https://www.duolingo.com/Danielconcasco

"Embrace and share regional language differences"

Danielconcasco
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Hey everyone, I've noticed a lot of bickering in the sentence discussions about language use and thought it might help if we addressed it here, instead of clogging the SDs.

Sometimes, your preferred translation is not accepted and that can be very frustrating. English is a pluricentric language. There is no one standard version we can look to. In the US along, we have many ways of saying the same thing. This is part of what makes the language rich and colorful.

If you translation isn't accepted, you can use the Report Button to suggest it. Just keep a few things in mind. Multiple reports do not speed things up. They just make the process slower. Actual human beings must sort through them all. Most of the reports actually contain errors. A common one is leaning instead of learning. We're all capable of missing a letter like that, but those types of reports slow down the system.

If you do report it, you don't need post it in the forum. The report is enough. One post letting others know it's been reported is great, but I often see a dozen posts like, "my answer is right! Reported!!!". Often, real questions are pushed to the button by these unnecessary posts.

Another problem I've been noticing is intolerance for dialect differences. From the guidelines https://www.duolingo.com/guidelines

"Embrace and share regional language differences A language can have many words, accents and ways to say the same thing. We think that’s one of the wonders of languages. Approach these conversations with an open mind and attitude."

I'll use a recent example to illustrate this. One user posted a few comments critical of Duolingo's translation:

"The English is wrong again: at a quarter to five."

"The English is incorrect, it should be at a quarter past eight."

Duolingo's choice of "a quarter of" isn't wrong. Both should be accepted, but please don't tell Duo to remove a valid translation. Ironically, the same user was insulted that "changeroom" be accepted next to dressing room and changing room.

Before you post "we would never say it like this," take a second to think about the purpose of your post. Does it help anyone learn or understand the Spanish? Duolingo isn't slighting you by not using your particular dialect.

I think we should all read the guidelines again.

https://www.duolingo.com/guidelines

I also want to remind everyone that the sentence discussions are there to discuss the sentence itself and understand the Spanish. We moderators have to clean the clutter from time to time, so don't be surprise that your off topic post or duplicate might get deleted. It is nothing personal or petty. We are just enforcing the rules of the forum.

Thanks everyone. I'll just go back to tilting at windmills :)

1 week ago

12 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/ignatznkrazy
ignatznkrazy
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Duolingo may encourage embracing regional language differences, but there is clearly a line. Duolingo does not accept all variations. I am from the South, and I know that none of the dialectical richness of Southern English is accepted by Duolingo.

Now, I'm not advocating that "ain't" and a slew of double negative phrases be admitted, but I do think that if a line is drawn, those who are drawing it must be prepared for those encountering the line to feel it to be arbitrary or worthy of challenging.

Does debating English help anyone learn Spanish? Perhaps not, but it does help people learn English. Don't discount the number of people doing reverse trees (alongside those who don't remember any of the grammar they learned in grade school). The best source for me to learn natural phrasing in Spanish--to learn to think like a native speaker--has been all of the people from Spain complaining about English calques on the Spanish-to-English tree.

There are opportunities to learn everywhere.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Danielconcasco
Danielconcasco
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The line will always be arbitrary and annoy some people. The fact that there's a Report Button shows that Duo is willing to listen.

Accepting more is good. It's also important that we don't demean people who suggest regional variations. In on SD, a user demanded Duo remove y'all and you guys since it was "improper".

There's also Duolingo's (correct) usage of fun as a noun and an adjective :). I'm not sure how grammar can offend, but people become rabbid over certain things, with no regard for respect.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tusiperu
tusiperu
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I really thought the complainings about "we don't say it like that" were only a matter on Spain/Latin Spanish. But, hey, English as well?

For me, reverse tree and comments of native speakers have been really great to learn french. You're absolutely right.

It is also true there's a lot of people saying all the time "my phrase should be accepted", and nothing more. Not even the phrase they write to see what the problem was. Not helpful.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AaronD.2
AaronD.2
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I see a lot of Brits complain about this in the English to Spanish course. The most recent one I saw was complaining that the sentence Duolingo wanted would never be said in the UK, because the 'American version' Duo wanted was incorrect.

Turns out the phraseology being complained of was not only correct, but there was a slightly different meaning between the phrases because of it.

And multiple other Brits replied to him saying that it's not uncommon at all.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Heike333145
Heike333145Plus
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Thank you! And a few lingots for the windmill job. :-)

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jaye16
jaye16
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Good start to the New Year. We all need to read this post and keep it in mind when commenting. Thanks Danielconcasco.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Seattle_scott

I realize that Duo can't accept all translations, and some of the requests are far fetched. I also realize that sometimes for the sake of the format of the exercises that sometimes we need to be limited to the more obvious.

That being said, there are a lot of sentences in all the languages that don't accept very obvious answers, and some of those dreadful discussion threads help me a lot, so I know I'm not crazy. It's also helpful for me to see how long the issue has been there. So for me it is helpful to have someone report it and then put it in the forum. And sometimes it's even helpful to see it more than once.

All that being said, you mods do what you do and clean the threads the way you see fit. Good online forums need good moderation and nobody should be all bent out of shape if their comment goes missing.

Lastly, it would be nice to see Duo put more effort into fixing those with paid staff and not rely so heavily on volunteers for this kind of thing. It's a lot to ask...

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Maltagerr

My version of English is the only correct version of English.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Abby15309

I have been wanting to say something like this for a while ,but I feel like you did a better job than I ever could have. Thanks for this wonderful post!

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Danielconcasco
Danielconcasco
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Thank you.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/samuel553514
samuel553514
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I THINK THE SAME

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Danielconcasco
Danielconcasco
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I'm glad the people responded positively to this. People need to stop acting like regional English is bad English or shameful English.

Every time "fun" is used as an adjective people come out of the woodwork to say, "it's never used like that!" When it's pointed out that Americans use it as an adjective, they say it's improper. If you remove all regional English, there isn't much left :)

1 week ago
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