https://www.duolingo.com/Owlblocks

Traditional Characters?

I'm wondering how many people besides me would like to see traditional characters as an option? I've been learning them, then found out recently that duolingo had Mandarin as a course. Still learning traditional, so it's annoying to try to learn simplified simultaneously, and it really isn't difficult to make the modifications.

January 21, 2018

10 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/MatthewEpp5

I'm also dying for Duo to add traditional characters. I've been studying traditional characters for the past three years and much prefer them to the simplified ones. 我最喜歡繁體字!❤️

February 2, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Mr.rM
  • 1528

I think Duolingo is too lazy to be able to elegantly combine traditional Chinese and simplified Chinese into a single course. So I hope people from Taiwan (or Hong Kong, or elsewhere?) just apply for a separate course specific to traditional characters and their idiomatic expressions.

January 22, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/garpike

DL has said it plans to add support for traditional characters 'eventually' in this blog post—I imagine this will be in the form of a radio button, as used to be the case in the English-from-Chinese course. The differences between the ROC and PRC standards of Mandarin are comparable to the differences between US and British English, and hardly deserve separate courses.

January 23, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Keith_APP

That's great. Personally I would not underestimate the amount of work needed - it is not a 1-to-1 conversion. I hope it's not going to cause more frustration.

January 23, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Mr.rM
  • 1528

Despite their announcement, I think it will cause more trouble than goodness if Duolingo cannot do it right. More effort is required.

There are also differences in pronunciation, accents (especially 儿话) and suggested translations. Besides, it is not convenient when different comments use different forms of characters, as no tool is perfect for converting the characters between these forms. People could mess up with simplified and traditional Chinese.

January 23, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/garpike

There are also differences in pronunciation, accents (especially 儿话) and suggested translations.

These are north/south differences that have nothing to do with character set—they are equally to be found on the mainland alone where only simplified characters are used.

no tool is perfect for converting the characters between these forms

Within the scope of the DL course (which only goes up to about A2), I think you are overestimating the potential frequency of ambiguous simplified sequences which will not convert correctly. Also, conversion software has become a lot more intelligent than it once was, and will undoubtedly continue to improve; I doubt it will be long before it is just as good a human.

January 24, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Mr.rM
  • 1528

Yeah, I pointed out 儿话 because it has already been a mess, and I'd like to know if there is something more interesting in Taiwan.

Quote from my own words:

it is not convenient when different comments use different forms of characters

I said so for the “(user) comments”. Sentence fragments or single characters can be scattered in a comment. In that case the conversion could give you a mess. For example: “面 and 麵” may become “面 and 面” if converting from TC to SC.

January 24, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/garpike

I'd like to know if there is something more interesting in Taiwan.

Here is a list of characters officially pronounced differently in Taiwan (~100, the vast majority just a different tone). They are really a drop in the ocean.

I said so for the “(user) comments”. Sentence fragments or single characters can be scattered in a comment. In that case the conversion could give you a mess.

The same could be said of US/UK English, where pants, vest, table, zip, etc. have different meanings. People are flexible and seem to manage.
Besides, this could be a good opportunity to give learners a little useful exposure to the other character set—sentence discussions could have the user's chosen character set normal size, and the other set in a smaller font beneath it, thereby eliminating any confusion in the comments.

January 24, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Mr.rM
  • 1528

Well, I think your examples are a bit off… I asked about accents and you give pronunciations. And how are you likely to make use of some tools to convert between US and UK English while doing this course?

sentence discussions could have the user's chosen character set normal size, and the other set in a smaller font beneath it, thereby eliminating any confusion in the comments.

That's good. But it only works nicely when you know which characters are traditional, which are simplified. I can imagine that a very beginner don't know how to focus on just simplified Chinese or traditional Chinese, and he/she is forced to learn both of them at the same time.

Maybe you think those various compromises are tolerable, but I think it just makes Duolingo more likely to lower their criterion for a qualified course.

January 24, 2018
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