I am finding it an amazement that many a time, what Duo Lingo is telling me that is brand new information, or very different from anything I have ever learned before, despite three years of high school French and one year of advanced College French. Explanations are also often written in choppy grammatical English, which especially as it very often happens when they're wrong, doesn't inspire my general confidence in their knowledge.
For instance, how to say "Today is Tuesday".
I vaguely remember from grade school writing 50 times, "Cet aujourd'hui est Mardi". That may not be exactly right, this memory is more than 50 years old.
Duolingo insists, we must write it, "Nous sommes vendredi", OR "Aujourd'hui, on est mardi". You CAN NOT say "c'est mardi", because that means something WILL happen on a FUTURE Tuesday.
Ultimate French Review and Practice says, you put, "c'est mardi", or, "Nous sommes mercredi aujourd'hui" to specifify it's Wednesday today. If it was supposed to be Wednesday today some other day.
French Made Simple says you can say "Nous sommes mardi" OR "Aujourd'hui c'est mardi".
French the Easy Way says "c'est aujourd'hui mardi". Which sounds pretty similar to what I vaguely remember from grade school, and it's consistent with the fact that in grade school I can't actually remember being required to write anything in French. We read printed text out loud. Cet aujourd'hui est mardi sounds pretty close to this sentence.
An about dot com post states you can say either.
C'est samedi. On est samedi. Nous sommes samedi.
You would specify a future event by stating or implying it's in the future, just like in English. "The meeting is on Monday." It is coming across that quite possibly only Duolingo that thinks that "Today is Tuesday" necessarily refers to a future date.
When they discuss how to give today's date, about dot com states that On est and nous sommes is the INFORMAL way to express it, which suggests that Duolingo has the rules backwards.
Half my French text books don't discuss how to say what day it is, though usually they go into how to give the date, which could explain why the last thing I remember about it is something I remember in grade school.
On a forum discussion about it in which people give their sources for alternative ways to say what day it is, Duo Lingo staff explain that they are deliberately removing sloppiness from the French language; in other words, they are trying to use their position as educators that many people and schools find useful, to rewrite the French language their way. They regularly come across as snotty and superior, completely consistent with that perception of their function. Their usual response to such criticism is to explain how they were just given high praise, or just reiterate in exactly the same tone that they're right.
Duolingo won't promote me to the next subject if I don't say it their way. I found Duolingo very useful for learning Spanish, but when it comes to reviewing a language I basically know, specifically in order to be able to read a specific French novel, I am TIRED of Duolingo picking me to death as well as slowing my progress through the lessons by picking at me to death, and this is not the first time they picked at me with something they are clearly wrong about, and they don't care, because they're always right, and that's all that matters to them.
Can I please have the full scoop including controversy on how to say "Today is Tuesday". Is it stated differently in different French dialects? Is there any chance this is some odd perception of French speaking academics in Chile?
Duolingo is the creation of native speakers of Spanish from Chile. It often occurs, that if Duolingo staff take a different grammatical position than anyone else, it might be an oddity confined variously to people or academics in Chile. Their Spanish pronunciation can drive one up a tree almost as badly as their mangling of French - and they require everyone else to learn it. For example, frequent ch and j sounds that aren't even recognized sounds in any other dialect of Spanish but Chilean, and aren't always how that letter in that word is pronounced in Chilean either. The faux j and ch sounds are also popping up when they read French, and it makes their French lessons on Duolingo impossible to make out! Example; nous is often pronounced jous or chous, and since the s is silent, and you can't always tell verb conjugation from hearing it, one often can't tell WHAT they are saying! And, for that matter, did you know that the s remains silent before a vowel, like in, nous avons, because of all the French studying I've done only Duolingo has ever thought so, and French speaking housemates pronounced the s too. Partly since I also only want to be able to read French, I had to turn it off.