A Message from Team Korean
How are you, everyone? I hope you are having a wonderful day whatever you're up to and wherever you are now!
I would like to talk about the course here. Since the course is in beta right now, we get a lot of criticisms, which is definitely a good thing! We’d like to hear more feedback from you, but I’d like to tell you some things we want you to know.
Disappointingly, the structure of the course is not in the best state and we are aware of this. The course is still in beta, so we never expected it to be perfect; we promise the new version of the tree (Tree 2) in the future will be much better than the current one. Some users seem to think that we don't care about reports or that we don't even work on the current tree. On the contrary, we fixed more than 500 sentences during the last two weeks. The whole course is very long so it may take a few months for your reports to be processed, but I can assure you that we never ignore your reports. If you believe the course is currently not good enough yet, then you may come back later, but I want to tell you we will do our best to improve the tree.
Talking about suggestions users submit, they will all be reviewed before starting on Tree 2, no exceptions. In the incubator, once the course is released, adding or removing words or changing skills is disabled. This is because every skill is a prerequisite for the next one(s), so words and skills cannot suddenly change in the middle of learning. We are only allowed to add, remove, or modify "Tips and notes" and exercises with existing words. You will only be able to see big changes when the next version of the tree is released; please do not demand us to fix all the problems right now. The system does not allow us to.
Also, we'd like to share two changes that will possibly be implemented in the next tree. We will have fewer problems with the inflexible grading system. All of you must have had this moment: "저는 여자입니다." is accepted, but why isn't "제가 여자입니다."? This is, of course, partly because we simply forgot to add some alternative translations, but also partly because an error occurs when the number of alternative translations goes beyond a certain number for each exercise. Usually hundreds of different translations are possible and have to be manually added even for a very simple English sentence which is one of the reasons it takes very long for an Asian language course to graduate from beta. We currently have got the error on top of that. Here's an example:
In total 2,295 distinctive answers are currently accepted for this exercise when we didn't even add 하소서체, 하오체, and 하게체 endings and variations like "괜찮답니다", "괜찮네요", and so on to avoid the error. Good news is that a new system to fix the error is currently being tested, though we don’t have an exact timeline for when that may be. With the new system, your frustration won’t have to level up together with your Korean skills
though our frustration level will be over 9000 while adding millions of alternative translations manually.
Some time ago, we also asked Duolingo to allow us to add a formality level indicator to each exercise, which is the second possible change – though this is not definite; I personally don’t know how computer things work but this feature seems a bit complicated to implement in the current system. We currently accept 해요체 answers even in 합쇼체 skills because there's no way for us to show formality in English sentences. This feature would be really helpful for users to learn and get used to different styles of speech.
I would like to introduce a Korean slang term here, 짤방. It is often shortened further to just 짤. It is nowadays used to refer to any random images one may find on the Internet, but its etymology is quite interesting. There is a big online community in Korea where unrelated posts used to be removed at the sole discretion of moderators. At some point the community members began to write unrelated topics but with pictures related to the community to prevent their posts from being removed. Such pictures were called 짤림 (잘림) 방지 removal prevention and 짤방 is its abbreviation. One of us mods recently deleted an off-topic post here in the forum. I personally would like to let all of you talk about whatever you like and wish there were a separate discussion board for you, but there isn’t one and we moderators are required to delete, edit, or move off-topic posts whenever we find them. Honestly speaking, we are already about to hit 2 million learners, which is exceptionally fast, mostly thanks to the Korean wave; I know what you want to talk about here. So if I may ask, what do you think about talking about the lyrics of K-pop songs or what actors say in K-dramas academically? You can talk about your favourite singers or actors and study Korean at the same time. Just don’t abuse them as a removal prevention!
Finally, to all Korean native speakers trying out our course, while we appreciate your intention to help us and learners, please fact-check before commenting. Everyone can see your comments in discussions, and we don’t want learners to get incorrect information. Legit reports are always welcome; many of you must have seen my replies that alternative translations were added or typos were corrected.
So that's it for now. Thank you and happy learning!
We have an official Facebook group where you can always ask questions to us!
Thank you so much for all your hard work and very generous help!
I can't comprehend how people could be unhappy about anything in the course at all - I started from an absolute zero with no prior experience, and I haven't had any problems with any of the material in the tree (maybe a few alternative answers missing here and there, but that's completely understandable and nothing to be whiny about). The Tips & notes are thorough and easy to follow, provided one does read them carefully, and whatever little details aren't included in the Tips & notes can usually be found in the discussion threads. I'm personally an avid fan of your comments in the discussion threads, as they are always packed with incredibly useful information!
I do agree that introducing a whole bunch of conjugation exceptions in the polite speech skill is a bit overwhelming, but I got through that skill alive, just at a slower speed and with some extra practice rounds - but seriously, what kind of language study doesn't require some hard work? And I just went back to check the Tips & notes for that skill again today, and wow it looks so much neater than the last time! Thanks again for all that! <3
And yes, a little indicator of the expected speech level will be very helpful. For now (I've only learned two) I like to randomly switch from one to the other to check if I have mastered the correct conjugations in each of them, but after more are introduced and it may no longer be feasible to account for all and every one of them in the alternative answers, a little flag showing which one is expected would be really nice.
I have one point to comment on:
Some time ago, we also asked Duolingo to allow us to add a formality level indicator to each exercise, which is the second possible change – though this is not definite; I personally don’t know how computer things work but this feature seems a bit complicated to implement in the current system.
I think this would be a great addition to both the Korean course and Japanese course. It might also be useful in other languages as well...nearly all languages have more formality structures than English, at least for "you".
I have unfortunately seen a lack of commitment from the Duolingo paid staff to work on stuff like this, and it's been a major point of contention for me. I.e. a major factor in me feeling poorly about the way the site as a whole is managed. I am tired of hearing about how it is "hard" to implement this or that. While the Duolingo team has ignored one good feature suggestion after another, I've seen them roll out massive numbers of changes that, IMHO, have made the site worse, and that seem like they would be WAAAY harder and take WAAAY more effort to implement.
I really appreciate all the hard work that you and the other course contributors are putting in. I think it is important not to apologize though for the failure and incompetence of the Duolingo paid staff.
I think they have done a poor and inadequate job adapting their site and its system to East Asian languages, and Korean is no exception.
This suggestion that you bring up I think is a great one, and I think it's one of many things that the Duolingo paid staff could prioritize that, if they had a bit of skill, wouldn't take much time from a programming standpoint (I'm a web programmer myself...if a system is designed reasonably in the first place, this would be pretty easy to implement.)
Yeah. That's what I have to say. Thank you for your post! But the thank you is directed at the course contributors, not the Duolingo paid staff, who, as far as I'm concerned, are not really doing their job.
One thing I would like to see, if you could forward this request to Duolingo staff (since I don't think they listen to us regular users much), is to have the old report system back. Without all the alternatives and the possibility to describe another possible problem the feature seems useless. (At least I haven't really used it since it was changed as there's never a good option for what I want to report).
Meanwhile, how would you suggest we report things that don't fit the given options so that the reports would still be useful to you when you improve the course?
Well spotted indeed!. "My answers should also be accepted" is quite good yet not enough. Think there are several other faults reporting to be done yet one can't do due to limited reporting categories the current system has. :D
If one is not happy with the design of example sentence itself, one should clearly complain by downvoting and flag in one way or another so some better example sentences take over.
Wow that alternative translations solution looks great and could really bring this course to the next level, I hope it gets implemented since that is a big weakness to this otherwise great tree.
Seriously I don't know why you guys get so much flack, I'm not even halfway through the tree yet and have already learned a lot. The tips & notes are the best I've seen on Duolingo. However I had a small knowledge of hangul and extremely basic grammar before starting the tree, so I cannot really comment much on the early sections teaching hangul. The course does seem to throw you right into the deep end with vocabulary and grammar points, but I honestly like that very much since it suited my microscopic background level of Korean. Almost everything important about a lesson is mentioned in the tips & notes and the layout of topics so far makes sense with their method of introducing new grammar points.
One thing however that seems to only be briefly addressed in the tips & notes is irregular hangul conjugations and can cause confusion since words that have morphed hangul can be mistaken as different words. I.E. how 걷다 becomes 걸어요, etc. Perhaps there should be an early lesson that attempts to explain this phenomena right off the bat since it's so ubiquitous? I believe it should be a bigger focus since it becomes much easier to identify and remember words if you recognize something as simply its conjugated form.
Of course one cannot expect to learn such a difficult language using Duo alone, but referencing other resources make this course doable but still challenging. Apps like Lingodeer may be a better fit for absolute beginners but I found it a little boring, though it is still a great app.
Overall I think this course is very underrated and truly a diamond in the rough, but that may just be because I really want to learn this language and enjoy Duo's platform. Thank you for your continued dedication, contributors!
Thank you for your feedback. Irregular verbs are literally irregular, so I don't think we can really explain the phenomena so that you can remember such verbs better. However, six kinds of irregular conjugations are currently introduced in one single skill which I believe is too much, so the skill may be split into several skills in the future so that you can get familiar with them one by one.
I'm not sure if this would be of much help but I've just updated the Tips and notes here:
i get a bit grumpy with some of the inconsistency in the answers and also my english is UK english too so i sometimes find the answer written in a way i would never think of saying. THAT SAID. this course has helped me massively and I can at least talk to my family over Kakao now which great so thank you <3
Big kudos to Team Korean! 고맙습니다!
The course (beta) was rolled out last August, almost a year ago. I had long waited for its debut and couldn't put my device down once I started a lesson. Everything came out perfectly as I had expected. There are glitches. So what? I constantly get your confirmation emails on my alternative translation reports. I'm impressed with your dedication and I'm sure your new tree will be even better. Keep up the great work!
Thank you so much for this course. I started recently and I'm trying to learn the alphabet, but I'm finding it very difficult to handle both the Korean and the romanisations at the same time, because I don't really know how to properly pronounce the romanisations either. And they're less intuitive for English speakers than for example Japanese romanisations are. Like "eo" or "oe" is pronounced very differently than it would be in an English word. And then there are some Korean letters that sound exactly the same in the app but apparently are transliterated very differently... I almost feel like I need a separate lesson to learn the correct pronunciation of romanisations first! Also, I know Hangul are separate letters combined, but I'm finding it very hard to figure out which letter is which and how to pronounce everything without some kind of explicit explanation. Just a list of examples isn't enough for me.
I'm going to keep at it because the language interests me and I want to learn it. I just thought I'd mention these problems I am having that are making it difficult for me.
Thank you very much
Thank you for all the hard work you and everyone else are putting into the Korean tree. I had been excitedly waiting for it to come out and am thrilled to use it now. I really appreciate all the efforts of everyone at Duolingo, and would like to thank you for making such a fun (and free!) way to learn languages. :)
Just want to say thank you to Team Korea for all their hard work. This platform is incredible and I'm very excited to see how it will continue improve in the future. I sincerely hope you'll be able to come up with a solution for the formality issue.
I know you mentioned 해요체 answers are being accepted for 합쇼체 skills, but I find this to be iffy 99% of the time. I've noticed that the sentences do not seem to be randomly generated, but seem to be already constructed and run by sort of alogrithm for when they appear. If so, it might be possible to simply attach the word formal/polite/informal in brackets at the end of sentence. But that's just a wild suggestion; I trust the Team will be able to work something out eventually.
Thank you again for the work you've put into this awesome program! It is very much appreciated.
The only thing I have a hard time with is when I miss an answer, it says "I missed a word" or something like that, but I wish it would tell me why I got it wrong, or what the word I did not put means(If you know what I mean). For example, if I miss a word and it tells me I am wrong, I would like to know why, and what the correct word means. But as you said, it is still in beta(Funny, I am interested in all the languages in beta). I am just saying this so you guys can take it into mind.
Thanks for all the hard work! I'm finding the course really useful. I also wanted to say - I was doing the Prepositions lesson 2 out of 4, and I was given a multiple choice picture question, where "chair" was the answer, about 6 times in a row. I didn't want to report it, as the question was correct. But it just kept repeating.
First, thank you very much for all the work you guys have done in bringing this course out. It's also helpful to know how much work is involved in adding alternative answers - knowing that will definitely help to hold down my frustration level.
One question, in the timed exercises, the time rewards for a correct answer seem really tight, definitely the tightest I've seen in a course. Given the difficulty of learning Korean and the need to memorize a different keyboard (I've memorized the location of each letter, but typing speed is coming very slowly, except -ㅂ니다, which for some reason just flows off my fingers) it would seem to make sense to grant more time. Currently, I can barely stay even with the English answers.
Hi. I really do love this course. I find myself being able to actually understand some korean now. Please. However, add the bonus skills which we can buy from the lingot store. Please. I would be really happy if you added the bonus skills. Because otherwise I have no use for my lingots. I love the course though and I thank you for creating this. 감사합니다
Thank you for taking your time for the Korean tree! I have just recently started learning the course, and I have a small suggestion: Currently Basics one is a little too dense for those of us who are trying to learn a language with a different alphabet. There are too many rules being thrown at once, and its a little hard to understand clearly with the current definitions. I know all of you are working really hard to perfect the tree, so this is just a small suggestion! enjoy your day!
I don't know if anyone pointed this out before but here's my problem/bug:
I use both the mobile app and web app. I often see that the content of the mobile lessons doesn't match with the content on the web app. It leads to many situations where the app assumes I should know a certain word or phrase when in reality I see it for the first time ever. I really appreciate your guys' work and can't thank you enough for the tools you provide for us to achieve our launguage learning goals. Cheers!
Hello. First of all, I'm Korean. Not an immigrant, second-generation, but a legit Korean, born and raised in Korea. I've been doing learning Korean from English just on curiosity. Then I found a very disturbing, uncomfortable thing.
When you're talking in Korean, basic preset is to speak in informative ways, not narrative ways. So, when I was entering the answers in informative ways, they were to be wrong answers. Well, that's not right. I hope you guys change that, so the people learning Korean to use proper sense when they ever to speak in real life.
Second, sometimes I found postpositions don't match up with the other elements in the sentences. I assume this will be changed as well. Then, most importantly, and this is the most unnatural stuff from the course, is that predicate and the subject don't match. For instance, when you are talking in third person, you would use different predicate as you are talking in first person.
I wonder if there are any Koreans amongst the staff who worked on this course. I hope everything will be overlooked once again and adjusted in recent days. Thank you.
I really appreciate everything you guys do :) Even though I just got here, thanks! I'm really excited to continue with this course, and with how slow moving I am personally I'm sure it will be out of beta by the time I attempt to finish it haha. Also on a side note, I am learning Korean for fluency to understand a lot of K-Idols, but I also would like to learn Japanese as well as to better understand or communicate with a lot of Asian Americans in my community.
I started with Korean only a couple days ago, but I feel like the structure could be improved a lot. One thing I'm missing sorely is an exercise where the goal is specifically to romanize words. I know that it mostly accepts it, but I've noticed some where it didn't (I think it was the world cities one) and I constantly find myself trying to read out loud new words as I come across them, even if that is not the goal.
Mind you that I have never used duolingo before, but learning things like 'ng' is ignored when it's at the beginning of a syllable or how the syllables are constructed (are the vowels read top to bottom, left to right, top bottom middle, or what), etc could all be taught during the exercise, not in a footnote underneath them.
Thank you very much for briefing.
It is great to know that there are passionate people working on Duolingo. This probable makes use Duolingo more not only me but the ones who follow you.
As regards the lacks of Duolingo you mentioned, I'm fine with them.
I would like to suggest developing speaking skills improvement tools as the English language learners have. It seems to me that that is the only thing the Korean language learners fail developing.
I hope my post finds you well.
Sending my best,
I'm glad to hear all of this. It is really important to me that I learn this language. I plan on one day visiting Seoul, South Korea- presumably the Gangnam district as of now- and I had been learning Hangug on my own for one and a half years until a small time ago. I was wondering if you have a course in the mix that is of popular Korean slang and abbreviations. (Like how we may shorten words like PreCalculus to just Precalc and small things like that) I haven't checked out other courses besides the one I am currently studying so I son't really know what you are offering, haha. I will get on that now...
Can you give us a hint about how long this Beta should last, and when Korean 2.0 should be released for everybody?
Also, do you think learners should plow through the current Korean tree until then, or wait for the improved version? Assuming that there are other languages of interest to them.
I want to thank you for all your hard work and looking over all of our suggestions to make learning Korean on Duolingo a better experience! Also, I am wondering if you guys are thinking about making stories in Korean (like the spanish and french ones) because I believe that reading is a great way to learn a new language.
Thank you much for taking the time to give us these helpful explanations. I really enjoy using this app to help me learn korean better. If come a long way now!
Hi, I'm a learner of your course and I like it so far but one question for you if you don't mind me asking. Why do you have borrow words in with the alphabet? Why not make the borrow words it's own section for the tree and not mix it with th alphabeth. Since right now it seems like we are learning the alphabeth for three section instead of two? I've only half way done with alphabeth 3 but I think the team just needs to retitle the last alphabeth 3 to borrow words. Just an idea. Keep up the good work can't wait to really get into the tree.
thank you so much,but actually thanks to duolingo, I can already understand Korean quite well,and thanks for duolingo ,I never suspected that Duolingo didn't pay attention to us (as users) at all.this course really amazing,thanks for you to cause for giving attention. thank you so much for you all of Korean team.. greetings fo me from indonesia :))
Hi, I used to use duolingo all the time but I started wanting to learn korean, so I started on this app but for one I'd like it to show you a word and it's translation before making you guess what it means, second, sometimes it says "which one is gat?" and the options don't have "got" among them. I have been studying on another website for a while but I prefer to have phone access. Third I think the different politeness levels should be taught separately. if this changes I'd love to return to this app.
Thank you for all your hard work! Hope to see the new Tree soon....(or do I hope to have finished the course before that, I'm not sure :p) Either way, having this avenue to practice was a great help when I was doing an online course and didn't have anyone to actually practice with. And it still is a great resource to keep in touch with the language everyday as I take an in person certificate course alongside. Thank you so much! :)
Hello! I am enjoying learning Korean. Thank you for making this course! My main motivation is to learn enough Korean to understand KDramas without having to read subtitles. lol
I have a suggestion as to how to show the different forms of polite versus informal speech. Just make a new line and have in parenthesis the words (informal), (formal), (polite), (slang) etc. before or after the sentence. (slang) What's up? (informal) How are you? (formal) How do you do?
Anyway, something like that may help learners. :) Keep up the good work!
I'm just getting into this and I got to say I am almost having inverse learning, like I'm learning the Korean characters to this weird roman combo. For example "u" sounds like how we pronounce "oo" as in do, brew, boo. So in reality, I'm learning what Korean character lines up with the alphabet letter(s) you put in quotes instead of learning it's actual pronunciation. There are more things like this through what little I've done.
My other problem is in the alphabet lessons, it gives you an English word like "friendship" but then asks you to spell the Korean word in Korean. Except up to that point you don't know words. It almost seems to expect you to have spoken Korean and know the English equivalent. Seeings how this post is at least 2 years old, I'll have to assume this will never be adjusted.
I just started the Korean course. Compared to other courses on Duolingo, I find it really overwhelming. I'm wrote down all the verbs in the first lesson 'verbs' and couldn't even fit them on a single sheet of paper - this is too much to memorize when I've just learned the script and don't have practice forming sentences at all, don't have any feel for the structure of the language! It would really be better to start with a handful of verbs - walk, smile, sing, dance, talk - and have a few lessons just practicing using these in simple sentences. I'd really recommend cutting at least 50% of the vocabulary in section 2 and adding it in further sections. The great thing about Duolingo's format is how practice is built-in but with so much to memorize the practice feels more like trying to cheat the computer (at least, if you're lazy like me ;))
That said, grateful for all the work put into this course, it's easy to complain as a user but I'm still finding this a useful way to learn Korean. I'd just recommend making the incline a little less steep.
I know this was posted 2 years ago but still thank you :) Maybe in the future we could have the Stories feature in the Korean course. I personally think that would be amazing although i know that it would take a long time to do so and would require a lot of hard work...but maybe one day!
i am new to the app and came here for Korean thank you guys for your transparency
hey guys, thanks for your effort!
I wanted to ask if you could break down learning hangul into more skill sets. For example, I find the content of alphabet 2 a little overwhelming. So if the learning curve was a little less steep it might make it easier for me.
But thanks again for the Korean course!
Thank you for this wonderful course. I've been sort of trying to learn Korean for many years and tried Rosetta Stone and books and some youtube videos but never stuck with it. Duolingo motivates me and makes Korean fun to learn and I've learned more in three months on Duolingo than in all my previous studies. No course will be perfect for everyone but Duolingo Korean works the best for me. I appreciate all of your hard work.
I've always appreciated this course greatly on Duolingo, even if it is not as advanced as some of the others. I know you guys work really hard on them, and I'm always excited for new updates. It especially hit me though, with the screenshot of the manual translation responses. I could definitely see that stressing me out. So 감사합니다, 그리고 많이 사랑~
Great! You have an army (both BTS fans and else) of warm-hearted good people all over the world genuinely hoping, craving for your success with the course so hope you do live up to their expectation rather than letting them down please.
Also it would be great if you guys can
1) add something in bracket to give some context rather than one sentence that can be interpreted in multiple way
2) do some proper housekeeping for the discussion forum since people are asking the same usual Qs over since there is no pinned postings that should obliterate many discussions derived from FAQs and frequently discussed topics.
Once the moderator told me that there are bunch of tech. issues that Duolingo should fix. Hope you guys do some serious chasing or you will have to write another long essay telling the same old story over and over. If you tried and they are not responding do let us know so many of us can file some complaint to Duolingo.
I see many people asking Qs that were once answered, explained really in the past. Can perfectly understand as it is even difficult for me to locate the postings that I did for myself some time ago. To me, people talking off the topic such as K-POP is like a benigh tumor. Absence of pinned postings for FAQs, Notice board from the course contributors & New comers' survival guide and resources is a true malignant tumor that require immediate fix at all costs. If you have been chasing them and things are NOT moving then we all should do something about this. (not sure how as it seems they prefer to talk to you rather than poor peasants like us. sigh)
These things are not about the Korean course but about the whole Duolingo. It's the same with every course. I'm sure the course contributors are doing their best, but it does seem a bit unfair to expect them to strive for perfection when it's obvious that Duolingo as a site is not planned based on that value.
I have no problem with the course contributors and I agree that they seem to be doing their best.
But I have a huge problem with the Duolingo paid staff. Rather than implement relatively-easy-to-implement things like some of these suggestions (context, formality) that are CRITICALLY IMPORTANT to understanding some lanugages (esp. Korean and Japanese), they're busy rolling out controversial new features that are time-consuming and complex to implement.
I think it's important for the users to continue to discuss these suggestions.
I also think that it's important for the Duolingo paid staff to listen to these things. It's like they're totally out of touch with the user base.
I see little evidence of their competence, and quite to the contrary, I see extreme evidence to their lack of competence and to their failure and disrespectful behavior towards the userbase, treating us like objects and guinea pigs rather than like valued users or customers.
The shift towards Duolingo offering paid services makes it even more disgusting. I subscribed for a couple of months but when I saw the site changing in directions I didn't want, I cancelled my subscription and have been a severely alienated mostly-former-user ever since.
I really like this recommendation
1) add something in bracket to give some context rather than one sentence that can be interpreted in multiple way
I think this would be very valuable and is important for both Korean and Japanese. It might also benefit some other languages; I've encountered specific sentences in other languages that would benefit a lot from this.
If you continue the same hostile attitude, we will have no choice but to enforce disciplinary action. Thank you.