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

Share your experience with the Chinese course

Reposting this to clear up any confusion. I'm impressed by everyone's vigilance! I am a Duolingo admin, and you'll be able to see HelpfulDuo's post in the comments supporting this internal project. Will make this post sticky too.

你好!

At Duolingo, we are always looking for ways to improve our courses, and I am currently looking into how to improve aspects of our Chinese course.

Are you an English speaker currently studying Chinese on Duolingo? If so, we would love your feedback.

We want to invite you to sign up for a user interview, which works like a quick recording of your screen and voice as you follow some steps and share your opinions. Fill out this quick survey to be considered and share your views with us.

Everyone who is selected will get a free Duolingo t-shirt and be entered in a raffle to win the Duo plushie! We unfortunately won’t be able to get back to everyone, but we really appreciate all of your feedback, so keep it coming.

If you want to participate and give your feedback, submit this form

.

谢谢!

NOTES:

This is also being requested for Tips. Based on the concerns of the first version of this post, I thought I'd make it clear that the only personal information we request is an email address we can use to contact you, and if you want the shirt (optional), a size and an address to send it to. Let me know if you have any other questions!

June 20, 2019

82 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zia177448

I'm not sure how doable this would be, but I'd love a section that focusses on hearing the tones (not character and tone or random syllables mixed in that are easy to tell apart, just a listening exercise in which you have to click on whether the syllable is pronounced má, mà, etc). Perhaps it could be a bonus skill since probably not everyone wants to do it.

It would also be helpful if the hints over the words had either pinyin or at least stated which tone it is, that would be additional practice for learning to recognise the tones. It is already really useful that users can play the audio character for character when hovering over the characters, that really helps learning the pronunciation.

I'd also find it helpful if there was some way of practicing the stroke order of the characters, it would really help with remembering the characters. I know there are other apps for practicing it, but it would be great to have it all in one place.

June 20, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SuperT422

That would be good, since sometimes I just guess the tone and my Chinese friend tells me I didn't say it right

June 25, 2019

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

I am not a learner but a native Chinese speaker. I am actually learning the tips of the Chinese course so that I can explain my native language better to my friends who are interested. They are very useful! Thank you for all the hard work the duolingo team!

June 20, 2019

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

Hello everyone! Meg is indeed an admin and this is a legit internal research project she is doing in order to improve and offer recommendations based on your feedback around Tips and the Chinese course. This is a cool opportunity to get your opinions heard and it is completely optional, so you only participate if you want to.

June 20, 2019

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

thank you for let us share our opinions and experience with the chinese course. I would like to suggest you changing the course's name from "chinese" to "simplified mandarin", because there is not a single chinese language. and the current course is for learn simplified mandarin with pinyin writting.

this is why you should divide the "chinese" course depeding on what kind of writting (simplified, traditional, pinyin) and what kind of chinese dialect (mandarin, cantonese, hakka, etc.) do you want to learn.

that's the only thing I could suggest now. I hope you do it.

June 20, 2019

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

I completely agree with you. Since mandarin is just a dialect and chinese only really exists in written form hence traditional and simplified.

June 22, 2019

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

I took one term of Chinese back in college and quit. I had trouble hearing tones. Recently I hired a tutor to help me. I can make the tones to her satisfaction, but I cannot hear them unless she speaks slowly and exaggerates. After many years of around the clock Vietnamese exposure, I still couldn't hear their tones either. On LingQ, I can listen to any of the beginner material, I don't hear the tones. I can tell they're different, but is it going up, down, who knows? The only one I think I can pick out is the first tone.

My experience on the Duolingo course has been similarly frustrating. It is vital at the beginning of any language to master its sounds. Japanese is pretty easy because its sounds are easy to make and detect in speech. The characters and grammar don't give me any trouble. Icelandic was very hard at first, because none of the resources I had adequately covered pronunciation, and Icelandic has lots of breathy sounds that aren't written. I found someone to help with that, and then Icelandic became "easy".

I think the Duolingo course should spend more time focusing on pinyin and tones in the beginning. If I'm not clear on exactly what I'm hearing early on, I'm not going to have the early success necessary to continue.

An argument could be made to just slog forward and eventually the details will iron out. That may work for some, but immersion is neither an option nor a desire for me.

I may come back to the Chinese course in the future, but right now, I'm spending about 15 minutes a day using the interactive pinyin chart at yoyo chinese, and I'm seeing some progress. Maybe after a couple of months on there, the tones will be distinguishable and familiar and I'll be able to actually start learning. I just wish Duolingo would put some focus on that at the start of the course. Remember, Chinese is a very intimidating language for an English speaker, mostly because of tones and characters. Those need to be introduced slowly to build confidence.

June 20, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rose758227

Could you please add a section about writing. Also can you add stories, thank you!

June 21, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KellieLu2

I just write as it goes on since there is no writing course.

June 25, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TiffanyBennett0

I'm having a great time with the Chinese course so far! I'm about half way through the tree and I'm already finding myself able to understand lots of written and spoken sentences. I've tried a few other learning apps (including paid ones) and Duolingo is definitely the best experience I've had so far.

My main pain points with the course are:

  • The sections where it asks you to transcribe audio. They assume there is only one valid way to write a given spoken phrase, which becomes a problem considering that tā can be written as either 他,她,or 它 depending on context which is not present. I get these wrong frequently because unfortunately the only way to get them right is to memorize which ones are using a given gender.

  • No keyboard input on mobile. I think that having to know how to type the characters I'm writing is a pretty powerful learning tool, and prevents me from being able to guess.

  • Lack of clarity around HSK or CEFR levels through the course. I recently managed to get 100% correct on the HSK 1 set of characters in another flash card app. Several of the characters it tests still haven't been taught, half way through the tree. I'd love a tree reorganization like Spanish was given.

  • I'd really love to get more up front grammar lessons, because I find they're one of my biggest bottlenecks to using the language in more general contexts. I absolutely love the tips system for getting help with learning grammar, though. They work really well.

  • I'd love if Duolingo could be more strict about making sure you get tones right. I know early on in the course there's a question where it presents you with a "qi" sound and all four options are different tones of "qi", and you have to choose the correct one. It would be nice if it did the same, but with making you recognize which tone is attached to a given written character.

I'm also a little bit worried about what will happen when I reach the end of the tree. It seems like it leaves you at around CEFR A2 level? Many people who have completed the tree have said it definitely doesn't leave you at a level of fluency, and it's not super clear where I will go after completing the tree.

With where I am in the course so far, I'd say that the weakest points in my skill are definitely my ability to speak out loud (which I hope Duolingo will be able to help with someday...), and my ability to recognize characters when they're all alone. Multiple choice helps with initially learning to recognize the characters, but doesn't fully reinforce them to the point that I can necessarily recognize them in the middle of a passage of text.

谢谢你!

June 21, 2019

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

If there is no context, the "ta" by default is masculine 他。Always. Not only on Duolingo.

June 21, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Celica2898

It isn't the standard for listening exercices on here though. I remember getting marked wrong on this particular issue a lot.

June 21, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TiffanyBennett0

This is my impression as well, however this is not how Duolingo generally handles the listening exercises.

One example phrase is “她是哪国人”. As far as I know, there's no way to predict you have to write 她, and it does not default to the masculine/ambiguous form 他. I usually have to either memorize the phrase or rely on my IME suggesting the form I write most commonly in order to do these.

Some other examples I've run into (off the top of my head):

  • “她们的哥哥每天下午玩电脑游戏”
  • “她想吃羊肉还是牛肉”

Usually the listening exercises will reuse a phrase from another exercise, such as a "translate this phrase to English". I think that's generally why some of these use 她.

There's no way to report "My answer should be accepted" on listening exercises, you can only report that the answer is wrong.

June 22, 2019

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

I‘d love to have an explanation of every symbol I learn, because in the course we only learn the symbols and sounds without their meanings, which is frustrating.

June 21, 2019

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

As an electrical and software engineer, It’s difficult to speak specifically on improving Chinese, knowing that in reality you’re likely looking for advice on improving the learning experience without making any major changes or additions to the current working (mostly) version of your software.

With that in mind I will provide some input. But first, I will give you some background on myself and my experience with language learning in general. First off, I moved to Shanghai last September. I spoke absolutely no mandarin. I didn’t, and still don’t have time to fully immerse myself into the culture here. I’ve learned mandarin, thus far, mostly by Duolingo and Memrise. I turned off pinyin and went characters only. Best decision I could have made in my opinion. I don’t learn languages well by just hearing it; it’s very difficult to get it to stick. I do learn well visually. So my mostly current method of learning is to do lessons in Duolingo, and use my Memrise course to reinforce what I’ve learned alongside Duolingo.

That said, two weeks ago I enrolled in an HSK1 course that had only one week remaining of the three week class. To fully refresh myself I reluctantly reset my Duolingo Mandarin progress and started working through it again with no testing out. Anyway, I did this because I felt I needed to spend more time talking with people at a slower speed, as well as learn the grammar. My vocab isn’t bad; across the country I get by pretty well. But proper grammar in both speaking and responding was killing me. I passed the HSK1 test with a score of 97.5%. The test itself was easy, but the course work was not. There are some grammar rules that I just didn’t understand or couldn’t actively apply easily when speaking.

So, with my experience, here are my suggestions: 1) teach grammar and sentence structure extensively. Don’t just expect people to know it and be able to speak it by reading the short (and sometimes nonexistent or incomplete) blurb that comes with a lesson. A good example is 是...的, 会,了, 一下,都,做,and 多. And not just the formation of a sentence, but also the response.

2) use more verbal testing, a lot more. I often feel like I have no problem getting through a skill all the way to gold, but if I actually try to form a sentence on the fly in real life with my mouth, I can take 30 seconds forming a sentence and still get it wrong. It’s easy when you give me the grammar by supplying limited words and characters, it’s hard when you’re doing it on your own. Also, as a skill level increases, the criticality of tones during testing should increase.

3) give us the ability to turn off the tests that supply words/characters, maybe after a certain level (3). This will force us to find and use the correct grammar without help.

4) encourage users to refresh old memories and identify difficult words to double-reinforce. Chinese is a very illogical language to native English speaking people and much like advanced math, if you don’t use it, you lose it quickly.

5) I would like to see the order of words learned somehow match the order learned in the HSK course materials. That, or word frequency. It would be very nice to be able to have an HSK course and Duolingo supplement each other.

I’m sorry for the long post but not knowing the chances of being interviewed, I wanted to give my input here because I want to see Duolingo improve. I agree with the sentiment about short stories. However, I think it would have to be something that gets unlocked down the tree. I’m not sure people realize how difficult it is to put together a short story with such limited Chinese knowledge. However, one way to get around that is here... http://justlearnchinese.com/seeing-is-believing/. Its a damn shame that this project died. It’s a really good way to fill in the gaps while telling a story with the knowledge you do have. Another thing to look at is the Beelingual app. The stories are graded. This is not really a learning app, but could certainly be built on and improved upon as an equally interesting way to learn. For those looking for short stories in the interim, a Duolingo supplemented tool, or HSK specific self-test you can find some additional things to help with your learning track here: http://duotool.addohm.net/. The short stories are not yet implemented but they’re already queued up to be added so it won’t be long.

I want to close out by saying that Duolingo is BY FAR the best tool for learning Chinese. I’ve paid for HSK classes and I have tried and paid for most apps or app subscriptions. Nothing is better than Duolingo. It can and should continue to be improved though. If you’d like suggestions on the software itself, I have a few improvements that I can suggest that wouldn’t require any major changes on the back end.

Adam

P.s. how is it that Duolingo mandarin doesn’t teach colors? :P

June 22, 2019

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

I’ve always want be able to talk back to duolingo instead of typing. Simply because Chinese is such a tonal language and I want to make sure I’m pronouncing the words correctly

June 25, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RockDragon4

I like Chinese, but I cannot remember the symbols. Does anyone have any tips?

June 20, 2019

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

go for a paper and a pen, and start to write and repeat the symbol you want to remember. this is what I do and it is effective.

June 20, 2019

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

You have to write them down repeatedly with patience. I suggest you to start with tracing, which I think is the most standard and effective way to learn unfamiliar letters.

https://www.google.com/search?q=chinese+letter+tracing

June 21, 2019

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

The suggestions from MaxiVallet and mochimochinoki are right. The same way we learned and memorized the characters as kids in China.

June 21, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/carlos.cgct

repeat writing them over and over but in sentences so you practice grammar and writing at the same time

June 22, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Shea603077

Don't repeat and repeat. Learn the meanings of the characters, and it will all fall into place: 女(woman)+子(son) = 好(good)

Do you know the six ways of constructing Chinese characters? No? Well, I would suggest that is a good place to start.

June 25, 2019

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

this is why it is important start to learning pinyin before memorize characters.

June 25, 2019

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

Get gold in a skill before working on a new skill.

June 25, 2019

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

As a quick and dirty method, I try to find something about the character that reminds me of its pronunciation, meaning, or both. For example, for pi2 啤 I see the P with a short leg, and I see the slanted line in front of it to remind me that it is the rising tone. My effort at trying to see some way to be reminded about the character's pronunciation and meaning builds memory by creative focus, but some characters leave me stumped, but the effort at trying is the key since you are using active focus. For a really good system that uses two elements of the characters as story reminders which include both the pronunciation, tone and meanings of the characters, I recommend the book Learning Chinese Characters, by Mathews and Mathews (husband and wife). My only problem with the book is that I will forget which two elements of a character to focus on and what the story is that uses those elements, etc. Nonetheless, the method makes sense. The book covers the common characters in HSK level A.

June 26, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/o-chefe

This app seems promising but it's not released yet

June 29, 2019

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

We could have a section talking about traditional characters

June 21, 2019

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

It would be nice to have some sort of lesson or introduction on Chinese stroke order or writing. I can look at some characters and understand it, but I have trouble with writing a character down on paper from memory.

June 21, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Eija298140

The stroke order is necessary if you're learning to write Chinese. I'd be happy if the character In the Duo execises were bigger, too. I have some difficulty in distinguishing the strokes.

June 23, 2019

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

It would be great if all the words in the Chinese (and Japanese) courses had recordings of all the words, as some words don’t have any audio!

June 26, 2019

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

Hello and good luck with your survey.

I will put thoughts here about my experiences with the chinese course on duolingo.

First, I think the duo format makes it very accessible.

Obviously, as a learner, when looking at courses, I want one that will help me learn and progress in the language. But. Even more basic than that requirement: I need something that I can access, and that will not put me off and cause me to quit.

The duolingo chinese course succeeds in this. Because it is possible (and enjoyable) to get through the lessons even at the early stage when I don't know anything.

E.g. in many lessons, there is an association between the "sound" and the "character" (without reference to the meaning) and the question is multi choice, and the sounds can be heard by clicking the characters. This means the user can complete the question successfully. And this helps with not causing the user to give up. Some users do complain about that format on the forums, saying it is not good to learn the sound and character without the meaning. But I think it is good. I think any exercise which strengthens any one of the links between sound meaning and written form is actually useful, and forms a base layer that can be built on later.

I wrote on your other thread -about tips - and I said I only study chinese through apps and have studied for a little bit more than 1 year. Now that I think about it, I remember this is almost completely true, except I did try to learn chinese in about 2002 briefly, because of a trip, and I used audio cassettes in my car. It was not successful. After listening and listeningfor maybe 20 hours total, the only that I could say is "this is Miss Li". I do not know anyone called Miss Li, and this was not useful. Also, more recently, I realise its important to be careful about saying "miss" anyway.

So my past experience of learning chinese was that it is hard. So for me the bar for improvement over that taped course, is low.

I would say that the combination of using Duo (chinese from english) together with another app (Hello Chinese) and dipping into some duolingo laddering (french from chinese, italian from chinese) means that I am progressing a little at a time in these areas:

Recognising characters (meaning): , this is the one I find easiest - Im ok with many of the characters now in terms of recognising them. and improving steadily - Edit - I know that this is only true for me for the particular subset of characters used in this course - I cannot understand e.g. a written newspaper or even a childrens book, but I can now usually recognise a lot of the characters in Duolingo's word set, and I am super pleased about that as progress.

Recognising/remembering the sound when looking at the characters: poor but improving slowly. i find this hard. I very often recognise the characters and what they mean, but do not recall how they should sound.

Knowing what to say (sounds in chinese) when translating straight from english - this is the poorest skill for me, but i am gradually getting a slightly bigger pool of phrases I can say or write from keyboard: 我叫Helen 我是英国人 我吃面包 我的猫吃你的鱼 你是谁 and a few others, are all things I can say and type now. Which is not a lot, but loads better than just "This is Miss Li" anyway.

I would recommend anyone learning Chinese from scratch like me to use a combination of duolingo with something else - maybe that is true for anyone learning any language, the different methods reinforce each other.

Good luck with your survey

June 21, 2019

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

The course is good, also for grammar and tips. For what little I know about Chinese, perhaps it would be better to introduce more pinyin. The characters are already complicated, if you don't even remember pinyin and accents is even worse. (I speak enough English to do the course in English, but I'm Italian).

June 21, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Noah225463

I think that it would be great to have a section for these languages that are stroke based to practice writing out the characters (that would be under the strengthen tab) for phones, and also when you first learn the characters so that you can remember them better (to make it more kinesthetic).

June 22, 2019

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

I am a poor-English speaker currently studying Chinese on Duolingo who cannot participate in oral interview so I'll just leave my comments here:

1) Please consider introducing gradual disablement of "word bank" in Chinese (and Korean) course as well. In many other courses (both in Android app and Web Duolingo), when we complete the lessons and level up, word bank gradually disappears and we will eventually become able to type the whole sentences letter to letter when we reach Level 5. I love this feature because it enables smooth learning.

As far as I know, Chinese and Korean courses currently do not have this feature, and I have to manually turn off word bank (and cannot use Android app in which I cannot turn off word bank) if I want to practice pinyin typing/handwriting input/voice input after getting used to new words and phrases of each course.

2) It would be great if word hints show pinyin along with definitions. It will help us practice pinyin typing and pronunciation.

June 21, 2019

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

Just a tip... I sometimes turn off the Word Bank in the mobile app. I've only been using Duolingo for about 2 months so I'm currently working on the 6th (Occupation) through 15th (Drink) lessons. I've been using a phone with Android 5.1 (Lollipop) and yesterday upgraded it to Android 7.1 (Nougat). I use Google's Gboard keyboard (in the Play store) and installed the Pinyin input. I've tried using the keyboard's Chinese Handwriting input, just for practice in a text app, but I've had little to no success with it. So I'll have to practice writing on real paper for now :-) But Gboard's Pinyin to character keyboard is excellent and I've found it very helpful in Duolingo.

July 24, 2019

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

Yes!! The disablement of Word Bank became available on Android App a week ago. I really appreciate it.

July 25, 2019

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

Hi! I have stopped using the Chinese course on Duolingo because each and every sentence starting from the middle of the tree is way too long. It's not difficult, it's just annoying to write the same long-ass sentence tens of times a day when you already know it by heart.

June 21, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GustavoQue434358

Repetition works. Some of the mistakes I usually make is to repeat a sentence I thought I had memorized and then realize that it was a similar but different sentence.

June 23, 2019

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

I can sort of agree here. Repetition is mundane but helpful. It would be cool if they made sure each lesson contained unique (even if only a one word variation) sentences.

June 25, 2019

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

I think that it is difficult sometimes because Duolingo can't/doesn't show the English, the Chinese characters and the Pinyin. That means that though I can recognise characters I often don't know the phonetics

June 22, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GustavoQue434358

The one thing I would like is the ability to turn off the word bank in the app version. It would help a lot to remember learned words, specially in higher levels

EDIT: I would also like the speaking exercises back. They were enabled for Android a month ago and then removed because of technical issues. They were fun!

June 22, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Fallon68856

I wish they had a traditional part of the language as well! I learned the traditional version in high school, and it's difficult trying to switch over after getting used to it for a year.

June 23, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SuperT422

I, of course, can't tell. But I have a friend from China (who lives in America now) and he sees me doing Duolingo and he says that the translations are not all accurate. I can speak it to him and he will know, but he says native speakers don't say certain things in certain ways.

June 25, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KellieLu2

You should do pratices with tones.

June 25, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PL-2

I would like to see larger characters and perhaps a picture with the character to make it easier to remember. The listening part of the Chinese course is where I learn the most useful Chinese. I still hardly recognize any characters even though I completed the tree on the first level.

It’s hard to put a Chinese course together and this is the only course that I’ve sort of stuck to. I just don’t think the characters are sticking to me. However the spoken language part is sticking. My brain sort of ignores the characters and the way I am getting thru the course is listening and then figuring out the translation by piecing what makes sense since I can’t see the characters clearly on the screen. I also wish that I could play the voice on slow setting like it is available in Italian.

I wonder if it would be easier if we forget the character learning at first and then start the characters on a much higher level.

June 25, 2019

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

Please add a traditional characters option as promised in the original DL 'blog post announcing the Chinese course.

I don't have any major criticisms of the course; the most unhelpful thing is probably the occasional (but abiding) misreadings of characters in isolation (the Japanese course has a similar problem), which I'm sure could confuse people (the readings aren't wrong, just not the ones the course is trying to teach, and don't match the pinyin given). Unfortunately, there is no way to report audio problems in the 'character challenge'-type questions.

June 23, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Phille13

If you learn on the browser and use Google Crome you can add a traditional characers option by installing the following add-on: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/duolingo-chinese/clnnjdojceobnkhkocigpboialomopfk

June 24, 2019

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

Thank you for pointing this out; unfortunately, I use Firefox, for which a corresponding add-on does not appear to exist.

June 25, 2019

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

I love duolingo. It is true that it has faults and can be frustrating at times but I can see that you are constantly working on improvements so we all learn together. Well done! and thanks for your hard work.

June 24, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/biff96

Hi all! Not sure if this has been said, but I am a Chinese student at university and had 3+ years of chinese learning experience (and 6 months of living in china) before starting duolingo chinese. I use it as a way to practice my reading and listening and get a little dose of chinese each day.

The biggest complaint I, and others like me (my friends who use duolingo Chinese for the same reasons) have is that the translations are sometimes not "flexible enough." Because Chinese grammar is so different than English, my translations will often not pass the first round until I report them and get a friendly email later saying my translation was added. I know that I am helping build a better course for later, but it has been a frustrating process that makes me put down the chinese course for a while until I feel ready to come back.

Just my two cents. I didn't start from scratch on Duolingo with Chinese, so I don't have much input on that end of things.

加油同学们!好好学习天天向上

June 25, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/o-chefe

I have been taking the course slowly but steadily for three months and it definitely is a useful tool. However:™

  1. There is no reason the 汉字 need to be at the small size they currently are, especially for learners. Maybe also look into using a 楷书 style, like in the textbooks.
  2. The font has too small accents for 拼音 to be useful. Maybe use another font for it, or provide an option to use numbers instead (pin¹yin¹ or pin1yin1).
  3. 1 and 2 apply especially to mobile.
  4. The early exercises do not force you to engage with tone in a constructive way.
  5. The audio needs work. Some syllables differ from the standard 拼音, some are super fast, and others are silent.
  6. A new type of exercise where you draw characters would be helpful.
  7. Many sentences pop up twice in a row, even if it may be another type of exercise.
June 29, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Levi
  • 2047

I would love to see Stories for Chinese. Many thanks!

June 20, 2019

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

It's unlikely, that Duolingo would have Stories for courses, like Chinese, Korean, Japanese, etc. in the near future, but carbsrule had a great suggestion for making a separate "incubator" for Stories, where people would translate existing Stories into the languages, which don't have them. You can check it out here.

June 21, 2019

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

too weird you have three in all subjects

June 26, 2019

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

Du bist toll! 1986 Tage

June 20, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/fallingleaf_271

Me too! I made a post about it here if anyone is interested.

July 19, 2019

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

I started the Chinese course almost a year ago completely from zero. And now my level is hsk3+ and my Chinese tree is completed but not golden yet.

I agree with those people who praise Duolingo Chinese course for its easy way of accessing such complicated language. It's a very good entry point to all those people who like me are intimidated by the Chinese language difficulty level.

I also agree that it's best to combine Duolingo course with some other ways of studying the language. Early on I set my daily goal to 30XP and kept reaching it every day. Even if I had no time or inclination for any other types of learning Chinese every single day the discipline of 30XP a day kept me going and not giving up completely at the times when my motivation was lacking.

As for the ways to improve the course I think

1) I find it is particularly hard to remember the tones. It could be good if pinyin-character matching exercises at later stages included more cases with similar pinyin but with different tones. It really helps to remember the tones though might seem a bit more challenging. So any other type of exercises which focuses on remembering the tones might also help as well. As for hearing tones without pinyin hints I think it's too hard for the beginners' course so I won't ask for it.

2)In different discussions I often saw people ask for pronociation excercises to be added to the course but I think it can be very discouraging at the beginning. I'm sure I would have given up this course long ago if I had to struggle through pronounciation early on. I guess those who need it can find it elsewhere.

I'm sure I had more thoughts on improving the course during the year I've been working on it but now I got so used to it that I don't see any problems at all.

I hope my comments would be useful though I didn't say much

June 21, 2019

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

I agree with you on all points here. Especially that I do not like too many pronunciation exercises at the beginning. I find this for any language in fact. It is traditional in text books to have pages and pages on pronunciation. But that is really boring and hard to take in without actually having a go. So for me, I think it is best to just get stuck in, as Duonlingo does, and gradually introduce more and more sounds.

June 21, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/86M9cHre

Stories, more courses so we can attain a higher Level. You could also add character writing exercises so we learn the stroke order. The most helpful for me to learn these characters is a little explanation of how the different parts of them are made up. Once I learned the symbol for a mouth that is used in many characters I finally remembered the difference between left and right(eat with the right hand). You can also see that in speak, eat, drink and so on. I find this extremely helpful (like the radicals of the character) an it is seldom taught.

June 21, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/P.Poniewierski

I use it, love it but also it drives me crazy. There is at least one inconsistency (one I have encountered so far). Wrote about it recently (comment/32649970). Many people learning Mandarin are aming to pass HSK so it would be great if here and there would be a lesson or a test of vocabulary, clearly marked the HSK level. Also Levi's idea about stories in Mandarin is great.

June 21, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/olga248831

Hello,

Two days ago I talked to the Chinese from Beijing and tried to say the phrases I learned on Duolingo. They did not understand everything, because the pronunciation of even simple phrases like "What is it?" more like Korean than Chinese. I use other sites with real (live) dialogues and even bought a book with audio and, indeed, the pronunciation is not the same as on Duolingo. Maybe on Duolingo is a computer (artificial) pronunciation? And the difference between male and female pronunciation (on Duolingo) is also visible. Which of them is correct? I was a little upset and discouraged by this, but for memorizing hieroglyphs, I think that Duolingo is the best site.

June 22, 2019

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

Native speakers are just not accustomed to hearing Chinese from a foreigner. Even in foreigner rich areas, I find myself repeating myself three times or more. It’s not so much because the audio on Duolingo isn’t perfect as it is that the language is so difficult and varies from province to province. Native speakers think foreigners only know two phrases - 你好 and 谢谢. A sentence as simple as 这是什么 is just shocking to them. Lol

June 23, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Levi
  • 2047

The time has come to get accustomed! (I've been learning Chinese for six years now.)
2019.06.23

June 23, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/olga248831

And, do you speak well? Can they understand you?

June 25, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/olga248831

Ha, ha, that's exactly what happened.- " is just shocking to them" and me too :))))

June 25, 2019

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

I agree about the audible difference in male and female pronunciation on Duolingo. I also find the audio level is lower on the female voice which makes it harder to hear.

July 24, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hannah20124

I think it would be nice if Duolingo added courses on writing the Chinese characters, pinyin and what it is, and how to pronounce it so chinese people can actually understand it.

June 22, 2019

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

The Chinese course is a very solid course, but it's not perfect. Although I am a beginner to the course, I have had encountered some issues. For me, I am a desktop user and a mobile user of Duolingo. One thing I would like to see is a list of all the characters and words I have learned. I bring this list up, because in the middle of the day I get a notification saying, "You have learned over 100 symbols in Chinese. Complete your daily goal today, and learn this new symbol." I'm not sure if this is the same for all courses, but I think it will be very useful for users. I can see all symbols I have learned, and work on the ones I don't recognize. I imagine it could be an extra addition to the course. I also imagine it can be implemented into other courses. For example, in the German course it could show all the words you know in German. Other than that one feature, I think the Chinese course is solid. I can't think of much problems, but if Duolingo is reading this... Please add a list of all the characters I have learned. -Thanks

June 24, 2019

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

Hello! Is it possible for there to be an option/switch that allows me to learn the traditional script? I know that it's only really used in a few places in the world, but I think it'd help me to recognise both scripts.

June 24, 2019

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

大家好 1. Word bank option is still needed. I have been using "keyboard only" for the last two days which was great. It helped with memory. However, I still need to hear the pronunciation. Also at the beginning of learning new words, word bank is necessary. So I think we need both options.
2. The Chinese-English dictionary is terrible. I can't use it at all. It needs huge improvement.
谢谢

June 24, 2019

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

I just want to see my level

June 26, 2019

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

stories for chinese would be great!

June 27, 2019

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

I know I am late to add this, but something I would like to see is the ability to test into certain subjects (to the exclusion of testing out of an entire section) if it's the first level of the subject. As an example, weather are way down in the tree compared to when you learn them from traditional classes. There should be no reason to block users from at least trying to attempt a new subject.

July 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ccbbc3

Hello, unfortunately, I think I can say that my attempt to learn Chinese with Duolingo was a failure despite my work, my ratings etc. Arrived at level 7, I realized that I had forgotten most of the previous ideograms and that I memorized the new ones only in short memory, so I stopped. I think the biggest obstacle to my memorizing was the fact that Duolingo does not give the translations! Remembering a sign you do not understand is even more difficult. I am waiting to recover from my disappointment and I will try again to learn, but on another site.

June 21, 2019

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

Muchas gracias por el curso. First of all I'd like to say thanks for your hard work. It's difficult to translate sentences from Chinese into English and vice versa and have the dozens of possible different translations.

Some tips for improvements on the course would be: - Human voice recordings. Robot recorders are awesome, but they are not natural at all! Plus normal Chinese don't pronounce Chinese completely like in the books. An couple of examples: 提供 it's widely pronounce ti2gong4 and not ti2gong1; 给予 is pronounced ji3yu3 but people read it gei3yu3.

  • Chinese traditional characters. Yes, I know, 95% of Chinese productions and more and more Chinese overseas communities use the almighty simplified Chinese set (I love them!) But a choice at the beginning or a way of switching both "orthographic rules" would be terrific. By the rest, I'm volunteering if you need a hand doing this part of the job.

  • Stories. Not only the Brazilian Portuguese, French, German and Spanish tree. There are plenty of materials to improve your listening skills that are awfully funny (including some dialogues of HSK 5 and 6) I can't record it because I have accent (I'm a laowai) but this improvement will help students to improve their listening.

Finally I'd like to add that Duolingo needs a general improvement to look more like Assimil!

June 22, 2019

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

Though it would take time to implement, since Chinese is so focused on characters, a word practice analysis like the Spanish course would go a long way in helping to understand the individual characters and their tones.

June 22, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jasmine959

I would like that each branch gets a little harder after you pass a level since each has at least five levels. Also it would be great for people to learn Cantonese as well as Mandarin Chinese.

June 24, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/smokey2022

When matching the hanzi to the pronunciation, the semantic meaning of the character or compound should be given as well. This goes for both just selecting the correct character and for matching the tiles.

June 25, 2019

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

I'm using an android phone and have access to the microphone exercises. I'm learning Mandarin and Russian at the same time. But found that the microphone will pick up Russian better than Mandarin. DuoLingo can't pick up after the first word (I'll get a green and the rest of the sentence in red). I checked my pronounciation on Google translate and the voice-to-text picks it up just fine. So I don't know what's wrong? I deleted my Russian course to see if that helps. But DuoLingo mobile app still won't pick up on the microphone exercises. Any one else experiencing this?

July 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Isaiah240933

I would love to see a pinyin only option. This would allow me to remember the tones for each word better, and I feel it would make vocab aquireation quicker and easier. In fact, I wish that we had some skills that where just focused on building your vocab like the verbs skill on some languages

June 22, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Johanna564493

I started learning Chinese a while ago and like a lot of ppl here in the comments I noticed it can be too easy for a language that complicated and difficult. I also think that courses of languages with different letters (not latin letters) should have a guide of the alphabet of the studied language (Russian, Chinese ect), because without knowing all the letters and their sounds it makes it really difficult to learn.

June 25, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Linda7Italian

Meg. As per your other post, please make your posts clearer admin-wise and more professional; many of us have been concerned at this sudden approach to all ages! Best regards.

June 20, 2019
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