The painful and insulting Americanisation of the French course
Brace yourselves; we're getting dangerously close to a rant here.
I spoke French fairly well when I was younger. I fell out of practice but I've been doing the Duolingo course as a break from focusing on Polish, which is much more difficult for me. I'm mostly testing things out at this stage, trying to get further down the tree to where I'll find something challenging and pick up the lessons properly.
But I have got a real bee in my bonnet about the French course - it is so overwhelmingly American, to the point where I feel like I'm studying in preparation for a trip to an alternate universe USA where they speak French.
I'm not complaining about the number of times they discuss "une femme americaine". I'm complaining about the fact that I'm consistently being marked wrong translating "un portable" to "a mobile phone" instead of "a cell phone" and "le station de metro" to "the train station" rather than "the subway station". This is honestly incredibly insulting because I've read the discussion tabs for these questions and I can see international answers used to be accepted, but they obviously got rid of them when they redesigned the tree, because that's suddenly not good enough for them anymore.
Compare this to the Polish course where they accept all forms of English as correct answers (as long as of course the answer is correct) or the Russian course where they discuss Ukraine and Germany, countries that are actually close to Russia and not on the other side of the world. I am not American, I have no interest in being American or travelling to America, and Americans doing things like this is exactly why the rest of the world quite frankly doesn't like them much. Besides anything else, French is far more useful to someone from England than someone in the US just due to proximity, why don't they just accept English answers?
Of course I've reported all my answers, but the fact that they used to be accepted and are not anymore does not bode well. Of course I don't know how they redesign the trees but it seems to me that it would have been less effort to leave the answers as they were.
French is the only "official" Duolingo course I'm doing and it's not exactly inspiring me to try another one. I spend most of my time on it trying not to throw my mobile phone out the window because Duo insists it's a "cell phone" and tells me I'm wrong. Ugh.
I agree, Thomas. I mean, British is the "mother" of englishes after all, so there isn't an actual reason for it not to be accepted. I believe it should be the main English, even if the company is American.
While British usage should of course be accepted as correct English (as should correct usage in any other version of English) the idea that British English is the "main English" is ridiculous. While of course still a very important English-speaking country, the UK has not been the most important English-speaking country, by any measure, for a very long time.
Hmm... It’s not the most important, it’s not the largest, but it could be argued that if you were to factor in Australia, New Zealand and other countries that have a style of English that is almost identical to British English then it could be approximately equal to the USA.
SL007 said that they believe British English should be the main language - referring only to here on Duolingo (given that they mentioned the company). The reason being that it is the mother (original) language. Nothing was mentioned about England being the most important country.
I personally think it should probably be based on number of users (I guess the US might win that)
Thanks Stephanie0S, that is what I meant :) I knew this was going to happen...
I think it shouldn't be either as the main language, i think duolingo should actually clarify which country they want you to be talking to as this would allow french and english speaking people to understand the various names objects may be called, same with the numbering systems in france and belgium for example
English is English. I live in France, now in my seventies and when assisting a young French lad with his BAC English preparation I was astounded to see his text books littered with American slang which was from the 1940's and 50's. This corruption spreads, let's get back to the mother tongue and drop the mispronunciations and wierd spellings that "some" countries have adopted!
let's get back to the mother tongue
Anglo-Saxon? Proto-Germanic? Proto-Indo-European?
Agree. Getting back to the mother-tongue is quite idiotic and not useful. As is most of the remarks on this forum. It's time to unfollow this big waste of time.
I hate to tell you, but languages are living things. They change and adapt over time. New words are added and old words are dropped. Spellings are changed (the Americans changed a lot) and meanings evolve as the people who use the language evolve. Here's a simple youtube series to help you understand. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3UqzBA1LNbE
Sorry Will, but I don't believe in the "corruption" hypothesis either. It's true I often swear at the tv or the paper when I spot a turn of phrase I find particularly ugly or lazy, but then language change is simply a force of nature, and has been since the beginning of time. Looking back wistfully and thinking of all such change as "corruption" has given us an unfair idolisation of "classical" Latin, Greek or even Sanskrit grammars (and we still suffer for it by having to use grammar terminology that was not made for our respective languages and simply doesn't fit very well), but that has neither slowed the change nor does that seem particularly desirable if you ask most people.
The GI's took their slang with them when they landed and the movies kept it going. Okay?
Not smugness at all. I jsut don't like bothing things which is happening all the time in many areas of life. I certainly don't have a linguistic smugness being of Scottish/Irish descent my natural language is gaelic but no, I don't speak it just wish I could.
By the way, I am not and never have been a teacher. I was assisting a French friends schoolchild. Some of the Americansisms had to be googled despite knowing a lot of them from 1940's and 1950's films.
Pourquoi vous supposez ça? Peut-être Le débarquement de Normandie? Les mots des années quarante ne sont pas un accident.
Plus, en effet, les entreprises offrent ce que l'on veut - la demande mondiale des consommateurs.
Il y a tellement de gémissements dans ce forum.
I don't "need" to get over myself thank you, I am fine as I am. Grammar has suffered in all countries. Speaking to a teacher here in France she struggles with her classes who are poor at Grammar in their native tongue. The same in the UK, affected by silly soap operas and lazy commentators. It's a modern failure of education.
I agree, just tell anyone who starts whining about "English" vs "English" to do some research. It's still evolving and whiners need to grow up.
Look, Sir, England might not be the most important English-speaking country, but we can most certainly not disagree on the fact that the US only speaks English because of England. If that was not the case, US would be speaking Navajo, Miwok, Ponca, Cheyenne, and all those other Indian-American languages. Am I wrong?
Therefore, I called British the "mother". Also, that did not happen only and exclusively to the US, if you think about it. English was born in the UK, we cannot change history.
You can't change history, no, but you appear to think it ended in the 18th century. A few things have happened since then. You might as well complain that the Spanish course teaches very bad Latin. And, if you think English has become the world's lingua franca because of the UK, you are delusional. The sun set on the British Empire a long time ago.
Linguists say that, compared to what's spoken today in England, American English is closer to 17th century British English. It's a linguistic principle that people who emigrate away from the homeland are more conservative about language changes than the ones who stay at home.
Yeah well, yes and no. There are certain conservative elements in AmE, but at the same time, it's not like it wasn't exposed to a massive amount of outside influence. Even if you're the prestigious majority language, when you go sit in a melting pot, something will stick. ;) (And in my book, that's a good thing. ;)) If you really wanted to see a "preserved" English, you'd probably want an island population somewhere, but without a non-English substrate population to cause pigdinisation. But more to the point, linguists will also say (at least this one will, and so did all the ones that educated my) it a pretty futile endeavour to look for a "pure" language. Sure languages have families and ancestors, but they don't have a pedigree like a poodle where pureness somehow wins. Languages grow and change every second as we use them, and that is a damn beautiful thing (which eventually made me want to be a linguist :)).
This isn't some sort of competition about whose version of English is the most important. That is completely irrelevant. Thomasco3 is simply asking Duolingo to have the flexibility to accept all versions of English. As a UK English speaker myself I have had exactly the same problems with Duolingo French.
I agree that the course should allow British English, but apparently over 70% of English speakers speak American English (70% over 20 years ago, with the percentage rising), so having that as primary -- suggested translations, perhaps, but not the only accepted ones -- seems to me to make sense. When I went to lycée in France, my English teacher used some British spellings but had an American accent. https://www.csmonitor.com/1996/0904/090496.intl.global.1.html
"Mobile phone" is intelligible to Americans, if for no other reason than the term is used by the manufacturers and vendors. In my American dialect the terms are interchangeable, along with a shorter alternate, "cell", as in the casual "Call me on my cell." ("Ring me ..." should also be accepted, obviously)
It's not just a British phrase. I use either mobile phone or cell phone interchangeably. I never say 'my mobile' though, only 'my cell'.
They do seem overly picky lately. I've been noticing a lot of odd phrases lately that while technically correct, would never be used in real life. For instance, "Alice and Marie, are you married?" When has anyone ever said something like that?
Sorry, was your last sentence intended to be homophobic, or just an incredibly poor choice of words?
I guess it could be intrusive to ask someone's martial status - but people do ask. I've certainly heard questions of the type "Are you two married or just living together?".
This Canadian agrees with you 100%.
I was excited for the new tree to be rolled out. I was ok with "losing" progress/crowns. I thought I was ready for a tree with some errors. The new tree had been out for more than 6 months before I received it, so I figured it'd be fairly "stable".
It's beyond frustrating. I know your frustration is specifically about Americanized translations, but there's so many correct translations that are not accepted. As a Canadian, I can ignore the "you have a typo" when I type "colour", and I recognize that I'm lucky enough to use the American phrase over the English one, but it gets weary when you know that you are not incorrect.
Anyway, my rant is slightly different from yours, but I think they're both along the same vein: Sentence translation is too narrow in scope in the new tree. I loved the volunteer-created former tree.
My favourite example of this new narrow-focus: I had a sentence that said "They are verbing to you". Only "elles" was accepted for "they", and only "vous" for "you". I may or may not have gotten it wrong three times, testing the limits of acceptability. I may or may not have flagged the "My answer should have been accepted" three times.
Oh I 100% agree with you regarding the narrow scope of acceptable answers. I'm actually not very far down the tree at all (I'm only a level 11 because I have an obsessive need to get everything to gold, which I do by testing out of everything) but I've definitely noticed this myself. Language isn't mathematics and you should be able to explore rather than doing what I'm doing: memorising the "acceptable" phrases during my first test out to level 1 and then repeating them by rote when testing out to level 5. It's disappointing to hear the course continues along this vein.
I mainly focus on Polish, which is why I signed up to Duolingo in the first place, and it's not at all uncommon to read someone say in the Polish forums, "I interpreted the phrase with this context, so I entered [answer] and was marked wrong, am I missing something?" They'll frequently be answered within a few hours by a mod saying, "Oh, I can completely understand that interpretation; your answer has been added!" It's so much nicer than this rote learning what the computer tells you in French... your example of elles and vous sounds particularly egregious :(
I do the same thing about memorizing the "right answers". Sometimes I get so fed up that I open up the discussion for each and then simply copy-paste from there. It's really sad because when I get to that I know I no longer care about actually learning, I just want to get it over with. Which is a bummer for an app that is supposedly designed with the purpose of making learning "fun and easy". I just have a lot of emotions about the new tree and so far they are all negative.
Apart from the Americanisation of the language, the English answers seem much more sloppy too. For instance, the overuse of the verb to get. To get has many meanings in English but often there is a perfectly good alternative word which is more descriptive and more appropriate. Also, words are contracted wherever they can be, e.g. I'd for I would etc. I am not sure if that is the case. I believe there is much more interchangeability, especially in the written word.
Hi! Also a Canadian here... Can I also mention the slight differences between Canadian French and France French (what we learn in schools/from people around us/etc) vs the course? Of course, I understand Duolingo is more Academic and less casual/slang but sometimes I just have to memorize Duolingo's answer to finish the lesson.
That is, at least, actual learning that is happening. Being able to use the formal language is a useful skill, right?
Funny example. Before I spoke much French, I had a cab driver in France use his "English" with me, keeping us both in stitches: le shampooing, le parking, le shopping...
TimOckham and NourSaleh1 are both correct. There are differences between french from Quebec and France.
Garer (Fr Fr) vs stationner (Cdn Fr); le weekend vs fin de semaine; portable, etc. There are many differences in French. African French has brun as marron. But France too has many regional dialects. Alsace is not the same as Languedoc.
I can ignore the "you have a typo" when I type "colour"
If this is an actual example instead of a theoretical one, I would think this is a spelling difference that's supposed to be handled by Duolingo's automatic system for dialect spelling differences. If the only difference between what you typed and what's in the system is that "u," then the typo indication sounds like a bug for which a bug report would be appropriate. It could also be the case you actually did have a typo elsewhere, but it's underlining "colour" instead of the actual typo. Still a bug, although a different one.
FWIW, when I type "colour" in the French course, it tells me I have a typo, but when I use the same spelling in Polish it offers "Another correct solution: color" which I am totally fine with; they both should be accepted (and it's not a typo!)
But that sort of suggests to me, on top of everything else, that it's just the French course with a problem. I'm curious to know if the other "official" courses like Spanish and German have the same issues.
Not official, not even out of Beta but the Hungarian course, for all its flaws, never complains about "colour" or any other UK spelling. I was told these variations were all preloaded.
Judit what you just said makes sense (the preloaded thing), and I am actually surprised that the Hungarian tree (which isn't one of the major ones) doesn't have these sort of problems.
The developers have done a great job. The only one that still trips me up is they won't add "footpath". But spelling differences are fine and most synonyms are present.
I don't often get marked wrong for it, but I have noticed the alternative answers from time to time.
I had thought about Duo's requiring "vous" vs. "tu", and I can see how in the context of customer service, you would use the polite "vous" (receipt, passport, hotel reservation, etc).
The one thing that makes me cringe is hearing Duo's grossly mispronounced "LEUR". haha
I can see international answers used to be accepted, but they obviously got rid of them
They have not got rid of them. The British English terms didn't exist on the other trees originally either. They were added as alternative answers later. The same will happen with this tree... provided people keep reporting them.
The spelling differences are built it. Why not the common synonyms? And more to the point, why did the paid contributors miss them on new sentences? Sloppy work.
Why not the common synonyms?
Some are, and if you ever see a sentence like "The boy read a very interesting floor" pop up somewhere, now you can guess what's gone wrong. I don't think it's reasonable to expect people to be able to write in dialects they do not speak simply because they are being paid.
Yes, synonyms may be problematic. But when you are paid for a job you take on certain responsibilities - such as getting things right. I have written software for a number of industries I knew little about at first; part of my job was to get conversant in how carbon anodes are made or effluent is treated. These guys were asked to create valid translations into English that would be understood by their user base - who do not only speak US English. Their job was to do any research needed to accomplish that.
I think they were tasked with designing a systematically laid-out, CEFR-compliant course for French, including creating valid primary translations of the French sentences into US English. They included many additional translations, probably in the hundreds of thousands or more, but I doubt that 100% (or anything like it) coverage of potential translations (in any dialect) was a primary goal. Why? Duolingo's userbase is primarily on the app versions. And most app users are probably mostly at the lower crown levels, where they're using word tiles.
well, you are probably right about what they were asked to do. but i guess any logical thinking person would understand a certain quality of work is part of the job. just leaving out one of the very common problems (especially for the population of second language english speakers using duo) is sloppy, Judit named it right. i think people are this disapponted, because it is natural to expect "professionals" to do a better job than volunteers.
duolingo got rid of a volunteer team and gave the responsibility to people doing a worse job in some important aspects, that is the problem here.
you know, duo us the best as long as it is believed to be free and volunteer made, that is a big part of the image. but with the growing amount of ads and paid course makers, it is only natural to expect better quality
and if the argument is really the majority of people using mostly the word tiles in the app, it's time to stop pretending duo is primarily a learning tool
I wouldn't assume Duolingo wants its top-level curricular development specialists concerning themselves overmuch with ensuring that translations in dialects they don't even speak are included from the get-go.
They likely view that as a task that can be addressed over time as the reports come in, i.e. in the same way that missing translations in American English can also be addressed.
That's what I'm thinking. They do the best they can, then rely on reports to find the errors that need correcting. Getting mad and whining at them for perfection isn't going to solve anything.
Can you explain the very interesting floor? I've been trying to figure it out and I'm stumped.
"Story" is a synonym of "floor" but another of its meanings is something you read.
in the UK that would be "storey" as a floor. A story is what you can read, tell, or listen to.
me too - only thing I can think of is could it be "very interesting flaw"? but I may be mistaken!
Pay only goes so far. They're doing a pretty good job. Frankly, please don't forget there is a limit to how much people can do. They're almost certainly fixing things as fast as they can.
Yeah, I think it's just the newer words/phrases that have the problem. I'm an Indian learning French, and hence my English is a lot closer to the British.
Eh, I'm putting this thread on ignore now because it seems to have become a platform for some people to air their negative agendas.
I agree. I don't understand why everyone is disagreeing about something so easy to fix? Duolingo should just put more time into allowing things. Like sure-- maybe a British biscuit and an American biscuit are different things, but I feel like no one mistranslates cookie to like a biscuit in the American sense (the flakey buttery kind.) Or maybe they do and I'm assuming too much of people, idk.
I have no idea about the differences between cookies and biscuits in any dialect of English, or within the dialects. I assumed both of them just mean "keksi". Luckily, the distinction is unlikely to matter to me.
Well, a cookie is a type of sweet baked good in American English, whereas Biscuit is a flakey buttery baked good that's generally savory. In Britain, a biscuit is a sweet thing. and I honestly don't know what a biscuit in American dialect would be in British dialect.
Here's a cookie in American terms: https://media.gettyimages.com/photos/homemade-chocolate-chip-cookie-on-white-overhead-xxxl-picture-id157511634?s=2048x2048
And here's a biscuit in American terms: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwjJh92RjufiAhUEMawKHQHlB9wQ-ggwAHoECAEQBg&url=https%3A%2F%2Fsugarspunrun.com%2Feasy-homemade-biscuits%2F&usg=AOvVaw1NzWaesA8SfrJMME2uHFH-
Edit: Apparently they don't really have biscuits in the UK, the closest thing would be scones, but scones are sweet, not savory.
I've had savory scones too actually. As far as I know an American biscuit and a British savory scone are pretty much the same thing. I have British family and its through them that I have my savory scone recipe.
I'm not sure Michelangelo's Pieta is culturally analagous to a bunch of unknown jingoistic jerks getting their jollies on an internet forum.
I know what you mean. I'm English living in France learning French. I get more things wrong translating into English than into French, partially because Duo wants American not English.
I do actually make lots of error, errors, and I have dyslexia as well but some of the Americanism do throw me when I least expect them.
I know it's a US product, and it's free, but you would think that they could be a bit more professional. I do report the most annoying incidents, but I've no idea if they ever respond.
Agreed. We are all familiar with US English thanks to the prevalence of American media so being asked to translate a US English term to French is rarely an issue. Translating back to English however is a frequent problem.
I suspect few of us have an issue with courses being based on US English - especially considering Duolingo is an American company - but I do think it's important to add equivalent translations from other major variants of English to answers lists. Otherwise, reinforcement won't be as effective for many English speakers outside of the US.
It's a shame the contributors are not allowed to edit the answers lists any more.
I've noticed a lot of the errors I report get fixed. I go back to earlier sections to review a lot though, so maybe I'm just noticing the corrections faster.
Yep, I make lots of errors myself (for me as I have a strong base and I'm just testing out of levels in the early tree at the moment, most of my genuine errors are due to me not reading the instructions carefully enough and translating "le" to "a" which actually is incorrect). But I think I'm having the same issue - I think most of my "errors" are translating into English because they don't want English, they want American!
It's extremely frustrating - I know it's "free" but the French course contributors have been paid to do a job they haven't actually done properly. The Polish course contributors on the other hand are not paid, and if you question something they will respond to you within 24 hours either telling you your answer is now being accepted or else with a comprehensive explanation on why they won't accept that translation. It's wonderful and honestly it's a big part of why I'm so disappointed by French when they are being paid!
Hanlon's Law: Never attribute to malice what can be easily explained by ignorance. It's difficult to believe that Duo is engaging in some sort of anti-British conspiracy; they are simply building a product from the ground up and every product has revisions as the developers become aware of defects.
This has been said what a hundred times and frankly the "British" are just being annoying. Have you stopped to think 99% of English content is sourced from the USA. "Is there a British English version of Marvel's Avengers Endgame?". Canadians yes for some reason we still have a "Queen" use the dialect of English that we hear from the States.
Why not create your own British English to Standard French program ? If Duolingo offends you so much find something else.
"Is there a British English version of Marvel's Avengers Endgame?". What on earth has that got to do with Duo asking what a bathroom is and 'salle de bains' being marked as wrong, because Americans use this instead of toilet/lavatory? Of course it's annoying. Likewise, having to remember to type in 'I'm doing fine' as a translation for 'ca va bien'. I keep hearing Joey Tribbiani's voice in my head! Would DuoLingo want to lose all the Brits wishing to learn/revisit French to a rival? Wouldn't it just be easier to take note and include the MANY requests to accept users' suggestions?
I don't even know where to start with you. Maybe you're thinking of tv shows only and not other forms of media? And maybe you don't realize people in other countries have access to tv shows you don't? I really don't know.
Until there is a version of the Avengers that isn't insufferably boring, it won't play a part in any convincing argument.
I think you may be missing the point. Duolingo is a learning tool - if the learning tool is not effective because it marks as incorrect answers that are, in fact, correct according to British English norm, then there's a problem because it can't adequately serve the British market.
This isn't even about Britain or any other English-speaking country like Australia, NZ, Ireland, Canada, etc. Think of all the Europeans who learnt English according to the British norm and are now using English as a medium of instruction for other languages (like myself). Extra confusing!
Bottom line is, if the idea is to serve a global market the acceptable spelling can't be restricted to American English.
Hi Smads, thanks for that. You're exactly correct. For now just keep reporting the errors as you see them. I am noticing corrections being made.
Software projects have to be framed. Otherwise, they expand and expand to the point that they are out of control. The frames here is American English and Duolingo delivers on the promise.
Kwiziq originates in Britain and is very good.
Please keep both your American media and your cultural imperialism. We do have our own media, you know, just because the US is bigger than us doesn't mean we don't. I don't watch the American stuff, personally, and you don't even have pre-1607 English literature. I'm learning French because it's useful for the study of medieval English literature, thanks, that's part of our history.
Everyone is over-reacting here. DL is a US company so, of course, it provides default translations in US English.
French is also an extremely popular course, so there will be tens or even hundreds of thousands of user suggestions to sift through, which takes a long time.
Is there a British English version of Marvel's Avengers Endgame?
you don't even have pre-1607 English literature.
...has to be the most ridiculous trading of insults I have ever seen.
This is a discussion of a product's shortcomings, not an excuse to run down the people of a country.
I'm familiar with an urban legend related to this topic, which is untrue but funny to think about. The story goes that the biography film of the later days of King George III was titled 'The Madness of George III' in Great Britian, but was shortened to 'The Madness of King George' here in the states so that Americans would not assume that it was the third installment in a 'Madness of King George' trilogy. As an American who chose to cover King George III as the subject of a grade school Colonial American history project, I figured that story sounded true at first. One in three Americans likely don't even know who he was anyhow.
More probably that most Americans will naturally assume 'King George' refers to the king at the time of the revolutionary war (which was indeed George III), as the US education system understandably covers this in some detail, whereas in the UK, people know that there have been six Georges, and didn't have very much at all about the American revolutionary war drilled into them at school, so are not likely to make this assumption, hence the necessity for including the ordinal.
The fact that ordinals are commonly used in (non-royal) names in the US makes the idea that lots of Americans are too moronic to differentiate one from 'part three' not very believable!
Hey, I'm not the only one learning french to better understand history. Neat!
And seriously, pity us Canadians, we're stuck with them flooding our TVs with garbage and our schools are trying to 'learn from American schools.' Half my newspaper was: Trump, gun violence in the US, and Alabama abortion rights violations.
@JessicaDun, ehh, I wouldn't say Fox is as bad as CNN, its at least gets its facts right, and doesn't invent random stories that are totally unverifiable
As a non-American, my impression of Fox is quite the opposite. I do not have much of an impression on CNN, but Fox is widely known as being full of lies and misdirection.
I agree. Fox isn't a great source. It's like one step above wikipedia as far as I'm concerned.
Not a popular opinion but I'm glad you said this. I was trying to understand the rant but it just seems petty and unnecessary. It's redundant and counterproductive in the scheme of things. It seems like even Duolingo can upset the Brits. At this point what doesnt offend?
I am not brittish, still I have the same issue. Most european countries that learn english at school, learn brittish english. So besides the fact I already have to answer in a non native language I also have to keep the different accents in mind. Lets turn around the question: why are you Americans so upset that people request this? It seems like people are not upset that it does not use brittish english as main language, but annoyed that things are marked as a mistake while it is correct english.
agree with yvonnejansenn, she's right.
one point that nobody (especially some of the americans in this thread) fail to see: this is not about any offended brits, there don't seem to be many in this thread. but a lot of non native english speakers, who already deal with the fact we don't have most courses in our language. we don't complain about that, we've adapted.
some of us don't mind much as we are good at english, the unfair mistakes are annoying but don't complicate progress much. it just feels weird being basically told "just remember to use a different english" by people who haven't reached our level in a foreign language yet :-D . for the rest (with weaker but still sufficient english), this lack of the vocabulary people were taught at schools is a significant annoying and discouraging issue. i know several examples in person. they are not here to learn a different version of english, they want to learn french on duo.
some of the reactions "just learn the us english, it is more imporant anyways" are extremely arrogant and ignorant. what these people should be expressing instead is admiration towards the fellow learners at a disadvantage and support for a logical complaint. and thanks towards all the volunteers making the other courses as error free and open to everybody as possible.
Seems that only a few Americans are upset (and I think they are joking, not actually upset).
Most think you have a valid point.
This whole thread is making a mountain out of a molehill.
An American did not start this thread. I believe the originator used the hyperbolic phrase "painful and insulting." Starting with a rational, rather then emotional remark, might have been more effective, and might have evoked less backlash.
French is far more useful to someone from England than someone in the US just due to proximity
The U.S. and Quebec share a 505 mile border. That's London to Inverness as the crow files, plus some.
The US also has Cajun French in Louisiana which is a patois French, there is a Haitian population in Miami, and small enclaves of fracophiles all over the US.
What about between Ontario and Quebec? Want to know what the second most common language I hear in Ontario is? Chinese. Being near to a French speaking area, doesn't magically make it useful. It's about whether you're likely to meet people and use that language. By your logic I should be learning Chinese.
Sure. But along that 505 mi border is...mostly not a lot of people. It's very rural areas of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York. The vast majority of people in the US live significantly further from Quebec than anyone in England lives from France.
New York City to Montreal is 6:38. Manchester to Calais is 6:23. (current estimates from Google maps)
Manchester is hours south of the Scottish border. Montreal isn't on the border.
I'm from Tennessee and travel to Quebec. I travel to France too. Seeing British people bragging about how close Britain is to France makes it all the more disappointing that no one in Britain answered the call when Duolingo requested volunteers to build the French course.
This whole complaint about the lack of British English in the course could've been nipped in the bud from the very beginning had even one person from Britain lifted a finger to help back when Duolingo requested volunteers to design a French course. After the British refused to answer the call and relied on Americans to do all of the work, now they're crawling out of the woodwork from all directions, chirping "MuH bRiTIsH eNgLIsH." It's an absurdity. And I say this as someone who agrees that the French course should accept British terminology but, again, where were the British when Duo begged for volunteers? They relied on Americans, who speak the American dialect of English, to do literally all of the work, with the predictable end result that the course is constructed entirely from the American dialect of English. Now that the hard work is finished, the British are using the course for free and are saying, "tHiS Is wHy wE hAtE aMeRIcAnS" even though they had a chance to contribute British English to the course and Duo even begged them to help!
When did they ask for help exactly? And who did they ask? Sorry, but I'm Canadian and I don't recall ever being asked.
I wonder if it is an urban myth as the new course was put together by paid staff - not volunteers.
I really don't want to add more to this thread, but this post concerns me as I'm from New Hampshire and hear French very often - that's why I'm learning it. In the summertime, there are a lot of tourists from Quebec that come here to shop (as we don't have sales tax) and there is/was a huge French speaking population here (however this is waning in recent years, much like it is in Quebec). When you enter New Hampshire on the highway, it says 'Bienvenue' instead of 'Welcome' on road signs - even if you're entering from Massachusetts where there isn't much of a French population at all. Although insignificant when compared to truly international cities like New York, London, or Paris, trivializing the unique situation that we live in here goes against the entire spirit of exploring world cultures - at least in my opinion.
Are you suggesting the french should be replaced with what they speak in quebec because it is closer to USA ?
But after all, as the spanish here is not spanish either but mexican, why not eliminate the french too ?
"the spanish here is not spanish either but mexican"
I live in Miami. I would suggest the Venezuelans, Cubans, Colombians, Peruvians, Argentinians, Chileans, and many other Spanish speaking countries who live here would probably take issue with being told they speak Mexican. Mexicans represent a sizable part of California and Texas, but a small part of Latin culture in the southeastern US.
Secondly no, he's not suggesting that the French should be replaced with Quebecois French, rather that it's not necessarily correct to say that "French is far more useful to someone from England than someone in the US just due to proximity" because the US shares an 800 km border with the French-speaking Canadian province of Quebec.
Take a lingot. It's impossible that someone who speaks fluent English is unaware of the connotations of calling the American dialects "Mexican [as opposed to Spanish]".
Spanish is Spanish everywhere. North American English, Brazilian Portuguese, Latin American Spanish and Québécois French are closer to the 16th century forms than whatever y'all came up with in Europe.
To whoever downvoted my comment: Feel free to rebuke. You will not be able to, because I am right. The Portuguese influence left in creole languages all over the world fits Brazilian grammar and phonology more than the Portuguese one. Irish and British monks produced a much more conservative accent of Latin than the Italian ones during the Early Middle Ages. Languages simply accelerate slower in the periphery. European Portuguese and Spanish had a considerable change of rhythm because they tried to fit themselves into those of English and French, which is why people who learn our variants call ours 'musical, singasongy'.
It is often true that languages do develop faster in the native country - Icelandic, too, is an example.
The downvote might be due to your "whatever y'all came up with in Europe". Consider using more neutral language if you wish your facts be more accepted.
Sorry, but the main reason why Spanish and Portuguese changed in Europe was to tag along the changes in other, now more "central" European languages. American forms have always been associated with the then so-called savage traits of the poor and the non-white races or their cultures (see Wikipedia's article on standard Spanish), and this is a sentiment that chauvinistic Iberians with a colonizer complex carry to this day. Side with them as true inheritors of anything we share, and I will have distaste for your chauvinism as well. I refer to uppity first worlders who think they're special however I want. And in the end, I am still right. There aren't many times when we global southerners are able to shut down subtle white supremacist talking points easily and simply like this.
LOL now you've gone from "I'm being discriminated against for being European" to "those pesky colonials and their pretense of eclipsing the real language".
Exactly. The French being taught here isn't even what I'd hear in Quebec or what I was taught in elementary school.
This is a very valid point and I think the Spanish course suffers from the same, even though perhaps to a bit smaller extent. A part of this will be solved in time, if people just keep reporting the stuff all the time.
However, I find it stupid that the courses made by professionals are so much worse at this than those made by the volunteers.
This is a common problem, Memrise has gotten a similar one, they hired "professionals" who have created courses some of which are of trash quality (I wouldn't recommend them to anyone for various reasons, including risk of learning mistakes), while the user made courses go from average up to completely awesome ones. This is similar. If Duolingo decided to pay for some of the courses, why didn't they hire capable people and insisted on top quality both in content and in the presentation? Some alternatives not covered would normal. But there seem to be far too many, and a part of the trouble is not just about too few alternative options.
Oh I was curious about the other "official" courses; it's sad to hear Spanish suffers the same. And Memrise; I haven't been back to it since the horrible interface update, and that's terrible. You're absolutely right about the official course being worse. That's part of why I'm so disappointed. These people are being paid and they haven't done the job properly. I'm coming from the Polish course where everyone's a volunteer - there if you post in the forum questioning why your answer was marked wrong, they get back to you within a few hours with either a "Yep, I see where you're coming from, your answer has been added!" or a comprehensive and detailed explanation for why your answer was incorrect. It's fantastic and the explanations why an answer is wrong have been so helpful to my own learning (even if it's not me posting the question!)
There's more of the French course but I really feel it's quantity over quality.
Frankly, I think it boils down to: when Duolingo was first created there were a pile of errors- over time we fixed those errors by reporting them, now they have created a huge amount of content. Please find the errors and report them.
The Spanish course is worse because it doesn't teach proper Spanish - only the Latin American version. At least the French course isn't Canadian French!
Sorry, Latin American Spanish is as proper as American English. There are way more people speaking that version of Spanish than those who speak the Spanish of Spain , which, by the way, has dialects that differ greatly from each other, even within the same country. In terms of not accepting European Spanish translations - report it. In terms of lacking British (I'm assuming received pronunciation and grammar is meant, given the huge dialectical variety in Britain), report it.
the spanish course has been improving a lot. i get fewer mistakes for using european spanish than i used to (i don't mind the latin american variant being presentedas the main one, but i did mind the unfair mistakes). the english acceptance has been improving too. i still report stuff (and get the emails after some time), but nothing like the french course. i have high levels in both french anf english, wanted to try the tree out of curiosity several times, and was really annoyed.
if it was a volunteer tree, i'd just not recommend it for some time to my friends, till it naturally improves. but i find it stupid, that paid people have made this and take so much time fixing it
Here’s what I think happened based on information I’ve gleaned from many threads in the French forums.
Duo decided to make a new French tree on their own, to be CEFR compliant, without contributors, and without consenting the current French contributors or mods. Duo then locked the mods out of the tree so they can’t make changes and accept alternate answers. The Duo team in the US who made the tree may not have had any native French speakers, and no British speakers.
Since Duo staff made the tree, and have moved on to new projects, nobody, or almost nobody, is looking at the submission reports, and suggested answers are piling up. So where non American English translations might get added in normal circumstances, now they’re in limbo.
Since Duo staff made the tree, and have moved on to new projects, nobody, or almost nobody, is looking at the submission reports ...
What evidence do you have for this?
His evidence, like mine, is the day-in, day-out experience of working through the French tree.
I agree. Yes, Duolingo is an American company (Pittsburgh represent!) but becasue it is a multilanguage learning software company it should be more responsive to the bredth of its users' needs. I'm sure it wouldn't be that hard to put their office in the UK to the task of creating the British English translations...
Yesterday i got an email from duolingo stating that my alternative translation was approved and added and could be used from now on. It wasn't the only thing i've reported, but it was the first one. I was extremely frustrated that the only 'acceptable' translation for bonjour was hello. It takes them a week (judging solely from that single reply). Cheers!
A week is pretty fast! My Hungarian suggestions came in initially after about three months. They are faster now but still usually long enough ago I cannot remembering submitting it!
As I understood it, if a thousand people submit the same suggestion before it is approved, they will all get an email. As the French course undoubtedly has no shortage of suggestions, it's certainly possible (and likely) that someone else submitted the same thing a long time before Ana124437 did, but everyone who was a match got the email when it was finally accepted.
(It is still absolutely worth submitting obvious reports, though, as I believe this affects the ranking/visibility of suggestions to the people checking them.)
While I agree, I am American and don't appreciate the tone. I've traveled around the world a few times and have even worked for a UK company... and in all that time I have never met or had an exchange with anyone where we didn't mutually show respect for our backgrounds and the countries to which we are patriots.
That aside, the irony is that these conversations and the discussions in the trees are all racking up the dollars for DL because that Ad is staring at you the whole time you are reading or writing these. Until Duo's motivations change, the Quality of the experience to the broadest and thus most diverse audience will not improve. If you actually want to change the way Duo does things, close the app, put down the phone, close the computer and WALK AWAY. France is famous for protests, if you want change... when in Rome.
I agree. Languages change. While I think standard British English forms should be accepted, there are way too many dialects for every possible translation to be added. Duolingo is extremely flexible, compared to many other language apps and text books, in terms of what it will allow for translations. As far as ads are concerned - these are among the LEAST obtrusive ads of any site I have used where ads are used to raise money, and at least you can get all the content (except the progress tests) on the free version, unlike many other sites where the free content is super limited. I like a lot of things about the new versions of French and Spanish - there are a lot more of the type of phrases you'd use on an every day basis, in real speech, which often can't be translated word for word, (and word for word translations shouldn't be accepted for those). There are some missing translations even in American English - report them as you go. I've worked my way through at least one really awful course (Swahili) , just to report the problems, since few people get to the end of a course. Guess what - I've had notifications that my suggestions were accepted. I havent tried the course again, but I imagine it's improved.
Some good points... one other thing... I think the Stories/Tinycards is way more interesting and useful than the Learn section and you don't have to worry as much about regionalism translations because for the most part it is all in French.
I like the stories as well, they are helping me more than anything at the moment. But how are the Tinycards? I am asking honestly here. I only saw bad reviews about them for a long time, so I have put off trying them.
I agree with you! It is really upsetting that British English is very often not accepted.
There are even more Indian English speakers. Should we then accept only Hinglish?
We get it, America bad. Americans fat and stupid. Yada yada yada...
The differences between General American and British English are generally subtle and most answers that lean towards British English ARE already accepted (e.g. mild changes in spelling; using "football" instead of "soccer"), while many dialectal forms of American English are not ("y'all" and "fixing to" are not accepted). It's all about favoring Standard English.
If you believe an answer should be added to the course, there's a button for that specific purpose. It's called "Report." Yes, the mods are listening. I've made suggestions before and they were accepted.
exactly we're not all that bad. don't let the bad apples make the Europeans stereotype us.
@PaulRichardsTX, I agree with everything you say. People need to stop complaining and just go with it. Like you said, dialectal forms of American English aren't accepted, so why complain? I have seen plenty of English variants so really this post is just another anti-american complain post
I'm not saying "America Bad. Americans fat and stupid." I'd appreciate your guns and stuff staying on the other side of the border, but that's another discussion. I do report a lot though, so don't think we aren't. Just also don't think that we should all just start using 'Your English."
And stop using 'y'all.' Now, that is stupid.
This is the only disagreeing response in this post that is actually worth listening to and taking into account, sadly. I really dislike Europeans using this as an opportunity to bash Latin American Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese, just as I dislike the America First folks who did indeed come to offer their two cents.
I'm American. I've studied French most of my life. I find it frustrating that I get marked wrong when I know my answer was correct, but it happens in both the French and the German courses. ( I've spoken both for years) Just so you are aware, it is an opinion to state that "the rest of the world quite frankly doesn't like them much" when referring to Americans. Besides just a few snobs here & there, I have found in my travels that most people from most countries do indeed like Americans, and often seek us out for friendship and conversation practice. Spoken British English, Austrialian/NZ English, and to a great degree also Indian English are vastly different from US English, for sure. Just as I've found it difficult to understand Quebecois or Haitian French. But then, Americans from Texas, Chicago, Boston and the deep South also have very different dialects as well.
It’s nice to know that there are Americans in these comments (see below) who are not xenophobic. Have a good day.
I now remember why I stopped going on Duolingo Forums. People insulting and demeaning others over a mistake by the devs. It’s sad that internet culture is so toxic.
I saw this thread the day it started and came back to see what 300+ comments look like.
An American company didn't include enough British English answers. That's not a reason to insult all speakers of American English. I know it's frustrating, but it's childish to lash out at other users over the company's actions.
There is no reason to lash out at all British English speakers just because one insulted you.
There is no reason to lash at out Latin Americans and refer to their Spanish as not proper.
There is no reason to lash out at Quebecois over their French.
One of the reasons we teach foreign languages in schools is to help our students not be so ethnocentric. I observed this conversation in a Spanish class:
Student: Hay roja casa
Teacher: no, hay casa roja
Students: that's backwards!
Teacher: Spanish usually puts the adjective after the noun, unlike English
Student: Why would they do it backwards?
Teacher: What makes you think their way is backwards? Maybe we are doing it backwards.
Student: No, our way is normal. Their way sounds weird
Teacher: Have you ever thought maybe that's how students in other countries look at English?
Student: No, they shouldn't! Our way is the normal way, they are the weird ones!
It's hard to relate to other people if you start with the assumption that they are weird backwards ones. It's even harder to relate to others if you have that attitude about people who speak the same language as you.
I'm not referring to the OP, who had a valid point. Wanting UK English to be on an equal footing with American English is valid (and the way it should be), but those of you who took this opportunity to demean one variety of a language to elevate another should give some serious thought to why you started learning another language.
With this post, I'm unfollowing this discussion.
awkwardly barges into tense debate in comments just to share my excitement at your Rammstein reference
Give it a century and we'll all be identical. We have too much cultural mixing going on now for us not to be merging into one group. I don't think we'll be speaking English though. It's not the growing in speakers as much as other languages. Who knows, we could all be speaking some mix of Chinese and Spanish a century or two from now.
It's true. I'm an American who has never lived in the UK and yet still I have been marked wrong several times for entering terms that were too on the British side for Duo. I bet July 4 is Duo's birthday or something.
As a course contributor myself (not to French but to other courses), I can explain why these things happen when we redesign trees.
We don't have the intention to exclude anyone, of course, nor keep Duolingo strictly Americanized. That's not true.
But the way their system works, this happens naturally, unfortunately.
Whenever we add new sentences to a tree, those sentences appear completely untranslated, and it's our job to fill all possible translations. It's natural for the contributors to first think of what they would say themselves, then they start imagining the other options (this happens, of course, without any intention of excluding anything)
When it's about one sentence, yaaay, super easy let's add a lot of translations.
Now, when it's about hundreds to thousands of sentences (these numbers are true in tree redesigns) it becomes hard to think of everything. There is a trade-off between speed and completeness. And it's common that people simply doesn't realize there are missing translations (especially in sentences written in your native language so you translate to your learning language because of the way the system works)
The metro one sounds especially irritating. I used to type 'the metro' and have it accepted, because that is in fact what us British English speakers call it. I wouldn't attempt to call the New York subway the New York underground, either. It's treated like a place name that is not translated.
I'm complaining about the fact that I'm consistently being marked wrong translating [...] "le station de metro" to "the train station" rather than "the subway station".
Surely that is wrong? To me, "train station" (or "railway station") implies overground trains not limited to a particular city.
agree, "train station" is "la gare" and refers only to railway trains, not the metro/subway (both of which are accepted translations for "station de metro")
No, in my dialect it's "train station" always, even if it's an underground network. I live right by an underground station; it's still a train station :)
(Not meaning to correct you as I can understand your interpretation, but that's one of the answers that should be accepted if they're going to be inclusive and according to the discussion on that answer used to be accepted.)
This all depends on how much of a dialect your dialect is in this case. There are lots of cases where something is a perfectly normal usage in some dialects while the majority of users of the language would consider the same usage wrong.
This is not an opinion on the translation of "subway/train station", just an observation on how Duolingo course creators must walk a line between being inclusive and being comprehensible to the majority usage. Not everything that is correct in some dialect is usefully included as correct answers in an internationally-used course since for the majority of users, it would be interpreted as being wrong and then cause unnecessary confusion instead of being helpful.
The course simply needed to be beta-tested by a team of English speakers from various parts of the world, Brits, Australians...before being uploaded for public use. I love Duo and the concept, the variety of questions, the stories...it's just being marked wrong for a correct answer, simply because I put it in UK English instead of American English, is getting very tiresome. I don't want to be a beta-tester, having to constantly report that 'my answer should be accepted'. I want to be learning my chosen language. I'm having to memorise American terms to be able to pass the 'level up' tests - we shouldn't have to do that. It's not helpful and it's not fun. I've got absolutely nothing against the American version of English, I just don't want to spend time learning it. Please Duo, beta-test your lessons before uploading, and make them more user-friendly for us all.
I'm a Yank, and I agree with you. If a term is used by native English speakers, it should be acceptable, whether petrol, lorry, biscuit, chip, or mobile phone...spelled in American or British (or Canadian or Australian or NZ or SA or Irish or Jamaican or other) fashion. I think that much/all of this isn't intentional; it's just that Duo has programmed in certain words and phrases in the American dialect and is not familiar with some of your answers. Just keep letting them know that "your answer should have been accepted" and they will probably (slowly) get around to fixing the problem. BTW I am marked wrong also when I use words that Duo doesn't understand and I have to grit my teeth and use its "preferred" word/spelling to get it "right".
Okay everyone! Here is our chance to walk away, and put this to bed. Now that we hae successfully launced into a discussion about politics it might be advisable to leave it alone. I have to eat sleep and drink politics in the US, from tv comercials, to what clothes I buy to my foodstuffs. And I DON"T want to have duolingo be yet another political road block. Let us walk away at this point, ask a moderator to lock this discussion, and part as friends. I remember several political debates on here that ended up so badly that it was hard to be polite afterwards. Come on, this is a language learning forum! If the US flag is used it is because the US population is so much bigger than the British population, and the company is based right here, in the US!
Be of good cheer. I've had a few messages in the last few days regarding accepted sentence reports from French. The new Spanish course rolled out about the same time - they were also missing translations, although not as many. And the English through Spanish, judging from remarks on the forum (my Spanish isn't good enough to report errors there), suffers from the same problem. Although I have to wonder when they decide not to accept ils/elles and vous/tu for translations to French for sentences like They are looking at you - seems like a no brainer and the first thing they'd think of. Well - paid, and probably working on a tight schedule, which tends to lead to errors, as opposed to volunteers who are really interested in the process.
I haven't studied Italian on Duo in over a year but just last week I received multiple e-mails where my sentences were accepted as acceptable answers to that course. Sometimes it just takes a while.
The way I see it, when I use Duo, I'm literally getting something for nothing and I greatly appreciate that. You're getting something for nothing too, yet you're throwing a tantrum. If you go to YouTube and type in "Angel Adams someone needs to pay," it'll pull up a video of a lady who receives free housing, free food, and so on, yet she had the gall to say something like, "Somebody needs to pay for all my suffering. They need to be held accountable, and they need to PAY!" Both she and you come off as spoiled and entitled. "I'm getting everything for free, but the people providing it to me should do BETTER! All this free stuff isn't good enough for me! I deserve better!" Geez. Personally, I'd be embarrassed to look a gift horse in the mouth, but you do you.
Once upon a time, Duo recruited people to build the French course. The British had a golden opportunity to contribute to its design, but nobody in Britain answered the call. They left the entire job to some people in the USA, but now everyone is shocked that the course was done in American English terminology. Well, what did you expect, with no one from Britain bothering to pitch in and help build the course?
I agree with you that British English terminology should be accepted, but it's pretty lame and childish to hate Americans because British English terminology isn't included in a free French course that nobody in Britain wanted to help create.
Are you suggesting that those riding in the carriage shouldn't complain that the horse is going too slow?
On ne dit ni le passage souterrain ni la gare, on dit le metro, and it has nothing to do with any english, it is ancient greek.
That is pretty strange, although Duolingo is an American-based company there is no reason they should not accept British English spelling and vocabulary differences. To someone who grew up learning British English, learning a course with American translations for French words will basically take an extra level of translation when words or meanings are different- how much that hinders the learning process will depend on the person, but it shouldn't have to happen in the first place.
In addition, if you use the more 'American' version of a word, it is accepted no problem: 'You are correct'. But if you use the more 'British' version, it comes up with a 'Another correct solution' notice with the American variant.
This is because the website was created in the U.S. I would love to see the Brits create something similar, or perhaps some enterprising Englishman will develop a Duo course of British English, so that we Americans can learn to better understand what is spoken in the U.K. I suspect that would be a fun course. Torch? Lift? Lorrie? Knock me up? Who is with me here?
As I understand it, each sentence has to have a "default translation" which is the version that is being shown to translate. If this happens to be the American English version, then what you describe will happen, and since Duo originates in the US that would be likely. That's not a value judgment, just a helpful hint to other possible translations.
In my French course, I get that kind of translation suggestions for "ils" when typing "elles" for "they" and vice versa. I see it more like "don't forget that this is also an option".
I understand your point, but why can't it also suggest other possible translations when the 'default translation' is given? After all, the default is usually the American variant.
Because there are usually several dozens to hundreds to thousands of alternative translations - no kidding. How would you pick the one that is the second best? Every single sentence and permutation of words has to be entered manually. Data storage costs, Duolingo is free.
Let this thought sink in.
In addition, the contributors are usually not the same people as the moderators. Every minute they spend reading the forums takes their time away from improving the course. Use the report button!
and i learned from 4 years of french in school that ils would only apply to they IF it's a group of females and added even one guy to the mix. Elles would be feminine of they. and this is coming from my French teacher who was born in Haiti.
Duo is an American creation allowing people everywhere to study languages for free. I suggest that if the people of the UK, Canada, or wherever would like something that showcases answers from their own culture - they should invent their own platform and offer it for free.
@WVJoy, well said! If you don't like the way we talk and express yourself why not just make a platform for yourselves
The person who created this post cannot be taken seriously. There is a "report" button to add alternate translations in every course. Complaining that an American company should cater to British users by using British English as a default is ridiculous. It should be appreciated that the company even allows you to suggest your own additions.
The painful and insulting Americanisation of the French course
To describe the process as "painful" and "insulting" is a sign of someone who likely has serious emotional problems. Imagine trying to translate "camion" as ""lorry", but being told "truck" is the correct answer. Would any sane person describe that experience as "painful" and "insulting"?
If suggesting additional translations is too much work for you, then buy a book and approach it the old-fashioned way. Problem Solved.
Trust me.... This is issue #1 on Duo for me. I don't know who is in charge of such things but the bastardization of English will always translate to bastardized French and other languages.
I'm American and am simply tired of the rapidly accelerating degradation of any kind of formality in language. Social media speak doesn't belong in language learning.
The issue is especially alarming when perfectly accurate direct translations aren't even accepted, in favor of these bastardizations. It's not even easier to learn that way because you end up having to do two translations...one from French to proper English, then from proper English to whatever today's slang is.
I've written about this numerous times but there are too many apologists on Duo that think because it's free we shouldn't even bring up SIGNIFICANT AND FOUNDATIONAL issues, because Duo is perfect as is.
But you are not alone.
Languages change. They always have, and always will, barring some kind of totalitarian language police. The standard you exalt as "perfectly accurate" is chock-full of features that were just as criticized when they first emerged as those characterizing modern-day "social media speak," and yet our ears detect no lingering corruption.
The OP is complaining about everyday language not being accepted. You seem to be complaining that Duolingo even accepts everyday language. Very, very different issues.
Thank you so much, this has been bugging me terribly and it's great to hear an American who agrees. Honestly I was marked wrong for translating "bathroom" to "la salle des bains" - literally the bathroom! But no, they wanted "la toilette"... Both should be accepted.
I can say the community courses are better for this. I've mostly done Polish but Russian also seems excellent and always accepts my correct answer, even if what they offer for "another correct solution" has a totally different English sentence structure to what I offered, and Norwegian is incredibly highly regarded. They have none of these issues if you want to come along :)
In my experience on Duolingo, a course having plenty of missing translations is the general order of the day.
In the U.S. the terms "bathroom", "restroom", and "toilet" are interchangeable. When I was learning French in school 40yrs ago, we were taught that "WC" was used in France, but it stands for "water closet" which I believe is a British-ism. I do get confused with many terms used in the U.K. that are vastly different in the U.S., but a few years ago I bought a translation dictionary to explain some UK-US differences. Its called the "septic's companion" which is a play on the Cockney Rhyming Slang for "yanks."
Depends on what you mean by "bastardization." If you mean "reduction in the clarity of meaning being transmitted from one person to another," it's a valid term. If it simply means "new words being coined and used to express a new concept or clarify a meaning," it is not valid. Nobody knew what a "computer" was in 1800, but using that term is not a "bastardization" of the language.
I think that the issue is not that we have a degradation but that there are a lot of competing dialects and not enough attention is given to all of them. If this was really informality supremacism, the courses would allow us to use copula deletion and habitual be (and an actual dialect spoken by millions of people has that, and it is considered a lower speech form).
I don't see many of the dialects "competing" with each other. Different English speakers in different places use different terms or the same terms more often. I understand when a Brit says "petrol, lorry, biscuit, chip, windscreen, boot, bonnet, headlamp, loo, toilet, pint, tyre, flat, lift, mobile, mate, bloke" and many other terms, but I don't use them myself, usually. Some terms will be used in both places, but more often in one place than another (flat, toilet, pint, mobile, bloke, automobile are used in the US, but less often than in the UK). Same with "hoser" for Canadians or "bonzer, boomer, sheila" for Australians...I know what they are, but I never use those terms. British, Canadian, Australian, or other forms of English are 99.8% understandable to me (there is no "standard" or "proper" English...or French, Spanish, Portuguese, or German).
As an extreme example, Hindi and Urdu are both considered "Hindustani" despite huge differences in vocabulary!
Well, then I should be able to translate sentences using African American Vernacular English as well as Euro English (arguably the latter is not a native lect). It'd make it much faster. (Mind you, I was talking about Duolingo specifically.)
Now I understand why in other trees, some of my answers supposed to be correct are being marked as wrong ><
Seriously sometimes I've the feeling that British English is like another language than English itself (what a joke). We hear in our everyday life American English even if you're from Europe but America well the US are not the center of the world or like we say "le nombril du monde". I know that a lot of Americans are using the app but don't penalize the others because this kind of thing is really annoying and frustrating for the learner. We are here to learn not to fight over which word you should use.
Look. We have discussed this over and over and over again. Duolingo is an AMERICAN based company. The course was probably designed by AMERICANS or at least a few Americans, if they accept only American translations then oh well. Honestly, I have never ever heard anyone use the term "mobile phone" I mean what context would you use that in exactly? If you don't like what they accept then go somewhere else. Duolingo isn't perfect, and cannot satisfy everyone. I have been frustrated too by the translations they accept, the best thing to do is just report it and move on
Duolingo isn't perfect, and cannot satisfy everyone.
But it has the ability to have multiple translations (up to 30 000 per sentence) - and most courses have both versions for most sentences. As I understand it the old course had both. So why did that IP not get transferred to the new course?
I'm American, and "mobile phone" is used in some parts of the U.S. more than others, while "cell phone" is predominant in other areas. I guess it depends on what part of America one comes from. Non-Americans sometimes forget (or just don't realize) that this place is so big that we often have difficulty understanding one another if from a far away State.
In the address book of my...er...cell phone, for contacts, it asks for "business number, home number, and MOBILE number"...so even in America, "mobile" is used...just less often. Much ado about nothing.
I am slightly relieved that somebody else found this annoying, too. I am laddering French from English (although I am a native speaker of German). I have lived several years in English-speaking countries, but since British spelling is what I first learned at school, it's what I instinctively use. What amused me most was where words were "translated" that (to my mind) were really the same, like movie theater instead of cinema for French cinema. (There also were a latinate verb or two, but I can't remember them off the top of my head.)
Anyway, so far I've only had the best experiences with Duolingo listening to the users' suggestions and comments and so I hope that alternative translations will be added and accepted soon. On the other hand, I've been away for a few years and some of the internal politics that have been mentioned in this thread are completely new to me (and don't sound all that encouraging). Also, a thank you to all the contributors for the interesting turn to colonialism that this debate took. I can't say I agree with it all, but it's certainly been great food for thought. :D
In the French course there is also the use of a field goal post in American football to represent "soccer" just because it is called "football" in French or in the UK.
https://i.redd.it/hqozax1g3l331.jpg (this is not my screenshot and I have not reached that point in the course)
Thank you for sharing, this is both hilarious and an enlightening example of how things can go (wrong) sometimes. :D
Football can still be soccer in the UK in fact it was in widespread use in the 40' and 50's. I still have my "Boys Book of Soccer" for 1946 (handed down to me) and 1958.
" I have no interest in being American or travelling to America, and Americans doing things like this is exactly why the rest of the world quite frankly doesn't like them much." I find this to be highly offensive and this post should be removed.
Really, who cares? You get a free education… How about stop crying over petty things that has absolute no importance what so ever. Should I cry about no courses are "from Swedish". No, I have to learn my third language using my second, like most people here have to, and you are complaining about things beeing "to american" and not "English enough". Pathetic.
I am doing Turkish course and I they accept both translations cellphone and mobile phone , but why do you think it's like that in French and not in the other courses?
that's simple. it is a newer course. the same problem is present to some extent in the Spanish course, alternative translations are still being added (there, it is more about regional dialects of the target language itself)
I'd say the specific problems here are two
- a too noticeable part of the missing alternatives are just British English. that is a big oversight
2.unlike most courses, the French one is made by paid professionals, so people might have logically expected much more perfection from it, compared to the volunteer courses, which hasn't happened.
Its GREY not gray, and AUTUMN not the "fall".
Totally agree, it's like learning both French, and American French, and it's getting very tedious. Also a bathroom, a room with a bath in, is a salle des bains. A toilet is la toilette. Toilets in restaurants do not have baths in them!!
Also a bathroom, a room with a bath in, is a salle des bains.
salle de bains
Certainly I agree that "grey," "autumn," etc. should be accepted, but there is nothing intrinsically worse about "gray" and "fall." You don't like "bathroom" because some of them don't have baths, but I might argue that, to compensate, "fall" is a rather more illuminating name than "autumn." Though individual examples might have a variant which is clearly more intelligible or descriptive, the varieties (American and British English) as a whole are simply different beasts.
"Its GREY not gray, and AUTUMN not the "fall"."
No, sorry, it's both. Both are correct English. And there's nothing wrong with the word "bathroom" either.
It's one thing to ask that Duolingo accept both American and British usage. That's a reasonable thing to expect. But to insist that British English is right and standard American English is wrong? Sorry, that's beyond ridiculous.
"Train station" is not a correct translation into English of the French "station de me/tro". If you enter "underground station", you will be marked correct. A "train station" is an overground station, although even that is an Americanism (curious that you should complain about Americanisms when using them yourself!), as the British would more correctly say "railway station" for overground stations.
I've entered simply "mobile" and had it marked as correct. In fact, I think I've only had one correct English answer rejected (can't remember what it was off the top of my head) and I reported that. I suggest that you report it every time you find a correct English answer being rejected - they do update things.
“Half seven” is a phrase used in the U.K. in an informal fashion. It is not a regional thing, it is widely used but I would argue not strictly correct. “Half past seven “ is more correct.
However, I have a military background and was trained to avoid all confusion by using the 24 hour clock! 7:30 whether it be numbers or text could be AM or PM.
0730 and 1930 are very specific! :)
Has anyone else noticed that the female tts now has an American french accent? The r's are dreadful! It makes me cringe!
Yeah, I'd agree. It's so annoying that some translations aren't accepted, though they are grammatically correct in other English speaking countries.
@LukeJSmith, your logic defeates you. Somehow if Duo had used the British flag it would be "international" or "diverse" or something else. How does that work?
My point is that respecting the origins of the language is a part of teaching that language.
When I study a bit of Spanish, it makes sense that I be confronted with the Spanish flag and go on to understand the history surrounding other countries sharing that language.
While America (*edit: the USA) has a very rich, in-depth shared history with the English language, it's still ultimately English.
If that were the case, shouldn't it use an ENGLISH flag, not a BRITISH flag? hehe
they do the best they can when developing the language and I guess they would have to change it to 4 different flags UK (english) AU (english) US (english) and Canadian (english) . The main reason they only use the US flag is because the company is American and the majority of users are American :/
That is because you are learning Brazilian Portuguese. Why would you dislike that? We are 86% of the speakers of the language.
Cry me a river. Besides, what's wrong with Brazil? They have the most beautiful women in the world! I'll wave a flag to that any day...
Report any problem. It takes a long time and many reports before a change is made by Duolingo, but it sometimes happens.
A train station in french is "une gare" . This is in reference to the original post in this thread by Cali54699
I'm not sure if this is an British English vs. American English issue (I've had both versions in my life at different times, so I keep switching things up), but on no other duolingo course have I felt that they were mostly trying to teach me English as much as on the French course. It's part of the reason why I do a lot less French lessons on duolingo than I originally planned to.
I complained about this sort of thing before, but most people just thought that it would be ridiculous to balance out the variants of English, since most English speakers are American.
Hopefully, change will happen, and I find it a bit ironic that Duolingo, a big language learning website, will not accept other phrases/words that relative mean the same thing to the "correct answer". Isn't language supposed to be universal?
I speak fluent french, and I tried the placement test, and the french course is really bad.
Computer operating systems, as well as most smart phones, offer options for UK English, Canadian French, etc. This makes perfect sense.
Maybe Duolingo should do what Grammarly has done. When you download Grammarly, it has you pick between American, Canadain, British, and Australian English. Users who are from a certain place or are going to a certain place would thus be allowed to learn adequately for their destination.
Actually, same with the Japanese course. In 'Intro 1', the first thing you learn is how to say 'I am American', and 'John is American'.
This is painful for me as well, I live in America! and trust me not everyone in America uses the freaking subways or knows about them! Especially the Southern part of America and the Western. Only heavily populated urban areas. ALSO in America some of us say Mobile cell or Mobile phone, Mobile device! I don’t call it a cell phone so this problem is not only a problem in Europe and other parts of the world we have it here too. I think the problem is that the company is too local and only uses the terms that are common there, I will admit I grew up learning both American and British English terms because of popular TV shows and media but I speak for all when I say this needs to be changed immediately because of how annoying it is.
OH! And what about when other nationalities visit the US? Wouldn't it sadden US to learn that all of these students have learned British English? I mean the US is considerably bigger, us at 327 million and the Brits at 66 million
Size does matter. We have more speakers therefore there are more of us who understand and speak American english
The US is bigger than the UK and the US is way way way more important than the UK, by any measure. Like it or not, that's the way it is.
You find it annoying then people visit the UK and have been "forced" to learn American English? Why is it not at least equally annoying when people visit the US and have been "forced" to learn British English in school? Should it sadden me and make me squirm when other nationalities visit us here in Toronto and have obviously been taught UK English, which is not particularly close to what we speak here? Or perhaps I should appreciate that they've learned English and maybe have learned a few words and expressions that sound silly to my ear but hey, they are basically speaking the same language?
I just wish the British (English mainly, I gather) would stop denigrating American English on the Discussion pages by calling them bastardizations or Americanims. They are two slightly different dialects. A language forum is no place to put down one variant.
Also, instead of cluttering the pages with multiple gripes, use the Report function in the lesson. Many discussion pages (most?) are unusable because of these pointless squabbles.
No denigration is going on here. "Americanism" is an absolutely normal term, without any offence in it. And your post is actually the first time I see the word "bastardization" used around here :-D
The fact that non american terms are often not taken as correct is a complication right now, even though it is likely to improve over time thanks to reporting and the team acting on it. I'd say people are that disappointed about this because they had naturally expected the paid professionals to do a better and more detailist work than the volunteers.
It is not just about the English complaining. It might be surprising to you, but there are millions of users, who are not native English speakers and still use the English based courses (because we don't have the options in our native languages). And in many parts of the world, the British English is taught in schools and people with this experience are more likely to struggle with the americanisms here than the natives of other than US English. And when you get a certain amount of answers wrong without actually being wrong and without actually struggling with the real language you're learning right now (in case of this tree French), it is discouraging and annoying.
No denigration is going on here.
Maybe you personally are not denigrating American English, but many users are. There are discussion pages with plenty of it.
Here are some quotes:
- [phrase in valid American English] is not English. Please change to [...]!
- [phrase in valid American English] is appalling English.
- It’s a result of lazy speech dictating the written language. Horrible.
- Yet another awful English sentence. [phrase in valid American English]? No, never, no way.
- [phrase in valid American English] is purely US usage, and 'bad English'.
- I agree with everyone about the poor English.
And that's just from one thread, a thread where a user had actually pointed out that the phrase concerned is American usage. In another thread there was a comment about Americanisms "creeping in" ... on an American website.
I remember being a foreign exchange student in germany in the early 2000's. In the English class there, the teacher was asking the students what "Koffee Maschine" was in english. Everyone was answering "coffee machine", and the teacher was telling everyone no.
he was frustrated and finally asked me, and all I could do was shrug and say "coffee machine". despite everyone's laughter, he responds "no, it's a percolator".
Even in early 2000's, the entirety of the youths in my class had become accustomed to American English. It is slowly becomes the defacto English of the world. Computer games are primarily in American English, Movies are primarily in American English, a lot of popular music is in American English, etc. I remember that of the few channels they had on TV there, MTV was one of them, and most shows were just in english with subtitles.
American English is just more relevant.
:-D it may even be so, but british english is still relevant, it is still the norm in a part of schools worldwide, it is still learnt privately by millions of people. it is still the default english language for a significant part of the world. and even if the young people were predominantly used to the american english due to media these days, duo is not just for teens. your example doesn't actully prove any affinity for american english anyways, just for a similar word to their native language ;-).
your argument would be valid, if people were asking for more acceptance to a tiny dialect spoken in two villages. but no, we'd like both main variants there.
point two:people using this course want to learn french, not american english (instead of a perfectly valid british english they had already learnt). having correct answers marked as wrong too often interferes with that goal.
British English, yes, it's a valid english, but relevant? Hardly.
Just because it's taught in many schools doesn't mean it should. Many schools have long since switched over to American English, as it is the relevant English.
To what benefit are youths today being taught British English? It's slightly more relevant to europeans than australian english.
Even the british youth are accustomed to american english through media. British English is slowly but surely falling into obscurity around the world outside of the UK.
As to the second point, I'd suppose someone learning english from french from a country that speaks creole, or any of the other small french speaking countries face similar issues when trying to answer in french. You can't expect DuoLingo to cater to every minority variation off the bat. We have the "my answer should have been accepted" report.
We may actually live long enough to see British English fall out of global use.
It's getting harder and harder to cling to the notion that you might be arguing from an intellectual perspective as opposed to an Anglophobic one.
To what benefit are youths today being taught British English? It's slightly more relevant to europeans than australian english.
I mean, this statement is nothing short of absurd and truly reinforces the notion that you're on a little crusade here.
British English is the #2 most spoken variant of English in the world and continues to be very influential. Far from being 'slightly more relevant to Europeans than Australian English, it is far more relevant due to European migration to the UK. The same can be said from a Commonwealth standpoint because migrants from those countries make up a significant percentage of the British workforce.
British English continues to influence English around the world - even US English - and it is still taught globally. I do not mean to diminish Australians in any way (the way you appear to be doing with the British) but Australian English is far more 'parochial' and nowhere near as influential by comparison.
To ErikRed1 as I cannot reply with a button anymore either: But people using the French from English course do not give a damn about learning English or the global situation of English. People just want all their correct answers marked as correct.
Right now, both US and UK English are important both in numbers of the native speakers AND the second language speakers. What will be in a few years, that doesn't matter at all in the context of the use of this Duolingo tree.
Your sermon is useless here. I understand both variants perfectly, like many other people. I write a mix, but mostly UK English. I don't look down on the US English, the Australian English, or any other variant. I don't need or want to improve my English anymore, it is enough (and more than that) for all my needs. When I use any X from English course on Duolingo, I want to practice primarily the X language. And as you can notice on this thread about the French from English course, that is a normal attitude.
The only thing that matters here is having the common alternative answers included as acceptable. That is all. If some people answer in Australian English, report that, and get the answers added, good for them. They'll have less trouble learning French, which is the whole point of the tree. Not policing the usage of the English dialects.
You are arguing about irrelevant stuff here. If you want to argue about addition of alternative French variants, such as vocabulary typical of Quebec, you'll be adding to the discussion. (It is actually a common theme in the discussions concerning the Spanish tree.) But English is just the learners' tool here, not the target. People just want the dialects to not be an obstacle in learning other languages on Duolingo, nothing less and nothing more.
Can you understand it better now?
:-D no, i don't think i'll live to see british english being completely irrelevant, no matter what the global changes will be. less important sure, irrelevnt no. and the question "why are people taught the british english at school" is useless. the students are often asking the same question and the school systems don't care and evolve slowly. :-) and given the huge amounts od english learners of either variant, it is obvious that comparison to other languages is nonsense.
and what does the future of english have to do with this thread anyways?
the op is asking for both very important dialects to be taken for correct answers in a french teaching course. that has nothing to do with what english should be taught in the english course or in schools. and the need is real in today's world, no matter what your opinions are.
To be fair, English and American don't have enough variation to be in any way difficult to understand when you happen upon someone speaking the wrong dialect.
I would think that someone schooled in proper RP British English will have more difficulty understanding someone from a small Scottish village than a middle-of-the-road American, given the same level of previous exposure. The line through the Atlantic is not the only dialect barrier here.
to be fair, nobody in this thread is complaining about comprehension of the american english. the only thing that matters here is to have both english variants typed by the french learners on duolingo taken for correct. the rest of the global english situation doesn't matter, english listening comprehension is not discussed here. just typing the answers.
Not at all actually. I'm English and my aunt moved from our hometown of Birmingham -the English one- to just such a small Scottish village! Scottish people don't actually speak broadest Scots all the time if ever or anything like that, difficulties we might have understanding are most typically due to accent, not dialect. We don't actually use RP, either, that's very dated.
well, I have no reply button under anyone else's below so I'll answer here.
Nothing against the British or England, but their losing their relevance to the global sphere. Learning that english as opposed to american english, though both are quite similar, seems to be disadvantageous in many ways.
Yes, British english is still #2, and it used to be #1, but #2 doesn't make it all that important. #1 is far more applicable world wide while #2 is becoming more and more applicable solely in the UK.
Most media being consumed in the world today is based on American English. Learning British english isn't particularly helpful for consuming most modern media. Sure, there's a lot of quality british programming, but it's not as prevalent as american.
Most business opportunities are in the US. Big tech is here and our main export is our businesses, much to the rest of the world's chagrin. One of the most useful uses for learning a language is in business application. you have much more to gain learning the way american's speak than British people. Sure, both will be understood by an America for the most part, but it will be harder for the non native speaker to understand the American and easier for misunderstandings.
It's just that, while learning british english has merit, learning american english is just better any way you slice it, unless you specifically want to move to the UK. visiting, any English ought to be okay.
It used to be the other way around, as the UK used to be much more influential around the world, but today it's not the case.
If australia became the most influential nation tomorrow,I'd say learning australian english would be better.
You object to people using the word 'Americanism'? It's not a derogatory term.
Also, people often feel it necessary to mention in the comments that terms specific to Britain, Australia, Canada, etc. are not accepted so that the person investigating their report understands why they should be added to the answers list.
English mainly, I gather
Also, people often feel it necessary to mention in the comments that terms specific to Britain, Australia, Canada, etc. are not accepted so that the person investigating their report understands why they should be added to the answers list.
But the people actually responsible for adding missing translations can't be expected to read any comments, so in general these comments just clog up discussions that are intended to be for questions about French, making it harder for those who would like to answer actual questions to find them.
(English mainly, I gather) I'd be interested in how you come to that conclusion?
Us americans love putting our little greasy oil hands into everything lol
While I am subscribed to French, I’m not using it yet. I’m concentrating on trying to learn Portuguese, however, I sympathise entirely with your comments.
Standard ‘English’ should be the primary language. I don’t care how many ‘english’ speaking Americans there are out there, English is English..... American is just some dialect....
I have exactly the same problem with Portuguese. Because Brazilians outnumber the Portuguese by some margin, I have to learn ‘Brazilian Portuguese’. This can be a particular problem as I am now discovering that using language acceptable in regions of Brazil can be considered quite ignorant in Portugal!
I get frustrated with the amount of ‘american’ English but being forced to learn ‘brazilian’ Portuguese when I only visit Portugal is a real issue. It is potentially embarrassing and could cause offence in some situations....
Just my twopenn’orth!
"Some margin" We are 205 million. They are 8 million. Duolingo only accepts one variety of language (which is why we have no Cantonese course, even though it is not mutually understandable with Mandarin and sounds nothing alike).
It's not "Americanization" I suspect It's all about hiring low cost interns in the Carnegie Mellon local sphere who are coming out of an abysmal public education system in America where every one is overwhelmed with the snowflake-ism of a culture that says everyone gets gold stars and that the older generation and old wisdom is evil. So they know-nothing, yet they think they know oh so much more than anyone.
I really think you're projecting... To the eyes of someone who hates them, I am of the special snowflake Millennials, and yet I believe in ancient Greek deities and know a few basic facts about using plants as medicine, how to synchronize gardening and the Moon phases or which foods I should avoid for certain physical symptoms and illnesses (taught to me by my grandma, without a clear scientific approach). Our relationship with tradition is far more complex than what bats the eye, and I don't think people in Duolingo out of all places will go out of their way to punish an alternative form of the language simply because they used to be the colonists. Even because the United States has colonized the world just as much as Great Britain.
@bvanw, yes, Americas education system is horrendous. Old ideas, older people, and previous generations are regarded as "haters" "outdated" and "old fashioned" it is a sad time when the young have no respect for their elders
Languages have different dialects. Duolingo only really makes room for one dialect of each language. It has Latin-American Spanish, but not Castillano. It has Bokmal but not Nynorsk. It has Brazilian Portuguese instead of Portuguese Portuguese. High Valyrian and not Astapori. Imperial Klingon and not Tak'ev. Metropolitan and not Quebecois.
Of all the dialects of English they picked American Standard English. Be thankful it's not Yinzer or Cockney.
Sweetpaw: Another failure to understand the issue. Nobody here is discussing which dialect should be the one taught. You know, the target language (which is French in this case, just look at the thread name in case of doubts ;-) ). But only the fact that more variants should be accepted as the base language (Even though you may notice that the Castilian variants are more and more accepted in the Spanish learning course too, despite not being the primarily taught ones). It is Spanish/French/Valyrian/Norwegian from English, not from American English. So, people just don't want too many wrong answers caused just by the fact their native or second language English is not the American one. That is different.
The team is including alternative answers, sure, and that is great. But it just looks like a big oversight that so many British English answers (therefore not rare type of "mistakes") were not added right away. And as the course was created by paid professionals, people are logically more critical, then in the volunteer courses.
Again, you fail to see the rational point. There are millions of learners, who have the British English as their base language while using Duolingo right now. The same is not true Yinzer or Cockney. But if there are learners with those native variants of English around here, of course I wish them to have their natural answers included too, as time goes, so that they can learn their target languages easier.
Is it really that much of an inconvenience to type "truck" instead of "lorry?"
Yes, when you are learning a different language than English.
In this example, your focus should be on translating "camion" right and learning French. Having your absolutely correct answer marked as incorrect makes you:
1.lose time, because you have to repeat exercises you have already done right. That is inefficient, you should be putting more time into the things you are really struggling with instead.
2.memorise irrelevant stuff. the point is learning the target language, not memorising which English term is used in each example. Waste of time and effort.
Absolutely. That's like having to remember which exercises are fine with "Zeitung -> paper" and which requite "Zeitung -> newspaper", for some reason. That kind of thing is just wrong. On the other hand, there's really no reason to gripe about such things here; just report them and get on with the course.
It is also much more difficult for people who are not native English speakers and who are learning French from English. Being European, I have always been much closer to BE than to AE and it is incredibly inconvenient having to remember to use unfamiliar English words while learning French.
It will mean you have to do the same sentence at least twice - even if you know exactly what it means. Further down the tree where the sentences are complex you may ot remember why you got it wrong and it'll be three goes for the translation.
Trucks and lorries are different vehicles anyway. Lorries are more cuboid based, trucks are usually specialised.
Why have a dialect at all on a language course? What is wrong with teaching ‘standard English’?
I was born in Yorkshire, lived in Derbyshire for 25+years and now reside in East Anglia. I know most of the local idioms from all these places but I would not expect them to be taught on an international language platform.
As for Brazilian Portuguese, it seems to me that when used in Portugal, there are instances where it could actually be considered discourteous, impolite, even rude, not to mention the user being considered ignorant, untutored, even illiterate!
That is not an impression I would want to give my Portuguese friends!
Awww Tony! Why would your Portuguese friends think that you were "ignorant, untutored, even illiterate"? I'm sure they're stoked you are making such an effort to learn Portuguese instead! In the great, great majority of instances that I picked a word from the "wrong" variety of English, the worst reactions that I got were benign laughs. However great I think my English is, people can always tell I'm not a native speaker (or certainly speak an "exotic" variety), so really the reactions are always positive, certainly more along the lines of "oooh, that sounds intriguing; where are you from?" than "ignorant and impolite".
(I know this doesn't exactly pertain to the root of this discussion; I just honestly believe that learning the "wrong" variety is infinitely preferrable to not making the effort of learning a new language.)
I would believe that the site housing crew will eventually accept your 'mobile' in stead of 'cellphone', and that will take place the earlier the more British stoicism you agree to display.
Everyone just calm down and enjoy the FREE duolingo app. Or go spend big money on rosetta stone IDK. ;)
lol I was just waiting for the "it's free so you can't complain" comment and here it is
Lica98 i never said quit complaining.... i said calm down. As in use the report button and move along. This whole thread is just ridiculous.
This is an extremely stupid comment, MichaelFarmer99. The "shut up or get out" attitude towards fellow learners is extremely arrogant and misplaced.
1.OP raises a very valid point. Should they shut up, just because they are not paying and just seeing ads (which is a form of payment)?
2.Have you tried the professional made duo courses like French and/or have experience with French? I have both. Get some relevant experience instead of criticising people who have got it. It also matters that many learners started with a different tree, then got a new one without being given a choice, and are just pointing out the issues. That is critical thinking, it is the right attitude, not being a sheep like you ;-) I personally tried the new French tree out of curiosity, despite being far too advanced for it. Well, I don't recommend it to people much, unlike the German Duolingo for example, the difference in quality is enormous.
3.You may be surprised but language learning is not just about Duolingo and Rosetta stone. There are more and more competitors to Duolingo even among the digital tools, not just on paper. Hopefully, it will push Duolingo to work on the quality too and not just marketing. Telling people to just go to the trashy Rosetta Stone instead (=to give up), if they don't like a certain aspect of Duolingo, is just stupid.
Mereade you need to stop putting words in my mouth. I never said shut up or get out. I said calm down its as easy as a report button. I forgive your holier than thou attitude though. ;)
How about the fact that the "English" language is represented by an american flag! How utterly ridiculous and absurd. Considering the version of English they speak in north america is an abbreviated dialect of English it seems completely inappropriate.
I mean they do the best they can when developing the language and I guess they would have to change it to 4 different flags UK (english) AU (english) US (english) and Canadian (english) . The main reason they only use the US flag is because the company is American and the majority of users are American :/
Don't forget Kiwi English! Actually MS Word gives a choice of 17 English dictionaries.
It is the USAmerican flag to symbolize that it is the USAmerican language. Because it is a USAmerican app. Unfortunately...
You are right, but we don't need a reminder, it is obvious. Perhaps too obvious for a multilanguage learning site.
The site is American yes. The English language however, is global. The reach of Duolingo and the locations of its users, is also global.
but majority of english speakers WEST of Europe has US English translations generally.
In terms of population, the majority of the english speakers is probably located EAST of the Americas ;-)
nope, USA and Canada have more population than UK, Ireland, Australia and NZ (India, Pakistan etc. don't count as no one there speaks English as native language)
Oh boy. This discussion is already quite out of hand as it is, but is language ownership really a route you'd like to explore? Both the UK and the US are traditionally quite famous for their degree of monolinguality, whereas this is decidedly not true of the Indian subcontinent. Does this really mean you get to decide who or what "counts"?
they use American English because that's the standard form of English
but ofc all variants should be accepted
Excuse me? No.
British English is the global standard of English. Outside of North America, EN-US standards are not used. Australia, New Zeeland, South Africa and basically all other Anglophone realms outside of North America use EN-GB as their standard.
I assumed they meant the standard form of English on Duolingo.
The Anglophone countries you mention all have their own standardised variants of English. They all diverged from British English (just like US English did) and those variants of English have all evolved since.
There is no actual consensus on a 'global standard' of English. When taught as a foreign language in other countries, US or British English is used and I'm not sure any numbers exist which suggest one variant is more popular than the other.
International English is a thing but has always been mired in controversy.
America is capitalist, we don't believe in standardizing things. Pfft, silly geese. (Just kidding, I'm makin' a bad communist/capitalist joke-- I really don't mean to offend anyone. If I do I'll delete this xP)
British English Has been the global standard... but things are changing. The point of learning a language probably revolves around the applicability of it. After all, absolutely no one will argue that Australian ought to be a global standard.
When the majority of consumable media is in American English, all the major tech companies are from the USA, programming languages are in American English etc, it just makes more sense today to learn american english than British English. It's just more applicable these days.
So much this. The vast majority of media being consumed is American (in actuality or influenced). UK English was definitely the standard half a century or so ago, but today? No so much. Just like the loss of the physical empire, this may not quite have sunk in inside the old homeland.
It's the standard form of English in the US, but it's not standard in any other English-speaking country, and that includes hundreds of millions of people, including those who learn English in India, Pakistan and Nigeria. There's no reason British English should be considered less important than American English, and it's pretty inconsiderate that Duolingo demands American spellings.
it's pretty inconsiderate that Duolingo demands American spellings.
As a general matter, it doesn't. Of course, things can slip through the cracks, as many perfectly valid American English translations also often do until reported.
probably with pop culture and the internet
well it depends what your goal is, if you're gonna live in Portugal or something then ofc it's better to learn the "Portuguese Portuguese"
I am afraid that Duolingo is an American company and as all Americans beleive that Europe is a small country comparable to a US state.
You do know there is a difference between a mobile phone and a cell phone. FYI the cell phone was invented by Americans they can call it a "Cell Phone". My suggestion is if the British call cell phones, mobile phones they learn a bit about technology. I used to use a Mobile Phone at home, it talked to the base that it sits in to allow me to make phone calls. A cell phone however work a cellular network
Calling a trunk, a boot, a tire, tyre, a stroller, pram .... etc is cute and oh so British. However a cell phone is a specific mobile phone that requires a cellular network. It is like you insisting on calling Lions cats.
We call those 'cordless phones'. Mobiles use the cellular network. Cell is a shorter word, but it's never caught on! Strollers and prams are different - we have both.
So then YOU, Jim, start calling them what they really are: packet radio transcievers and lay your head down in shame for disrespecting HAM radio, where that was in use before the regional trucker wanted to use the concept for his fleet. He had a damn good idea, but it was borrowed.
My mother who is from the south calls it a mobile phone sometimes. Most of the time she says "iPhone" or something like that-- and also people on TV in commercials call it a mobile phone sometimes.
Also, lions ARE a type of cat?
Since when have we incorrectly labelled lions? They are a species of feline animals, ergo they are biologically cats.
I'll do you one better! America is a continet, not a country. The picked a dumb name to their land and now they are trying to rebaptise it by calling themselves like this.
North America is a continent, the United States of America(the country) is sometimes referred to as "America" or "The United States", etc. Just saying, "America" is a little vague if you are referring to the continent :) And it was named after Amerigo Vespucci, an explorer, though I don't know why they picked his "dumb name".
Actually, not all geographers split it as North and South America - under some schemes the continent is just "America". Similarly, the country is not "America", it is the "United States of America" (although I can imagine that ruffling feathers as well).
Why though? It's technical-- Yeah, in the USA we often say "America" just as slang for the country of the US but we all know we live in the USA... I'm honestly asking here, why would that ruffle feathers?
BTW The official (English) name for the country usually referred to as Mexico is the United Mexican States.
https://www.duolingo.com/Judit294350 I’m a Brit but calling the USA the United States of America wouldn’t ruffle my feathers at all. AFAIK, the USA comprises 50 states plus the Federal District of Columbia.
‘North’ America on the other hand, comprises, I believe, 23 countries of which, the USA is just one.
https://www.duolingo.com/4oYBIxtO For information, Europe is not a country, it is a continent comprising, arguably, 44 countries plus dependencies. I say ‘arguably’ as the ‘United Kingdom’ is listed as one. Residents of the UK would vehemently argue that England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are all countries in their own right!
Then of course, there’s the EU...... :)
There are several continent models, in two or three of them America is indeed a continent. I went to school in the Dominican Republic and I had to learn the five continents: America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania. In that system America is divided in four regions: North America (Mexico, Canada, and the USA, which seems to be the model used by NAFTA); Central America (from Guatemala to Panama) and South America (south of Panama). The fourth American region is the Caribbean islands.