Course creators: Please PLEASE ensure audio questions allow Kanji equivalents in answers
I've been doing this Japanese course a long time now and what repeatedly drives me up the wall is that in the audio questions I type what I'm 100% sure is the right answer, but if I don't use kana where it expects kana and kanji where it expects kanji it not only marks me as wrong, but doesn't even let me report it as a correct answer. E.g. this one took me about 5 goes to get right: わたしの友だちのいえにはかわいいいぬが三びきいます
If you use 私 or 犬 - wrong. If you use ともだち - wrong. If you use さんびき - wrong. If you use 三匹 - wrong. It's nuts that a word like "三びき" should only be accepted half in Kanji and half in Kana.
Just for the record: this is an issue to be resolved by Duolingo's staff/programmers. We, the creators/contributors of the Japanese course's content (who are volunteers) have no control over the issues of Duo's programming.
From what I have been told, Duo's staff is aware of/looking into the issue.
But that makes no sense, surely the course creators can choose what the list of acceptable answers are? That you can't report an incorrect answer, sure, I accept, but why is the only accepted answer so arbitrary?
The listening exercises only accept one possible answer (because most other languages don't have multiple ways to write the same word), which is the "default" answer for the sentence. Tree 1.0 (which was made before I became a contributor) includes very minimal kanji and some words that are written partially in kanji and partially in hiragana, and those are keyed in as the "default" answer, thus making them the only answer accepted by the system currently. Due to Duolingo's programming, we can key in multiple acceptable answers for text exercises, but we currently are unable to do anything about listening exercises (which, consequently, seem to be automatically generated by the system from our written exercises, and contributors don't "create" or have any say in them at all, as far as I've been able to tell). If it were as simple as us adding multiple acceptable answers, we certainly would have done it already.
The course contributors (those of us volunteers who are adding and editing actual language content to the course) don't have any say, sway, or involvement in the creation of Duolingo's systems. All we can do is work within the framework that they've created and do the best we can with the system that currently exists, bugs and all.
Ok fair enough, but man it really does suck all the joy out of learning when you keep getting (incorrectly) told your answers are wrong. Seems like the only work around is to use the word bank for such exercises. If there really is nothing else the course creators can do then at least maybe make the only accepted answer all kana? I don't like it either but at least you can answer with confidence. I'd also say it's simply not true that with other languages a given spoken phrase can't be written multiple ways - even in English you can use US and British spellings, abbreviations, caps/no-caps, with or without certain punctuation etc. But I agree Japanese is somewhat unusual with its multiple alphabets.
I suppose what frustrates me the most is that I think these exercises are actually what makes Duolingo quite special - I don't know any other computer-based learning tool that plays back whole sentences in Japanese and asks you to transcribe them. If I could do nothing but those exercises all day I would - providing of course the kana/kanji problem was fixed :-)
We can't make the listening exercises all kana, because like I said, they're generated automatically from the written exercises, so the only way to make that happen with the current system would be to make the entire course all kana and remove all kanji from text exercises, which is something that I think most users would not be pleased with, either.
You aren't the only one who has experienced this frustration, but unfortunately the course contributors can't do anything about it at this time. Hopefully Duo's staff understands from the multitude of complaints on the issue that this is something that greatly bothers users and will prioritize trying to find a programming fix. But as I don't actually work at Duolingo, I don't really have any insight on what happens in their offices.
Sure, it does seem the course creators are powerless in this one. I think what I'll try doing is first typing out what I think is the answer, then using the word bank to confirm what it will actually accept. Slightly annoying but not sure what else to try.
BTW is it common when teaching Japanese to show words like 友達 and 三匹 half Kanji and half kana? Can't see I've seen it outside Duolingo.