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All Lessons Suddenly Changed to Typing in Chinese!

I finished the Chinese tree with lots of 3s and 2s in level and was working to change the remaining level 1 into level 2. Today suddenly nearly all the exercises are translating English into Chinese with no hints and only a Chinese keyboard! I'm not that far along. This is way to hard for me. I was only to the point where I could translate Chinese sentences into English or English into Chinese by choosing the correct character and order. I even got a few skills up to 5 and 4. Now all is translating and writing Chinese from scratch. When did this happen, and is there no "intermediate steps"? I was still working on learning to recognize and remember characters.

My whole tree is on level 2 except toward the very bottom. At the bottom they are level 1. Those sentences are too complicated to do it all only from memory. I just don't remember all the characters and can't produce them out of nothing, but I was able to recognize and read them and choose them. Anybody else experience this?

April 30, 2018



To fix this, just click the button on the bottom saying Switch to Wordbank


That's not available on the app, that's only on the webpage.


This happened to me in Japanese, and I love it! I like actually being able to construct sentences in Japanese, rather than choosing words out of a word bank.


Until it says “No, you should have used は instead of が “ or some other ‘mistake’ which isn’t really a mistake. Japanese is actually quite a flexible language and there can be so many correct translations of the same sentence, but if they haven’t entered all the possibilities into the system, Duolingo won’t know that it is actually correct. This is what is frustrating me about not having the word bank to help.


Aww, boo hoo on update. Now the course is too easy again..


Same thing happened to my Japanese course after the app was updated on my phone.


The thing I don't like on the app is that if you peek and see what character it is, you are stuck because there is no sound, so you can't enter the pinyin if you don't remember the pronunciation.


That’s when you can use the Chinese handwriting keyboard (though you may consider it cheating). You could also hand write it and then copy/paste it to Google Translate just to get the pronunciation by pressing the speaker icon (the translation may not be that good though)


That's what I do now. I peek at the character to confirm, then write the English word in Google Translate and look at the pinyin, then I enter the pinyin into the Chinese keyboard. It is longer, but it is still helping me learn the pinyin and the pronunciation.


It's also kind of fun to switch back and forth between pinyin and handwriting keyboards in mid-sentence when translating an English sentence, according to which is easier with that particular character.


I always use only the app, but I just discovered that you are given a choice on the website: you can choose "word bank" or "keyboard".


Yes! there was no help as to which keyboard I should use on my phone. I also find it difficult to learn without a vocabulary list. Having said that, I do mostly enjoy this program!


You can still choose to use the word bank if you use a computer or work from the webpage on your phone or tablet.


I'm going to see my Chinese course oO


I don't have this problem for the moment but I'm not using Androïd for this course. Yeah, we have 2 possibilities there. (website)


Chinese course is now asking me to type in Chinese but I don't have Chinese language pack on my iPhone. Now do I proceed. it's like I've hit a brick wall.


Same here. I’m totally lost now as I don’t know what Chinese keyboard to use on my iPad . Don’t know which Chinese keyboard to choose so I can’t find chinese characters to match the correct answer. No option but to quit and that’s The end of my learning Chinese, at least with Duo- gutted!


Woah, hey there, calm down. It’s probably just a glitch that they’re going to fix. It’s not the end of the world and no reason to give up learning. I can help you figure out what Chinese keyboard to use, and if that still doesn’t help, just check back in a few days and they may have fixed the problem. I heard that after a recent update the words on the word bank may have been too small to read so they may have disabled that feature to fix it.

BTW, on iOS the keyboard I would install would be Chinese (Simplified) - Pinyin - QWERTY. That’s the one where you can type in English letters (Pinyin) and then it will give you a bar above the keyboard to choose the correct 汉字 (Chinese character)


The keyboard on my iPhone was Chinese-stroke; there was no way to type pinyin. I decided to try it because I thought it would force me to learn to recognize the characters out of the context of the lessons I learned them in. The first sentence I had to enter was 不客气. I could not find 客 on the keyboard on my phone--I probably spent ten minutes trying every way to bring up more characters. Before I deleted the keyboard I had to bail out of about four Duolingo lessons because I couldn't find the characters. Maybe I just need to learn how to use the character keyboard before trying to use it with Duolingo.


Why would you put yourself through that torture of using a keyboard that uses strokes? I doubt that even Chinese people would use such a keyboard these days (though I could be wrong).

If you want to type in pinyin and have the keyboard convert it to hanzi characters, go in to your Settings, click on 'General', then scroll down and find 'Keyboard', then click 'Keyboards', then 'Add New Keyboard...', choose 'Chinese (Simplified)' and then click 'Pinyin - QWERTY' (or make sure there is a tick next to it) and finally click 'Done' up the top of the screen.

I can get it on my iPhone and iPad, so unless you have a really old iOS version where possibly it didn't support pinyin (though I can't imagine that would be the case anyway), you should be able to install the pinyin keyboard.


It was a big surprise to me too. Yesterday I discovered you can still do it the old way on your iPad with the Duo webpage. It still has the word bank. There are 3 Chinese keyboards available on my iPad. One I don't know what it is, the other you can write characters with your finger, but the best one is the one where you write pinyin words and it writes the characters. Still very difficult for me because the first time through, I did the entire Chinese tree quickly and don't have all these characters in my head yet!


Pinyin is for people who cannot remember the structure of the character of a word with the same sound, thus typing the pinyin of the word you will have a plethora of characters and you can find the one you wanted to used in context. However, if you want to be able to learn Chinese completely I suggest you to you the one where you need to write the words as that will make them stay in your memory and you will not only be able to understand Chinese verbally, but also able to read it (or even write it when you have mastered Chinese). Which, in my opinion, is quite useful if you want pay a visit to China someday. -hope this helps the confusion :)


Yes, true. But I'm often better at remembering the 汉字 than the pronunciation. So it may depend on what the learner needs to practise most.


I just updated the App on my phone and it seems that the ‘choose boxes from the word bank’ activities are back (for Japanese at least) and they aren’t typing activities (I think I had only one typing question but I think it was translating into English)


Yes, strangely enough all the "write in Chinese" exercises seem to have now disappeared on the iOS app.

Side note: on iOS on the Chinese keyboard you can press the mic symbol and try your hand at Chinese speech to text. It feels great when it understands you!


I have the same problem that on my app the word bank has disappeared. It is not only in Chinese but also in other languages. Is there a possibility to get the word banks back?


I don't know, I kind of enjoyed typing in Chinese? I'm a little sad that it's been removed again.

(Yes, I know it's still an option in the desktop version, but I like to practice on my phone.)


I agree. I was sad to see that the typing in Chinese lessons were gone. While I could do typing on my computer, it gets really annoying to have to constantly switch the input between English and Pinyin. (It's particularly bad in some lessons when they seem to switch which keyboard you need every single sentence.)

The app version using the keyboard was great because it automatically chose the appropriate keyboard for the question.


Certain keyboard settings help to alleviate the annoyance of switching. For example, on Windows, the 'Chinese (Simplified, PRC) - Microsoft Pinyin New Experience Input Style' keyboard allows for either the Shift or Ctrl key to be set as a toggle between entering Chinese as pinyin and regular English input.


So much this. For a few days I felt like I was actually learning. Now it's back to just playing a Facebook game.... Please make keyboard instead of wordbank an option in the app!!!!


I completely agree. I want the keyboard back.


I know on the Italian tree, it gives you more typing in Italian questions on higher skill levels. It seems they haven't done this for Japanese or Chinese, but I don't know why.


Have you got to level 4 or 5 in any of the skills? I know in Italian there was more typing in the higher levels. I figured there would be in Japanese and Chinese too. I just assumed the word bank was for the lower levels until we are used to that skill.


Yes, I'm level 4 at saying 你好, and it's still just showing me the word bank for every "say this English phrase in Chinese" type of question.


Ah that isn’t helpful at all then. I thought it would get harder the higher the skill is


Woohoo! Finally! I was waiting for this update!


That happened to me too on my phone. I had installed a Chinese keyboard (under settings-general-keyboard) and Duolingo detected it and wouldn't give me a selection of characters to choose from --I had to find them on the keyboard. It was way too hard for me too. I deleted the Chinese keyboard and rebooted my phone and now Duolingo is giving me a selection of characters again.


I tried this with both of my iOS devices, and my phone is good now (still failing to show me the selection on the iPad though). thanks.


I am in the same position and feeling frustrated. Don’t know how to type in Chinese


I experienced this same thing this morning. Anyone know when we can get the word bank back? It’s very difficult to find the correct words in the keyboard.


Me too! I am lost with out the hints! This will cause me to QUIT DUOLINGO and look


Mine works fine now. Try updating your App


It's still a problem on iOS. I'm taking my Chinese study to the desktop app in a browser on my iPad until it's fixed. I hope it gets fixed, since having to look things up in dictionaries--whether other apps or paper--takes me a long way from the convenient joy of language-learning that makes Duolingo so good.


I have been using word bank on the Japanese course on my iOS devices for a few days now since I last updated the App in the App Store. They fixed the problem. I just tried the Chinese course on my iPhone and iPad to double check and both also had only word bank questions. No 'Type this sentence in Chinese' questions, but there were one or two 'Type this sentence in English' which it had before all these updates anyway.

Go to the App Store, click on Updates down the bottom. Find Duolingo in the list (it should have been updated within the 4 days or so) and check that your version is 5.2.21. If you have the correct version and you are still having the problem, maybe there is a different issue eg maybe you are at a higher skill level. I don't think this is a Duolingo issue as it seems to be working for the majority of people since update 5.2.21.

[edit: Sorry, I didn't see Mary's post above about removing the language keyboards. At least the problem is fixed now on your iPhone. Check the version number of the App on your iPad though]


I had this problem when my apps updated before my operating system. I was enjoying the hard work, but all went back to normal when the iOS updated itself.


Is there any chance of this returning to the iOS app? It was extremely useful.


I went up to lesson 24th and I realized I was wasting my time because I became very good at guessing the English and memorizing English answers! My Chinese was zero! So I went back, now with the Crown system, and started to repeat the lessons from the very beginning... repeating and repeating again and again and now I am in FAMILY 2 with all the skills before in golden, Crowned. Now I am starting to listen and understand the Chinese sentences... some times I close my eyes listen to the sentence I have not seen and try to understand what is saying... I think I can say now that I am starting to get somewhere! :)


I am so sad that the chinese keyboard feature is now gone and we're back to word banks. I was actually using the keyboard exercises as speaking exercises - I would use the little dictation microphone next to the space bar and say the sentence in chinese. I felt it was a great gauge of my pronunciation. Now that it's gone again, I feel like there was a whole speaking element to the app that's gone and it's no longer as fun and engaging. Please bring this back as an option in settings for the iOS app!


I'm entirely agree with kirstenlepore, its very sad that we are not able to write our answers directly in chinese. I think its essential for anyone who wants to learn this language to try writing with chinese qwerty keyboard.

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