Stories in Chinese

Hi everyone! 大家好!

It has recently come to my attention that there are no stories in Chinese on the Duolingo. I find this frustrating as Mandarin Chinese is the most spoken language in the world, and that other less-spoken languages tend to take precedence over it (such as Spanish and French).

I think stories would be a great benefit to everyone's learning experience, as well as teaching them new words.

Is it possible to add some stories in Chinese?

Thanks! 谢谢!

April 9, 2018


I support your cause. Here have a lingot.

I am studying Chinese at the university now, and it is in my opinion a language that should be supported with as much daily sentences as possible which stories do have. So we really do need stories, I hope we can get them soon.

But I can't help but point out, a language being more widely spoken in no way indicates a superiority.

April 9, 2018

I agree, Chinese of all languages would really benefit from Duo stories.

April 11, 2018

Many of us are waiting in hopes for Chinese stories, sooner rather than later.

Hopefully, Mandarin is high on Duo's list the next languages to be added to stories.

April 9, 2018

I also give a lingot in support of this! Reading stories in Chinese is one of my favorite things to do, and they are a good vehicle for giving people an overall appreciation of how the language works together above the sentence level. Since so much is left implied by the sparse grammar of Chinese, understanding the language in context of longer examples really is key. I kind of wonder if there isn't a way to partner with one of the many popular Chinese langauge literary weeklies to put up stories.

There's an entire genre of supermarket magazines that largely picks up short essays and stories often written by amateurs. They are an absolute blast to read, and one of the things I miss most now that I no longer live in China.

I don't like to play favorites, in that I don't think the number of speakers should determine which languages are important. Even if Chinese were only spoken by a few thousand people, I would still love it. And that's why many of us are here and sticking with it, right? We all love Chinese and are eager to find more ways to explore it. That alone should justify making it happen!

I'd also like to float the idea of recruiting people to contribute stories. I think quite a few of us here have friends or family in China. And I know plenty of them have short stories or compositions lying around that they could probably be persuaded to contribute. I know I've got a few friends like that. So if this really might happen, and they just need stories, they should ask the community to recruit friends.

April 9, 2018

I am so with you on that one. It'd be nice. The stories are a great way to learn and practice. I do the German stories to keep things up to date and gain bonus XP points for myself.

April 10, 2018

I have been using the Duolingo app to help me learn Chinese for the past few weeks (and having fun earning exp and lingots for the languages I already know). I hadn't logged into the desktop version until yesterday but when I did, I was very impressed with the Spanish stories.

I loved following the story of the house-sitter and couldn't wait to see what happened next after each question. Reading for me is a lot of fun and definitely, a great aid in learning a language and I think it's the same for most people.

There should definitely be stories for other languages starting with Chinese since Chinese business is becoming such an important part of the global economy.

April 13, 2018

I really like this series: It's mostly HSK3 level. DL takes you up to about half-way through HSK4. I'm just over half-way through the DL tree, and can mostly read/enjoy this book without too much difficulty. It also gives footnotes on each page for any words not in the HSK3 list.

(Yes, this is not a DL feature, but DL is not a "one-stop-shop" and it's good to combine it with other resources.)

April 25, 2018

It looks like fun, and if it motivates anyone to read more, I'm in favor. But I would also suggest people not base their reading on HSK levels, and not focus solely on materials that are "at their level."

The HSK has been gutted in the new version. The older version of the HSK was much more rigorous, though all tests are ultimately formulaic and incapable of truly assessing fluency. Placing too much trust in current HSK rankings is probably going to lead to difficulty later on in learning.

But the real problem is: HSK Level 3 is inadequate for learning more Chinese. It only uses about 600 characters, and those may or may not even be the 600 characters you need to use to express yourself. That's a pretty harsh cap on learning progress.

Though it can be intimidating, reading just normal things like newspaper articles, are what will really help you make progress, because they'll contain lots of things you don't already know, used in a natural, non-didactic way. Learning to use what you already know to figure out the parts you don't know is a key skill not only in reading Chinese, but also, it is what enables you to begin assimilating new vocabulary and concepts.

So if you enjoy that story, great, go for it, but I'd really suggest that when anyone "combines it with other resources" they look for other resources that they might originally dismiss, thinking they are far beyond their level. Best of all, things like newspaper articles are often free online, and your reading habits will reflect your personal interests.

Here's a link to one of my favorite Chinese newspapers:

April 25, 2018

You're right, of course. HSKL3 just gives an idea of depth and difficulty. The book series' difficulty is pretty low in absolute terms, but still demanding enough for someone at my rather basic level. The story is fun and nice to read, relax and learn with, and consolidates vocab, so I recommended it for that reason.

Thanks for the online newspaper link. It looks like a nice learning resource, and surprisingly, not outrageously difficult :-) You are right again... I was keeping away from newspaper articles until I'd reached a higher level, but this is probably counterproductive.

April 25, 2018

Oh absolutely. And if you have fun with the story, it's a great way to really get engaged, so there's no harm to enjoying a book like that. The main thing is that you shouldn't feel like that's a limit. If you enjoy that book, try some news paper articles, and even try some books, you'll get a broad spectrum of Chinese literacy that will also reflect your own personality. This is why I think them adding stories for Chinese on Duolingo would be such a great addition as well!

April 25, 2018

Also a great trick to staying enthusiastic about studying, if you are studying a book, like the one you recommended, and you start to bog down and feel it is hard, go spend an hour or two working on just even one page of a typical Chinese book that is way above your level, then when you go back to the learning materials, they will feel a lot more relaxing, and you'll notice what progress you've actually made.

April 25, 2018

I’m all for this but given how long it took them to add Chinese course which is still new I’m not holding out hope.

April 9, 2018

I concur. I only joined to practice Mandarin. It did annoy me a bit that they called it Chinese instead of Mandarin, but the app looked fun.

April 10, 2018

Seeing that most Chinese do call their own language "Chinese" in English (only linguists like myself will go to the trouble to say "Standard Putonghua", and Mandarin is technically a misnomer), I think it isn't a big issue.

April 10, 2018

I'm with WillowsofXihu, but to explain for those who don't know the back story, and why some of us avoid the term: Mandarin is just Portuguese for "Not Cantonese." It comes from the Portuguese term "Mandare" meaning Commander, which were northern Chinese officials who they encountered in Macao, in contrast to the Cantonese speaking locals.

The problem is that "Mandarin" versus "Cantonese" isn't really a sufficient dichotomy. In reality, even "Putonghua" is a really overly broad category. Many of the local accents, like 北京话, 天津话, 西北话, or 四川话 are all very different, but broadly considered "Putonghua." Dialects like Wu, Xiang, Min, E, and Gan are all not Putonghua, but it is unclear whether or not people consider them Mandarin, since Mandarin is usually just used to designate "Mainland" Chinese or anything that is not Cantonese (Yue).

April 10, 2018

Chillax bro. We only just got Chinese out of beta

April 10, 2018

And it should still be in beta tbh.

April 11, 2018

While you're waiting, check out the Chinese Breeze series of graded readers. Level 1 uses 300 basic characters, plus a few dozen extra for each story.

April 10, 2018

Thanks! I'll take a look at it.

May 10, 2018

There’s also Clozemaster you could try whilst you’re waiting. It’ll improve your Mandarin to near fluency by the time stories come out.

June 20, 2018

I agree

April 11, 2018


July 7, 2018

A great supplement and free app is Du Chinese (du2 as in "read") for IOS. It has great stories and dialogue!

October 11, 2018


May 10, 2019
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