Insults/Curse Words Section
I don't know if this has been asked before (tried using the search bar to no avail), and excuse me if I'm being juvenile/immature for asking this, but I think it would be awesome if there was an insults and curse words section! Maybe it could be some kind of reward for completing a skill tree or something.
I know I can't be the only one on this site that would find it hilarious to curse out their best buds and pals without their knowing. But then again this may just be me...
People seem to be afraid of profanities but they can make up a big part of the language when you actually get to use it with real people, other people use these words even if you don't (and kudos to you if you don't). You can choose whether or not you use profanities yourself but do you really want to not know what people are saying to you? Don't you at least want to know if they are being rude? Or even worse, what about those profanities that are very similar to normal, innocent, vocabulary, don't you want to be aware of them?
We're studying languages here and if we want our knowledge to be complete we need to know the good and the bad, just like in any discipline. Which part of this knowledge we choose to utilise in our own communications is up to us.
However, how to limit this knowledge to those who are ready for it, by age, level of maturity and knowledge of the language, I don't know but there are plenty of intelligent people behind the scenes at duolingo who I'm sure can come up with a solution.
Additionally, expletives tell us something about the culture in which a language developed/is used, particualrly those things that are salient in each environment. For example, the Quebecois use of tabernac where an English speaking American would say MF or SOB or GD. Similarly, expletives can have an interesting pattern of use that falls outside traditional grammar rules - the American use of the F word as a noun, verb, adjective, expletive, term of endearment, and so on. A phrase like "F you, you F'ing F" makes sense in America, even if it probably shouldn't, and I'd be interested in similar constructions/usages in other languages. Once I've made it through the traditional tree I would hopefully have the ability to understand the expletive course. Furthermore, not all expletives are profane or vulgar: "Gosh darn it!", "Aw, nuts!", and "Geez" are expletive expressions too, regardless of how clean/cheesy they appear to be or a person looks using them. For someone attempting to make practical use of the language they've learned with a native speaker of that language, such knowledge is just as valuable as the rest. Despite our puritanical sensibilities, the profane, vulgar, and expletive are not linguisitic outliers and their use dates back to the earliest cave paintings and pictogram writing systems. No doubt an age gate is fairly trivial for Duolingo to implement, possibly even credit card verified, so that shouldn't be too much of a concern. Slippery slope arguments are invalid though, nothing about a well executed expletive segment would turn the forums into a den of sin and profanity. Moderators exist for a reason, and no doubt any implementation of expletives in the skill tree would be academic, slightly humorous, and educational, as with the rest of Duolingo. User generated content would certainly have to be reviewed before acceptance, though.
Yes, otherwise how would I know if someone is insulting me, they could be calling me every name in the book and I would just reply, Danke, and make fool of myself. Even mild insults section would be nice, I use those for humor all the time, something like the stooges, this morning had five squirrels wanting a treat so for entertainment purposes called them insaneheads, maybe I watch the 3 stooges too much.
I think it does not take too much work to learn the curse words without a special section. Just look it up online if you are interested, and I am sure you can find an ample supply of information.
And I think that the idea, if implemented, would kind of make the site a lot less serious. Plus it makes it a heckuva lot less child friendly, as ziggKogg noted.
Curse words aren't as scary in other cultures as in English, and it would be helpful to learn. Surely you could have a section in settings that took your age and decided when to show these to you (earlier if adult, very late if younger). You can still have a no profanity policy in discussions unless you are discussing the profanity in question from a language learning perspective - most people are intelligent enough to know the difference.
The founder Luis at least joked about adding a section like that a year ago or so on Reddit. I was watching the latest Lone Ranger movie and the Lone Ranger says, "do you know what tonto means in Spanish?" I looked it up I think it means "fool". This is your first "insult" lesson ha.