BIG errors that need fixing

Hi everyone,

I've been systematically working through all of the German sections and I've noticed LOTS of mistakes that need to be fixed as soon as possible (before anyone asks, I have a B.A. and an M.A. in German and I spent four years in German-speaking countries).

  1. Duolingo, for some inexplicable reason, does not seem to accept females as valid.

e.g. Translate from English into German: "The reader is sick."

-Duolingo will ONLY accept "Der Leser ist krank" and will kick out "Die Leserin ist krank" as being incorrect. Duolingo, please fix this NOW! You might also consider adding a male/female symbol next to the English word, e.g. "The reader♀ is sick", forcing the native English speaker to think about marking the gender in German.

2."Es" is NOT the only translation of "it" into German! Depending on what you are talking about, "er + sie + es" are all equally valid options.

e.g. "Hast du die Schere?" "Nein, ich habe sie nicht gesehen." In this example, "es" isn't an option and would be completely incorrect.

When Duolingo gives us an English sentence devoid of context, like this one

"Did you see it yesterday?"

then it MUST accept three possible (and equally valid) translations:

"Hast du ihn/sie/es gestern gesehen?"

I have been going through the different sections and deliberately choosing the answer that Duolingo is likely to mark as being incorrect for the sole purpose of reporting "My answer should be accepted" in order to bring their attention to such a huge and obvious problem.

Maybe this post will help a bit, too.

August 24, 2013


Thanks for this thoughtful post! I just fixed the "Leserin" issue.

With sentences like "Did you see it yesterday?", we try to stick to the most straightforward translations in order to teach pronouns effectively. You're certainly right that sometimes "it" is "er" or "sie" and Duolingo will accept these if enough context is given to warrant that. Translating the example to "Hast du sie/ihn gestern gesehen?" would be appropriate if you had more information about the object of the sentence. Without a reference to a masculine/feminine gendered noun like "der Film" or "die Sendung", "es" should be the first choice for "it".

I'm glad you pointed this out. We'll think about adding some content to drive home your point :)

August 29, 2013

I'm just guessing on this so I could be totally wrong. Maybe that is done as this is a fairly new site and hasn't had time to (add) everything yet. Or that may be done on purpose as this is to (learn) a new language and not to (perfect) a language already known. Maybe adding (all) correct responses would be too overwhelming for learners and should be done after a fairly good grip of language is known. I can't think of one off hand but there are also many incorrect english sentences etc also, it may be alot of people say it that way but isn't the true perfect way of saying it, just like most people say "can I have a can of pop" well of course you (can) so the real correct way is "May I have a can of pop", I guess my point on that example is there are plenty of english errors also but then again this is a learning site not a mastering site.

August 24, 2013

Well, I think we are here all on this great site to learn one or more new languages with a very innovative and well designed and FREE tool. :)
And I wan't to take this opportunity to thank DUO for the awesome work.

This goes in line with zippzopp, saying: " this is a fairly new site and hasn't had time to (add) everything yet." Well, I report a lot and got plenty of feedback from DUO that my suggestion has been accepted, and I also try to discuss things b4 I report to hear others opinions.

On the other hand I strongly agree with pgeisler5, why would/should you learn things which are: confusing, wrong, incomplete, misleading, out of context. The student will remember them wrongly and will have a hard time to get it right later. It is paramount when you learn, that you have a correct reference. I use PONS, DUDEN, but DUO is not a reference at this stage. In my opinion, everything what sounds wrong or odd, should be mentioned/reported to make this tool better, and the more natives or teachers here contribute the more we will get out of it.

August 24, 2013

Well put! Everyone's feedback (especially through the "report a problem" option) is essential and helps us identify and fix issues. There are thousands of Duolingo sentences so a few mistakes do slip in. We understand how frustrating this can be and do our best to fix things as quickly as possible and we're also working on ways to speed this process up through help from the community. Thanks for the post and please stay tuned!

August 29, 2013

Thanks, myra. Keep up the good work. :-)

August 30, 2013

Well I just had a sentence of "sie sind dran" which came out as " It's your turn" so no ES was used for it here on this one.

August 24, 2013

Because "It's your turn" literally means "Es ist dein / Ihr Zug."

"Sie sind dran" (formal) would be something like "You are on," but I do not know if people actually say this.

August 25, 2013
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