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Conspicuous (naughty ) but appropriate words missing from vocabulary

I know this will probably come out the wrong way, and this is probably related to one's culture. But I think if Duolingo really wants to teach a language then it needs to expose us to all sorts of words.

I looked at the two languages I've completed and was surprised to find out it lacked a simple word for "buttocks". This was in the medical section which should in my opinion have it. Other words denoting private parts(that I won't mention because I think I would break forum rules) are also missing.

I'm well aware it is probably to keep duolingo clean, and to respect the different cultures of individuals here, but well, in most cultures children learn these words( or some cute childish name for it) before they reach primary.

Also, very soon with the incubator, this will definitely become a serious issue that will need to be addressed. Either certain words will be censored, or DuoLingo will have to introduce age-related restriction to learning certain sections.

October 5, 2013



It's worse than that. An interview with an Italian philosopher can't be uploaded for translation because it contains "offensive content." And he doesn't even talk about buttocks.


Please consider all the children who are learning on duolingo. That's why it's totally okay that these kind of words are missing and if you really want to know some naughty vocabulary, you can easily find them in the internet - just my 2 cents.


But Dessamator addressed that in his post. Even children learn an appropriate word for buttocks. Buttocks is not a "naughty" word. I'm not really interested either way in having certain words added or not- I agree it's easy enough to look it up on your own-- but while some words may be inappropriate for children, I don't think this one is.


Sure, but I didn't mean words like "buttocks" but other naughty words in general. And you're right, "buttocks" surely is appropiate for children.


It would be relatively easy to enable the users to set their age in their profile, and then flag some words or lessons as age-specific. It's not just for the pleasure of learning dirty words, but some things are both useful and hard to find, even in dictionaries.


I really like the idea that Yusei proposes, but perhaps an easier way to circumvent the dilemma of how to include such words is to keep them separate, say, for example, as a bonus skill that you have to purchase with lingots to unlock and that provides some sort of warning so that if this is something that might offend a user, duolingo has made an attempt to warn that user first.


Sure, but then then children could cheat with their age and can see the words anyway. Then you have to check your age via ID card or so and duolingo would never implement something like this. And when children really want to know naughty words, then they will find them on the internet as well. I really don't see the point why doulingo should invest all the work to implement these issues.


I am one of those children learning a language. By the time most children start taking interest in learning languages, we are in our pre-adolescent/adolescent stage, which I am in. And by this age, we have already seen the puberty video, we also already have these so called, 'naughty' words in our immense repertoire of words. I personally believe that these words should be included. There is nothing wrong with these words showing up. You/them/I have or shall be exposed to them at some time. Besides, they don't have to be 'naughty'. Just use the scientifically correct term.


I probably knew about eight different words for ‘penis’ before I even knew what to do with it. Did me no harm, as far as I can tell.


Why would they? I mean, I don't see the harm in a few words to need Fort Knox-style security. Besides, children in middle schools all over are reading Huckleberry Finn as assigned reading.


This is something that has bothered me too.I'm certainly not advocating swear words but honestly leaving out buttocks?

Yes, it would probably be desirable to have some sections off limits to children but to restrict adult learners in case a child might come across the appropriate name for a body part seems bizarre. If children can't cope with using the appropriate term for a body part (other than the private parts for which there may be cultural taboos) they are way too sheltered. Imagine trying to translate a medical article and not being able to use the correct word for buttocks or reading something about dog breeding without being able to use the correct term.

Presumably most of those learning here are aiming at being able to communicate in other countries and I'm envisaging a tourist needing a medical consultation where the doctor asks a question about a particular body part and the patient stares blankly at him or her. Do the restrictions also apply to bodily wastes? If so there's a frightening scenario starting to develop in my opinion.

I'm an adult and I really don't want to have my learning restricted to primary (elementary) school level.


I don't assume to know, but I would think that hospitals in most major cities in foreign countries (at least not third world ones) would have translators available? I know people go to hospitals in this country (USA) and get translators all the time.


Of course they could but the point of Duolingo is to learn to communicate and understand the language and that should mean correct terminology. Someone who says they know a language is going to look pretty silly if they can't name body parts correctly and don't have a clue what a native speaker is saying. That's not suggesting swear words or racist slurs should be included but if fingers and toes are acceptable other body parts should be too. There's also the point that what one person considers vulgar is not necessarily the same as that which another does. While there's often coyness about intimate private body parts that surely shouldn't apply to other areas of the body.


Yes you understood it perfectly, I couldn't have explained it better myself. It is a balancing act regarding "vulgarity", and I'm sure some people may use what others deem as vulgar words without even realising it.

I prefer to generally take the cultureless approach, and use the "correct" scientific name for a body part regardless of the listener's culture even if the person is a stranger. Some people may be annoyed, but well I can't please everybody, and for me it is the easier way to discern who is a mature adult.


That's what I do and I brought my children up that way too. There may be a moment of surprise or shock sometimes but there have never been complaints about it.


It will probably come after Oct. 9th


In addition, I would like to see warnings on pronunciation or grammar mistakes that would result in saying something offensive. (Maybe this would only be turned on in adult-mode)


I completely agree. As a matter of fact, I had to google for the word "buttock" as I am not a native english speaker


And I don't even now what "buttocks" means because no one ever taught me. Hihi.
To prove the case. (But I looked it up now and I remember many times in my English speaking life, I wished I'd known.)

Yeah, it would be good if more colloquial but harmless and every day words would be taught here.
But we need to remember there are many kids and pupils on here, so there is need for strong moderation. That's why the Immersion system is so strict. I doubt it will change with the Incubator because it's difficult to have an automatic moderation that recognises shades of colloquialism.


You didn't know? That's actually the formal way of calling it.Although most people call it a "behind","butt", and other stranger names. In terms of censorship I don't see the need for it while teaching language because words are not inherently good or bad. The interpretation of such words may make them negative or positive.

As an example, the B-word for female dog is not wrong or offensive but because of its extensive negative use, you can't even use it correctly to address a female dog in formal conversations.


And so I learned the true meaning of another word. Thank you very much :-). In portuguese, it would be called "Cadela" and may be used as an offensive term but not as much, as everybody really use it as female dog.


Cadela is not really the same as the B-Word, you can use it formally and nobody will look at you odly. When someone mentions that word the listener will first assume you refer to a female dog, and only later the offensive word. Although it obviously depends on context.


If you need that word, you probably need some better ones for the same item.


I sure don't want my 8 and 13 year olds (both of whom use this site in our homeschooling) to learn to curse in Spanish and French! (I know several curses in Spanish that i learned outside of school, btw)


What he is saying, is to implicate anatomically correct words. I am one of those children who learns with Duolingo. And, this is in no way, trying to offend the way you raise your children, but it's going to happen. You can't prevent the inevitable. Sometimes you just got to let it happen. Now, this doesn't mean it's okay for them to learn curse words. I personally hate when my friends curse, just for the fact that it's extremely rude. You, as a parent (I presume) have to talk to your kids, about using these words appropriately, so that they won't offend anyone. I also repeat myself, this is in no way trying to insult the way you raise your children.


I enjoy that you're possibly the youngest person discussing this topic and also the most logical about it.


i don't have a problem with "anatomically correct" words, but I don't want my children learning curses, like I said. I'm sorry, but even "female dog"(the b word) is inappropriate coming from a child.


True. But that is why, they should teach ( I think they might), the more subtle form, in your case I they already know the word 'perra (female dog)'. But what he is saying is not to add curse words, but the anatomically correct words. Besides, it's one thing to learn the words and to actually use them, compared to learning the words and then not using them at all.


My cousin taught me, my 11 year old sister, and my 8 year old brother how to say vulgar things in Italian, and my other cousin, who was an exchange student in Austria taught me german swear words too.


One obvious reason families with children would be using this site is because they're planning to travel. I would think that most parents would want their child to know how to report it, if someone were touching an inappropriate part of their anatomy, or displaying one. That's basic child safety, in any culture. It's also sometimes a medical necessity to be able to mention where there's a boil, insect bite, rash, or other medical problem, without resorting to pictures, pantomime, or dropping one's drawers.

A euphemism (so long as it's universal, and understood) would be fine. ("Bottom" is hardly a swear word.)


Whilst I agree that the straightforward anatomical terms should not cause offence to anyone, I don't think most of these words are really high frequency in everyday conversation. Surely everyone old enough to be using this site usefully is capable of either picking up (or running an online search for) a bilingual dictionary if there are specific items of vocab that we want to know?


These words are in fact in high frequency, in science, biology, health education, sex education, informal communication, and so on. In fact, an article I recently read by an expert indicates that children should be taught proper words for private parts and not childish names. But that is besides the point, this is a language learning site, and these words are an essential part of a vocabulary a primary school child should possess according to experts. I'm actually sure many people finish high school and don't even know what a urethra is.


The advocacy for the word buttocks on this page made it one of my favorite places on the internet. Keep up the good fight people!

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