2017 has seen Duolingo add several Asian languages to its ever growing list of languages you can learn. The first addition was Japanese, soon followed by Korean.
2017 has seen Duolingo add several Asian languages to its ever growing list of languages you can learn. The first addition was Japanese which was soon followed by Korean. The latest Asian language you can learn through the Duolingo apps is Mandarin Chinese.
The app’s owners reported that Chinese was probably the most requested language before it was finally introduced. Its addition wasn’t without challenges. The technology behind the app needed to be upgraded in order to support Asian languages. But once the technology was set up and Japanese was finally introduced into the app, it was simply a matter of time before Chinese was introduced.
There’s no hiding the fact that Chinese can be hard to learn for native English speakers. Duolingo acknowledges this and has made an effort to make learning the language easier.
One area native English speakers find it difficult learning the Chinese language is the four different tones. One sound pronounced with a high, low, falling or rising tone will essentially have different meaning based on the tonal variation. The app does put some emphasis on tones where a character’s sound is played while the user is being taught how to pronounce it. There’s also a lot of repetition which makes it easier to memorize how specific characters sound.
Chinese has thousands of different characters which when combined form words. The app focuses on teaching about 1000 characters and 1000 words. Although this is a fraction of the total number of words and characters found in the language, they’re sufficient enough to enable you ace level one to three of the official Chinese proficiency test.
The app takes a simplified approach to teaching you Chinese vocabulary. Its lessons are primarily focused on interesting and useful things as well as everyday vocabulary. Therefore, theses like travel, Chinese culture, food and finance are heavily represented.
Duolingo also makes an effort to provide grammar explanations throughout the course. However, many of these explanations are only available via your desktop’s browser.