Hard Mode

I was recently doing some exercises and noticed how easy it was writing without special letters (like umlauts or ß) or capital letters. Even though I try to use them, there's no consequence when I don't. Maybe that's because I didn't advance much, maybe in further lessons it becomes stricter. I think there should be some sort of hard mode where answer checking becomes stricter and maybe harder exercises may be added where you should translate to german. It should be optional (could be changed from Daily Goals Setting), and maybe could give more XP. Also Daily Goal Setting must have option to increase XP goal. 50 XP daily is OK but not enough for "Insane". It's like 5 sessions.

April 28, 2018


I agree: The use of umlauts and capital letters should be mandatory. At the lower levels, there could be a note: "Your spelling is not correct. It should be ...", without counting it as a mistake.

But it should certainly be pointed out, and after some time these mistakes should be recorded as mistakes because the capitalization of nouns and the umlauts are crucial features of the German language.

Question: do Germans always include the umlauts and capitalization in casual written text?

Because I know for example that Russians have the letter ё but many Russians, very often in casual writing but sometimes even in official mediums like newspapers, just write it as е with the "correct" letter left to context.

Question: do Germans always include the umlauts and capitalization in casual written text?

No, you will certainly find thousands of (non-language) forum posts or blog entries that are written without capitals and with sloppy spelling.

However, I think that in language forums (as here), we should write as correctly as possible.

Since I am a language lover, and I feel that each language has its own dignity, I treat the languages -- my native language included -- as respectfully as I can by adhering to the standards of each language. In my private correspondence in German, I may occasionally use an extraordinary expression or sloppy spelling based on the pronunciation. But here, I do my best to write as correctly as possible in order to give the learners the opportunity to see the correct forms.

People learn languages in order to pass exams or to write application letters, and this is sure: An application letter with sloppy spelling or missing capitalization will certainly end up in the "round file" ;-) I definitely know this from the company I work for.

And I trust (for the languages I'm learning) that Duolingo will teach me correct language. If I feel like being more inaccurate later, that's my own choice, but in learning, I should acquire the standard, correct versions of words and phrases.

Answer: They absolutely should! In my opinion, informal chats are the only place where written German without umlauts and capitalization is okay. In school, at university, at work, in newspapers, in e-mails, in letters and everywhere else except in very very informal circumstances you should use them!

You are so right!

Chats are like talking to other people and when you talk you also don't always construct "correct" sentences as in written language. So it's kind of ok if you make some mistakes and neglect some rules to be faster in typing.

However, even in emails I regard it as kind of impolite if people don't use proper capitalization. And missing umlauts are even worse because this is the same as using a "t" instead of a "d" or a "k" instead of a "g" - you might understand what the word means but it's just wrong.

I know it's hard to get all these details right in German (as it is for German kids in the first 5-6 years of learning to properly write German) but in my opinion you always should take care of every detail of a language from the very beginning if you want to learn that language.

I used to know a guy who spoke conversational German, and could even read and write some German, but who didn't know that all nouns are capitalized in German. I was baffled how someone who had been practicing German for a while could have somehow not learned such a basic rule, which is usually one of the very first things a person learns when learning German. It turned out that he had learned most of his German from chatting with Germans online on the Internet, and just as native English speakers often don't bother to capitalize their sentences or end sentences with a period when they're chatting in text, native German speakers often don't bother to capitalize their nouns when chatting in text. So no, Germans don't always write perfectly; like any other people chatting on the Internet, they tend to get lazy and ignore punctuation, spelling, and grammar. But when you're learning a language, you shouldn't be lazy that way, because then you will never learn to write the language properly.
  • 1619

Heike - Ich bin vollkommen einverstanden.

I must admit that I can be lazy at times and not use the proper accents, characters. I appreciated early on how forgiving the system is; however, I would like to be able to either select a setting - forgiving vs unforgiving, easy vs hard how forgiving - OR at the higher crown levels, the system should be unforgiving.

As I'm reviewing material now, my goal is to not have these types of errors, but I have to check to see what the system is telling me when I pass the question - to be sure I didn't miss something.

You have to understand that the average German learner probably doesn't have a German keyboard. Also, some people might be learning several languages and it's difficult to install several languages to your keyboard and still expect it to be accurate. But I do agree it would be better off as an option, rather than something mandatory. I feel like it would just slow down progress if it was actually mandatory.

I keep doing basic 1 for Spanish, and so are hard because of what I learned but I'm on crown level 4. (I think that's what it is) So I bet it advances everytime you level up. Hope that helps!

I agree with this. I often take the easy way out when it comes to this just because after a while you just get lazy with it, but I'd rather them penalize me for it so that it forced me to do it the right way.

I agree with this.
  • 1619

Chal_LaQ - It doesn't seem to get stricter and I am pretty far down the tree now. Sometimes I just do it to find out if I would get dinged for it. I never do.

Also depends on whether you are or a tablet or computer

It does work this way.

If you miss accents you get an acceptedably green answer with a message that you should pay attention to accent marks. At least that is the way in the languages I am in. Also at first accent marked are usually added as you type (or dictate, if your speech is recognizably good. Later on there is no help with accent marks. Occasionally there are bugs and corrections are not automatic but that may be about 10%.

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