The Hungarian lessons are getting on my nerves. Bad!

I am Hungarian. I am "taking this course" to see how accurate this site is at teaching non-native Hungarians speakers Hungarian. So far, so many acceptable answers are ignored and marked as wrong. My husband is learning Hungarian through here AND myself, and he is losing confidence because SO MANY acceptable answers he is getting wrong. I am so disappointed, and Duolingo should update their Hungarian database to allow for different phrasing. Hungarian is a very difficult language to learn, and you are teaching people that only one way to phrase things is correct. Fix this issue.

April 25, 2018


Some points of criticism from my humble point of view:

  • 'plane' is not accepted, I have to type 'airplane'
  • 'megy' is sometimes translated with 'she goes', sometime with 'she is going' (example) - only one is accepted, no consistency
  • english translations that don't make any sense - 'the bird flies on the tree' as if the bird was riding some sort of magic carpet... er tree
  • very long sentences that are only accepted with an 'and'. punch line: there is no 'es' in the Hungarian version
  • 'ember' translated as 'man' while 'person' not accepted
  • 'kicsi' is sometimes 'little' and 'small' is not accepted or the other way around
  • some English translations are just bad English or make no sense at all
April 25, 2018

I have been sending in corrections and for a long time there was no response. In the last three days I got 4 corrections accepted. So the are working on Hungarian again!

April 30, 2018

I think that Duolingo team is working hard to fix the course, because I continue getting feedbacks from them. I am grateful for all the things I learned, even though going through the lessons has been annoying. I believe that the best thing would be to start a new course from scratch, using simple and meaningful sentences. At the moment, I am doing the reverse tree, which is much more fun. I learned hundreds of new words, which help me understand the films and read the newspapers :)

April 25, 2018

I just finished the reverse tree too and got my second golden owl!

April 30, 2018

Congratulations! Here is a lingot :)

April 30, 2018

Thanks! I'll buy you a drink with that!

May 12, 2018

The Hungarian course is the worst of all courses I dabbled into. It over-complicates things, does not teach useful vocabulary, the sentences are crazy long and the flying kindergarten teachers are annoying. I quit using Duolingo for Hungarian and have bought the Assimil course, which is really great.

April 25, 2018

thanks for the advice!

April 25, 2018

"The Hungarian course is the worst of all courses" I know that currently there are some complains about Japanese (from English) course in beta version too. So Hungarian one is not the only one.

May 1, 2018

I just opened the discussion to complain the same, I started the Hungarian first in very early beta, I think year ago or so, and it was really really bad back then. I returned to it now and actually managed to finish few more courses, before hitting the examples where every sentence is very long and complex and almost always the recommended english translation is to me borderline ungrammatical. Most of my learning Hungarian time here goes trying to memorise the "English" translations that are acceptable.

For example I was doing the inessives today, the concept is surely difficult by itself, you don't need to hide them in three line long sentences with "those, who, but, on the other hand not ... then ...", geez -_-

April 25, 2018

The Hungarian is the only course here where I get the feeling the creator isn't trying to teach me anything but rather trying to trick me into giving wrong answers...

Some years ago I could read simple genre literature in Hungarian and could make my way around Budapest without asking people to speak English or German so I came to the course with something and still whenever I try to get back to it I end up rage quitting after a lesson or two.

All the problems (apart from weirdness about what English is accepted) comes down to trying to teach too many things at once through sentences that are too long and too weird.

Also, Hungarian is the type of language where learners need a bit of time to assimilate features before moving on so some purely review lessons would be very welcome.

April 25, 2018

I began the hungarian tree one year ago.

Although it can be improved by shortening many sentences, and the fact that there are some awful, poorly designed skills like Dir.Con 1 to 3, it is not THAT bad. I made impressive progresses in the language (according to my hungarian friends).

The stongest points of the hungarian tree are :

  • the tips and notes (I think more than in other languages)
  • the invaluable precise comments of skilled users like "Vv sey", "RyagonIV" and "Andreas Kraneis", to name a few.

Frankly, the "ovónö" quickly becomes a funny inside joke, if you read the comments of the users.

April 25, 2018

This is what I have complained about a few months ago... Totally agree!!

April 25, 2018

The creators know that it is not perfect. Thus it is still in beta? I don't know how perfect other courses are, but i started this knowing i can't expect a flawless course. So i guess unless some native Hungarian volunteers do speed up the fine tuning of everything, it is an acceptable way to learn something.

And i am very grateful for any helpful comment in the attached comments of every single bit. So i would definitely also appreciate your comments and corrections to be found anywhere you think appropriate when you mean something else is acceptable. Although acceptable sounds almost like a native would understand it, but would feel that it sounds weird. So i prefer if a suggestion tries to direct you to actually proper solutions and not anything that is only acceptable.

April 25, 2018

After a few weeks and some further progress in this course, I have to agree to some of the harsher criticisms.
It is not only stuck in Beta, huge parts of it should be replaced and go back to an alpha-phase anew.

The main problem seems to be that it was created without having English in mind. The base language it was supposed to be build on! Present tense in Hungarian is not necessarily in the present. Has entirely different ways to dance around the current time. English is though very strict in this. So there is a huge problem alone in that. And spatial and movement information reflect this problem rigorously. When the languages are really different you can't just force English to adapt to the patterns and logic of this language well and have to make conscious decisions what is helpful for beginners and what is better left out, saved for later when people can handle it better and are not constricted by the hard wired, context free logic here.
But it uses way too many examples that are just not elegantly translatable and we get a lot of bad English, that neither makes sense in English and also not adequately show the meaning we are supposed to learn. The middle part is just a terrible waste of time and I am not sure i can get through it. For me it is frustrating, and also for the current contributors who try to repair the bad decisions made in the beginning, it must be unpleasant.

I feel like I do not learn Hungarian anymore but rather that I have to learn a weird mutated English instead. The problem is not so much understanding the Hungarian but figuring out what nonsense is accepted in English.

I'm appreciating the time and effort that went into the creation, but it fails to offer a good way of learning a very different language.

Please trim the fat! Instead of trying to fix it.

June 7, 2018

Another update since I have reached the end.

The middle part is the outstanding frustrating element and one probably struggles with that ballast till the end. While later lessons are a lot less convoluted, the fun was if not killed at least damped before seeing the last mile.

But, while there is a lot of room to improve, I hope every new day and dozens of reports continually increase its quality, it should become better and better for every new learner and it is absolutely doable today.

It would need some enthusiastic expert English speaker and willing contributor first and foremost I think to really turn the odd stuff into good course material.

October 2, 2018

Hungarian is in Beta, so it won’t be accurate all the time. The volunteers, many of which are native Hungarian speakers, will not have taken into account every possible answer. You can make the course better by reporting sentences and selecting “my answer should be accepted”. It will keep the course in beta while volunteers improve it. Duolingo is only responsible for providing the service that allows volunteers to create courses (there isn’t a “database” that Duolingo controls, but a list of accepted translations for each sentence).

April 26, 2018

I accept a beta version, no problem, if they would accept a beta version of payment.

April 26, 2018

Duolingo normally has a maximum of 3,000 accepted translations for a given sentence. That sounds like a lot for sure, but for Hungarian it's 10,000, and even that isn't always enough.

As you can imagine, it can take a while to compile those thousands of acceptable translations. As a native Hungarian speaker using a course targeting learners of Hungarian, there's no doubt you'll come up with many formulations that the average learner won't.

April 26, 2018

Yeah. I can understand. So why not start with a few phrases less and work up slowly? Why not react to complaints or answer questions? Some bad phrases were reported a year ago and still no answer.

April 26, 2018

One wishes some different choices had been made as the course was in development. But a lot of those things cannot be altered until the course is out of beta and a new tree version is developed and launched. Duolingo simply doesn't allow new tree versions for courses still in beta.

I guess they could have spent another year or two adding alternative translations to a shorter tree, but, well, then none of us would have had a course to be working on. Courses on Duolingo have missing translations. It's part of the deal. There's no question it's a competitive weakness for them, but it's not one that any competitor has done much to try to exploit, all the less for Hungarian.

There's a new English-language native contributor furiously working to add alternative English translations (and presumably fix strange ones).

April 26, 2018

So it means that I will need start everything from the beginning (from scratch) when language is developed (and out of beta)?

May 11, 2018

Not out of beta phase, no. If a new tree version is eventually released, then there will presumably new skills to be done, and some skills may need to be re-completed because of the addition of content.

May 11, 2018

In the last three or four weeks I have been receiving lots of emails on an almost daily basis that my translations have been accepted, so it seems as though at least somebody is furiously working hard in the background to increase the amount of variations that can be accepted.

April 26, 2018

I have also been receiving emails about my translations being accepted since last week. I am in the process of selling my house and moving to another state so the work on my database of errors and suggested corrections has been interrupted but I will get back to it as soon as possible.

April 30, 2018

I too have been receiving a bunch of "We now accept this translation"'s. Last week I got 8 in one day. Some of the sentences were so old that I don't remember them, but better late than never.

One thing is different though. The emails were signed by the person making the corrections, now it just says Duolingo

Thanks for the corrections, please keep it up!

April 30, 2018

That change seems to have affected the e-mails from all courses. I liked it the old way better.

April 30, 2018

To zsuzs444181 and michaelC.B7:

We have all been suffering through the errors in this Hungarian course. It is still in Beta and for a long time no one was working on it. I started here in October and got caught into the big error trap in the middle. It was not just about not accepting alternative answers but real mistakes.

I started reporting the mistakes I found but it seemed that no one was working on the Hungarian language at that time. It's a volunteer staff. Two months ago I wrote some good headlines on two posts claiming that Hungarian was dead etc. and wrote about everyone's frustrations with the course. Some people defended DUO since it is free and volunteer based but others agreed with me that if the language is going to be offered the errors should be corrected.

About a month ago I started receiving emails, one by one, from DUO saying that an error correction I had reported has now been accepted. Others here have been getting them as well and now we are allowed to send 10 or more at a time.

I send screen shots of the errors to them when they acknowledge my report by email. They have made many corrections in at least the first half of the course so far. It is much better.

The only way we could get through the middle part was by memorizing or writing down the wrong answers and feeding it back to them in order to be able to move to the next lesson which was locked.

Now they have unlocked the lessons and you can work anywhere but the new problem is that the levels are extremely repetitive and boring for anyone who is an advanced student. I have a Hungarian background too.

There are good things here too. I learned to spell correctly and I did learn some grammar that I didn't know very well since I was using my childhood Hungarian from a long time ago. My syntax is pretty good but my vocabulary was rusty as well and now it is much better.

Anyway, where else is there to learn any Hungarian for free? On-line conversations are available for free if you agree to teach someone else English in exchange but otherwise you have to pay to have a tutor. Since you are tutoring your husband I think he has the best of all possible worlds.


May 12, 2018

I've paid 10€ a month (non-beta Euros) and spend a lot of time.

I want to make progress in real world situation and all I hear is about the fate of flying kindergarten teachers.

May 14, 2018

my idea of a beta version is that a product is almost ready. testers give their opinion and the product is improved. in this this case: testers give their opinion, nobody gives a ❤❤❤❤ and the development is delayed til kingdom come. questions and comments unanswered for more than a year...

April 27, 2018

Yes I agree about what beta should be. I think that Luis was trying to offer the most languages in the universe even if they were still in the incubator.

In spite of everything I did get all the way through the course in both directions and got two golden owls. So it is possible and I did get some benefit. I didn't get to level 25 because I didn't spend enough time to get enough XP's. I knew enough Hungarian to go through the course pretty fast.

Now, since the update I am more frustrated than before because of the repetitions. I think I have done pretty much all I have time for in this Hungarian. Even if I try a language from scratch I may not have the patience.

May 12, 2018
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