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

Arabic Course Marks Typing "Correct" but with a "Typo" When It Is Egregiously Wrong

I have been trying to do the Arabic cuorse with typing things out manually, because I want to really learn the alphabet and learn how to spell and type properly.

I've been frustrated at how Duolingo marks things as "correct" that are obviously wrong. It'll say "You have a typo" in one word, but often ignore another word that is completely wrong, not even marking it as having a typo.

I raised this concern on the talk page here:

https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/32863058

My example was that I typed "يام موتورجَم جَيد" when the correct answer was "سام مُتَرجِم جَيِّد."

How and why it's marking this correct is completely beyond me. What's more concerning is that when it shows me the "typo" it only shows the typo in the first word, it completely ignores my middle word being utter jibberish and pretty much all three words being wrong.

Has anyone else noticed this problem? Is there anything we can do about it? I feel like it's making these typing exercises completely useless because it's allowing me to progress when I'm not able to actually type or spell correctly.

January 23, 2020

4 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/angus390025

Has anyone else noticed this problem?

Yes, I have noticed it. I downloaded an arabic keyboard and use it infrequently, although I usually choose the tiles when I'm learning Arabic. I have had words marked as "typo" both when using the tiles and when using the keyboard.

I'm not sure you can do anything about it. In all the courses I have started here it is possible to get "typo" messages. Duolingo is famous for forgiving some pretty egregious errors.

On the other hand, it is also famous for being totally unforgiving at other times. For example, in Spanish, I often type "you" instead of "yo" as a subject. I took four years of Spanish in high school and several semesters at university. I worked for a year as a Spanish-English interpreter. I have travelled in 12 spanish-speaking countries and have had no serious trouble understanding and making myself understood. I am perfectly aware of the spelling of the subjective form of the first-person personal pronoun. I know how it is spelled and how it is pronounced, but I think I have some latent muscle memory that makes me go for the U any time my fingers start with YO. It is probably because I'm from an English-speaking country and I'm a decent touch typist. It's uncanny, but it happens regularly. My mind thinks YO but I type YOU. It's a small thing, yet it always gets counted incorrect. It is an honest-to-goodness typographical error, but duolingo will not accept you for yo in any spanish exercise.

So it cuts both ways. Sometimes it counts genuine typographical errors as "wrong" and sometime it counts faulty grammar as "typo". There are many threads about this in various courses. I'm not sure that you can do anything about it.

Somebody explained this to me in another thread a long time ago. Apparently if your error produces a word that is on the books, and that word is wrong, then it gets counted as wrong. The word "you" is in the database, and it is not "yo" so it is wrong. If your error produces gibberish (a word that is not in the database) then it will be treated as "typo". For example, maybe if I typed YOG instead of YO it would show up as "typo." In your case, clearly it wanted mutarjim (مترجم). Apparently your word, muuturjim (موتورجَم), is not in the database but it had the essential elements (three or four correct consonants, which is the root of most words in Arabic as I understand it, TRJM in this case, or ت ر ج م, which is roughly "explain" and the origin of the modern arabic word for "interpreter"), so it called it a "typo".

The arabic course is obviously very short. Shorter than the duolingo French and Spanish courses, which are much easier languages to learn. I bought the book "Teach Yourself Arabic" and it is much better organized and has more content. Of course it isn't free, like duolingo, but you can get it used for about three dollars. I got mine new for $19.95. It came with a cassette tape. :) That was about 20 years ago. I suppose it came with a CD in later editions, and it probably comes with a URL and a passcode now. I can vouch for it. I studied it for about six months in preparation for a trip to Egypt. Learned enough Arabic to get by.


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

Yeah. I have noticed how it "goes both ways" on the "typo" thing.

You'd think with 5+ years for them to hone the algorithm they could get something together to improve this. Like, I'm a programmer, I'm not even a particularly good programer, but I think I could do a better job of improving these sorts of algorithms.

It's like they don't even care.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/juliet569059

I thought you left 4 years ago?

The Arabic course on here is one of the worst on here. You would do well to quit while you are ahead.

There are a few posters here that have youtube sites from which you would learn more efficientyl.

Also, I use over 20 apps that teach Arabic and none of them are worse than duo


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

I came back just to check out the Arabic course but also to peek around and see what was happening to the site as a whole.

Of course, the Arabic course seems to suffer from similar problems to many of the other non-Western languages that were recent launches.

I guess I had hoped in the back of my mind that the people running this site would get their heads screwed on right and actually get their act together for once.

Instead I see same old same old: lots of new UI redesigns, visual features, some of them making things even harder to use (yellow text on white? SERIOUSLY?)

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