https://www.duolingo.com/Zsuzsi97194

Hungarian course is dead. Is anyone working on it?

I posted this in the wrong discussion area - Hungarian to English and I meant it to go to people who speak English and want to learn Hungarian so I moved it here. Sorry!

I passed my 100 day streak in Hungarian so no one can say I didn't try. Until almost the end of the first half of the HU from ENG course I thought it was pretty good in spite of some errors. But then it got very complicated very fast with so many errors and not enough explanation for what we were supposed to be learning. I was not happy with long, long sentences that didn't have any professional language instruction theory guiding their design.

Our answers were marked correct in one place and were incorrect when offered in reverse translation. Many of us have been very frustrated about the lack of progress in getting the course out of beta and / or getting reported errors corrected.

Someone posted "you get what you pay" so we should quit complaining about all the mistakes and lack of response. I disagree. I tried a few of the popular courses in which I have some linguistic experience and here's the result: The Spanish program is great and the French and German are are okay too. The translations are good. There are stories to read and you get bonus points for correct answers in comprehension. I was able to read stories and interact with characters showing I understand what they are saying. I can even have conversations with French robot characters and it understands my speech, giving me various points for more complicated answers that are relevant.

I also realized that you can rack up points in DUO by doing small amounts of many languages and that you get more points for these conversations and stories than for learning a long complicated nine part lesson elsewhere.

If DUO has abandoned Hungarian and they aren't going to fix the errors they should take it off the list of languages they are offering. I realize it makes DUO look BIG to be competing with the commercial language apps but advertising languages with so many errors that we must memorize or cut and paste to get to the next awful section is false advertising, at this point

I actually don't think that anyone without a background in Hungarian can learn any real proficiency using this app. What I see in DUO is a lot of people doing the first few lessons in a lot of languages, learning a few words that can be matched to pictures and then quitting pretty soon after that.

Surely it's a fun game to learn basic words and phrases in many languages but.perhaps streaks should be counted for individual languages rather than a cumulative number of times someone spent 5 minutes a day on the site doing anything.. It took me a while to figure out that people can rack up more experience points with doing basic lessons in many languages rather than one complicated one further along the tree in another. But if it's a game ....

DUO is such a good idea. It is too bad if some outlying languages are abandoned for lack of contributors. I did send an email to Luis without expecting an answer but hopings someone at corporate DUO will read this and pass it on.

9 months ago

41 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/danhleighton

Hi Zsuzsi,

I think I made the same point on the other forum as I make here :-)

I have found the course to be invaluable. Yes it is quite hard, but I am one of those who really rather like that. I like to have to think hard about what I am doing in order to learn. I also love the fact that it is not boring sentences about how many bedrooms in a hotel I need. Or whether I must go to visit a hospital... That would be the essence of tedium for me!

I am approaching half way on the course having started about a month ago. And I am finding it is increasingly tough, as I should have thought it should be. But I am still making progress. And, just this morning, I realised that when I am listening to the talk radio station at www.klubradio.hu, I can pick out a very significant number of the words individually - maybe as much as 20% of them, even. This is a definite sign to me that it is working as it was complete gobbledygook to me less than six months ago when I last tried.

I do know, from the posts made by the volunteer moderators, that it has been very difficult indeed for them to keep going at the course. Duolingo's system did not easily accommodate the nature of the language and the technical restrictions placed on the course once it entered the Beta phase have made it extremely difficult to correct the errors and typos in the course - it is in Beta - this means it will have errors! I think they are gearing up for another big push to improve matters.

I do understand your frustrations. But please, don't lobby for it to be closed. This would be disastrous for me personally, and I am sure for many of the others for whom this course has been a lifeline. Let me tell you why. We have a relative in Hungary who is approaching the end of her life and who is one of our dearest friends. Though I have known her for almost twenty years, I have never been able to have a conversation with her directly, except through someone translating. It is one of my dearest wishes that I can talk to her directly, even for a few sentences before she dies. I reckon on her current state of health, I have no more than a year to achieve that. If this course goes, my chance of learning enough of the language in time goes with it.

The resources available for most Hungarian learning outside Duolingo are very unhelpful, by and large. The Hungarian volunteers who created the Duolingo course provided the first course I have ever found which matched my learning needs, my financial resources, and which has helped me to make progress. I dearly hope it remains and improves. No it isn't perfect, it is in Beta. But I have found it is a country-mile better than all the alternatives available.

This is, of course, only my own opinion, and my own story and reasons for using it and believing in the course. But I hope they make you feel a little more positive that all is not yet lost!

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Zsuzsi97194

I was really just trying to be the squeaky wheel, and I think it worked! Because now there are people working on the course and I am getting replies about corrections that I had suggested.

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/garpike
garpike
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Please use some line and paragraph breaks, or your post might be mistaken from a distance for a long and pointless Hungarian sentence about Japanese kindergarten teachers flying up across over the high, blue mountains and lying down into the bath out of which beetles and bugs are quickly running into the famous French lawyer's green wardrobe out of which we are walking to the small, orange, Chinese car.

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Zsuzsi97194

I wrote it in paragraphs and I don't know why it put what I wrote into a block. Not my doing. Your response is humorous.

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/garpike
garpike
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You need to put a double space before each carriage return to make a line break (and double space + two returns to make a paragraph break).

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Zsuzsi97194

Look at my response to Heike.

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/garpike
garpike
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By Jove, I think she's got it!

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Woof.
Woof.
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This is the best reply to a discussion I've ever seen.

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jzsuzsi
jzsuzsi
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They are working on it, but slowly. At least I saw a sign of life: I got an e-mail 6 days ago that one of my reports was accepted.

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Zsuzsi97194

The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Heike333145
Heike333145Plus
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Hello Zsuzsi,

I would like to give a few thoughts. I did not get very far in the Hungarian course, but this was due to my jumping-around-among languages ...

1) The introduction to the course says that it is in "Beta", which in my opinion means that we cannot expect it to be complete and stable.

2) As I understand it, all the courses on Duolingo are in a process of growing and becoming better. This is quite easily done in languages that have a broad base of proficient speakers of both languages involved -- both on the course-creator side and on the user side. There will be a lot of valuable input from the user side that can be implemented quite quickly and efficiently by the course-providers.

This is certainly the case for the language pair English-Spanish, probably a little less for English-German, for example.

3) From my own experience in a German city: It is terribly difficult to find people who speak Hungarian, and who are able to teach it. I guess that this is a contributing factor to the situation on Duolingo, too.

I think that contributing to and maintaining a language course is a very time-consuming activity. The contributors are volunteers, and if something gets in the way in the life of one of the contributors, they may reduce or even give up their contribution, which is totally understandable.

In a language pair like English-Spanish, this can probably easily be compensated by other and new contributors. But this will be much more difficult in a language like Hungarian.

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Zsuzsi97194

I understand and agree with all your points. I'm just saying that now they are trying to raise money with the app and are advertising all these languages, which makes them look big to compete with other language courses.

In 2013 DUOLINGO was named iPhone App of the Year.. If DUO is transitioning from a free do-good project to a business then let's have some honesty in advertising. and/or attention to continued development.with errors being fixed in all their courses.

According to Wikipedia: "As of November 2016 ,Duolingo offered 68 different language courses across 23 languages, with 22 additional courses in development. The app has about 200 million registered users across the world" most of whom I expect are not active,,having signed up and then quit.

"n July 2014, Duolingo started a language certification service, Test Center, as a new business model. As of September 2017, 50% of Duolingo's revenue came from ads and 48% came from in-app purchases, with the remaining 2% derived from the Duolingo English test.]"

I enjoyed playing around with this and did get some benefit. I am currently on a 103 day streak, and not just 10 minutes a day. Some of those Hungarian lessons have nine sections and take four or five hours to complete, especially since the only way to finish is to cut and paste their wrong answers back to them to get out of a section. That is not the way to claim to be teaching a language..

I love the idea of DUO. I want to know if there is anyone listening.

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ovidi5
Ovidi5
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I have encountered the same problem learning the Hungarian language and there are so many errors. arrgh!

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/chirelchirel
chirelchirel
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I, too, wonder if there's actually anyone working on the course right now (if not, I think this should be announced so people would know not to expect improvements). About six months ago I started the course and did ok with it, though from the very beginning it was obvious that there were a lot of issues. I reported them when I could (the new report function is virtually useless and rarely has an option I need). I don't think I've received any message about any of those reports. Those are usually sent out when a suggestion has been accepted, so maybe mine weren't, or maybe the reports are still sitting there waiting for someone to read them. There's no way to know and that lack of info together with how unfinished the course is led me to stop working on it. I still occasionally do a lesson, but I'm not really trying any more.

Still, the course does work, as I've been listening to a lot of Hungarian music lately and I can understand more than I'd expect (or at least I recognize a lot of words and phrases). If there's someone still working on the course I might be motivated enough to start learning Hungarian with Duolingo, but as of now, Hungarian has to wait.

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/drstevens14
drstevens14
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In terms of music, here are a couple songs the lyrics of which I find very amusing/ridiculous: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_oSdThCpnD8 and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCo9pVz0gAA. For easier material, a lot of Republic songs are very easy to understand, for example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugo2JypBGuY. And if you want some socialist music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xozJemXZcK8.

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Zsuzsi97194

I haven’t been to Budapest since 1995 so I don’t know if this is just Old songs or if it is something that is currently being played that is very typically Hungarian. I don’t think so because My cousin’s grandchildren are into world music including a lot of English and American stuff. They’re also very interested in classical music. My cousin was a concert pianist I was not allowed to perform because she didn’t join the communist party and ended up being a ticket taker at the concert hall instead. What a punishment!

So when I go back to visit soon I will have a whole family of 17 people to help me become very fluid again. Meanwhile I learned to write properly using Duolingo and I really appreciate that. It was quite addictive too!

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/drstevens14
drstevens14
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Republic and Beatrice are old, the Kaczor Feri stuff is relatively new (in my opinion it's garbage, but very catchy garbage), and the Varga Viktor song was popular when I lived there in 2013, or at least it was always on the radio in the cafe I used to study in. When are you going? I'm planning to go back to visit this summer!

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Zsuzsi97194

Early fall, after tourist season. :). When are you going? Are you in college?

I am planning to rent an apartment and spend at least six months, but luckily I have no exact timeline since I am alone and not working any more. I am looking forward to going back for longer than a short visit.

Thanks to a desire to keep my native language and also with help from DUO this last 6 months, my Hungarian is very good, pronunciation-wise, and syntax is quite automatic, though sometimes I have word-order problems because of conflicts with the languages I had to learn after we left Hungary.

When I change the language on my devices to Hungarian I can dictate my answers and they come out correctly, including accent marks, with some exceptions with words that are too similar - or liasons. So I have to check before posting the answers. However, this makes the work too easy so I am forcing myself to type unless I have to get a quick 10 XP's. LOL

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Andy705222

I agree with these comments. I don't really go for the streak thing, but right now I've got all my leaves yellow as far as Del case and some colour or other as far as Dir Con 2. So I'm not a total beginner,but not advanced either.

I am helped by the fact that I am doing this on the side for extra practice but my main method of learning is an evening course with a teacher in a bricks and mortar college. The real course I'm attending is quite a bit ahead of my status on DuoLingo so I'm not really using Duolingo as a learning tool but more for extra practice and to reinforce what I already learnt. Also, the vocabulary used is different to a large extent so I'm learning lots of words we're not using in the course (and can occasionally show off there by using them)

.But what I'm seeing is that I'm getting lots of sentences wrong, not because I don't know better, but because I'm not doing Duolingo English right, or because I'm using alternative words, or just because some of the sentences are so long that it's impossible not to get something wrong at my level of comprehension. So basically I'm stuck against a wall where I can't get ahead because its too difficult and the stuff behind me is for the most part too easy.

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Zsuzsi97194

I am exactly where you are. I did pass those three Dir Con groups but with too many mistakes so even though I went ahead a little I have about 8 leaves that lose their gold above and below that area. Not only does that traffic jam make me and others here frustrated by the course but I think it actually teaches some things that aren't correct.

I have been reading a jewel of my collection of Hungarian keepsakes. It is a periodical from the 1930's that my father had bound into a book. It is all about the adventures of a very large sporting group called KERAK with articles and illustrations about hiking, biking, sailing, kayaking, swimming etc. There are ads and stories and nowhere do I see the complicated syntax of those repeated adverbs that DUO wants us to use such as. "Az alól az asztal alól fut ki egy kutya, amelyiknél hat férfi űl." and "Kati a fölé a trafik fölé költözik amelyikben én is dolgozik." Why don't I see this kind of sentence structure there?

You are lucky to find an actual course. Where do you live, if you don't mind my asking?

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Andy705222

Iam living in Zurich, Switzerland. There are quite a few Hungarians living here. Many came after the 1956 revolution and so they're now in the second or third generation still preserving their language and culture, but quite a few also came in recent years. They are organized into a group with several hundred members and quite a lot of ongoing activities such as concerts, dances, dinners and things. They even do Hungarian-style archery lessons. And they don't seem to object to me coming to some of their events and embarrasing myself with my minimal language skills

A local college offers adult evening classes in Hungarian and our teacher is really great. She doesn.'t just do grammar but talks a lot about Hungarian culture and teaches us songs etc. So it all sort of fits together and has meaning. That is really motivational.

All this has been a huge thing for me. Until about two years ago, I didn't have a clue about Hunagry, and could at best point in roughly the right direction on the map. But then I met some Hungarians and started taking an interest and it all took off from there. Hungary is not far away from here, yet it seems like such a totally different world. Like a different continent. The thinking can be so different. My partner and I go there for a longer weekend every second month or so and have decided there are too many tourists in Budapest for our liking so we're discovering the smaller towns and villages where most people don't speak any foreign languages so we're really forced to speak some mixture of Hungarian and sign language. We have a lot of fun.

I have used some of the Duolingo style compliacted sentences in class. My teacher never said this was wrong but sometimes suggests a simpler way of saying the same thing.

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Zsuzsi97194

That is very fortunate! Sorry I didn't answer right away. My internet provider lost the service so I couldn't get online until today. I am looking forward to going to Budapest soon and getting an apartment there to live for a while. :)

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Andy705222

That sounds fun. I might be going to Transylvania for a Hungarian summer course. My teacher is setting me up with a teacher friend of hers there. I've never been to Transylvania so I'm really excited.

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Zsuzsi97194

I have a cousin there. Haven't seen her since 1995. I think i will be fluent again in a month. My writing is giing well, reading much harder because of lack of adult vocabulary. I was 5 when I left.

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Andy705222

But I guess having some basics is an advantage. Two years ago I only knew one word in Hungarian, and I discovered the hard way, in a pub in Budapest, that that word was actually Czech and that nobody in Hungary understood it. That word was pivo. I now know how to say Kindergarten Teacher in proper Hungarian. Anyway, as much as I love Budapest, and I really really love it, the problem there is that the moment people spot you're a tourist, they speak English to you. That is why I'm spending more and more time visiting smaller towns where I can mumble and stutter at people as much as I want and if they actually manage to catch the gist of what I'm trying to say, they will actually answer in Hungarian.

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/susannah521123

I don't agree with you, since I've learned a lot: Duolingo has helped me going from a newbie understanding quite a few nouns and the most common verbs (having friends in the country), to being able to communicate pretty decently when I'm there. I don't get why you even care about streaks? I think that's mixing apples and pears. I'm on Duolingo to learn the language- and if I haven't passed a section, I draw the conclusion that I simply need to practice more. (BTW, if you want to keep the streak, why not just use the Practice section?) And, yes sometimes I have to write sentences in English that are horrible, but since I'm not here to learn English I just ignore that- or report it and laugh at it. Of course I'm also using other resources to learn the language, but my main tool for practicing has been the Duolingo app/website.

Yes, there are errors, and the sentences are sooo weird at times (yellow hamsters in taxis, flying kindergarten teachers and what not), but to be honest: Since the language is extremely complicated, being built on a completely different grammar system, it requires another way of thinking. That takes time adjusting to.

I'm on level 12, and I don't care at all about the streaks. Sometimes I spend an hour a day for a week- and sometimes I don't open the app for a month. Some things ARE extremely hard to grasp, I agree, but I don't think that is because of the errors- it's simply because the language is hard for us. You can't compare learning Hungarian to learning other European languages- since it's not even related. Spanish, French, German will always be easier for us English speakers to learn. (Though my native language is Swedish.)

Though- one thing I really miss when using the app is all the handy tips and explanations you can find when new things are being introduced when accessing Duolingo from the computer. I also wish there be more opportunties to practice the verbs, but I can understand why they haven't put more verbs in the course: No one would ever complete it, since it's complete rocket science choosing the right endings... I'd be devastated if they took the opportunity to learn Hungarian away- there aren't many chances to learn such a rare language at all, and I'm really thankful Duolingo has given me the chance to do it- for free. I've had SO much fun!

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/akilleyca.48
akilleyca.48
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"Since the language is extremely complicated, being built on a completely different grammar system, it requires another way of thinking. "

Full disclosure, at one point in the past I could read simple genre literature in Hungarian and get the gist (and make my way around Budapest without using English, so it's not like I came to this with nothing but...

The basic problem of the course is that it tries to do too many things at once, trying to show a completely different grammar system through long and complicated sentences that test too many things at once right away rather than building up very slowly.

I honestly often get the feeling that the person(s) who designed the course and wrote the sentences and chose the answers aren't trying to teach me anything but instead are just sadists who put as many traps in sentences as possible to catch people up so they can laugh at them.

And... the weird vocabulary choices you're forced to make because it won't accept kids instead of children (fer instance). And I swear to god this course has made me hate kindergarten teachers.

I'm really glad this course exists, I just wish it didn't make me want to rage quit so often......

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Zsuzsi97194

Hi Susannah, I am glad you are finding Duo useful. I am here to learn as well, but I don't want to memorize errors. You may see what I mean soon.

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MissSpells
MissSpells
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Hi, I posted my thoughts on the previous thread, but I am just curious if anyone reading this has done the reverse course. Hungarian to English and how is it? I do not see the same complaints on the Hungarian to English threads. I know these course are usually made by different teams, but perhaps for a smaller language like Hungarian, if there could be some co operation between the two teams, it might improve the courses on both ends.

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Zsuzsi97194

A few people suggested that I do that. I signed up and started it but I think you have to be more fluent than I was when I did that.. It was too difficult to translate English to Hungarian. I understand Hungarian quite well and think in Hungarian but when I try to write what I am thinking of it does not come out that well yet.

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MissSpells
MissSpells
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I hope you do so! I think someone with your skills could be a great help in translating hungarian into (more natural sounding) English, and giving alternate acceptable answers! I think your contributions would be valuable!

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Zsuzsi97194

Actually I was talking about the suggestion that I do the Hungarian to English course in addition to English to Hungarian because I was told that was written better. But I found it too difficult to do. Now that I am getting better at speaking I am still not ready to make corrections. I have to leave this to someone that knows more than I do. I never went to school in Hungary so although I can think in Hungarian my vocabulary is very limited and I came here to learn how to write properly. I am working on it but it is very difficult to do with so many errors in the instruction.

I am hoping that someone in DUO management will take our frustrations with this course into serious consideration and start to really work on it again.

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bajczand
bajczand
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https://incubator.duolingo.com/courses/hu/en/status

If you can speak both of languages, you can help them to correct the failures of this course. They will be thankful for your help.

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Zsuzsi97194

I wish I were fluent enough in Hungarian to do that. I came here to learn to write because I never went to school in Hungary although I am a native Hungarian, understand oral speech and can carry on a conversation. I don't know how to explain grammar.. Right now I am in the middle of the EN - HU tree and I am improving. I tried the reverse approach but I couldn't read the Hungarian well enough to do that tree yet. If I get through this difficult middle part and finish the tree perhaps I could try doing it the other way.

I am planning to go to Budapest shortly and perhaps signup for a class there. I have experience in teaching French, German and remedial English so when my Hungarian becomes really fluent and I can read and write correctly I can teach English as a foreign language there.

I would be happy to volunteer to help hair if I could. Or when I can.

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Biff812086

The course can be extremely frustrating, but for learning Hungarian I haven't found anything better. I'd be devastated if it just disappeared.

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Fbru91

I have finished the course this week and I am glad I had this opportunity. It is true that the mistakes take time and they are annoying especially if you use the one of two possible translations of a word which is used in all lessons before and it is evaluated as an error, so you use the other one - and in one case you "fail" again. Anyway, I was aware that I was starting a course which is in beta version and I may say it helped me a lot. By the way, are you not the Zsuzsa which is mentioned in all the lessons? :-)

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Zsuzsi97194

Fully half of all kindergarten teachers in Hungary are named Zsuzsa :)

I will try to stay strong

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mantriel
Mantriel
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Well I am a hungarian, and several of the sentences are quite unnatural, badly designed with difficult to use phrases and words.

Whoever designed this was a saddist. :-P

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mattias572254
Mattias572254
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I stopped taking the course in August. Simply not worth the effort. Bought some books instead. To my surprise I received, in the last couple of days, several notifications that my suggested translations were accepted. This indicates that either they have an extreme backlog for corrections or that the whole project has had a break for months. I now serously doubt that they will get out of beta in years. Very sad, considering that Duolingo is so great in many other languages.

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Zsuzsi97194

I also received notices that they made some corrections I had sent in several months ago.

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Zsuzsi97194

I did finish the course and got the golden owl but it was extremely frustrating. I really wanted to finish it so sometimesI just wrote down and spit back all the wrong answers, meanwhile realizing why the answers were so wrong. The developers just weren’t fluent enough in English and DUO did not provide the resources for hiring or finding people who know how to create language instruction step-by-step.

Luckily I was not learning Hungarian from scratch and so with my working knowledge from childhood I was able guess the bad translations. After writing the wrong sentences and getting them correct I reported them as errors on the green bar, did a screenshot and sent it in.

Meanwhile I started this discussion with the headline that asked if the course was dead. I was hoping to stir things up. There were many responses. Right after that I started to get a few responses to my bug reports so I guess I got somebody’s attention.

I really don’t think that someone who does not have a background in the Hungarian language can learn from this DUO course. I don’t know if other languages are in the same situation. I looked at Spanish, French and German. Spanish seems the best, but that’s Luis’ language.

It does make more sense to put most of the time and effort into the most common and popular languages. However, setting up an app that claims to be teaching so many languages for free and then trying to turn it into a monetized app may be what is driving it to be less fabulous than what has been publicized.

8 months ago
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