Answers Being Incorrect - Chinese Course

Hi all,

Not sure if anyone else had noticed, but the further I progress into the Chinese course, the more 'incorrect' the answers I give are.

I put 'incorrect' in quotation marks because the answers I give are equivalent to the correct answer. I can't think of an actual example, but it is similar to saying:

'I'll see you in a while'

instead of

'I'll see you later'.

I feel like the 'my answer is correct' facility that Duolingo offers seems to really have slowed down, because answers I have submitted which are equivalent to the correct answer have not been implemented for over a month.

This can be very frustrating because even when my answer is correct, I end up losing lives and have to re-do older segments I am already proficient in.

Is there anybody else who has been noticing issues like this with the Chinese course

February 11, 2018


Glad I'm not the only one who has noticed. Getting marked wrong for saying "We are going to eat breakfast tomorrow" instead of saying "We will eat breakfast tomorrow" is getting a little annoying. I wish there was a way to know if you're correct answer has been accepted – after hitting the button it'd be nice to know they are at least getting the replies

February 12, 2018

We get all the answers and you should receive a notification via e-mail if we've accepted your translation. If we've rejected it -- e.g. due to a spelling mistake or we don't think the meaning is close enough to accept -- there won't be any sort of notification, however. But I and the other contributors all appreciate it when you do make reports, sometimes they just get lost among the misspellings until more people have reported the same translation. And we also don't have the time to go through all reports from the entire course at once, so we have to pick and choose.

February 14, 2018

Hey Harry, thanks for sharing your feedback! If you let me know where you are in the course, I can work on the lessons around there to hopefully make it a bit easier. Unfortunately, as others have mentioned, we get a lot more reports for earlier lessons and so it's easier to add new sentences for those. I tend to try to do a few lessons from later in the course and then focus on the sections that have the most unhandled reports.

February 14, 2018

Hi crush! thanks for replying, its good to know that our voices are being heard!

Im currently around 60 (near food 3, people 3, etc.) but i understand given the reduced number of contributors it can be difficult.

Thanks for the response though, and keep up the dedicated work!

February 14, 2018

Ah ok, KennyHolst also mentioned the section 40-60 being the worst, which makes sense as I went through every single sentence of every skill/lesson individually for the first 40 or so skills before we released into beta. I will be working on improving that section in the coming weeks, sorry it's been so rough for you but thanks to your work it should be much better for those who come after you. Thanks for sticking through it and helping us make the course the we can!

February 14, 2018

I have been having the same problem, I think it's because the course is still fairly new and not a huge amount of people have reached the later lessons and so there hasn't been as many reports for correct answers that are marked as wrong. Best thing to do is to report the problem whenever it occurs. It can be frustrating though.

February 12, 2018

[deactivated user]

    I'm a native speaker who tested the course before it was released to the public and I still get marked wrong. They're slower at correcting the errors now for some reason, presumably because the course exited beta or because they've corrected them all already. IMHO, it's nowhere near ready for the full release.

    February 12, 2018

    I agree it is extremely premature, makes the site look bad, and is insulting and demeaning to the users as well as the team who maintains it, to mark it as out of "Beta". If I were on that team I'd be angry and frustrated, like they're trying to make me look bad or something.

    Just leave it in Beta. They've still been actively accepting my reports, so I think they are still working. It's a huge amount of work, I wouldn't expect them to do it quickly, esp. for a language like Chinese that is so different from English.

    But yeah...having that "beta" label taken off is terrible P.R.

    February 21, 2018

    I am learning the course and I have found that they keep a strict rope on the answers. one tie I forgot a letter in a word and they marked it wrong even though it was obvious what I was going for. another time I had a very similar answer to the "correct answer" but it didn't like that either. all in all this is a really great program and I love learning languages from this site. here, have some lingots.

    February 16, 2018

    I have this problem when i'm learning Russian too

    February 12, 2018

    Unfortunately, as many have said, the course is very hard to learn from; especially if one is only using Duolingo to learn with.

    I alpha tested the course. I worked hard to report problems and give alternate answer suggestions. Once the course graduated to beta, I defended it passionately. I told others to report often and to avoid spamming the sentence discussions. I thought that if I persuaded more people to get onboard as passionate beta testers, the course would be well made and would graduate from beta in no time. Then, to my dismay, the Chinese course graduated from beta prematurely.

    This course is not ready. All the people who were complaining in beta and had no ground to stand on before, are completely justified in criticizing the course now. I don't understand why it graduated from beta when it is not ready. By Duolingo releasing poorly made courses, they are just doing a disservice to their users. Nobody wants to use a bad product.

    Alongside Duolingo for learning Chinese, I highly recommend using:

    • LingoDeer (Best app for Chinese, Japanese, and Korean)

    • LanguageDrops (Free version for daily 5-minute vocabulary practice)

    • DecipherChinese (Free versions for reading and listening practice)

    • Pleco (Good dictionary)

    February 13, 2018

    We are still going through adding in translations, the sad reality however is that most people spend time in the beginning of the course and so we get more reports for earlier lessons (and also spend more time updating those sentences). Since the course graduated from beta, we've had a few contributors leave the team and overall contributions from most people have dropped (though Sasha-O is still very active!), which is a bit unfortunate. We are still adding translations and fixing/updating sentences, though.

    February 14, 2018

    Sorry to hear about the loss of contributors. Hopefully, more people will make it to the back half of the course and help by reporting. I am currently near the halfway point of the course. I will make sure to report where I can as I go.

    All the team's hard work is greatly appreciated.

    February 14, 2018

    I have stopped using the course following the breaking of the slow audio.

    If you can prod staff to get the audio-on-word-hover-over bug fixed (without this the course is EXTREMELY difficult and I feel like it's wasting my time, I just want that feature back, I had it before and don't understand why it broke) I might come back.

    Having better hover-over hints might help too.

    I get demoralized when there are really wrong hover-over hints, or missing hints. I've reported a lot of these and I have yet to see a single one fixed.

    If the hints were better, I'd find the course more reasonable to work through...I'd stick with it more, and you'd get more reports from me. I was an active reporter back when I was actually doing the course.

    I gave up because I got demoralized, in large part because of the broken audio on hover-over and the lack of hover-over hints being well as a few other glitches like missing or wrong character pronounciations that I reported multiple times to the DuoLingo main system, that never went fixed.

    It gets demoralizing, you know, to submit all that stuff and have it go weeks or months without being acted on. My thought is, if they really valued my reports, they'd act on them. Not acting on them is a sign I'm not wanted, and if I'm finding the course frustrating, why stick around?

    Make sense?

    I've been seeing some signs of increased involvement lately so I'm hopeful things are turning around.

    February 21, 2018

    I haven't been using the course much. This is mostly do to frustration at having so many correct answers marked wrong. My Chinese is at an intermediate level, but I still wasn't able to test out of much since so many alternative correct answers were marked wrong. It's very discouraging.

    February 16, 2018

    Yes, definitely. Duolingo is weird lol. I got "The school is on the left of the restaurant" wrong for not writing "The school is to the left of the restaurant."

    February 14, 2018

    Actually, "on the left of the restaurant" does sound a little weird to me.

    February 16, 2018

    Where are you from? Maybe it's a regional thing. Both sound OK to me.

    February 28, 2018
    • 1497

    According to my history of notification emails, there seems to be only one contributor approving my suggested answers. But recently Duolingo started to remove the nickname of the contributor from the email…

    I heard (~4 years ago) that there is a limit for the number of accepted answers. The limit can be easily exceeded, because Duolingo generates the answers beforehand using a formula-like expression provided by the contributors. That expression generates the answers from all combinations of ordered sentence fragments, so that the number of answers can increase exponentially like 2x2x2x2x…x2, and then exceed the limit. This problem can be mitigated by only manually accepting answers reported by the users, but this process can be slow as we have observed. I guess they store the answers beforehand mostly for faster processing and auto-correction. Has anything changed?

    February 12, 2018

    Are you still getting them? I haven't gotten a notification email that they've accepted a translation I've submitted in four full weeks now. I had a handful in December back around when I started, one in January, now nothing.

    February 13, 2018

    We are still looking at them, if it's something that has only been reported once it may take a long time to get to (there are so many misspellings, forgotten words, etc. that get reported that good answers often get lost until they are reported two or more times), but if it has been reported multiple times we will get to it. If you don't mind me asking, where in the course are you? I can focus on those areas as I go through.

    February 14, 2018

    I'm at around skill 75 (out of 88) now, but I was somewhere mid course a month ago and I've still been reviewing a bunch going back to around #20 and everywhere in between.

    Honestly, the course quality has been a lot less of an issue towards where I am now - most common problem is the suggested translation is terrible English. But, it tends to accept my translations a lot more so it feels less bad. I also notice earlier around 20-30, there's translations I used to get declined for that it accepts now so I can actually speedrun those lessons pretty well.

    It was really around skills 40-60 that the course quality just felt terrible. Like, it was pretty common for me to have to report 4+ times per lesson.

    And I also have to say overall, there's a troubling number of cases where the written tone doesn't match the audible tone for individual characters - I really think that should be a top priority to fix over everything else.

    February 14, 2018

    Heh, that's about where I stopped going through the course skill by skill. So that makes me feel like what I was doing was actually working, thanks for the feedback! I'll be focusing on those skills, starting from around Invite 1.

    I'm not sure exactly what you mean by the written tone not matching the audible tone, do you mean the audio is incorrect or that the written tone is incorrect? If you could provide an example that'd be great and I can bring it up with the other contributors.

    February 14, 2018
    • 1497

    Some audio and the pinyin do not match across the whole course when the Chinese character is alone. Examples:

    • 咖 kā (for 咖啡), but pronounced/spelled as gā (for 咖喱 which is not taught)
    • 术 shù (for 艺术) → zhú (for 白术)
    • 夫 fū (for 丈夫) → fú (for classical Chinese)
    • 参 cān (for 参加) → shēn (for 人参)
    • 将 jiāng (for 将要) → jiàng (for 将士)
    • 漂 piào (for 漂亮) → piāo (for 漂浮)
    • 儿 ér (for 儿子) → er (neutral tone, -r for 这-儿)
    • 给 gěi (for 给你) → jǐ (for 给予)
    • 肚 dù (for 肚子) → dǔ (for 猪肚)

    Also, 旅 lǚ is misspelled as lǔ.

    I can just think of these for now. There may also be problems about 便, 差, 只.

    February 15, 2018

    One example is Although from what I remember, that case also had the sound itself wrong (zhu instead of shu).

    At least in one recent example, I noticed it was a character which had multiple valid sounds - i.e. the character by itself (and most words containing it) use one tone, but that particular lesson uses that character in a word with the other tone. Not sure if that explains some of the other mismatches as well. If it's an instance like that, it's hard to really say one is "wrong" vs the other. However, I don't recall any examples where I thought the pinyin was wrong, I tend to think the audible tone is wrong.

    February 14, 2018

    Replying here since I can't reply directly to your other comment. Is this the sentence you were thinking of with 美术? This sentence, for example, sounds fine to me, but the first one does sound incorrect.

    You're basically saying that the audio is incorrect, not that the pinyin transcription is incorrect, right? I've reported that one, but that is handled by the Duolingo team and not by the course contributors, but these sorts of mistakes do need to be fixed.

    February 15, 2018
    • 1497

    Glad to see some contributor speaking up here. If it is really hard to deal with the whole mass of reports, I hope you can consider going through each small lesson as a normal user does. This shouldn't be very hard. In the past month or so, I have gone through most of them and there remain just a few lessons to complete on my gold tree.

    February 14, 2018

    That's what I started off doing, I've gone through the entire first half of the course that way. But now it takes much longer to get through all the reports. A few weeks ago there were some reports that weren't processed correctly and just got entered as garbage so now pretty much all lessons are littered with those as well, which gets in the way of the good answers. Previously I could do about two skills in around an hour to an hour and a half, now it takes me about that long just to get through the sentences with the most error reports in a skill (probably 4-5 sentences). But honestly I love seeing sentences with a large number of people having reported a certain sentence, it makes it really easy to add new translations and I love clicking that green "correct" button to send out an e-mail to everyone who reported it!

    February 14, 2018

    Can't reply to your [url=]other message[/url] so I'm responding here, hoping you'll get a notification. I've passed on the list you gave me above to the team, hopefully we can fix these mistakes up. These are pretty big issues that need to be addressed, unfortunately we're not the ones in charge of the audio. Hopefully the list can get passed on to the Duolingo team and we can iron these issues out. Thanks for the help, Mr.rM!

    February 15, 2018
    • 1497

    You can reveal the reply button after you refresh the page and edit+save your upper comment again.

    I just finished the tree yesterday, and gathered five more mistakes:

    • 卷 juǎn (for 春卷) → juàn (for 试卷)
    • 载 zǎi (for 下载) → zài (for 装载)
    • 扫 sǎo (for 打扫) → sào (for 扫把)
    • 排 pái (for 排球) → pǎi (?)
    • 个 gè (for 每个) → ge (?)
    February 21, 2018

    I agree. I've gotten five emails saying they've accepted my suggested sentences, but I've sent about fifty.

    February 12, 2018

    That's better than me, I'm at 6 out of probably 200.

    February 13, 2018

    yea, and it is confusing. what happens to me is that the characters they show when you hover over the words are different then the ones in the word bank.

    February 12, 2018

    I agree that the course isn't remotely ready, but it's too late to put the toothpaste back in the tube now.

    But I hadn't realised that contributors had been lost - I feel bad now for getting stroppy in some of my reports. I'll bear that in mind and try to be a bit more patient.

    February 14, 2018

    PS. It's been suggested that users could 'muck in' to clear a possible backlog of reports. Is this realistic/feasible, or does it not really work like that?

    February 14, 2018

    Not sure what you mean by 'muck in'? You mean chip in with the work? I can discuss bringing in another contributor with the team.

    February 14, 2018

    I don't know much about the architecture behind the scenes but I think they were envisaging something like bringing in several extra contributors temporarily to bring things up to date.

    February 15, 2018

    Ah ok, I can ask the team what they think.

    February 15, 2018

    I've given up on the course because this doesn't seem to be improving at all. I'm at level 8 and I know all of the answers, but can't pass the placement test to move on because I cannot get through the test without being flagged at least 4 times for 'incorrect' answers that are totally correct. Gems like 'My parents live in America' being wrong because only 'US' is accepted.

    I feel like the test here is to learn the exact phrasing that duolingo will accept, rather than actually being about the Chinese. It was fine when the language was in beta, I'm just not sure why it was taken out of it. Perhaps the lower levels are flawless already, but the higher ones definitely aren't.

    Just tried again since I had the topic on my mind:

    明年我和朋友会去法国 - 'I'm going to France with my friend next year' Wrong. Correct answer: "I are going to France with my friend next year."


    March 2, 2018
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