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https://www.duolingo.com/amorgankuhlmann

Do you think there will be a Mandarin course anytime soon?

See I really want to learn Chinese but i see no such course on this website. Does anyone know if that will happen soon, or any other free website where i can learn it, or both? Thanks!

3 years ago

29 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/SarahBecraft

DuoLingo has a Mandarin-to-English course in beta and after that is considered stable, they should theoretically work on the reverse (English-to-Mandarin) course. Unfortunately, because English speaking students have no sense of the Mandarin writing system, it will probably take more programming to teach us Mandarin than it would to teach a Mandarin speaker English (as many are already familiar with the Latin alphabet.)

While we're waiting for the day DuoLingo completes a Mandarin course for English speakers, there is Chinese Skill. It is an app you can use on iPhone or Android, which many have said they enjoy perfectly well.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Artilex
Artilex
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Also they apparently have a problem with non-Latin scripts.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/HebrewLearner

I don't believe that is true. Hebrew, Greek, Russian, Yiddish and Ukrainian are all in the incubator.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SarahBecraft

It really isn't hard at all to learn non-Latin phonetic alphabets. First, the Latin alphabet - in fact, most phonetic alphabets worldwide - are actually derived for the most part from the Phoenician alphabet. It may not look it to the untrained eye, but some letters are almost downright identical (e.g. the Greek sigma and the Hebrew samech.) Each symbol stands for a different sound. Once you figure that out, you just add the sounds to make each word. (C+A+T = CAT.)

Or at least, this is true for Hebrew. My understanding is that Arabic is much harder because it adopted a different script. Something about letters having different forms - if you install the Arabic keyboard and try typing the same letters in different orders, you'll see what I mean. In Hebrew that isn't really a thing except some letters have end forms, so מ/ם and נ/ן (as two examples) are the same letter. Some letters can also have different sounds (ב can sound like 'B' or 'V.') But it isn't really written any different unless you're adding the vowels/dots which native speakers don't deal with (e.g. ּב vs. ב or שׁ vs שׂ.) I try not to even bother using them to avoid getting dependent on them, though.

Non-phonetic alphabets are hard to learn, though, partly due to exposure. A lot of people worldwide have to develop some familiarity with the Latin alphabet so the concept of a phonetic alphabet is understood to some extent. Not true the other way around.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jjd1123
jjd1123
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While this is true, Chinese doesn't use an alphabet, but logographic characters. That means that more or less every single-syllable word has its own symbol that has to be learned alongside pronunciation and meaning. Duolingo would probably have to develop a way to teach characters, which might be a little more complicated than teaching a non-Latin alphabet, even though it should certainly be feasible. (I realise you answered to a comment specifically referring to "non-Latin scripts". I'm not contradicting you, just adding to your comment.)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SarahBecraft

No, you're right, I had no idea what to call it except "non-phonetic" lol. Which kinda just underscores the problem DL faces in making a Chinese Mandarin-for-English-speaking course.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ilovescience

Actually, we don't use those or think of those symbols characters as "letters".

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jjd1123
jjd1123
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I'm not sure what you're trying to say? I explicitly stated that "Chinese doesn't use an alphabet", so what is your point?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ilovescience

If it was an alphabet, there would be much less symbols, if you look at some words like 老师(teacher) or 山峰(mountain), you'll see what I mean. We use them more like a combination of symbols to create characters. Or, in some cases, just one symbol itself can be a character, like the word (moon).

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jjd1123
jjd1123
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Exactly, which is why I explicitly stated that "Chinese doesn't use an alphabet". So what is your point? Maybe you misunderstood my post?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/OsamaJongHitler

Duolingo is making more languages to be applied that are not European. It may take a while, but it will come I assume.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kiookii

I think that Duolingo has bigger problems with making courses for languages such as Chinese than teaching the writing system. I am waiting for a Japanese course, but it seems that it will be quite a while before that course is created (see this post). I think that the problems with Chinese may be similar (but I don't know for sure).

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/HebrewLearner

I really hope they will add it soon, but I don't think they will. This is either because: the Chinese character system would take so much reprogramming to teach, the algorithm system(or whatever it is) would have to be extremely complex for Chinese because a. There are no spaces between words and/or b.I think(correct me if I'm wrong) there are words in the Chinese language that look like this: Man = Male + Person . I am sure Duolingo wants to, but I don't know if they can at the moment.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Neptunium
Neptunium
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I don't think that's really a problem. Unicode basically ensures that Duolingo should have no problem accepting Chinese characters, and I remember Luis mentioning in an AMA (which I can't find) that the problem with languages that don't use a Latin-alphabet isn't physically typing the language, but figuring out how to effectively teach the different writing system. Chinese characters work perfectly in the English for Chinese speakers course.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/HebrewLearner

Okay, I didn't know that. I hope that this teaching method is figured out soon, I would like to learn some Mandarin.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/amorgankuhlmann

@HebrewLearner I agree entirely and am very enthusiastic and impatient for duolingo to add a Mandarin course.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Saentist
Saentist
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I can speak a little Mandarin and its not to hard to learn. The only free website I use is Memrise. It's not to hard to learn but characters should be taught separately from spoken/pinyin and after you have some basic knowledge down. The typing keyboard in China is actually the same as ours, you just type pinyin and the computer comes up with suggestions for the characters. I also use Yoyo Chinese and Berlitz to learn Mandarin but those are not free. For those who don't know, pinyin is Chinese written out in the Latin alphabet. kāi kāi xīn xīn xué zhōng wén 开 开 心 心 学 中 文 開 開 心 心 學 中 文 Happy Chinese studies!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ilovescience

Um, that's traditional Chinese, most Chinese use the simplified version now.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jjd1123
jjd1123
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They actually wrote the characters once in simplified and once in traditional characters.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Saentist
Saentist
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Very good, I did use both simplified and traditional. ilovescience is also right in saying that most Chinese use simplified. The government in mainland China wanted to raise the literacy rate so they made some of the more complex characters simpler and easier. So simplified characters are used in mainland China and Singapore while traditional characters are still used in Hong Kong and Taiwan. The two systems are very similar, about 80% of the characters are the same. I think that most Chinese speakers can read both simplified and traditional. jiǎn tǐ zì 简体字 簡體字 simplified character system fán tǐ zì 繁体字 繁體字 traditional character system

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ilovescience

Yes, but there are not just those two forms. As many people know, Chinese characters are like picture writing. In ancient China they used more recognizable characters. Even through some characters still are the same like 山, which is Chinese for mountain, over 95 percent of the writing system has changed.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Saentist
Saentist
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I was focusing on modern Mandarin Chinese but that makes complete sense, languages change over time. I'm curious, when you say ancient China, how long ago was that and was that right after the Chinese invented writing?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/amorgankuhlmann

Thanks! I'll try Memrise until Duolingo adds a course. Thank you very much

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Saentist
Saentist
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bù kè qi 不客气 不客氣 You're welcome.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ilovescience

The difficulty of Mandarin is based on your native language, for example, if you're from somewhere like America, you most likely have a problem with the pronunciation of the characters themselves, but if your from somewhere like Japan, it's going to be slightly easier to learn because the Japanese text has some Chinese characters in it and the pronunciation probably won't be too difficult for you.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ilovescience

And I don't think the correct translation would be "Happy Chinese studies!" (No offense). One, we don't use 开开心心 as "happy, we simply use 开心. And two, the translation would lean more to the translation of "Good luck with your studies!", like most people say to welcome people on Duolingo.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Saentist
Saentist
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I know it sounds a little weird. I took it directly from a woman who can speak fluent English and Chinese and who is a well-respected Mandarin Chinese speaker.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Erven.R

Hi amorgankuhlmann! Chinese (Mandarin) will soon come to Duolingo. Duolingo is adding more courses/languages in the Incubator. Here is the link for the Incubator: incubator.duolingo.com. The Incubator is a place where volunteers make a course. For the meantime Chinese has a reverse course (English for Chinese speakers), you can use it to practice the language. :D

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ilovescience

Someone had a bad day, so stop downvoting these things.

3 years ago