https://www.duolingo.com/Millikenro

Chinese - No translations - Major flaw?

I thought i was missing something, but i think this makes the app largely unusable: There are no translations from Chinese to English when learning the word.

For example i was just presented with the word/character "Hen" - at no point am i actually told that this word translates to "very" ... It's not until later when i'm doing the sentence translations that i can click on the word and see what it means...

November 24, 2017

2 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/cazort

I agree that I think this is a major downside or weakness of the course.

I'm doing fine in the course, but I have quite a lot of prior background in Mandarin. I'm not sure if I'd be able to get through it without this background.

I also think the way the course is taught is missing an obvious opportunity to use the internal structure and logic of the chinese characters to teach them. For example, 人 looks like a little person, so it's like an ideogram. But then “认” in the word "认识" is also pronounced "ren", just in a different tone. Pointing this out makes them easy to remember. Or “语”, meaning "language", and "说" meaning speak or say, both contain the character 口, meaning mouth, which makes sense because you speak with your mouth. So the characters contain references to meaning and/or pronunciation...but not in a complete way the way phonetic alphabets do.

A motivated student can either go off on their own and find these connections elsewhere, or make some of them themselves just by thinking.

But DuoLingo is missing an obvious opportunity here...and they don't need to do anything particularly elaborate or complicated to improve this. A simple note with a sentence or two, displayed after or whenever any new character is introduced, could share the meaning of the character and give any hints of the information on phonetics or meaning contained in the character itself.

November 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/zhixon

Absolutely agree. This is seems like an enormous flaw. Does this change as you get farther into the lessons or is this how the entire language is set up? It seems like an impossible to hurdle to get over if I never learn what the word means. Even just adding the english translation after the question was answered would help.

February 20, 2018
Learn Chinese in just 5 minutes a day. For free.