"What's your name?"
You likely need to approach Chinese from several angles. I combine Duolingo with Yoyo Chinese as a supplement. You will have to pay for a membership, but the charming hostess explains the grammar clearly in her video series, offers review guides, and requires that a quiz be completed before you continue to the more advanced levels. Like Duolingo's, flashcards are available to improve your recognition and recall of Chinese. Pragmatics (conversational skills), phonology (pronunciation), syntax (word order), and morphology are all emphasized as well.
When I have more free time (if ever!), I will study with Duolingo, Yoyo Chinese, Rosetta Stone, and YouTube's "Easy Chinese" (to improve my listening comprehension). Truly, the best way to learn Chinese is to befriend a native speaker, frequently visit a restaurant or similar place where Chinese is the primary means of communication, and / or enroll in a full-immersion language course at a university or community college. These interactions FORCE you to retrieve the necessary vocabulary to formulate a coherent yet spontaneous thought. In other words, you will have the opportunity to express yourself naturally rather than rely only on imitation and memorization. This is the ability that most individuals strive to achieve in their language studies: the chance to understand (through the passive skills of reading and listening, which many of these online programs do provide) and to be understood (through speaking and writing, which most online programs cannot adequately provide) by a native speaker.
I hope this inspires you to continue your journey through this beautiful language! Keep practicing. :)
I think the way they've gone straight to the full characters doesn't help. Getting a grounding in pin-yin helps a lot with learning the vocab and some useful phrases. But the useful phrases tend to use complex characters. When I learnt characters for Japanese in school we learnt the basic symbols that are common components of characters before learning how to combine them into the more complex kanji used in common phrases. It makes them easier to remember and easier to spot the differnces
I second the suggestion of adding something else in for learning Chinese. Duo is fun and good practice but on it's own I was totally lost
IN SHORT: I found the best way to learn words to be to use them as if you are talking to someone, and listen to yourself say them as if someone is talking to you. It sounds crazy, but quizzing yourself at hearing and speaking will get it drilled into your head beautifully without pain. I prefer Hello Chinese to Duolingo.
LONG WAY: Someone else recommended a paid app, but honestly Hello Chinese is excellent, and there are a BILLION free Chinese apps. You qould only pay for convenience. You might also like Pandorow, which has articles on specific differences between Chinese and Western cultures, offers flashcards for HSK (the official tests for varying Chinese proficiency) and teaches words through a script in a hypothetical conversation. I am using Hello Chinese for learning new words, Duolingo and Pandorow whenever I'm bored of Hello Chinese, Drops to learn letters/radicals, blogs to learn about grammer, and YouTube videos for pronounciation and songs for memorization. Using all thise is easier than it sounds. One book I have says to learn by watching a movie or TV show with the script or closed captions available. During the video, write down words you're curious about. Then during or after the video, look up the definition of those words. You can find how to spell them on the script or closed captions, which is why those are important. The book goes on to advise making flashcards out of those words, but I don't like that idea, so I personally will write a list of the words I learned, for reference, and try to use them in my daily life. Then I'll come back to the list if I found I forgot one.
from this point, it goes miles too fast. the beginning of the course is splendid with lots of repeating three wprsdL hello, goodbye and good, very stimulating. i follow the courses spanish, french, german, english and russian and i really admire your system. but in this course i 'm loosing you: 1. the pronounciation of for instance si is completely different from si; 2. from one character in a sentence you proceed all of the sudden to a whole range of characters ( and yes i know i can control them with a right mouse click) the place of the words in the sentence is not comprehensible and in a month excercising 6 languages this is the first time that it becomes very discouraging because i can't finish the lessons anymore making faults all the time. Five languages big fun, but this is a big disappointment after the fantastic beginning with the greetinglesson. i understand that characters are quit diferent from letters but here you are overestimating your students far too much. I experience an extremely gap between the greetings lessons (why not 20 levels there in stead of only 5) and the numbers and names. Sorry, perhaps i will try again after the book Chineasy by Shaolan, kind regards Karel from the Netherlands
Considering the fact that 什 specifically refers to "what" and 么 is the main interrogative sign (basically, the Mandarin question mark), could you also use "你名字什么" to ask for a name, as it would roughly translate to "What is your written first name?" Is 你叫什么名字 simply a colloquialism, or more formal/polite? Also, why do you include 字 in the question? Does it clarify that it wants your written name and not your spoken one, or is it simply more specific?
https://www.learn-chinese.com/ev-lesson-3-what-is-your-name/ I found this to listen to, and explain, in audio, I found it helped me when I made a mistake here. I am still persevering, but found the discussion comments saying to use google to hear the correct Chinese, really helpful, today lessons have gone a little easier. Thank you.