Is there going to be a Japanese learning tool any time soon? I'm really interested in learning more on here since it's been so helpful with Spanish. I've heard a lot of enthusiasm for Japanese.
Since there is already a course in the incubator that is english for japanese speakers, I think japanese for english speakers will follow soon after. It will be more complicated since the writing system is different. I am currently doing italian while I wait for japanese, and frankly after studying both languages I must say that the japanese spoken language is much easier than italian. The only immediate issues are politeness levels and the written language. Will they stick only with kana, or will they branch out into kanji? Will they allow you to stick with kana if you want to? Will they show furigana above kanji to help you pronounce them? In an effort to push out a course fast, will they start with romaji? These are things I am curious about. I suppose we will have to wait, but I think the wait for korean will be longer than japanese. I am also waiting for korean since the phonetic alphabet is so darn easy.
If they want to give a full understanding, they should ditch Romaji as soon as possible, and stick purely with Kana/Kanji, and some furigana in the earlier courses. What is going to be difficult to teach is stroke order. Its an important part of learning the language from what I hear, and unless you have a pen and paper next to you to practice, I can't see how they'll implement that into the learning and allow you to practice.
It'll be interesting to see which way the course ultimately ends up going. One thing they should do is explain how to enable the JP Keyboard input on a regular computer, so that you can type in Japanese without needing to copy/paste everything. That will make the course much easier in the long run.
I think it will be harder to enable the keyboard for android. Stroke order is very important. I think That particular bit will be easier with a touch screen. I certainly hope romaji only lasts for the first couple lessons. I think furigana will likely be throughout the whole tree, as you learn a new kanji, the oldest kanji will have its furigana removed. There are so many kanji that there is always a new one to learn, and because there are so many pronunciations for each one, compound words will need furigana at first even if you know the kanji from previous lessons.
I agree that "they should ditch Romaji as soon as possible". It seem most logical that the first few lessons should be devoted to reading and typing kana; from there on there is no reason to use Romaji.
Stroke order is a key feature of traditional Japanese instruction. I have found it quite helpful in analyzing and remembering the structure of kana and kanji, as well as reading handwriting and unfamiliar typefaces.
Nonetheless, one need not know stroke order to type Japanese, and I would not be surprised if Duo dispenses with it altogether. There are already very good, free instructional programs for learning the Japanese writing system, such as http://kanji.koohii.com/ . I suspect that Duo might opt to simply direct people to such resources, rather than try to recreate them.
Thanks for the replies everyone,
I think it'll be easier to make it so you can write in kana on the app but I'm not so sure about on the computer. I wouldn't mind paying a bit to get a writing add-on or something to help with Japanese, I can already write in hiragana and katakana but I barely know any kanji.
My textbook starts off with just the first five hiragana and then takes away the romaji as you learn more so I think that is the best way to do it and learn quickly.