Important Chinese Duo Suggestion..!!

Chinese Duolingo has not really been helping me because of the lack of pinyin in the hover-definition. It's legitimately frustrating for a Chinese American that can already speak and understand Chinese (I'm here to learn how to read it better) to use this program. When I'm translating a sentence to English, I will run in to a word I can't read (I piece together the words in Chinese in my head, not English) I hover over the word and Duolingo only gives me the English definition. It doesn't help my Chinese, it seems as if it's teaching just how to translate it- not to truly speak it. My experience with it is that Duolingo is using its romantic language approach with Chinese duo, which doesn't seem to be working.

In truth, I'm not really sure what Duolingo is doing with Chinese and who it's targeting- it seems to be way too hard for beginners based on other discussion threads I've read, and it's not really helping me either. I imagine there's many other ABC (American Born Chinese) like me that are frustrated with the problem I listed above too (if it's just me, which I hope not, then ignore me).

I'm not sure if Chinese is out of beta yet or not, but I really do hope that they will incorporate pinyin into their program. It's how I got my start with speaking and reading Chinese as a young child, and I do imagine it'll benefit everyone else using Duolingo to learn Chinese!

January 21, 2018


I totally agree i have this same problem

January 22, 2018

I agree! I spend more time looking up the meaning of each character somewhere else, than actually going through the lessons on Duolingo. I have a have also wondered if Duolingo is up to some weird experiment here. But I still struggle on and despite the difficulties, I have learned to appreciate Chinese much more than before, but not so much due to the Duolingo though. But it got me started.

January 22, 2018

I keep a separate tablet at hand running Pleco when doing duolingo Mandarin. This helps a lot, because it gives me sound, meaning, radical decomposition, related chars, use in compounds, sample sentences, etc. (only thing missing is stroke order). And yes it does eat up a lot of time...

January 23, 2018

I agree. When I come across an unfamiliar character while translating to English, I can get the right answer by hovering, but I don't learn how to say it in Chinese. I can listen again, but it's spoken so fast and my computer sound quality is so poor, that I can't hear the individual sounds for each character. So, I just say "Oh, well" and continue without knowing how to say the character. I would find it helpful if pinyin were given when hovering.

January 22, 2018

We maybe agree that for a, let me say, more remote language such as Japanese, Korean, Chinese, a different approach would be necessary, in order to teach all the essential details - compared to those languages which are based on an (latin-derived) alphabet. Duolingo can't cover the entire complexity of Mandarin only by it's own. So I regard the Chinese course as a nice tool for practicing the construction of phrases and as a vocabulary training. But, there is not the only method nor product which takes someone from zero to hero.

The Chinese course is still available in the Beta version. Frustration is not necessary. For those who aren't even able to speak at all, a kind of description, things which helped me.

What I recommend to you and anybody else as an additionally helpful App, for Duolingo and the Chinese language in general, is PLECO, . There is not only Pinyin, but also stroke orders, a wide range of explanations and examples for Chinese characters.

Be familiar with the transcription system, 拼音 Pīnyīn: A very simple advice, either on Youku our Youtube, the "Pinyin Song": It is comparing the intonations (ā á ǎ à a), and very similar sounding syllables, such as "zi, ci, si". Watch, listen, and repeat.

For total beginners, I recommend at first of all to get an idea about the composition of Chinese characters: It is helpful to know about the list of radicals for simplified Chinese characters. For example:

Furthermore, some basic grammar is also recommendable, wikibooks can be a first source: Later on, you can find a lot of stuff on google, regarding "Chinese grammar".

January 22, 2018

thank you!

January 22, 2018

Joan, I agree with you. I thought I was the only none myself. There are some features that don't seem to be well thought out or common sense applied to the Chinese language here. I have tried other platforms and see the difference but I'm so deep in learning and since I'm fluent in Japanese, it helped me more than say a complete novice. I still see issues that could better the program itself.

January 22, 2018

Alas, it is already out of Beta. Haste almost always makes waste.

Have no idea why they were in such a hurry in the first place. If it is not ready, it is not ready.

Assuming there is no turning back to good old Beta, why not go with Lingodeer ? :D

P.S: Speaking of ABC, noticed that Australian Chinese folks also refer themselves as ABC(Australia Born Chinese). lol Guess you guys need to let go of ABC and go with UBC(USA born Chinese) perhaps, love.. ;p

January 23, 2018

haha true! thank you

January 23, 2018

It's actually the same problem with ASL (american sign language) and Auslan (which is Au = Australian S = doubling as the S in "Aus" and "sign" and Lan = "language"), I feel like it would be much easier just to use International Sign, and most deaf people agree...

February 15, 2018

Yes, I agree; I do not know why Duolingo changed the method of teaching Chinese, I think is ridiculous to repeat a sound and do not know the mining of it, I think that Duolingo must use the same method as in the other languages and standardize and have a baseline.

January 24, 2018

I've been using language study to keep my mind flexible at an advancing age and have found Duolingo very helpful in supplementing the study. (I wonder if others too are making intentional mistakes on words on which they'd like Duolingo to provide repeated reinforcement.) I'd like to see an extremely small pause between spoken sounds or words. Some of the phrases seem to be compressed to the degree that the individual sounds are not completed before the next sound begins. For a student that does not already speak the language, the brain has difficulty distinguishing the sounds. Although most phrases are ok, many of the extremely compressed phrases without gaps between words hard to distinguish.

January 24, 2018

Well said. I couldn't agree more. So important to hear the sounds clearly and a little more slowly than the 'actual' spoken pace. Also to hear the sounds as often as possible.

February 1, 2018

In android version when you hover over the character duo not only show you translation, but pronounce the character too. I thought that this also exists in other versions. I can't imagine how hard is to learn without this. Maybe you should try an app. I use net version only for grammar tips.

January 25, 2018
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