Naava wrote:Why do I need to know how to say "I am a dragon"? Is it a common spontaneous transformation for the Welsh people? Do they often wake up and find out they've turned into dragons during the night? Or can they turn into dragons at will? I hope it's the last one, that'd be cool.)
I'm actually going to try to defend this. "Dragon" is a good word to know in Welsh because of its cultural connotations ("y Ddraig Goch" ac felly yn y blaen). And the "I am..." construction is important to learn, but it doesn't really matter what noun you learn it with. They could teach you "Athro dw i" or "Saesones dw i"[*], but that's no more useful as a phrase if you're not a teacher or an Englishwoman. But saying "I am a dragon" is odd enough to be memorable.
It also makes it harder to cheat on quizzes. That's actually what I'm using Duolingo for: I'm skipping the lessons altogether and just trying to test out of them. I've been caught out more than once by guessing the most plausible translation based on the elements I recognise (e.g. "Answer the phone") when they've actually gone with something wacky (e.g. "Wipe the phone"). If you think of the purpose as more to help you learn words than phrases, it makes sense.
Naava wrote:Tbh I'm not sure how much I can blame Duolingo for teaching me how to say 'dragon' when the "real" textbooks for learners of foreign languages teach random words, too.
Right? One of the phrases TY Latvian had me learn was "My brother has a sharp ax but he cannot cut". And I had a German self-instruction book that taught, "Entschuldigung, Mein Herr, aber das ist nicht mein Handtuch!" (A year living in Germany and I never did get a chance to use that one!)
linguoboy wrote:One problem is the lack of standardisation in the colloquial variety, so it rejects acceptable forms belonging to the variety I'm most comfortable with (e.g. ŷch, rw).
There was a "dialect lesson" (add eyerolls here) and I think I saw rw there. I also think they accepted it in other lessons, but I'm not sure. Kinda strange if they don't, because they accept words like 'veggies' instead of 'vegetables' in English...
I just went back and tried using it. It was marked as a "typo" (and this is for the test that includes the "Dialect" lesson).
It's really random what variants are accepted and which aren't. I got dinged in the Korean test for using "grandma" instead of "grandmother". So I err on making my translations overly literal rather than run the risk of being "wrong" for using a natural rendering they didn't think to include. (At least it does seem to accept basic AE/BE variants like pants/trousers, color/colour, glasses/spectacles, etc.)
[*] Another good example of dialect intolerance; I would say "Athro y
"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons