Chinese lessons not explained!
From the outset, the Chinese skill course fails to build meaningful language. It gives us sounds, then sentences to translate without any prior teaching. I already knew a little, but then it quickly gets more complicated without any explanation of the language. I can guess some, but already totally lost on other parts. Not everything needs to be translated (nor can be), but we do need clues to meaning and structure!
Most skills used to come with a tips & notes section, but this was lost when they moved over to the crown system. You can still get them out of places like duome.eu
This guy put them all into a google doc, also: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/27173908
Edit: oh they're still visible on the web version, they're just hidden from the phone app - android at least.
Yeah, I'm a bit of a scruffy bilingual and I wanted to neaten up my Chinese, but the course is error-ridden and pretty unnatural sounding most of the time so it's very hard to test out of any skills. It's brilliant for Duolingo to offer so many courses but I think they need to make everything a bit more thorough before a course goes out of beta testing because otherwise there's no point, trying to build up advanced character recognition before you even get the basic tones and rules of Chinese is not the way to go.
I have same experience. I had wanted to learn some Chinese so have been away from Duolingo for awhile. I was all happy to see it out of the incubator but you can not hoover over the words for a translation like the other languages (at least the ones I've tried). I have some background so have muddled my way through but past couple days I ditched the Chinese and just trying to get my owls back on German and Spanish. There are some phone app games that are decent for Chinese but I've always liked Duo. Good luck.