simplified characters is not particularly difficult.

The trouble is that the reduction in numbers of strokes was carried out in this arbitrary fashion in many cases, making it considerably more difficult to intuit the traditional form from the simplified form than vice versa. This is compounded by instances in which a single simplified character serves for multiple traditional characters and the one-to-one correspondence is lost (which makes the whole system more complicated for learners). Yes, the difference isn't that great, and of course things can be guessed from context, although this is of little help to a beginning learner.
What is of more help to such a learner is the greater visual contrast of many common traditional characters compared to their simplified counterparts, their retention of more useful etymological components and, as I mentioned above, the 1-1 mappings that become 1-2 or 1-3 or more in quite a few simplified characters in common words.

I entirely agree that both will take just as long to learn—they are both equally arbitrary squiggles from the perspective of someone who knows neither. The major advantage of the simplified set is that it is quicker to write longhand, which is a moot point when typed on a computer. I certainly feel that it should, logically, be easier to pick up simplified characters after learning traditional than the other way around, although it is obviously impossible for me to objectively test the latter having already done the former.


its just that simplified is more popular internationally, and is used more in China. However, Taiwan still uses and teaches traditional Chinese. It is true that simplified Chinese is easier to pick up when already having learnt traditional, and many of the characters remain the same (like 也, which is already simple enough that it doesn't need any simplification).


I have written a plug in that allows you to seamlessly switch Duolingo's course into traditional rather than simplified, I hope you find it useful.



Wow ! Couldn't wait any longer and Duolingo released it. Thanks Z. Shan Masato Hagiwara Team !! And I am really happy that it's available on all THREE platforms.

It's smooth and easy. Just completed few skills. It's way better than classroom course because of voice pronunciation. I hope regarding rules grammar, Duo will reach my expectations.

One Suggestion: In skill notes, pronunciation can be played on same page using (speaker) icon. It directs another page where mp3 sound is played.


Thank you for all your hard work contributors.

This course really has exceeded expectations and I have thoroughly enjoyed alpha testing. I am very excited to see all the contributions from Duo users that will be showing up in the sentence discussions.


So excited with all these east Asian language additions! Thank you for all your hard work and dedication


Holy! That was fast!


谢谢 Duolingo! This is definitely one of the best courses, and the tree isn't too short like Japanese! 谢谢 again!


Mandarin/Japanese are here and now Hindi/Arabic is coming. What a good year for Duo!


"What a good year for Duo!"



Way to go team Chinese! It’s a big challenge, but I really like how cautiously paced the lessons are and it’s making things seem more manageable.


Hey guys! Checked out the new Chinese course — looks awesome! Just here to say thanks, and also add a +1 for traditional characters! Of course, a whole Taiwanese Mandarin course would be great, but even a simple toggle switch would be much better than nothing.

Also, I'm not sure about whether or not there are any plans to eventually release a Cantonese course (I understand the complications with its sometimes less-standardized writing system and whatnot) but I found it strange that the course was called "Chinese," and not "Mandarin" or "Mandarin Chinese." It seems as though you guys have backed yourselves into a corner already in that respect unless you later decide to rename the Chinese (Mandarin) course? Or call the Cantonese course "Cantonese" and the Mandarin course "Chinese"?

Regarding the course itself, I know it's being worked on, but I've already noticed quite a few instances in which sentence translations were a bit rigid. Stuff like "Are we going for dinner tonight?" being rejected when "Will we go for dinner tonight?" (or something like that) was the answer. And then some sentences when a Chinese sentence translation could have used a Subject + Time + Verb structure or a Time + Subject + Verb structure but only one of the two was accepted. Anyway, feel free to throw those thoughts in the big bucket of feedback or whatever. (Source: Native English speaker, learned Mandarin for 5+ years, work in a Mandarin-speaking company related to English-Mandarin translation).

Keep doing what you guys do! Humanity thanks you. :-)


"Regarding the course itself, I know it's being worked on, but I've already noticed quite a few instances in which sentence translations were a bit rigid."

The first year of a language on Duolingo is always rough :/ I guess we just can't be shy about reporting things.


If Taiwanese were to be released, I think it would take a lot of time, even longer than this Chinese course. Also, Taiwanese is really only used among the elders now, and some younger children that are taken care of by their grandparents (while their parents are at their day jobs). DuoLingo would have a hard time finding people to hire. Although a large amount of middle aged women also know and use Taiwanese, most of them do not use it as often and so this may prove a challenge to DuoLingo. It' be nice to restore Taiwanese though!


I also really wanted traditional characters too, so I wrote a plug in for Chrome that allows you to seamlessly turn duolingo's course into traditional at the click of a button. :)




I didn't need to be impatient and go and do it at the Uni after all did I?

Maybe if I find a Finnish course it would make duo do that one?


Many thanks to Duolingo and all the contributors. Like many others, I have been waiting for this course since Duolingo started 5 years ago. I already checked out the first lessons and I love it!


Oh my gosh, I've been waiting for this for years, thank you so much! Now a question I'm sure to be ridiculed for... Will the Windows Store (including mobile) version of DuoLingo be updated to support this? Again, many many many thanks!


Not sure whether to ridicule for the username or the Windows Store question... ;-)


谢谢 !! I am so excited this course is finally out. I am in a Chinese class at my school, however I was waiting for a class online where I could learn more and hopefully learn better. (It is hard to understand 老师-teacher speak her broken English sometimes. She's originally from China)

Of course it hurts me to say this, but, I heard that learning the pinyin (Like "xiexie" or "yi" instead of "谢谢" and “一” makes it harder to learn Chinese, and can actually hurt your learning. 老师 had us learn the alphabet/phonics and the sounds the pinyin can make, but she tries to avoid using the pinyin much. We will read it when we first say, get into a new dialogue in our textbooks, because of course, we're learning and need to know the sounds of the characters, but after a while, when we learn the sounds of the characters more, she tell us to not look at the pinyin if we don't have to.

I was thinking, maybe it'd be easier to learn, if the course gave the character and a vocal pronunciation first when introducing new words, and then having the pinyin introduced and show how it is sounded out.

For example. 老师 ----- "Laoshi"---Teacher--- Laoshi My teacher goes over the sounds piece by piece, sounding out slowly. "Lao. L-uh-lao," "Shi-Sh-Ih-Shi" If that makes sense, it may not, it's sort of hard to explain this.

My teacher has been teaching a long time, and is really good at making her students speak really good Chinese over the years of their learning (I think she teaches up to 4 years, maybe just 3,). I am not saying this course is bad! No!! It's really amazing! I'm just trying to give a few tips that may make the learning easier, as it is a very hard language when you first begin.

If anything, I'd say to also add the phonics/alphabet in there too, it really helps with the pronunciation of pinyin, then eventually characters.

We also used some music too, to help us learn, if that helps. Just simple songs :)

谢谢 thank you, again. I'll still be using this course, either way, as I know it will still teach me very well. :)


Congrats to the team on getting this one out!


I'd like to see options for learning via jyutping (cantonese romanisation), ㄅㄆㄇㄈ bopomofo (注音符號). Most importantly, traditional characters. I'm not really used to seeing simplified, and it should be a very simple addition since simplified/traditional is almost 1-to-1.


Congratulations, team! Thank you!


I was a bit amazed to see when I checked the course around 5:30pm it was "37%" finished. Then took a nap and when I woke up and decided to peak again, thinking, nothing would have changed, it was up and running! So excited for this course. Even though I think learning the writing system at the same time as basic pronunciation and grammar is a bit silly. I think this complements the ChineseSkill course. Nice to have both since Duolingo has better system, but ChineseSkill has option to just learn pinyin.


Something similar happened to me! I was doing homework, then I decided to go to Duolingo's Incubator page to check on Chinese, only to see that it has already been released. I screamed in exitement, and I immediately started the course.


Pretty much the same with me! :D


Is there a tips and notes extractor? I painstakingly manually did this for the Turkish course but it was worth the effort. I'd like a simplified way to carry out the same thing for the Chinese tree.


There is a script mentioned in the following post for extracting the text:


I haven't used myself, but looks interesting (also not sure if it will work with the new web site)


Wonderful, thanks to everyone for all the hard work!


Finally! Been waiting for this for years (literally). So far it's exceeding my expectations!


this is pretty dang cool!


谢谢你们! It's here!! So happy to start Chinese on Duolinguo. Keep it up, it's awesome! This will help me to communicate in the native language of the person I love most in this universe and her family. 爱你TY. Let's do this!


I really love the Chinese course except for the fact that there are no speaking exercises. Thankfully, since I live in Hong Kong, I can practice speaking with my friends, but many users will face a problem practicing their pronunciation due to the lack of speaking exercises.


I thought there might be something wrong with my phone app (iPhone) because I'm not getting any speaking exercises. I guess they haven't added speaking/voice recognition yet?


Wow, awesome stuff guys! Can't believe it's finally here.

Also, just a quick mention: under Greeting 2 in the tips and notes, for '你很高兴。' the pinyin's written as 'Wǒ[wó] hěn gāo xìng.' instead of 'Nǐ[ní] hěn gāo xìng.'


Just signed up for the Chinese course through the app. Love it so far, however (isn't there always a 'however' in most praise?!)... I do have an issue with the "Names" lesson. Through most of the lesson, responses that follow the pattern of the sentence given are judged to be incorrect both in the pinyin and Chinese character sets. For example, the phrase given is, "My name is Zhang Hua." If the student replies to the phrase verbatim, the app says it is incorrect and should be "My name is Hua Zhang." Is that by design (i.e. Following the western practice of "Given Name + Surname rather than traditional Chinese practice of Surname first.), or is that a design error? BTW, I tried answering the questions the 'western' way and they were marked correct. Quite confusing!


I agree that should be in the Tips and Notes. One would have to know that the surname is given first in Chinese. I'm happy to reverse the order for the answer to show as correct--that reflects correct usage. Without this in Tips and Notes, however, the Duo team is going to be flooded with "corrections" over the years.


Is it possible to make the characters bigger in the matching lineup and under the pictures for selecting matches? When trying to memorize characters based on pictograms rather than Roman lettering, I reeeeeally would like to have them big enough to engrave every stroke on my mind. I'm using the pc for Chinese and there's certainly a lot of space that could be used to make the characters bigger.


It's great to have a Chinese course at last, but to me it seems like an exam without teaching the course material. It's very frustrating and discouraging. The "lessons" match Chinese characters to Chinese word sounds but don't teach the English translations with English words/phrases or pictures like in the other Duolingo language courses. Why is this?

I see comments below about the focus on learning Chinese characters vs pinyin and one person notes that this is better in the long run, however, this goes against the well established pinyin teaching approach for English speakers used successfully for many years. Chinese characters would be good to learn but I'm sure most of us want to learn how to speak Chinese first, especially for an app such as Duolingo.

Can't we just have a Chinese course that takes a similar approach used by the other Duolingo language courses where we actually learn how English words and phrases match up with Chinese (in pinyin)?

For me, this course damages the Duolingo brand which has a deservedly excellent reputation for other language courses like European languages.

Would someone from Duolingo mind responding to my questions, please?


I have been waiting for this course for SO LONG! I've created a club for anyone who wants to join me! :) 62CHR5


Interesting course so far. I am enjoying it! Xiè Xiè!


Thank you so much. I thought this course was gonna be finished in december, at least. This is great, amazing.


aww I can't wait to start, thanks duolingo. My highschool has a partner ship with a chinese city and I hope that I can go so I'm going to learn a bit of the language.


Is there a way to use Pinyan instead of the characters?


If you install a Chinese input method on your computer, you can type with pinyin, but onscreen they will convert to the characters. This also goes for mobile phone keyboards as well. It's a very easy way to learn to recognise them.


Though pinyin is easier, you must learn the characters. :)


Pass. Looks like I won't be around much longer in Chinese.


好的, 那再见吧.


谢谢 to the staff and the contributors for this course! I have been anticipating its release since it was added to the incubator! Chinese is a great addition to Duolingo!


谢谢 - xiexie - thank you! Not to sound ungrateful - Cantonese was the main Sinitic language spoken in expatriate Chinese communities and is still a major expatriate langague across the world. Please brind Cantonese to Duolingo too. Also, please consider a traditional character option for Chinese. Please don't think I am ungrateful because I have been looking forward to a Chinese course.


Hi Andrew, I too feel like you do, I would also love to be able to understand Cantonese, and I hear it spoken often where I live, but I wouldn't let it stop you from trying this Mandarin course, for many reasons. It will prime you to get a feel of how phrases are worded in Chinese, it will get you used to how every word has a tonal quality, you'll get some practice learning to recognise characters (and yes, they are simplified and Cantonese uses traditional, but traditional characters will be coming later!)

At the end of the day, every single school in China is compelled to teach Mandarin, so there is absolutely no way that it wont come in useful one day in your life.

Even if you never end up using what you learn from it, it can still only help you, because Mandarin is to Cantonese as Spanish is to Portuguese or German is to Dutch. It may not be the language that you want to learn, but it certainly gets you a lot closer to it than where you are now, and you could be waiting a long time for a Cantonese course.


Now you can use traditional, I have written a plug in that allows you to seamlessly switch Duolingo to Traditional :)



Duo xie! Wo hen xihuan zhongwen!


I have a problem with the second set of lessons in the Chinese course, numbers. I've completed the set of lesseons twice, but it is still showing that I have to complete lessons 2 to 4. It is only showing that I completed the first lesson. There is definitely a bug in the program.


I wish there were pictures to match meaning to, as there are with the other language sets. Please? That is, yes, match words to characters, but add matching words to photos of that thing as well.


哎呀!In the placement test I translated from English 我叫明张你叫什么名字....and got marked wrong because I should have inverted the name as per chinese convention to 张明. Fair enough I guess, I should have woken up. 糟糕!!


I know it's early days and only been released in beta. As it can be difficult to give a precise translation to English and sound natural, I hope as time goes on more translations will be accepted. Here's a couple of examples from the placement test I got marked wrong on:

我姓张,你呢? I translated as: I'm Zhang, and you? The answer looked for was more accurate but less natural [imho], but still a perfectly fine answer also: My last name is Zhang. And yours?

我们可以坐公共汽车去学校吗? I translated as: Can we ride the bus to go to school? The answer looked for was: Can we take the bus to go to school


The answer looked for was more accurate but less natural [imho], but still a perfectly fine answer also: My last name is Zhang. And yours?

It's a bit unnecessarily confusing to translate '姓' as 'last name' when it always comes first. 'Family name' would be a better default translation, and just 'name' should be accepted.

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"Family name" would be a better default translation, true, but "name" wouldn't be as good. "Name" corresponds to "名字" in Chinese, and when you are asking for someone's "名字", they would mostly likely take it to mean that you are asking for their full name - family name + given name. It is not at all uncommon for people to call each other by their full names in China, even among close friends. Yet "姓" refers to, without exception, the family name only. The distinction has to be made.


I quite appreciate the distinction. However, it is very common in English to say 'my name is Smith [etc.]' when giving a surname; no-one would say 'my family name is Smith' when introducing himself, so insisting on 'family name', although a completely accurate and precise rendering of '姓', produces rather clunky translations ('the family name's Bond'!)

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I realized I didn't really do a good job pinning down the heart of the matter here, so I think I'll give it another try. Bear with me if you can.

In China, giving your surname only is actually not as natural a behavior when introducing oneself as in Western cultures. "I'm Zhang" is an expression of identity - it indicates the person wishes to be known and addressed by "Zhang". In comparison, "我姓xx" does not have a similar implication. Instead, it really does only mean "My surname is...", or "I bear the family name of..."

Consequently, the question "你呢 (And you?)" that follows "我姓张", is NOT an invitation for the other person to introduce themselves, but only an invitation to exchange surnames. In English, "I am Smith, and you?" could generally be responded with whatever one chooses to be addressed by - last name, first name, nickname, or even "My friends call me Chocolate Cupcakes". "我姓张,你呢?“ can only responded by giving one's last name in return. If they want to actually acquaint themselves with each other, they will have to ask the proper introductory questions, i.e. "你叫什么?" or "你叫什么名字?", which are more or less the semantic equivalent to "What is your name?" or "What should I call you?"

Hope that helps.

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True, but it is irrelevant in the context of the original question. Here the person is specifically asking for the other person's "姓" - the surname, meaning they don't want anything BUT the surname. Therefore translating "姓" to "name" is not a question of precision in this case, it's just wrong.

Plus, when you put the question in context, it's perfectly for someone to be asking for your surname only, such as when participating in a survey. e.g. "Last name?" "Bond." "Alright. First name?" "James." Imagine if you substituted both the "last name" and the "first name" with just "name" - "Name?" "James Bond." "Alright. Name?" "...Pretty sure I told you."

Not trying to sass you or question your proficiency in Chinese. It's just that, though sometimes literally imprecise translations are required for the sake of semantic faithfulness and idiomaticity, this is not one of those cases. :)


Not sure if there's somewhere to report the little errors in the tips and notes [ I know there is in the lessons themselves]. In the tips and notes for Food 1 it has: 你也不喝茶。 Nǐ[ní] yě bù hēchá. I also don’t drink tea / I don’t drink tea, either.

Obviously that translation should be "you also don’t drink tea / you don’t drink tea, either.


I love that Chinese is now an option on Doulingo, but i have no idea what i am even clicking, there are no text translations, even in beta this should have been added, better off using something else if i have to translate every word myself, which is a pain in the arse.


Some feedback from beta! Some of the translations are a bit confusing in my opinion. For example "我叫李华." Is literally "My name Li Hua." However, in english it would make sense to re-write as "My name is Hua Li." - switching the last name to be.. well, last! I'm not sure if it's confusing for others, but I naturally switch them without thinking about it. Maybe it's just a bad habit, but it helps a lot when I actually have to remember people's names correctly while traveling.. Otherwise great job! feels very intuitive, and I look forward to brushing up my Chinese.


The pronounciation always comes when I reload the page, which causes me to have to restart. I have tried on different computers and tried different languages, but still the same thing happens. Can anyone help me?


This is such a stellar achievement. After this, Hebrew, and Japanese came online, I decided to become a paying supporter. Great work team! Looking forward to other complex languages - Hindi, Arabic, etc.


Hm. Interstingly, I was only notified of this course via email from duolingo today. Is it possible that duolingo sent out the emails in batches and delayed it to avoid server overload?


谢谢。 I would like to thank everyone who contributed to this course. I have recently moved to China and have started going to an international school. Although I am in the CSL class I was put straight into the same level as everyone else who had been in China for at least 3 years and I had never learnt the language. Ever since I found out I was moving I had been waiting for Duolingo to release a Chinese Course and it has been so worthwhile. Being submerged straight into Chinese has been helpful but I also still need a little bit of textbook help. I hope that Duolingo keeps on releasing fun and popular languages for everybody to learn worldwide. Once again 谢谢 to all the people who have helped to make this course possible. I would be struggling even more than I am at the moment if it wasn't for you.


This new course is great,thanks to everyone who made it!


I am so happy to see this finally released!


Any chance of getting the "Words" feature for Chinese? Especially since the "character learning" exercises (really helpful, thanks!) don't teach the meanings.


Started 6 days ago. My boss is Chinese. I'll wait until I can carry on at least a very simply exchange in the language, and then I'll surprise him with it one morning by greeting him. I also started to review the German that I used to be pretty good at, so doing both languages daily now.


Wow, thanks so much to the team! I've been waiting this for so long. What an amazing year.


I'm just wanting to point out how unfair this system is and how different the workloads are in different courses. I'm studying French, Italian and Mandarin Chinese. My native language is English.

Mandarin Chinese is not the best course on here because it is still in the beta form and needs more work done on it. It is particularly poor in terms of offering enough variety in English answers to questions, and many people express this in the course comments. It also doesn't have any capability in acknowledging typos. In both French and Italian if you make a typo, you usually lose no marks - it just points out that you made the typo in the first place. But the most alarming thing is that in Mandarin Chinese you have to answer 20 questions every time to get 10 points, with quite lengthy questions to translate, while in French and Italian it is only around 7 to 9 shorter questions to get 10 points. How can this be fair when you compete with different people doing different courses? I find with the Chinese it takes hours to chalk up 100 points, but with French and Italian I can do 400 or more points in less than an hour, sometimes half an hour.

Level playing field Doulingo? I appreciate very much that these are free courses and that a lot of work has been done to put them together, but things like I have mentioned above are sometimes a bit irritating.


恭喜 Gong Xi!


Cool. I may want to try this. : )


Very excited. Thank you all who contributed.


What do the circles of the flags and the numbers next to them mean?


the flag represents the language you're learning, and the number is the level that person is in in that language


Thank you, Duo, and 谢谢 to all the contributors who made this possible. A great course, really!


Thank you! Been waiting for that one to sharpen my skills.

Minor bug report: I used the shortcut into the course and landed at level 5. There it started introducing two-syllable words ( 一月 etc) - the sound for the two-syllable words are missing.

Also, Translate this sentence: "狗在医生的左边" (my transl) "The dog is on the doctor's left side". Answer: "You have a typo in your answer. The doc is on the doctor's left side." - really ? :)

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Thank you so so much!!! I’m excited!!



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Yay! Thank you! I a going to start this new course ASAP.


Yay! I am excited to get started! xie xie!






Great. 123 comments. Oh, I just destroy that beautiful number!!!


so excited have been wanted to learn for a while.


XieXie. This is the course I requested when all of Duolingo was it Beta. Just ran through a couple lessons. Good start. Good logic.


Finally, god bless you!


Cool just in time! The right time for Chinese Duolingo learning support :)


谢谢 I was so happy to learn about the new beta trial. I did Mandarin for only half a year before moving so this is a great opportunity for me to jump back into it.


Is this Mandarin or Cantonese?


That's amazing, I've already recommended it to all my friends who are learning chinese


I am so happy. I am half Taiwanese but my mom never taught me any of her native languages. I haven't been to Taiwan or anywhere in Asia yet, but within the next year or two I will finally be able to afford to go. This will prepare me for that. I am on level 6 and my Mandarin is finally making progress after stalling for a long time. I got stuck in the ChineseSkill app as after a certain point it wasn't really helping me learn and was too hard. Hopefully that doesn't happen with Duolingo, but it is already getting much harder. This is a course I definitely plan to complete. If I complete it within a year I will be happy. :) If it even helps me to just have comprehension of a simple real-life conversation I'll be thrilled! I've studied so many languages, but my mom's native is the hardest nut to crack!!


Thank you very much for the Chinese course! I was really happy to see it on Duolingo. Could you still add the English translation to the new words that are being introduced for the first time? That would be very helpful. Thanks!


Awesome! I've been waiting for this for such a long time! :D


i think i don't need to learn, 我觉得我应该不需要学。


I would like to give a big 谢谢 to all of the contributors who made this language course start.


hey, i already know chinese!


It's a good start, but I don't like that it doesn't teach pinyin and then move into characters. That's a much easier way for me to learn (I've taken two college chinese classes years ago).

[deactivated user]

    感动!!!终于有了! I would like to be a contributor for the courses!


    太好了!多谢你们!I would second (or third, etc) the request for matching characters to english translations, not just pinyin. The last several lessons I have done, I have been given pronunciation matching exercises of various sorts for 90% of the activities, and then sentences to translate just for the last one or two activities. I would like more meaning repetition in addition to the sound repetition.

    Additionally, it would be helpful to learn full words, not just individual characters. In the nationalities lesson, it took me until the very last exercise of the lesson (after which i was considered to have "mastered" it) to realize that 加拿大 was one word, because the component characters had been presented out of order and with no connection to each other. I might suggest introducing 加拿大 all at once, the way 你好 was introduced, then subsequently drilling the pronunciation of each piece. In fact, thus far I think 你好 is the only multi-character word that is ever tested?

    At any rate, thank you so, so much for all your hard work on this, and I look forward to seeing how it evolves!







    I am a bit confused about the Chinese course, although I love it and I'm having a lot of fun. I thought that Cantonese and Mandarin were the languages spoken in China...so what does it mean that this class is just "Chinese" ?


    大家好哈, 我是小羽毛~ Hi, everyone, i am feather!


    I signed up for Chinese course and thought for sure I selected traditional characters as used in Taiwan, but program using simplified. Is there a character type setting I can use? How do I reach settings in IOS App?


    You cannot switch at the moment, but I have written an extension for chrome that allows you to switch to traditional, it doesn't work for iOS though I'm afraid :(



    Thank you But I'm struggling -not knowing what the words mean in English. Can the English word be introduced at the start of the lesson -not just when we get to translate the new character?


    Hi! Native chinese speaker here :) I was wondering if there's any way I can contribute to this course as it develops other than going through the course and suggesting alternative translations for questions.


    That's great news, but am I wrong that I see many mistakes in Chinese course?


    I just get a blank page: https://www.duolingo.com/course/zh-CN/en/Learn-Chinese-Online

    Is the course no longer available?


    Thank you for this course! But how actively is it being maintained and further developed? I notice that several errors that have been pointed out have not been corrected in months.


    Thanks for the contribution, i think it is still in beta and there are some explanations missing, so people are a bit confused. (e g the symbol of possession is missing (my name) in the explanation. Also construction of sentences is not so clear (so you look for other sources outside DL to understand it). People have also problems with the pronunciation. See discussions.




    As a Chinese speaking person, I feel like the Chinese course teaches very unnatural Chinese. The sentences are very stiff. I have never met someone who speaks like this. Also, there is no flexibility in the translation. I hope that this will fixed soon! Thanks for the course btw. It's nice to finally have Chinese!


    Are you planning to release stories and podcast for Chinese too?? Has the most spoken language in the world that would only make sense. I've completed the skill tree and i still feel like there is so much to learn.


    xiexie duolingo - maybe i should start doing chinese.. actually let's do it (I won't be good though)

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