Switching simplified to traditional characters for chinese.
Wasn't that option originally going to be included when chinese hit beta?
I say this because I can't find options to enable 繁体字.
Hey you can enable traditional with my plug-in, around 95% of it is enabled now, it has some other cool features.
I hope a moderator will reply to this post. I personally have used simplified and traditional characters, and I think so far they are using Mandarin Chinese (Simplified) with Pinyin. I hope they also release a traditional Chinese/Cantonese language for English speakers, but for now I cannot say if they will or will not release traditional Chinese. If you feel inclined to help make it a language, please see the following link to make an addition to Duolingo: https://incubator.duolingo.com
A point of clarification:
Simplified characters are not Mandarin, and traditional characters are not Cantonese.
Traditional characters may be used for Cantonese (as in Hong Kong) or Mandarin (as in Taiwan). And I assume that those who write in Cantonese in mainland China use simplified characters, even if they may have to add a few characters for certain slang words or neologisms that don't transliterate directly to Mandarin.
Simplified characters differ from traditional characters only in their shapes, not in their pronunciations or the dialects they can represent. You can pronounce either type in Cantonese or Mandarin, or in other Chinese dialects.
Hey if you want to use traditional here you go: this Chrome Extension seamlessly enables you to switch them off and on.
Okay, just to clarify this - Mandarin is a spoken form of Chinese. Traditional and Simplified are the characters themselves, Simplified having been created to increase literacy back when China had very low literacy rates.
So yes, learn Mandarin. Learning simplified or traditional, you are still learning Mandarin. In Taiwan, I believe the main character set used is traditional (Also my personal preference, though I haven't been learning long.)
I find that traditional, while it generally has more strokes (which is pretty much irrelevant in today's technological age), it also is generally easier to remember the characters.
Either way, your choice!