Has not DuoLingo any chance to hire a linguist to explain the developers that a language IS NOT just pragmatic, but before and mainly, a corpus of SEMANTIC gears???
That's what you get when you put people without studies to develop the course just because they are 'native speakers': awful and confusing translations supported with pragmatic excuses: "In English it's the response to 'thank you', so it's well..."...
This course is not about English pragmatic but about arabic, guys! Arabic has it's own pragmatic... and SEMANTIC, never forget semantic!
Yes, the semantics are an essential part of the very identity of Arabic. This is why first-language Arabic speaking nations choose not to identify their dialects as 'languages' but choose to keep MSA as the official language despite its relative impracticality - they CHOOSE the aesthetics of Arabic over practicality.
The course makers are not just flatly wrong in the baseline assumptions (this is how newscasters speak etc.) but you can see in many instances they 'think' in English rather than Arabic, in using directly translated forms which make no sense even in Arabic.
Could you explain the meaning of " the semantics are an essential part of the very identity of Arabic."? As I understand it, semantics is the branch of linguistics that deals with meaning, as opposed to eg phonetics, grammar. I can't get my head round your statement. The fact that عَفْواً is used to mean "you're welcome" is useful for us students to know. That's the pragmatic meaning. The fact that its basic (semantic) meaning is "forgive me" is interesting, indeed, very interesting to those of us who are interested in the "gears" of the language, as Elojah calls them, but not essential. I would really appreciate it if you explained your sentence to me.
Hi Katie, sort answer because I'm studing: grammar is not the counterpart of semantic, it's the pragmatics. The approaching that you are using when you think that this arabic word means "you're welcome" it's pragmatic, on the base of the use and custom, but it's not a correct approaching.
Pragmatic is not the base of the lexical meaning, the very base of the meaning of a word is its ethymologycal history. Because the speakers can use a word with a linghtly different meaning, as call it "seat" to a sofa. But you cannot say "sofa" to mean "a letter of the alphabet" or to mean "concept". Why? What put limits to custom and use in communication? Ethymology, obviously. I hope that help you. Greetings.
Elojah, it's very kind of you to try to explain to me about semantics, pragmatics, etc, but actually I do understand these words. I thought that would be clear from what I wrote. Perhaps I was too tentative in my expression of disagreement with various comments. Thanks anyway. One thing I wanted to say is that the main thing for a Duolingo language student is to know in what circumstances to use a word (pragmatic meaning). Some students may not care about the semantic meaning. Duolingo only gives the pragmatic meaning, but some of us are grateful to fellow students, or observers, when they explain the origin of expressions. I hope that's clearer. I still don't think that "the semantics are an essential part of the very identity of Arabic" conveys any meaning. Of course, I suppose semantics is at the core of any language, it's not unique to Arabic.
Katie, the words " the semantics are an essential part of the very identity of Arabic" are not mine, but from Fix.
And about this: "Some students may not care about the semantic meaning. Duolingo only gives the pragmatic meaning..."
That's why DuoLingo is not a very good course language, but as much a regular one, made by amateur people with short knowledge and scarce openmindness to accept corrections to improve themselves and their work. A good language course can teach both semantics and pragmatics without difficulty. In fact it's not so hard.
And of course a good teacher knows what to teach no matter what their students think about semantics or pragmatics. After all that's why they want to learn, it's not? Because they don't know.
This is what you get for free and IMHO it pretty damn fantastic for a free resource. It is far from perfect but I've still learnt a lot from it. As a language teacher, I can assure that most low-level course materials simplify the semantics of a language so that the learners have the opportunity to learn something without getting sidetracked into the vast array of possible semantic meanings.
Many other Duo courses allow alternatives to 'Y-- w--' . Idiom like this is normally well within the Duo team system to improve with alternatives. That is what the suggestion feature is for. Don't apologise for building a vast array. It is a database and it eats vast arrays for breakfast.
EDIT - apparently this is wrong (and I can't be bothered Googling it all to check) - so you can go right ahead and ignore it. Yes - meaning can be the literal definition whereas the semantic meaning is how the language is used to convey meaning, for example, if I say to you "Gosh it's hot in here" the direct meaning is that the room is hot but my message is that I would like you to offer to open the window or turn the ac on. Or here with عَفْواً the direct translation (meaning) has been given by FIX as 'forgive me' but it is used to say 'you're welcome' (semantic meaning)
Interesting. What you call "direct meaning" I know as "semantic meaning" and what you call "semantic meaning" I know as "pragmatic meaning". I was taught that semantic meaning is the dictionary meaning of each word, eg the semantic meaning of "it's hot in here" means exactly what it says, something like "the temperature is elevated around us". But its pragmatic meaning, depending on context, could be, "could you open the window?", "let's get our clothes off" etc. I'm based in the UK. Perhaps in America it's different?
no it cannot be used when greeting someone to your home because it technically does not mean 'you are welcome'
When thinking in English, it is a response to 'thank you' - which is 'you are welcome' in English, but not so in Arabic.
(thanking and the response to thanking are very unique to every language identity).