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  5. Issue with 中 in Intro 1


Issue with 中 in Intro 1

The exercise asks what sound does 中 make? the audio clearly says “naka” but the correct answer from the options is not なか but さゆう which is another way to read this kanji. Thought I was going crazy so I had to look it up in the dictionary. It is my first time posting in duolingo so I hope this is where I am supposed to talk about issues with the app. Thanks!

November 30, 2017



You are correct and this is sadly a common error in the duolingo Japanese from English course. There are much more issues...

But one have to say: Japanese writing and reading is really complex and difficult, so it is a hard work to program an accurate code for this.


Well, basically Japanese Kanji can always have different readings, depending on the context.

中国 is read ちゅうごく (chugoku) and means China

夜中 is read よなか (yonaka) and means midnight

Now, I believe doulingo doesn't allow characters to have multiple readings (mainly because that is not needed in most languages) and I bet 中 is used elsewhere later as なか, so someone must have made the choice to give it that sound instead of さゆう.

You might also notice that は is always pronounced 'wa' in the exercises even though it can also be read 'ha' in other contexts.

The Japanese course still has a beta tag on it, so they are already probably already aware of the issue and working on compatibility of kanji and the text-to-speech system.


Two questions: Which lesson was this in? Which dictionary did you use to confirm?

I have heard さゆう many times but it has always meant 'left and right' or 'all around', written as 左右, never 中.


intro, lesson 4. I just hit it too. It makes sense when follow-on questions introduce "china", but when 中 is by itself and the audio says なか while the kana says ちゅう it doesn't make much sense.


I understand that the kanji has two pronunciations, and I know how to use them. I am saying that さゆう is NOT the same as ちゅう.



I just got to this same issue. It has still not been fixed. A lot of the other kanji in the same lesson have the same issue too.

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