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Learning English from Japanese is now in beta!

It's a big day for the Duolingo community! The first Asian language course has been completed in the Incubator -- learning English from Japanese. This was an amazing effort by an amazing team: taekovsky, inuatsu, bojangling, and moeka518, with the help of Arisa1104, ZakkBrown, nritje, and XercesBlue. Congratulations on this incredible milestone!

Unsurprisingly, the more distant two languages are from each other, the harder it is to build a course for them. This is why we're particularly excited about English from Japanese :) As with all brand new courses, there may be small issues here and there. If you're giving the course a try we hope you report anything you see using the button at the bottom of the screen during lessons. The course will continue to improve with your suggestions and feedback!


March 3, 2014



You all did so much work! どうもありがとうございます!

Note Currently, the website I borrowed the gif from is down. So, until it goes back up again, it won't show up. :(

Alt text


どういたしまして^^これからも頑張ります!! I'm so excited about this course! And that gif is cool:)


how do you post a gif?



Obs: URL = Image's URL.



Es-tu japonais, Usagiboy7? Es-tu prends le cour pour apprendre japonais, aussi? (Is my French right, please anyone comment on it ^.^)


*Es-tu japonais, Usagiboy7? Est-ce que tu prends le cours pour apprendre le japonais aussi?

I think that's better. I'm not native, but not bad with French. Cheers :)


Thanks :DDD I'm really trying to improve my French


I have a question though: What is the purpose of est-ce que and why is "le" in front of japonais? Thanks so much!


Although I'm confident in these corrections, I'm not confident in my ability to explain it, so bear with me as I try:

"est-ce que" is literally translated into "is it that", which can be used to begin a large assortment of non-formal questions.

The reason your translation doesn't work is because it's using what I think is called the "progressive tense" or something in English that doesn't exist in French (I am going, you are eating, they are learning, etc.), which is why you can't translate it literally (there is no verb "être"). What I mean by that is: I am going = I go = Je vais, NOT "je suis vais". Are you eating = Do you eat = Manges-tu = Mangez-vous = Est-ce que tu manges, NOT "Es-Tu manges"

So for your purposes, you could say: Est-ce que tu prends = Prends-tu = Prenez-vous, though I think switching the verb order for the last two is considered more formal, so you'd probably use the formal "vous" rather than the middle example.

I'm not really sure how to explain the "le" though. It's just kind of there in front of languages because it's a noun or something. What I can tell you is you always have it there when talking about languages (l'anglais, le français, le japonais). The only time off the top of my head where it's not there is when you're saying "in Japanese/English/etc." where in stead you would say "en japonais/anglais/etc."

Sorry for it being so long, but I hope it helped a lot :)


O.O..... That is extremely helpful. Thanks so much for your time and effort!


You're correct, although there is a way to say the present continuous: "Être en train de..."

  • Je suis en train de faire mes devoirs - I'm doing my homework

I believe, however, that this is used differently than in English - you only use it if that action is occurring right then, not if it's something that is being done over time, if you know what I mean. So you wouldn't say "Je suis en train d'apprendre le japonais" unless you are literally studying Japanese at that moment. I may be wrong though.


No problem, feel free to message me with any other questions you come across. I'm not an expert in French, but I'll do my best :)


adamyoung97 - Yeah, I think that would translate to "I am currently..." but thanks, I did overlook that example :)


Est-ce que tu prends ce cours pour apprendre aussi le japonais?


@Ace, いいえ、アメリカ人です。はい、ここに日本語を勉強するつもりです。 No, American. Yes, I plan to study Japanese here. ^_^


hello,I feel good when I see pokemon fans,cause I am one too. :)


Let the countdown begin!! Um, can we start a countdown yet for English to Japanese, please? And, what number can we countdown from? :)

At the same time, English to Japanese is so likely to consume me. "I think I'll be learning Japanese, I really think so..." or however that song goes ;)


I am taking the reverse course and it is a lot fun! try it!


Hehe, look who I found hanging out in 基本1(Basics 1)!! xD

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基本1でLuis 先生がいます!


Wait... Luis is Wally?! I've been trying to find him for 20 years ! GRR >:(


@chilvence I win ^_~

Next challenge: Where's kristinmc!

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I think the one in the middle is Remy!


It's actually our illustrator Greg!

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Whoops, sorry to Greg and Remy in this case! Did not mean to mix you up :)


Then who's the third person?


I don't think so, anyways, they use random people, but sometimes you can also find kristinemc :)


@1bimic, you've seen kristinemc?? I haven't spotted them yet! I am having an idea though....


How did you add the picture?


Oh, I'll try doing a lesson and showing you...


so Luis is a man , ok !


The sound you are hearing right now is over a million people screaming for the reverse course.


I was faster, Luis! This is not fair! :P :D

Anyways, どうもありがとう、日本の友達!!!


@Nitram15, you were so fast, I had just gone over there to look. Then when I went to the discussion, you had posted!! (And when I had looked, it said it wasn't done yet. So, I think you are just a little ways in the future O.O) *high five!!! (and winning lotto numbers please.) ;)


Haha, my little secret is that I'm actually member of the incubator (as a developer of the Hungarian course), and when I got home, my almost first thing to do was to take a look at the Japanese course. I knew it would arrive that day (again, from the internal chat), but I didn't know when.

The moment I opened the Japanese chat, Karint arrived and said that the course would advance into beta. I was so excited I refreshed the incubator page and for my greatest surprise it really DID advance! I had to share this experience immediately :D So yeah, it was pure luck.


Big thanks to Inuatsu and Taekovsky, who together contributed 70% of the course content! I'm eagerly awaiting Chinese and Korean.


Oh, I can't wait for the reverse course, it's always been my dream to learn Japanese.


It's been a such roller coaster ride for us. Kanji & hiragana variations like 私たち&私達 will be automatically sorted out in the system later, so please be patient. There's no way we can exhaust ALL translations. haha. If you are reporting, pls avoid reporting kanji/hiragana variations for now.


Congratulations and thank you for your enormous dedication! 漢字、ひらがな、カタカナと、他の言語にはない大変さがあったこととお察しします。システムのほうもこんな厄介な言語を相手にするのは一苦労だと思いますが、なんとかうまく対応できると良いですね。本当にお疲れさまでした。


Thank you sooo much for your work on this course! :D

I started going through the course, and will help to improve it as good as I can :) It's a lot of fun for me to finally be able to practice Japanese here on Duolingo :D お疲れ様でした。どうもありがとうございます!


お疲れ様でした! Thank you, Taekovsky and all the Japanese team, for your hard work. I hope our reports will help you polish the course. Are their any plans to provide grammar hints and explanations for the course?


Any estimated official release date for learning Japanese from English?


Thank you for all your hard work, Japanese team! I've already sent in several reports, which is to be expected with a language as different from English as Japanese. I expect the bulk of the reports will be about the lack or inclusion of subjects and articles (definite and indefinite) in accepted sentences in both languages. Grammatically correct Japanese sentences don't often require a clearly stated subject, hence the claim that Japanese is an ambiguous language. Some of the suggested correct answers in Japanese read very awkwardly, because of the care taken to exactly replicate the English, but that might be for the best for native Japanese learners to learn the different parts of an English sentence.

I will do my best to publicize this course here in Japan! And now, back to the course...


I went through it a little myself, and posted many reports for many reasons. Yes, a lot of it was article things (adding 一人 or 一匹 anytime 'a' is needed, and その anytime 'the' was needed...). Some of it was differing levels of grammar or politeness (じゃない is wrong, but ではない is OK, etc). Also different input styles too -> (私たち would work sometimes, but others it needed to be 私達).

It's a wonderful effort, and I'm appreciative that they got it through! But it's still very beta...


I understand the need for Japanese learners of English to practice the distinction between the definite and indefinite articles, but I really hope that the reverse course doesn't require these structures.


Yes, I also posted reports about the 私たち/私達 issue, although now I see downthread that one of the course contributors is asking us not to report this particular problem anymore. So far I haven't found that 一人 or 一匹 is required for a Japanese sentence to marked as correct, I don't think.

I am also extremely appreciative of all the hard work the team has put into translating the course. As someone who has taught English to Japanese speakers, I'm extremely interested to see how this format will work for language learners.


Yes, I also posted reports about the 私たち/私達 issue, although now I see downthread that one of the course contributors is asking us not to report this particular problem anymore.

I read this as well. I thought reporting them was part of what fixed them, but if they're working on it anyway, then that's great! I stopped posting these ones as well.

So far I haven't found that 一人 or 一匹 is required for a Japanese sentence to marked as correct, I don't think.

All I know is that I had a sentence like "We have a girl," and I got it wrong, the correct answer was 「私たちは女の子一人を持っている」or something like that (which I think sounds weird in Japanese, without a certain context...?)


キタ━━━(゜∀゜)━━━!!!!! Definitely will check it out!


Yippeeeee! This is awesome! Thanks to everyone who helped to create the course! ありがとうございますDuolingo!


Luis how do I get my Japanese family access to the beta?


They can simply sign up to Duolingo and select learning English from Japanese.


Ahhh silly me, of course they had to choose Japanese as their language in order to see it, I was going to explain on the phone how to use it, but I couldn't see it so wasn't sure why, thank you Luis, can't wait for Eng -> Jap :)

PS. It would be good if after switching to Jap to add the course when I switch to English I could still see the Jap -> Eng course, so I can help my relatives.


When the Japanese Course for English speakers will appears in incubator??? Is it wait this course release from BETA?


I'm guessing a time frame probably about 3-6 months after the Japanese to English is released. First they'll have to work out the kinks of that course, then do the work for the reverse course.

Nice job team! Can't wait for the reverse course to be released.


Awww! I thought it was Japanese from English! CRIES


It will come soon! :)


I'm counting on it! I'm so excited for this. Hopefully it'll come before Augaust


Yay! Congratulations, Japanese team!


Definitely trying it out as we speak right now! I'm very glad it's out -- getting frustrated at needing to have the exact kanji (as I am doing this course to reverse learn the Japanese). Right off the bat, there are many instances where sometimes I add the more formal form and switch to the more casual forms and it marks me wrong- but really cool still!

(Also using the Mac's text-to-speech to hear the Japanese text just incase I don't know how to pronounce that kanji. Then I look it up at jisho.org if I don't know the meaning (^_^))


I am really, REALLY looking forward to the inverse course. That would be so awesome, and I know Duolingo can do it !


Duolingo WILL do it. Just because they are so awesome :)))


Awesome news, excellent work all! =)


I have no experience nor knowledge, whatsoever, of Japanese. However, I am really interested in learning a little about the language. I am really excited for Japanese for English speakers to come out too.

Great work you guys! Thanks a lot for your hard work and dedication of your time. :)


May I ask how long does it takes for a course to end its beta stages? And what are the usual requirements?(Bug reports? Stability? More suggestions? Or solely for testing in the waters?) Sorry, I'm quite confused about the differences between a beta and a non-beta course.

I have a friend who wants to learn English very badly but she's not very fond of using her desktop as it has no built-in microphone and is kind of bulky to use... plus she finds that the mobile app version app is easier to navigate on than the website version! I hope to get her convinced to use Duolingo as she brought Rosetta Stone already and isn't quite aware of Duo...

And thank you Luis & co for all your hard work on this long-term project!


It's not 100% certain what the requirements are to graduate from beta, but this is what we users know so far:

  • Each course receives reports per 100 users. This is displayed on a graph over a period of the past two weeks.
  • 10 reports per 100 users is considered the point at which the course can leave beta.

What isn't known:

  • How long the reports have to stay at 10 reports per user. (a week? two weeks? A minute?)

What is assumed:

  • The tree has to be completed by at least one person.

Differences between Beta and Non-Beta (i.e. Stable)

  • You can expect an error in most sentences in beta. In Stable courses you can be pretty certain it's correct.
  • Stable courses have immersion.
  • you actively hunt down errors in beta. (For example, check all dictionary definitions, listen to both forms of audio all the time, check their translations, report, report, report.) While techincally this is more a user-defined difference, you're doing a beta course so you can fix the plethora of errors that do slip through despite all the efforts of the creators of the course. So you want to check everything.


Thank you very much for your reply! here's a lingot

There's still one thing that I'm not sure though, the Russian-English course is still beta but it got the app version ready already, whereas the Japanese-English is still not ready. I'm not asking "How come does the Rus-Eng got the app version ready while it's still in beta?" but rather "Do you any idea how long it took for the Rus-Eng to be available on the mobile platform?" A mere estimation would work...since I wasn't quite active these past few months and missed out quite a few updates...gonna catch up the news!


It's simply due to when they released an update for the mobile app.... My guess is they waited for a few courses (RU, DU, TR, HU) to get to beta, then released an update with all of these, instead of an update every time a new course goes into beta. So I'm not sure when, but the JP course will be on mobile in the next update, for sure


Thank you very much for your reply! I'll look forward to the future updates then ~~

(still patiently waiting for Chinese-English meanwhile...)


すごい!ありがとうございました! That said, I gave it a try, and I'm so not ready to take this course. I'll have to wait for the reverse course to be done. I noticed that there are 4 hearts. Is that because it's beta, and the fourth heart makes it easier to get through the lessons, even if there are errors or omissions?


There are four hearts for the two 'basics' lessons, but not for later lessons. I think that applies to all courses on Duolingo.


That's great!!!
but.....how am I supposed to type japanese characters?? (not a complaint, it's genuine ignorance)


There will be a Japanese input method editor for your computer. You should be able to google up some how-to guides. On my computer (linux) you type the word as it sounds "nihongo" and when you press space it starts offering Kanji/kana translations that match. In this case, "日本語".

It's slightly akward on my computer because the key combination that switches me from Roman -> Japanese is ctrl+space and it steals the input before the audio replay on duo gets it.


Microsoft always has the option as well. For an android device, you must download a japanese keyboard. The one I use, google japanese input, has no romaji on the main typing interface, so you had better know your kana.


How to enable Japanese text input on your computer: http://www.coscom.co.jp/learnjapanese801/


Is there a reverse course for this?


They will start producing the reverse courses very soon. I would say until summer the first ones should be in beta, Japanese might well be among them


No, not yet. It should pop up in 3-6 months in beta, I assume. :)


wwwwwwwwwwwwwweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee arigatou gozaimasu!!!!!! can't wait for the reverse course, but now it is a step closer! thank you duo!!!! I love you!!!!!


out of interest, how does it work with characters? Did you actually got some flashcards to learn them(at least the Kanji), or do you only use Hiragana and Katakana for now?

anyway, go go go Japanese from English :D


This is English for Japanese speakers, the people who are supposed to use this know Kanji


Kanji is best learned in context imho. You type in hiragana and choose which kanji to snap it to. Though if you are using a Microsoft product you are typing in romaji and it snaps first to kana, and then to kanji. I am on an android tablet so my input interface is in hiragana without romaji.

Kanji flashcards can be useful, but they do not work as well as actually using the kanji while writing a sentence. Kanji, when in context, are much easier to memorize. Remember the kanji when in a compound can have very different readings.


cool is there japanese from english i would love to visit japan some day


That is coming too, according to the Incubator :) It shouldn't be to long :)


Thank you so much, all of you! I can try to imagine all the back and forth with formality levels and implied sentence subjects and untranslatable particles and phrases--but I'll probably still come up short. :-) I'll be in there reporting and checking with everyone elseだけど、よろしくお願いします!


よがった です!!!おめでと!!!


such great news! amazing site, thank you for all the hard work everyone is doing.


This is awesome. It is also a reminder that I really need to brush up on my kanji. I tried the reverse course, but it was a little harder than I remember Japanese being. ETA I do not mean that it is too hard. If I had more than 30 minutes, I am sure I could get through the lesson. Really though, it is amazing how bad my kanji reading skills have gotten.


have you tried wanikani?


@mamia, It's only open for beta testers at the moment. But I really like Tofugu's other stuff. :)


yes but you can still sign up to join the beta.


どうもありがとうございます! すぐ始まります。 :D Thank you soooo much!! :)


すぐ始めます。 始まります=>inanimate object.


ありがとう!! :D




and when will we be able to learn japanese?

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So great, thank you very much


おめでとうございます!!!してみに楽しみにしています! Congratulations!!! I can't wait to try it out! :D


its great... but also want a japanese from english course


I am check the incubator every day in hope that English to Japanese is added. I cant wait until this comes out of beta so the inverse can be done.


Super! Looking forward to learning Japanese from English. Go, Duolinguo :D!!




私は待つことができない! I can't wait!


That's so cool! My brother is learning Japanese any tips?

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