"Although he doesn't like to talk, he likes to smile."
When funcitoning as a verb, 微笑 (literally “little smile”) is used less in verbal conversation because it adds more details and sounds bookish if unnecessary. When they are used as a noun, we often prefer 微笑 for the balance of syllables.
Okay, thanks. Am I correct in thinking the Chinese is ambiguous as to whether it means "smile" or "laugh"?
微笑 is used for either “little smile” or simply/simple smile. There are specific words for big laugh (大笑) and ridicule (嘲笑).
Makes sense, though I should have clarified that I'm wondering specifically about whether Duo's sentence is ambiguous. I can't see how I would know if "笑" on its own meant "laugh" or "smile". Duo translates it as "laugh" elsewhere.
笑 can mean either or “laugh” in the general sense, with or without sound. Without enough context we can assume it is the general laugh, though the translation can be very flexible.
Thanks again. Absent any contrary context, laughing is producing the sound of laughter. I dare say this is an area where the two languages don't quite see eye to eye.
Apparently Duo thinks so because I got marked wrong for using it there. IRL there's not a thing wrong with it and in fact it makes the sentence less ambiguous.
So far in this particular lesson I have gotten six different questions wrong that Duo should have accepted. So glad I'm not paying money for this course.