Chinese tips and notes
One area this course has done well in, is the tips and notes. I find them to be clear, concise and well written. There seem to be more of them compared to other language trees. Also, they seem to go much further down the tree than in other courses, where they are often all bunched together in the first part of the tree. So, a good job done there.
The only thing is, these good quality notes are most useful for people new to Chinese. But, overall the course is aimed at people who already know a fair amount of Chinese( HSK3/4) which seems quite advanced for a Duolingo tree. 好像不倫不類
I reached a high level in Chinese ten years ago and am now renewing this skill. The present version of Duo Chinese is great for that, but must be quite difficult for someone new to the course. One piece of advice from my Chinese teacher in Shanghai "不看拼音". It is tough, but it is much better in the long-run not to become dependent on pinyin.
The thing is, you need a good understanding of pinyin to write Chinese on your phone, pc or laptop. It's what most native speakers use too. I mean, when you wrote 不看拼音 didn't you use pinyin to write 拼音 !
Thanks, originally we only planned to cover a few skills from the first section just to get it ready for release, but later we got a bit obsessed and added tips & notes throughout the whole tree. We're also still adding tips and notes here and there where we see problems come up in the forums and in the translations.
I believe there should also be the traditional Chinese course, even though there is no direct or easy way of teaching. Maybe if we have some ideas or extras for tips & notes, then these should also be included in simplified version.
The thing is: The writing style in traditional is a bit different from simplified since different hanzis are used.
Sounds like a good idea?
Certainly agreed with your thoughts about the course.
Before I completed the whole tree, I learned Chinese by communicating with my parents who heavily emphasize 福建話 (Hokkien) and Mandarin. When trying out this course, I noticed some solutions are not included for certain part of the lessons. As an experienced Taiwanese linguist, I can figure out the teaching structure of the tree. The concern that I have for the tree is that it's easier to input answer on mobile than on computer. When typing on computer, there are multiple possibilities that are missing; whereas, on mobile you can sometimes combine word choices to obtain the matching/close solution.
However, I understand how the contributors created such course to help learners improve their Chinese skills. Though there are more improvements to make, the course is well-constructed. I don't think there is anything else to say....
...so I would give the course: 好棒啊！
Most courses are like that, much easier on mobile than on the web version, this Mandarin course perhaps a bit moreso. The majority of users are on mobile though (around 90%) which might be why many other courses don't focus as much on the Tips & Notes.