Tips & Notes corrections
Hey everyone, as you can probably tell, we especially pride ourselves on the quality of our Tips & Notes in the Esperanto course. We've spent many hours writing the best descriptions we could.
Lately I've been getting quite a lot of private messages with Tips & Notes corrections, so I thought I would start a thread here, so we can deal with them more efficiently. If you see a problem with any Tips & Notes whether it's a typo, something not explained or not clear, etc., just leave a message here and let us know. Thanks for your help!
There is at least one current learner of the Duolingo Esperanto course who seems to have a huge bee in his/her bonnet about that user's several-times expressed desire to be able to use ci as a second-person singular form. I think the notion arises from an unwillingness to consider that some features essential to one’s (non-English) native language are quite unnecessary in standard Esperanto, and I thought it might be a good idea to incorporate a Tips & Notes section somewhere, maybe in a unit devoted to pronouns. Here's a suggested text, my translation of a bit from PMEG. I've put in four-dot ellipses where, for conciseness, I've omitted a part of Bertilo's explanation. You could probably use standard periods here, since Duolingo is probably more concerned with pedagogy than struggling for academic rigour in quotations.
Kind regards, Esperakantisto ————
As Bertilo Wennergren writes in the authoritative and comprehensive Plena Manlibro de Esperanta Gramatiko, “ci and cia exist only theoretically, and are almost never used in practice. One could imagine ci as a purely singular vi, as an intimately familiar (singular) vi or even as an insulting (singular) vi, but it is in fact completely impossible to say what sort of nuance it shows, because it scarcely is used.... In the Fundamenta Gramatiko (“the 16 rules”) neither ci nor cia appears. Also in the Unua Libro these words are not to be found.
“Some imagine that people formerly used ci in Esperanto and that this use later vanished. The truth is that, in practice, ci was never truly used.... On various occasions one may find ci in translations where the original had a ci-type pronoun. Most often this is inappropriate as a translation equivalent, because ci can scarcely convey the meaning of an often-used normal word when it is itself a very rare word whose nuanced meaning is unclear.... A great many Esperanto speakers don't understand the pronoun ci. Therefore, those who attempt to use ci in conversation encounter many difficulties. In normal Esperanto one simply uses vi always, whether speaking to one person or to more than one, whether speaking to an intimately known person or to a stranger, or whether speaking to a friend or to an enemy. It works very well. As needed, one can provide greater precision by saying vi sinjoro (‘you, Sir‘), vi amiko (‘you, friend’), vi kara (‘you, dear’), vi ĉiuj (‘you all’), vi amikoj (‘you friends’), vi karaj (‘you dear ones’), vi ambaŭ (‘you both’), etc.”
I just wanted to add a note about “On various occasions one may find ci in translations where the original had a ci-type pronoun”, as I actually did see ci in a translation of Tolien’s The Hobbit… and English does not have such a feature! However, it was used in the trolls’s speech… and trolls are supposed not to speak well, so I guess it’s OK. I just wanted to give this example (which I consider well translated) reading through your comment: I mostly agree with you about this point ☺
I would like to see some explanation of some of the constructions found in the "expressions" section. I am thinking in particular of the cases where -e + de is used instead of a participle such as "fare de". There is also "pere de" which is taking an adverbial preposition and making it a grammatical adverb with a preposition attached! I do not really understand these beyond simply accepting them as idioms. I'm sure the explanations are somewhat arcane and might be confusing to a beginner, but lots of people don't read the notes anyway. Surely we could add a note at the bottom or something.
Just a suggestion.
Although similar, there are additional uses of ĉe that are not seen in chez in French (I’m thinking about Mi eksidis ĉe la tablo.). One can argue that this is an irregularity of French, but I’m not sure that everyone would think similarly. All that to say that it would be a good idea to add some explanations here if you have time to ☺
The Notes should explain the h spelling (h for the "hat", and nothing for the accent over the u). I know that it is not practicable for automatic conversion to the accented letters but such a conversion is not necessary. I just mean that there should be a clarifyong note because in the web the h way of spelling is widely used.
"A million and beyond", from the Numbers skill
[Hopefully PIV (vortaro.net) is a good enough source]; from http://vortaro.net/#ilion:
-ilion-. Suf. almetebla post la numeraloj de du ĝis dek, kiu indikas potencon de 10 kun eksponento, kiu estas oblo de 6: duiliono (Sin. biliono; 10^12), triiliono (Sin. triliono; 10^18), kvariliono (Sin. kvadriliono; 10^24), [...]
When naming powers of 10, languages use either a "short" scale, or a "long" scale; they are identical until 10^6, the million. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_and_short_scales#Comparison
English usually follows the "short scale", according to which 10^9 is called a billion, 10^12 is called a trillion, and 10^15 is a quadrillion.
It is rightly said under the "Million and beyond" table to possibly avoid using biliono, because it's ambiguous. Unfortunately, the same can be said for the english words billion, trillion, and quadrillion, because according to the long scale they would be 10^12, 10^18, and 10^24 respectively.
So, the problem I found is that the table in the notes is not consistent to the short scale nor to the long scale.
If we follow the short scale, "duiliono" is trillion, "triiliono" is quintillion.
If we follow the long scale, "duiliono" is billion, "triiliono" is trillion.
For now the table has, for "duiliono", trillion, for "triliono", quadrillion
I don't have a solution to offer, but surely this is too much of a hassle for most komencantoj (I'm one as well but love to dwelve into specific topics :D). Thanks for reading, I hope I didn't waste your time :) I thank amuzulo and the rest of the team for the continuous effort they put into the great Tips, and the course in general. Ĝis! ;)
I'm not sure if you can add a Tip or Note to the basic Home page. Maybe you can get Duolingo to improve their site in this regard, to make it more clear to the beginning user how to progress. Here's the problem: After finishing the first Basics lesson, I go to the Home page, with the hope of doing lesson 2. Basics 1, which I finished, shows in color, but Basics 2, and all other lessons are grey. Clicking on them does nothing. It appears to me that there is no way to get the second lesson.
Going to Help, I search for this problem. I find several that several other people have had the same problem, and have written different questions asking how they can get to the second lesson. The answers that I read didn't answer the question in a useful way.
The problem, as I suspect you have figured out, is that I haven't really finished Basics 1. I, and dozens of other users, are confused between Basics 1, which is partly done, and Lesson 1, which is completely done. For a brand new user, this distinction may not be clear, and this presents an almost insurmountable road block to further progress.
I think the Home page should make it much more clear what the next step is. I suggest adding some mechanism, some sort of "Click Here To Continue" banner or indicator on the Home page. Perhaps even more important, if a user clicks in the wrong place, on Basics 2 or any other lesson on the page, they should instantly get some extra help, hint, or arrow and text, to tell the user what to do next.
The Tips Notes for Meat Dishes in the Food section are very clear and exceedingly helpful. But, it took me a while to realize that -aĵ is used for other foods as well.
Could you add language that explaines that this suffix is used to indicate the food made from the root product?
A very small point in Countries. (So far, I'm really enjoying this course. Keep up the good work!)
Ethnic-based A country defined by its ethnicity takes its ethnicity as the root form (like italo and franco) and its country name is formed by adding io in front of the ending -o. For example: The Italian from Italy = La italo el Italio The Frenchman from France = La franco el Francio
shouldn't it say replacing the ending -o with -io ?
I agree with jchaugen. I would advise to avoid the perspective that it's replacing -o with -io. Coming from other languages with such conjugation patterns, I understand the point of view. However, the agglutinative beauty lies in seeing each element as a separate entity which combines with others to form meaning. So instead of seeing a difference between "manĝ + o" and "manĝ + aĵo", see it as "manĝ + aĵ + o".
That is not to say that it's not also true that -o gets replaced by -io (or -ujo), but it's a less precise and, with no offence intended, somewhat weaker perspective as it limits the understanding to complex chunks rather than a chain of simple elements.
This is not for Esperanto, but I do not know how to pass it up to Duolingo in general.
I like the timed practice element, but it prevents one from reporting a problem or looking at discussions. Reporting a problem or looking at a discussion should pause the timer on the timed practice.
Please add a note comparing and contrasting the usage of multa and multe. There seems to be some confusion on this, judging by the sentence discussions. For instance, in "kunikloj havas multajn idojn.", many want to know why it's not multe. I have some ideas, but not sure if they're right.
While dictionaries show "multe da vino" or even "multe dankon", this seems slightly illogical to me. "Multe" would ordinarily seem to be an adverb, while "multa" must be an adjective. I'm not advocating for changing Esperanto, but I am puzzled by such uses of "multe." It would seem more clear to me if the distinction were more clearcut. Like this, perhaps: "Kuniklojn tre multe ŝatas karotojn kaj laktukojn. La griza kuniklo manĝis multajn el ili." (Rabbits very much like carrots and lettuces. The grey rabbit ate many of them.)
I found a little mistake in the "Numbers" lesson, at "Writing out numbers".
You said there: "La du-mil-okcent-kvara tago" means "The two thousand eighty-fourth day".
But doesn't it mean "The two thousand eight hundred fourth day"?
And "the 2084th day would be "la du-mil-okdek-kvara tago", ĉu ne?
There's a new web design paradigm in use today that sacrifices usability for a questionable idea of beauty.
In the old days, links were blue and buttons looked like buttons, so you always knew where you could click.
In today's newer model, arbitrary colors are used for links, buttons don't always look like buttons, and many clickable items look like ordinary text. So you don't know where you can click until you click on it, or at least hover over it long enough to notice any mouse cursor changes.
This is not the fault of the Esperanto contributors, though. I'm not exactly sure whom to blame. It just sort of happened, all over the Internet. I don't think I can blame the Duolingo designers, necessarily -- presumably they get their inspiration from all the other websites that do the same thing.
Always randomly move the mouse cursor around on every web page -- you will often find clickable elements you didn't know were clickable. Happy hovering and clicking!
Hi. The issue of beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Another movement on the web however has been to become more semantic. This should in theory allow people to supply their own stylesheets, for accessibility purposes for example. With a custom stylesheet you can make an !important rule that overrides the color of links on all webpages.
PS. Mi malŝategas paroli pri Esperanto en la angla. Mi ĉiam sentiĝas kiel mi krokodilas.
The pedant in me wants to soften "Adverbs always end in -e" in https://www.duolingo.com/skill/eo/Adverbs to something like "Adverbs typically end in -e" or "A root plus -e is always an adverb" :) since plainly there's the (non-productive, finite) sets of words that are (at least sometimes called) adverbs that don't in -e (e.g. hieraŭ, baldaŭ, preskaŭ, tabelvortoj je -am) and basic words ending in -e that are not adverbs (ne, je)
(or maybe someone would stick up for ne being adverbial, but surely at least je is decisively a preposition, and anyhow, it's surely not a normal adverb in the sense of being root n- plus ending -e)
For the Tips and Notes at the beginning of Basics 1, I have a suggestion from Don Harlow. Currently, the text says, "The emphasis in every word is always on the next-to-last syllable." The problem with this explanation, is that the meaning of a syllable is undefined, for a beginner. The concept of "syllable" varies with the language, and Esperanto isn't easy or transparent. Someone who hasn't yet studied the language can make a strong case for an analysis, which counts three syllables in words like "knabo", "scii", or "ĉiuj". A word like "balai" seems like it scarcely has more than two syllables.
Don's suggestion, which I have found very effective in my teaching, is to drop the word "syllable", and use the word "vowel". The five Esperanto vowels are clearly defined and easy to remember. English speakers have no trouble with the idea that there are exactly five of them. The word stress always goes on the next to last vowel. With that explanation, all the problem words like those in the previous paragraph are unambiguous. It also helps when discussing diphthongs.
The word "syllable" appears five times in this Tip, and swapping them out for the word "vowel", plus a little rewording to make the sentences read right, would yield a simpler and clearer explanation. In the current Tip, I'm not sure a beginner can get anything from the phrases, "as in viro" and "as in knabino", since they don't yet know how those words are pronounced. Here's how a revised Tip might look:
The emphasis in every multi-vowel word is always on the next-to-last vowel. All words with two vowels have the emphasis on the first vowel, for example, on the 'a' in "knabo". All words with three vowels have the emphasis on the middle vowel, like the 'i' in "knabino". And so on. Even for really long words, try to emphasize only the next to last vowel, such as the final 'i' in "dompurigistino" (=cleaning woman).
Not exactly a “Tips Notes”, but just for clarity, instead of launching another topic:
· In the tree, it spells “Past/Futur” with a missing “e”!
· Does anyone else think there could be another checkpoint, let’s say e.g. after Dates/Times,Occupation,Imperative, and the last one after Feelings,Places,People? The first ones seem close enough but there seems to be so much lessons in the end of the tree!
I remembered now that I had 1 question appear which asked to translate "the woman kisses the man" and when I answered "la virino kisas la viron" is was wrong and gave the correct answer as "la viro kisas la virino"
The question was given when I tapped "practice weak skills"
Hope you can find this!
Dankon por la bona kurso! En la lasta leciono vi diris "auto" anstataŭ "aŭto" ("Lasi la hundon en la auto estas kruele."). Rigardu: https://www.duolingo.com/skill/eo/Abstract-Objects-2.
The Tips and Notes are very helpful, but I find that I cannot locate them when I use Duolingo on my Kindle Fire, whereas they appear fine when I use my desktop. With my desktop, I can go to, say, Phrases, and the Tips & Notes appear below the lessons. When I do that on my Kindle, I can see the lessons but there are no Tips & Notes accessible via that page (or via anywhere else as far as I can see). Am I missing something very basic here?
That section looks much better.
However, there are two problems in LA CAN TAKE THE PLACE OF POSSESSIVE PRONOUNS, right below.
At the end of the paragraph there are two hyphens ("--") where there should be an em-dash ("—").
There are six examples: five use an equals sign ("=") as a separator between the Esperanto and English text, one does not.
The Feelings skill does have the following notes: Tiel...kiel Tiel...kiel is a way of expressing a comparison: Esperanto English Li estas tiel laca kiel mi. He is as tired as I (am). Ŝi estas tiel kontenta kiel ili. She is as content as they (are). Reflexive verb: senti Please note that senti [to feel] in Esperanto is reflexive. For example:
Mi sentas min feliĉa. = I feel happy. Kia vi sentas vin? = How do you feel?
Reading your note, Ruth, it reminds me that the term "reflexive verb" is a mystery to most of my students. This adds to the confusion for English speakers, that "senti" is a transitive verb, and needs a direct object that they don't expect from English phrases. While students may forget in the moment, they generally have learned by this point that transitive verbs (usually) have a direct object in the sentence. Maybe adding another sentence or two to this note would be helpful. Something like:
"Senti" is a transitive verb, and a direct object almost always appears in the sentence, for example, "Kiel vi sentas vin?". Frequently, "senti" is used as a special kind of transitive verb, where the direct object refers back to the subject, such as vi/vin in the previous example, or mi/min in a sentence like "Mi sentas min feliĉa." When used this way, as it often is, we call "senti" a reflexive verb, which means that the object "reflects" the subject.
Wouldn't it be better to say "Kiel vi sentas vin?", ch. PIV under "sin senti"? "Kia vi sentas vin?" sounds very odd to me, because I read it as "What kind of person do you feel that you are?" rather than "How are you doing/feeling", which I suppose is the intended meaning.
But this exact sentence is listed in PIV as a Zamenhof example! Of course he was right ...! Just as in English, you say "how" in this kind of situation – that is "kiel" in Esperanto. "Kia" means "what kind", and according to PIV asks for the nature or the type of something – not a shifting mood or state.
English: How are you feeling? Spanish: ¿Cómo te sientes? German: Wie fühlst du dich? Norwegian: Hvordan føler du deg? and so on ...
They all do it the same way, and Zamenhof naturally also intended Esperanto to work this way.
It is not wrong, just not more logical. You'll find that in practice both are acceptable, but there is definitely a preference for “Mi sentas min bona” over “Mi sentas min bone”, so analogously, one would say “Kia vi sentas vin?”. The reason is just that “kia” is describing “vi”, hence you use an adjective rather than an adverb. Don't cling so strictly to English; it is not always the case that “kia” means “what kind” in every instance. That is just a tool to help people understand the basic meaning of the word, but it is most generically just an interrogative or relative pronoun that is an adjective.
"Mi sentas min bone" and "Mi sentas min bona" are of course both perfectly good sentences, but again they have different meanings. A quick Google search also shows that the balance tilts the other way, though.
In Spanish you have to say "Me siento bien". "Me siento bueno" has a completely different meaning. In my native Norwegian "jeg føler meg bra" and "jeg føler meg god" reflect the exact same difference. You'll find the same distinction in a lot of languages.
I am not trying to say that you can't use adjectives in general with "senti sin", because in most cases that's exactly what you would do, but I'm trying to say that in the case of bone vs. bona Esperanto has traditionally had a clear distinction in meaning, reflected by the fact that the question is "kiel vi sentas vin". "Mi sentas min + adj." has basically the same meaning as "mi estas + adj.". That's why you use an adjective in most cases, but have to make a distinction between bone and bona.
They differ in nuance. Searching more generally in Tekstaro though I find that the adjective form is much more preferred. Compare
sent\VF [mvns]in \LI+e\b with
sent\VF [mvns]in \LI+aj?\b. (Note that the adverb form has many false positives because of words like ‘tre’ and ‘sufiĉe’.)
Hi. In this Tips and Notes screen: https://www.duolingo.com/skill/fr/City-4/tips it says "In French, le rez‑de‑chaussée is the ground floor. Le premier étage is actually the floor above that — we'd call it the second floor in English! " It should day "the USA" instead of "English". In most of the rest of the English speaking world, UK, Australia etc, the first floor is the one above the ground floor similar to French convention. Not sure about Canada. To us non-USA English speakers however, the existing explanation jars and feels uninformed and perhaps even a little chauvinistic, as if the USA is the only place where English is spoken that matters.
I'd agree with you, Daniel686693. How about this instead: "Usage note: In French, le rez‑de‑chaussée is the ground floor. Le premier étage is actually the floor above the entry level. Although the U.K. and some other European countries, along with some Commonwealth countries, including Australia, also follow this usage, some notable exceptions are the U.S. and Canada, which would translate le premier étage as the second floor."
I went through the 'Prepositions' skill yesterday and feel like this part should have been introduced a little earlier:
"In general, nouns following a preposition are not considered direct objects so do not take the -n ending. One notable exception to this rule is the directional -n (see below!)."
This was something that was not clear to me after going through some of the previous lessons, which is why I kept on getting certain exercises wrong. I did find out what was going on with a little bit of googling, but considering that a few select prepositions are introduced prior to the 'Prepositions' skill, explaining this earlier would have been rather helpful to tell you the truth.
Maybe a short note in the 'Accusative' skill would suffice? :))
(The following is purely opinion.)
I think the labeling of the -n following prepositions as "directional" actually muddies an understanding of the concept. North and south, left and right, up and down, have nothing to do with it. I personally find it easier to think of the -n following a preposition as simply signifying a change of location, with any particular direction being implied by the nature of the preposition (not by the -n).
If there's an -n following a preposition, there's a change of location.
If there's no -n following a preposition, there's no change of location.
Since al is the one preposition that always describes a change of location, having an -n follow it would be redundant, so we don't use it with al.
Really, that's the long and the short of it. Anything else just confuses the subject (my opinion only, of course).
I also hate referring to "directional" -n as being part of the "accusative" because even though it often gets lumped in with the accusative, it really has a completely different function, quite distinct from denoting the direct object. In fact, since the above is actually easier to understand than the accusative case, you might want to teach the above separately from and before you teach the accusative (assuming you introduce the prepositions before the accusative - I'll be honest by saying that I have not checked if that's the case). It might lessen confusing one for the other down the road.
I agree with you, RiotNrrd, that using the word "directional" in this case may not be the most effective explanation. I teach that this use of the -n shows a change in status or situation. This requires examples and further explanation, but my students have found it useful. I explain that moving from outside a room to inside a room is a change of status, while moving around inside a room doesn't have this kind of change. The same with "in" and "into", "under" and "under to".
Among other things, this terminology avoids confusion in the case of "al". Students understand that "mi iras al la lernejo" doesn't include a change of status. It also handles the metaphoric uses, such as being in danger, versus coming into danger.
When I learned Esperanto it took ages to understand that "al" has no accusative because I misunderstood the "direction => accusative concept.
We have 2 cases.
1: General rule: Unlike in many other languages, after prepositions we have no "-n" . In some cases (we'll show later) you may substitute a preposition with accusative, but not use both. This general rule is valid also for prepositions like "al" and "de" who always have direction.
2: prepositions of type "either place or direction" like "en", "el", .... => without/with "-n" ... Here both are correct, but have a different meaning. .... --- more text ---
You will have to split this somehow to the lessons. In the first you write the general rule , mentioning that special cases will come later. And later the place/direction thing mentioning that after "al" the known general rule is applied.
In the Questions lessons' Tips Notes, they go out of their way to point out that Tiu/Kiu takes the accusative ending, and then describes the difference between Tiu/Kiu and Tio/Kio, which lead me to assume that Tio/Kio did NOT take the accusative ending. A foolish assumption, since I'm sure I'd seen it already in one of the many previous lessons, but still it confused me and I was surprised when I saw Kion show up in the lessons.
Mi konsentas kun Gregnacu ke lia frazo estas ĝusta. Mi tamen komprenas ke la teamo traktas milojn da frazoj kaj variaĵoj, kaj certe bezonos tempon por ĝustigi ĉion. Mi ankaŭ havas fidon, ke novaj lernantoj povos lerni iom post iom pri la aspektoj, ebloj, kaj limoj rilate vortordon. En la komenco de io nova, ne helpas prezenti ĉiujn eblojn. Pli utilas prezenti unu bonan modelon, kiun la lernanto komprenu kaj ekuzu. Poste oni prezentu plian elekton, kaj iom post iom, aldonu variaĵojn.
In Basics 2, you have "Ĉu introduces a yes/no question." In Questions, you have "As covered in Basics 2, ĉu is used at the beginning of a sentence to form a question with specific answers, such as a yes/no question."
It seems like people pick up ĉu as being only for yes/no questions because...well, that's what they are first told. I would suggest changing the Basics 2 text to better match what is show in Questions.
See https://www.duolingo.com/comment/9341288 for an example of what I'm talking about.
Thanks for pointing this out. In an effort to make the Tips and Notes as basic as possible in the first few lessons, we went too far. I have rewritten the note in Basics 2 to include the two ways ĉu is used in questions. The use of ĉu as "whether" in statements is introduced later. I hope this helps. Please let me know if further clarification or different examples would be useful.