[Course Forum] Duolingo Vietnamese Vocabulary by Kuah

This forum is for reporting errors in or questions regarding the Duolingo Vietnamese Vocabulary course.

Thanks for making this course!

I did have a few questions/comments. Someone earlier had mentioned something about synonyms. I forget his examples, but I first noticed it (I started in the middle of the course) with this/these and that/those. Before, I had just been using the American Keyboard, and it was impossible to know which it was asking for. Later, I realized that the alternative answer/synonym would be accepted, but only with the correct diacritic/tone mark, and only when used using the Memrise keyboard. While I have decided to take this opportunity to force myself to know the right symbols, it is a bit annoying that we have to use the Memrise Vietnamese keyboard, rather than, say, the Vietnamese keyboard that comes with Windows. Can anything be done with that?

Two other issues I have since come up with–bằng ̣(Level 9) and với (Level 13) both translate to “with,” but don’t seem to be synonyms according to the course. This makes it impossible to know which it is asking for during the questions where they ask us to type out “with” in Vietnamese.

A less pressing issue–tập (Level 7) and luyện tập (Level 15) translate to “practice” and “to practice” respectively. While the English definitions given are distinct, I wonder how necessary it is to distinguish. On, Duolingo, tập was used as a verb by itself in Basics 2. Of course, I haven’t yet finished Verbs 1 in Duolingo, so perhaps there is some distinction that will be clearer to me as I go through.

Issues above aside, thank you again for this course. I was having soooo much trouble using Duolingo alone–when I found out about the Memrise companion courses (for Vietnamese, as well as other languages), my Duolingo progress has improved dramatically!

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Some more feedback–certain words I miss due to including the classifier when there is none in the memrise definition. The ones that come to my mind (because I just reviewed them) are con cá and con chim, which I got wrong because memrise expected cá and chim

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Me again with another comment/suggestion/feedback (is this the right place to put these things?)–I only have so many because I find this course so helpful!

I mentioned before why I’ve stopped being lazy with the diacritics (for the synonyms of certain words to be accepted, they require correct diacritics / they are critical parts of the language anyway, might as well learn them right the first time), and this self-imposed rule has been frustrating at times, but also very helpful. The problem is, sometimes I legitimately think a word has no marks, and type it as such, but when I hear the audio, I realize that there are tonal characteristics to the words. Without any markings on my part, though, Memrise is less strict and allows my answer to be accepted even though it’s wrong. The issues then are as follows:

-I wouldn’t know that I’m wrong except for the audio (which I’m getting better at, but still can use a lot of improving in hearing the tonal nature of the language)
-Even if I know I’m wrong, I don’t know how I’m wrong (say if it was ú vs ứ, or ạ vs ă, or even ệ vs è) because Memrise won’t show the correct with diacritic answer if I didn’t put any diacritics myself)
-Even assuming I know I’m wrong, and that I look at the review of words at the end to see how I’m wrong (which gets more difficult as I’m reviewing more and more words at a time), the word doesn’t get marked by the SRS algorithm to shorten the interval to it’s next practice.

Thus, I wonder if there was a way to make strict enforcement of diacritics an option. I realize it might be a turnoff to other users, especially given the cumbersome Memrise keyboard and the fact that it doesn’t recognize typing with Windows Vietnamese keyboard (even if I know the word right away, half of my timer is usually gone before I find the right letter–imagine the frustration when there’s multiple in the same word!), but the tonal distinctions are such an integral part of the language, it may perhaps be worth it for the serious learners.

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As far as I know, there isn’t anything that can be done in this situation.

Double checking the course, bằng is translated most frequently as “in” with a single sentence using “with.” I will change the accepted answer to reflect this, including both. Note that three of the four sentences translate to “speak (in) X language.”

There is a subtle difference, I am unsure how to best articulate it. Not sure if this makes sense but luyện tập is more evocative of actually engaging in some sort of practice. Until I can think of a better way to articulate it, I will make sure both answers are accepted.

I will add in the classifiers; I think it is best to learn them with the words (same as you would gender in Spanish or German). I may have missed earlier ones due to mirroring the Duolingo course so I will continue to look over them.

I think it is a fair question. I am actually quite limited in what I can do here; I had tried (quite unsuccessfully) to make the tone course stricter while still allowing flexibility for typing (e.g. I was hoping to allow something like bá to be typed as ba’). Part of this probably has to do how Vietnamese characters are used in computers. For now I don’t think I can change it with this course without making it overly difficult for some users. Instead, I will look to start a new course at some point specifically aimed at teaching the tones. It is a bit complicated with this system so it might take a while to come to fruition if I can manage it at all.

Thanks for all the feedback! My responses are a bit slow for now due to a busy summer, but I will keep an eye out for more feedback.

Thanks for all the good work! I caught something else: when watering the word “Orange,” sometimes cam is sufficient, (from level 7, introduced without a classifier), but other times it’s marked wrong (expecting the answer màu cam from level 18).

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Just started Conjunctions (level 20). Wondering two things:

  • Is there a difference between hoặc (“or,” level 20) and hay (“or,” Level 7)? Hay was not accepted as an answer in one instance when it was expecting the former.

  • What is the difference in usage between bởi vì(“because,” Level 20) and tại vì (“because…,” Level 14).

Thanks again!


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Hi, cảm ơn for making the course, it’s been a great help so far (and I appreciate all the audio!). One quick question regarding level 12 (“Clothing”), what are the correct spellings of “shoes” and “pair”? The Duolingo course uses “giày” and “đôi” but the Memrise course uses “giầy” and “đọi”. Are they just different spellings - and if so, can the Duolingo options (giày/đôi) be accepted as alternative answers?

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Found a few more things:

  1. Duolingo seems to distinguish between mười (ten, or ten-something) and mươi (something-ten, e.g. twenty (hai mươi), thirty (ba mươi), etc.), but here only the latter is included as a catch-all for ten.

  2. “to give” is given as cho in Level 15, and đưa cho in level 24. đưa cho wa not accepted as an answer in my last watering when they were expecting cho.

Cảm ơn!

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Another one: “time” is the English definition for both lần (Level 23) and thời gian (Level 25), but aren’t interchangeable in the review (at least, lần wasn’t accepted for thời gian–it did seem to treat it as a typo (yellow) though, instead of outright wrong (red) at least).

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An oddity–as I’ve mentioned earlier, most words with tone marks only work when using the Memrise keyboard, but not with using the Windows Vietnamese keyboard. However, in Level 25, khoảnh khắc only works with the Windows Vietnamese keyboard, but not the Memrise keyboard.

I think in this course they can be used interchangeably (i.e. there is nothing to differentiate the two contextually) so I made them equivalent. Both answers should be accepted in all cases.

They both can mean “or,” although hay has other uses. That said, both should be accepted. I added an alternate to the other form of hay that appears (it can also mean “interesting”) to see if that helps.

They are interchangeable. I added each as an alternate for the other.

Actually they have totally different meanings, not sure how those got in there. They are corrected now.

Good catch, mười should be the primary one shown (though I think I will leave mươi as an alternate). I also added in the cardinal compounds that appear in the course (I didn’t see sixty or seventy in the course).

In the course it is combined into “gives,” so I updated the answer in memrise to reflect this.

They are somewhat different, but Duolingo seems to present them together so I made them alternates for each other.

I tried to make it consistent, but one may have slipped through. It should work the same as the others now.

Thanks for all the feedback. There will be a few other adjustments when I have more time to review, as there were some recent changes to a few definitions in the course.

“Language” is the clue for both tiếng (Level 9) and ngôn ngữ (Level 31); however, the two words don’t seem to be interchangeable in the course.

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Paper in Level 6 includes the classifier (tờ giấy), but in Level 39 does not use the classifier (giấy), but are not interchangeable in the course.

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In Level 19 (“Adjectives 1”) the word “ngắn” has an incorrect audio clip. The tone should go up, but the speaker’s voice goes down.

There is a correct pronunciations of the word here:

or at

Or Google Translate’s engine works, too!

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Can you make “but” (nhưng, level 20; and vậy mà, level 40) interchangeable?

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There is a mistake in level 39: objects 2. The entry is listed as chìa khóa, which is an alternative spelling of chìa khoá, which is the spelling in Duolingo, which specifcally asks the user to configure the Vietnamese keyboard in a certain way to avoid getting typo notifications.

There are many words with the same English definitions corresponding to different Vietnamese words, which make it impossible to know which is the “right” word during watering sessions. The ones I’ve noticed most recently are:

“Although” for both tuy (Level 20) and mặc dù (Level 40)
“Together” for both với nhau and cùng nhau (both in Level 41)
“Almost” for both gần như and suýt (both in Level 41)

In the above examples, the alternate Vietnamese word is not accepted for the other one in each pairing during watering sessions.

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Good point. Tiếng is more like a classifier added when labeling specific languages. I added (label) to the definition of tiếng.

I changed the level 39 one to match the earlier one for consistency.

I swapped out the old clip for the one you added.


I changed it to match Duolingo’s spelling.

I will work to make them interchangeable if they are; updated the ones you caught.

Thanks for all the feedback everyone, I had a busy year but I am catching up on editing and updating things again now.

thanks for all your work on all this. really enjoying how this has more audio than the duolingo course.