How many developers are continuing to work on the Korean course?
I continue to plow through the course for the second time, and owe DL a debt of gratitude for the gradual improvement in my Korean spelling and typing ability. I was deeply disappointed at first, when forming the correct answer was merely an exercise in rearranging blocks, but thankfully, that situation was quickly remedied.
I had planned to wait until finishing again before writing what I hoped would be a helpful critique, but it is becoming increasingly frustrating, and my motivation often tanks, leading me off to Memrise or Spanish studies. The inconsistency, poorly thought out methods of presenting vital information--especially the difference between topic and subject particles, and seemingly arbitrary failure to accept answers that are clearly correct, has pushed me to prematurely venting.
Most disturbing is the perceived lack of responsiveness on the part of the development "team." I haven't counted the number of reports I've made, but would guess they exceed 200, with over 100 acceptances of my suggestions. But in all those acknowledgments I have seen only 1 name, niskigwun from Duolingo.
As I visit discussions on various exercises, I find plenty of company in my frustration. Many complain that there is little rhyme nor reason for the acceptance of plural or singular, a or the, 저 or 나, 이/가 or 은/는, and very basic synonyms have not been considered, such as "select" for "choose," "slender" for "slim," "hare" for "rabbit," tortoise for turtle, and many more. It's understandable that not all these possibilities were considered at first, but now weeks, and as long as 2 month in some cases have gone by with no acceptance.
If our suggestions have been considered and rejected, there should be some kind of a central "clearing house" where explanations could be viewed, but my suspicion is that most have just not been attended to because of lack of contributors still involved.
Before the course comes out of Beta, some thought might be given as to how to limit the number of possible correct translations. This is especially problematic with Korean because of all the ways (endings) to conjugate a verb. I have long advocated that DL figure out some way to show context. There are a number of ways this could be accomplished. Easiest might be a note at the beginning of each section illustrating the "politeness" situation. Ideally, an extra sentence or two could be added to each problem, but I realize that would represent a massive amount of work.
It would be interesting to know if DL has data measuring the "dropout" rate. My guess is that the Korean course would show either a very high drop out rate, or a very low rate of progress for most learners, and I would expect "course frustration" to be a major factor.
There are still 6 people on the team, but the same contributors who oversee the Korean course for English speakers also oversee the English course for Korean speakers, which occupies some time.
We're still working on tackling the suggested translations and other reports, and it's going to take us a long time. Our course has 65 skills and some skills have several thousand reports. For suggested translations, we have three options: editing the sentence and accepting the translation, deleting the suggestion, and adding an error message.
Currently, if we delete a suggestion there is no notice sent to anyone. Sometimes these are just completely incorrect translations or will be accepted as a typo. Even if we add a translation, we might hit delete instead of "accept" and you won't get an email, but your suggestion will have been accepted. If we see a suggestion that has a common mistake we can add the error message which will pop up when someone tries to use that translation, but it will only be shown to someone when they try and get that sentence wrong.
As we go through looking at the reports we are also adding alternate translations, adding formalities, and replacing sentences that are just plain bad. Meanwhile, we have already started to think about ways that we'd improve the course for an updated version once we have the chance.
For now we'll keep working and you should be getting more emails as we get through more and more reports. :)
Fortunately for me, I learned the basics from a previous college intro to Korean class, from studying common words and phrases on Memrise for 10 months, and reading a few lessons on howtostudykorean.com. So, while non-accepted answers are annoying, I realize that they are in it for the long haul especially after reading their responses to this post. So, for serious Korean learners like myself, the course is definitely worth the current issues. And I'm happy to know that my corrections will be reviewed and hopefully make small improvements to the course.
For the mods: keep up the good work! I'm not aware of how Duolingo works; will there be course extensions in the future? I'm only 14 lessons away from 'finishing'.
Once the Korean course leaves Beta we will be able to work on Tree 2. If all goes to plan, Tree 2 will be longer than Tree 1, but not just by adding on to the end. We will be able to edit and retool what is already there currently in order to make it better. Once our edits are done, then Duolingo takes over to test the trees against each other to make sure the new one is viable. Once it passes the test, it will be available for everyone. But, the course hasn't left Beta yet, so it'll be a while before we can add anything new. In the meantime, we're going through the same process with the English tree for Korean speakers.
I appreciate the response, and commend you for your efforts. I now realize the team has taken on a monumental task, and that it is a volunteer "labor of love." I had no idea of the magnitude of the project, so will try to be more patient, and also to keep reporting suggestions.
Personally I’m just very grateful for the Korean course and I still very much enjoy working through it every day. These problems have been slightly irritating but haven’t prevented me from learning or staying motivated. I just feel that this post exaggerates the problems compared to my own experience which has been very positive and enjoyable. Admittedly this might be also because I learn the new words through the dictionary suggestions rather than already knowing them. Thank you to everyone who worked on this course!