https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KatharinaM882088

Experience with the Czech Course as not native English Speaker

First of all: Thank you very much for that fantastic course. Most of the time I really enjoy it. But sometimes it is getting frustrating, when I struggle with my English again and again. The biggest problems are the different tenses and the English word order.

An example: "Čeká od deseti nebo jedenácti hodin." My translation: "She is waiting since ten or eleven o'clock." But the correct answer is : "She has been waiting since ten or eleven o'clock."

Is it necessary to be so finical? Sometimes I have the impression to make a course in English. I know, my English could be better, but just now I try to learn Czech. Czech is difficult enough, why to make life so difficult for us not native English Speakers?

September 30, 2018

11 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RussetM1

But the translation has got to be correct in English, and "she is waiting since ten or eleven o'clock" is quite simply wrong. We just don't say that in English, and it's a classic mistake made by learners of English. Surely you can't expect DL to accept wrong translations just because you are making mistakes in English?

October 1, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mirokha

The same thing happened to me when I was trying to assess my knowledge of Russian, my mother tongue. I guess, it is just a matter of feeding back. From what I have been experiencing, Duo is quite flexible to make corrections.

By the way, I think it is your translation which is correct, whereas 'She has been waiting...' or 'She was waiting...' corresponds to 'Čekala...'

September 30, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/taalf

Hello, I think the DL translation is the good one here. (To describe an action that started in the past and didn't stop until now, "have + verb" is the good one.) This said... I also feel frustrated when I must spend more time improving my English than my Czech here... For example: when it says "ten, ta, to" can't be translated by "this" but "that" (or the opposite). Very frustrating :)

October 1, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KatharinaM882088

I don't deny, that the DL translation is the right one. But for us not native English speakers the subtle differences in the use of the English tenses are not so easy to grasp. With "this" and "that" I have struggled many times too, but now I know, what DL is expecting from me. But in the discussions it is one of the most often discussed problems.

October 1, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/widle

I'm afraid there is no simple solution to this. All accepted translations are added manually and you can't really expect the volunteers to add incorrect ones, especially as they usually have a lot of other, more legitimate stuff to improve on the course. The work never ends...

This kind of reminds me how Slovaks are using the "English for Czech speakers" course to learn English here (as there are no courses for Slovaks yet). Their knowledge of Czech is generally good but mostly passive, and forming correct Czech sentences sometimes trips them up. It's annoying for them too, but they can't expect the volunteers to add Slovak translations to the Czech course.

The only good solution would be the correct language pair - "English for Slovak speakers" for them, and "Czech for your native language" for you. I understand you wouldn't want to wait for that to happen, if it ever does. I wouldn't either, but the truth is, anything else is just a temporary hack. You can console yourself that while learning Czech you'll improve your English too, but that's the only positive aspect - I'm afraid there isn't a better option readily available.

October 1, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/svrsheque

thank you for always making sense. the "I am waiting here for two hours." error happens to be especially non-negotiable because it is so pervasive in czenglish. right now the czech users cannot really learn the english tenses on duo without an uncorrupted reverse course.

October 1, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KatharinaM882088

I was afraid to hear exactly this answer. For the reverse course the English has to be absolutely correct.

October 1, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mirokha

Yes, you are right. I missed the time reference here.

October 1, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TypicalJew

What is your native language?

October 7, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KatharinaM882088

My native language is German. Fortunately, coming from German, I have some advantages. So I am used to grammatical genders, declensions, conjugations and so on. And there are also some German influences on the Czech language, what can be helpful for me.

October 7, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mirokha

some German influences on the Czech language

"Některé já budu stranou ležet nechat muset" (Jára Cimrman)

October 7, 2018
Learn Czech in just 5 minutes a day. For free.