Offensive exercises

The following exercise keeps popping up:

O casamento é para a namorada e para o namorado. Of course everyone is entitled to freedom of expression, but is a language course really the right place?

Or is duolingo actually trying to make a statement?

December 15, 2012


It should read "O casamento ERA para a namorada e para o namarado".

December 15, 2012

It can be what he wrote also. The diference is that it means that the marriage is for the boyfriend and the girlfriend. While the other versions says that it was for they. But there is nothing gramatically wrong in his sentence.

December 15, 2012

That same sentence is in the Spanish section. I was not offended. These sentences are just snap shots of peoples conversions not moralizing by duolingo. It did get me thinking how would a child of a gay couple label their gay parents in Spanish. Would "Mis madres"(38,600 google hits) apply to two lesbians? Or would it be "Mis padres" (google hits 15,700,000) as it is with heterosexual couples.

December 15, 2012

At first I thought something similar: "oh well, those sentences are probably randomly generated or they want to put in a few politically charged sentences. Soon we will get some other phrases." But this is literally the only politically charged sentence in duolingo. If these are snapshots of conversations, then you'd expect other political opinions. I mastered all the lessons that have been made so far for portuguese and I did not find any other political statement.

Some people vehemently believe homosexuals should not be allowed to marry. I vehemently believe they should be allowed to express their opinion. If I encountered the sentence in a document that should be translated, I might even translate it. But this is part of the built in exercises.

December 15, 2012

"But this is literally the only politically charged sentence in duolingo."

How can you make that statement when you have not yet reached the "Politics" skill?

And have you considered that there may be sentences that other people believe ARE "politically charged?" Not everyone has the same beliefs and political views as you do. Making a big issue of it on a language learning site is just silly.

Also consider that language is not isolated from culture. The origins, meanings, and usage of some words depend on cultural views and customs. It is important to learn and use them in their proper context. It is also important to understand, while in their countries, that their freedoms of speech and expression may not be suitable for practicing the freedoms you have grown accustomed to. Political privileges are not universal. Comprehending this is critical to international travel.

December 15, 2012

'How can you make that statement when you have not yet reached the "Politics" skill?' Because I completed all the lessons currently offered by duolingo. Politics has not been released yet. If there are charged phrases in politics I find it is perfectly fine, as long as I don't just get taught the vocabulary of one particular point of view, but of both sides. This sentence was not part of the politics lesson.

'And have you considered that there may be sentences that other people believe ARE "politically charged?"': Yes I have, see my response to your earlier post. As I stated, I'd prefer those statements are left out of the non-political exercises too. ' 'Making a big issue of it on a language learning site is just silly.': We seem to be on the same page here. The statement is to millions worldwide emotionally the same as "Marriage isn't for black people". Putting the phrase "Marriage isn't for black people" next to "Please pass the brocoli" as if they are both as normal as night and day fits nicely in the category of making a big issue. So does clinging to the removal of a single phrase, that is to millions just as bad or even worse than racism.

You are absolutely right though that it is important that people know about the differences in culture.

In Bahia and Para, Brazil homosexuals can already marry. In Portugal same-sex marriage is legal. Civil unions are already allowed throughout Brazil and can be converted into a marriage by a judge.

Angola outlaws homosexuality, where Mozambique is fine with it. In both Angola and Mozambique same-sex marriage is still illegal.

So in the end the statement "marriage is for the boyfriend and the girlfriend" is blatantly false for both Brazil and Portugal and the whole matter is quite nuanced.

It is indeed very important that these nuances are taught correctly for each individual country. Repeating a statement that is blatantly false for the countries the majority of portuguese speakers reside in is a terrible approach at teaching these differences.

Teaching the cultures and major streams of political views of countries is a monumental task. Putting charged political phrases in a language course is not going to complete this task.

December 16, 2012

I remember "The church will fall"(or some variation on it)being a sentence too and it popped up a lot in the Spanish practice.

December 15, 2012

I agree, we will remove this sentence.

December 15, 2012

Greek, Latin, Hebraic, Aramaic. Pretty cool.

December 15, 2012

Guido, thank you for reporting this sentence and persistently replying to others' comments. I share your position, and I hope, had I encountered this sentence myself, I would have done the discussion as calmly and articulately as you.


February 23, 2013

another mean sentence in one of the excersies were "the women are large" And "he is stupid" I mean why would you teach a kid or adult to say that to anyone else.Im just concerned.Thats why.

April 17, 2017

It may not be necessarily teaching someone to say something, but if it is something that people say, it is helpful to know and recognize.

December 3, 2017
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