Japanese is in the Incubator!!!
ROFL That is so true! You should see the apps on my phone: ScribeOrigins, ScribeJapan = Fave for learning vocabulary.Kanji 1st, Kanji 2nd, etc series is awesome for learning how to write Kanji. I have Andrian Andronic's 6000 Japanese words and 5000 Japanese Phrases (look under his name to find them. Its faster.) Then I have Kana Mind, Match Kanan, Kana, Japanese (blue J icon on black), Takos Japanese, Kana Writing, JPhrases, HJ (Human Japanese), Vocavularist (Japanese, Russian, Korean to English). Plus I have "Reputas LLC" Japanese verbs for children. Its all in Japanese. I haven't used it yet, as I'm not ready yet. I have his German, French, Italian versions as well as Chinese. I'm not learning Chinese yet though. I hope that next year, I'll be able to do simple conversation in Japanese on my forum.
Yes, I know, its advantages are obvious and many, so I can understand the choice for it. I still much prefer real people, though, just because TTS simply makes too many mistakes and doesn't sound as interesting/lively/real. Of course, it does depend on the specific system, which also depends on the specific language, so hopefully it will be fine.
It's not like this is going to dampen my hype too much. Still squirming in my seat over here :D
The Japanese TTS will be all that we need to build a solid foundation. Not only are all the ones that I've been exposed well developed, but Japanese only has about 108 original sounds (compared to 1,000+ in English) so building a TTS for such a phonetically simple language is cakewalk.
Hmm... Couldn’t there be a combination of TTS and human recordings? The only course I take that doesn’t use TTS is Hebrew. I understand their reasoning behind that decision, but it also creates a lot of problems where I have no idea how a word is pronounced. It seems reasonable to me to use TTS by default for every new word and sentence (I remember eagerly waiting for the Romanian course and TTS was done in two days) and then replace TTS sentences with recordings by native speakers when they have time.
dariogerussi, if that means there will be fewer mistakes for the Japanese TTS than there are for, say, French, that would be fantastic. It would still mean the sentences are less interesting/lively/real like I said (like, say, the Esperanto ones, which are recorded from a real speaker, are), but the mistakes are my main issue with them, so I could definitely live with that.
@dariogerussi I don't know Japanese well enough to give an authoritative opinion, but as someone who prefers to learn languages on my own by reading, I encountered a lot of issues with Japanese that make me feel Japanese is probably the hardest language in the world to learn using the reading method (certainly far more difficult than Mandarin). I tried using the Chrome extension rikaikun to help me read simple texts, but there are so many words in Japanese that are written the same way but have different pronunciations that it feels impossible to know which one is correct or preferred. Now, from what I've gathered from course contributors, all Japanese words and sentences will be available in both hiragana and kanji and if they send the hiragana versions for TTS, it's impossible to have mistakes (unless stress). We'll see.
I was told that the major hang up with Japanese on Duolingo was how the programming already worked on duolingo's end, and how to jive that with Japanese's need for no spaces between words and such. It was my understanding that this was the only thing holding them up. And, they already had a Japanese learner to certain duolingo languages in place, thus the vocabulary and sentences wasn't the issue.
It does :) I've been learning Japanese for just as long as I've been learning German face to face (a few years now) and I can definitely see the difference with my German being much more advanced (probably due to Duolingo) so I can't wait to make the same improvements in Japanese :)
That's not really a good thing to say, almost everyone in Sweden and The Netherlands speak English, but learning the language is still nice and beautiful. I doubt you'd need to learn a language to visit any country, it's not about utility, unless of course you marry someone or something like that, but everyone speaks some English nowadays
I would say it really depends where you are at. Yes, you can survive going anywhere without speaking the language. But that is not because everyone speaks english. Its because there is some understandings you can make without even having to speak at all. There is a ton of countries (especially in East/SouthEast Asia) where english language understanding is absolutely minimal. Maybe if you meet people online or in a big city, sure you will find people who speak English. But go into more rural areas and try and you may be surprised by how little understanding you make.
If people are interested in learning Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji in preparation for this course, I created some Memrise courses to accomplish that.
Hiragana - http://www.memrise.com/course/1096566/sgjl-01-remembering-the-hiragana-in-3-hours/ Katakana - http://www.memrise.com/course/1100073/sgjl-02-remembering-the-katakana-in-3-hours/ Kanji - http://www.memrise.com/course/1091255/sgjl-03-remembering-the-kanji-ko2k1-pt-1/
The Kana courses take about 3 to 5 hours each. The Kanji course covers 555 most common Kanji (75% by frequency) and takes about 30 hours. All three courses have video lessons.
Wishing good fortunes on this becoming a great and popular duoLingo course.
Usually contributors don't have the time (or patience) to fully complete it in a year or two. When the incubator started becoming a thing, and languages kept getting added, the average time was less than half a year. Most contributors then were more motivated and wanted to release the languages sooner :P But now the courses are usually longer and improved (with less mistakes). It still takes forever, sadly
Have you seen the app HelloChinese or ChineseSkill. Do you plan to teach Japanese in any way similar to those? If you haven't seen the apps. They have exercises specifically for Chinese Characters in each lesson to help you learn some, and they don't baby you and have full Chinese Character sentences from the beginning (if you want, they also let you choose to see Just Chinese characters, Chinese Characters and Pinyin, or just Pinyin) I think it is a good role model for how to do Duolingo languages with Chinese characters.
@ellenkeyne 1. Duolingo only allows so many comments deep. Thats why you couldn't respond directly. Long, but these might help you,. as I used to have the same problem.: 2. For Japanese, I found that using a combination of ScribeOrigins, Scribe Japanese, HumanJapanese and Semper works best. Semper is awesome for vocabulary (the only algorythm that works for me), but does not have audio for everything.
Scribe apps have games that help. Its not free, but I find it works well for me. I find that matching and drilling helps me. And it is visual. They have audio too. Only $8.99 each for the full version, but well worth it. Try it out first.
Semper is an awesome flashcard system that drills differently. It even works for ME! I would learn the Kana first. Then I would go to "specific vocabulary" and browse there. Its free! I find its easier to drill words this way. Once I learn the vocabulary, reading it in context isn't quite so hard. I find the trick is to drill and do matching games (found on other apps.) This way I get used to the letters.
Human Japanese is just different. I like it. It does have a lot of English reading in it, which makes it less stressful.
"Andrian Andronic" has apps that I find work for me as well. They are free, but you either earn flowers or pay to get all the words. Still, its very worth it. He has 6000 words or 5000 phrases for many languages including Russian, Japanese, Greek and Hebrew. I downloaded all of them, but have some stored in icloud. Ukrainian I know is missing phrases.
And the Polish is missing intermediate and advanced phrases, but they will come with an update to the app. I bought the Polish vocabulary one. It was worth the price. He has games that really help drill the words. And he has good speakers for the words.
I use him and Semper alongside duolingo so that I can cement the vocabulary. Semper allows you to make custom decks. I've not done that yet, but will once I get all of duolingo's vocabulary down in my spreadsheet so I know which ones to put in to the deck. So I'm learning new words instead, that may or may not be in duolingo.
Hebrew: Use whatever you can find on Semper and Andrian Andronic (with audio). Thats really the best options. I've not been able to buy and fit the more expensive Hebrew learning options on my phone. Best Wishes!
@Ontalor, @velvelajade (and why won't DL let me reply directly? sigh):
For me it's the difference between struggling mightily with Cyrillic (and finally giving up), and sticking to the basic lessons a bit longer.
I've had the same trouble with various Greek and Hebrew lessons, and decided to avoid Arabic entirely. I've taken formal Japanese courses more than once, but never managed to learn much unless romaji were used.
For me, most languages are a breeze to study -- as long as they're written in the Roman alphabet. I wonder if I'm a very visual learner and find it very hard to absorb words I have to sound out to read!
That's awesome to hear! I studied Japanese for about two years back in high school and loved the language. I'm good with romanji, hiragana, and katakana. But, I know maybe 20 characters in kanji. I can read 'Tokyo' and 'Japan' and tell which onsen to go into... haha.
If I could give a quick suggestion, it'll be nice in the notes to learn about how to speak more authentic Japanese (like not constantly saying 'watashi wa') and the different levels of formality in speech. I know that native Japanese tease English speakers about these things.
I'm so excited for this course on Duo to give me a refresher on the language!
Hontou? I've been waiting for this day for so long! I've been learning German face to face for the same amount of time I have been learning Japanese and I can definitely see the improvement my German has received with Japanese as a control group. Now I can study both on what I think is the world's most effective/best value/all the other good adjectives language website!
I hope this means that the mandarin course might be coming out in the near future (hopefully in less than 2-3 years). If they are going to include kanji in this course, than they would already have a decent base for how to incorporate ideographic writing systems into a duolingo course.
The Japanese keyboard that comes with Window is very convenient. You can type in Hiragana, and it already has a list of the most common kanji or katakana characters that you can convert it to with just one push of a button. It might take a lesson just to learn how to type with a japanese keyboard, but I don't think it will be useful if we are just learning romanji. I am proposing an idea that to the side of the grammar skills, there should be skills just for learning Kanji.
It's not released yet, just being made: https://incubator.duolingo.com/courses/ja/en/status. :)
And it's available now :) I think we can improve our learning Japanese a lot if we use good materials. During my learning process, I must thank to these resources: App: Dictionary: http://bit.ly/Mazii_iOS Learn Kanji: http://bit.ly/iOS_Janki Read news: http://bit.ly/iOS_EasyJapanese
Website: http://wordgrammar.net/how-to-learn-japanese-effectively/ https://www.reddit.com/r/LearnJapanese/ https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1vsZz_trkiRM9E15qHUptDXQYdPcbuXTWOw_j9fldD7g/edit#gid=0
And of course Duolingo hope they're useful
I think that is a problem with a lot of non-Indo European languages. いただきます brings me to mind of 잘 먹겠습니다, which literally means "[I] will eat well" (but it is used to express gratitude to someone for a meal before eating)... as far as I know, your average American family just says "Let's eat" or just prays before dinner.
However many Kanji characters will be taught, in whatever manner, one good way to start learning them would be to study and memorize the 214 radicals (relatively simple base characters) and their respective pictorial meanings, since these combine to form the other, larger, more complex characters. You can do so easily enough on Memrise or Tinycards.
It's not too hard if you really put your mind to it. Japanese is harder than some other languages because it uses three writing systems, uses particles, has agglutination, and has a honor system. Verbs are actually easier since there is no future tense, and pronunciation is pretty easy, especially with vowels. So it's not the hardest language to learn, but it takes more time before you can actually use it correctly (at least for speakers of English).
There are definitely definite translations for most Japanese words (nobody will argue that ringo means "apple"), but there are plenty of words that have connotations and nuances that English doesn't.
The grammar and writing system(s) are what people usually refer to when saying it's difficult.