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Duolingo Chinese course quality - update?


I've read about the Chinese course on Duolingo, and I saw many posts on the forums about how it does not teach you all that well, it's inefficient, and how it even has outright wrong lessons.

I would like to eventually use Duolingo's Chinese course when it has improved. Has it improved? Does anyone have any current updates on the status of the program? Is it still as bad as it was in the beta program, or is it now more in the direction of a comprehensive course to use as you learn the language?

August 23, 2018



I'm glad I took the Duolingo Chinese course. I'm just trying to learn Chinese, and a couple of errors doesn't bother me. 你会说中文吗?


Yep, as more people use it, the quality will improve. People lodged similar complaints against the Spanish, French, and Italian modules 4 years ago too.


Frankly, the earlier parts of the course are mostly good. It's mostly later lessons where it gets really frustrating. If you're starting from the beginning you probably won't even notice that much for a few months.. and maybe the later lessons will be better by the time you even get to them.

You'll still find errors, though. And make sure you have a good understanding of tones going in, because the course doesn't teach that and it's absolutely essential. It's almost not worth trying to learn Chinese at all before you understand the tones and sounds, cuz you'll just have to re-learn everything again once you realize how important it is.


I've been studying Chinese since September 2017 and I have since then reached an HSK4 level. Out of curiosity I took these lectures to find out if there was any salvageable learning material. Although very user friendly and it's made in a way that you'll learn some vocabulary but you will not learn to write theses words, which is damn essential if you want to learn to write Chinese. "But I don't really care to learn how to write Chinese, I just want to speak it." A common statement I hear. Learning to write Chinese will help you remember those characters easily. That is truly the only advantage, given that most Chinese people barely write any more and would mostly use their phones to send messages. I've even heard that they are implementing 'digital' exams. a bit tangent to the point... Duolingo courses are not designed to get you to fluency, at least not currently. They are designed to attract people who want to spontaneously learn an insanely hard language, yet lack background in foreign language learning, and therefore are offer a safe environment for them to test their basic skills out. If you want my advice: Confucius Centres, albeit a little shady given what kind of contractual obligations that are place on their employees, is a great place to start! If you are determined and place the hard work you can climb up the learning tree in nooooooo time.


I took two courses at the Confucius Institute and also went to China through their scholarship program. Liked it a lot. You are spot on about the fact that writing will heavily aid your reading, speaking etc.. It is a little bit sad that even at the Confucius institute they do not make people write a lot because they are scared it would scare away people from learning Chinese.


Duolingo's Chinese course is fabulous but to optimise it's effectiveness a student should have at least had formal basic tuition in Mandarin ( tones etc.) and be prepared to put in the long hours of study necessary to master the language. There is no magic bullet for learning but as far as I am concerned Duolingo is as close as it gets!


i've tried maaaany ways of learning chinese (by myself). this was the best one i could find. after a month using this i have learnt more than half a year reading books...
I think duolingo is great tool to learn languages you just need to know how to use it, for example i don't use the app, i do all the lessons on the web that way you type instead of choosing words, and also i complete at least level 10 each lesson before going into the next.... things like that. (sorry for my bad english :D )


Like many others have stated, Duo Lingo is a great tool to practice translation. However, I recommend Chinese Skill instead to learn, as it teaches pronunciation, grammar, and usage. If you clear the first 4 lessons, and reviews, it will unlock a pronunciation tester. It also teaches writing the characters, although doesn't really test you on them.


I was going to ask the same


I finished the tree and have returned to using Chinese Skill. I'd forgotten how good that program really is. A lot more explanation in their language lessons. The tone and vocab games are really helpful. And they support both simplified and traditional characters (though you have to pick one or the other but you can change the settings whenever you want).


What is Chinese Skill? Is it app?


Use Lingodeer instead of Chineseskill, it is Chineseskill's successor (The course is the same but it has more content) They are both free


HelloChinese is a really good app for chinese too.

Learn Chinese in just 5 minutes a day. For free.