What are your thoughts on the Mandarin Chinese course?
I started my practice almost a month ago, and I feel I'm advancing too fast. Duolingo lets me check the translations of a Chinese character through a tap-over list, and gives me the pronounciations when I tap the characters (I use the Android app). All I do look up all of the words in a sentence, and come up with a logically-sounding English sentence, which >90% of the time is correct. Likewise, the pronounciations allow me to correctly match the characters with their sound.
With that I can advance pretty quickly through the Duolingo course. But I feel I'm not exactly mastering a lot, I'm just problem-solving. What I've done is to repeat the lessons three times at each skill to have the words stick in my mind. I guess that's part of the new feature Duolingo implemented for other languages (Skill levels).
For the time being, it seems the app will be good just to get myself familiar with the language. I do appreciate that I am now able to recognize certain characters in random signs I see in the streets. But it only seems to work for familiarity as of now.
What are your thoughts? Is this common in Duolingo? (Yes, I'm new to the app).
If you use the website (and unless it’s an A/B test), you’ll have the option to switch from tapping the tiles to keyboard typing. Aside from that, I think the course needs speaking exercises if it’s really going to teach to the tones. The course is of course still in beta, so I’m hoping they’ll be added in the future.
Mastering the content of the course is a different matter, and it may take a lot of repetition for what you learn to sink in, especially if you’re a beginner. That part applies to all courses.
Duolingo is good for reading. For writing I'd say look for books, get the HelloChinese app or just look for things online. If you google them you can actually get detailed images and/or GIFS of how to write characters, and you can just copy that in a notebook or something. I do this for Arabic writing but it is also something that works well when learning Chinese.