To put it simply, kanji are just symbols that represent ideas. Japanese uses them as the primary building blocks for vocabulary words (nouns, verbs, adjectives), so they're crucial to learn. The only good analogue I can think of in English is the number system. For instance, 1 is a symbol that represents the concept of "one". People might pronounce 1 differently in almost every language, but the concept that it represents never changes, if that makes sense.
To use a Japanese example, 人 is the kanji for "person" and it's used in most words that deal with person-ness. Some simple examples:
人 by itself just means "person".
一人 is one+person, which means "one person" or "alone".
二人 is two+person. You can probably guess what this one means. Yep, "two people" or "couple".
日本人 is sun+origin+person. All together, "a person from where the sun originates", which we all know is Japan. So this one means "Japanese".
And here's a more abstract example:
人工 is person+construction, which means "artificial" (and it also looks like A.I. which is a fun little happy coincidence).
Hopefully some of that helps somebody out there.
It is hiragana, yes.
Hiragana is very curved, with each character representing a unique syllable in the Japanese language. あいうえお "aiueo"
Korean is structured into blocks of smaller components to form syllables/words.
This is also a Japanese course, Korean is taught in the Korean course...
Your description is spot on; good ear! It will normally be loosely transcribed as <ɯ> in IPA, which is higher and farther back in the mouth than the <u> of English and Spanish, and is made with the mouth more closed (an exolabial close back vowel if you appreciate the technical term). It appears in the vowel glide of Standard Chinese "e" 鹅 etc. as well as on its own in some Southern dialects, and in (East) Norwegian "mot" etc. I'm not sure what other languages have it, though.
DL really needs to not use vocabulary to try to teach the syllabary, or should change the subsections to reflect the vocabulary. Like make section 1 be "Hiragana" with subsection 1 "Numbers" so it is obvious に should be "two" instead of everyone thinking it is "ni" or "at/in/to." Same with よる: people stuck thinking "do they want 'night,' 'come close,' or 'depend on'?"
夜・よる is just the temporal noun "night"
"good night" is an expression and would be translated to おやすみなさい
Oyasumi means "Please rest" which is practically "Good night." But good night is different from night.
よる is the time between the sun setting and the sun rising,
Evening is a general period of time at the end of the day, when the sun sets and for most people up until the time one would normally go to bed.
Night is the dark period after the sun sets before it rises.
Well you've learned it now so I'd say it has taught you successfully.
You can hover over/tap on any word in a question to get a translation hint for that word. Usually the first time a word is shown to you in a translation question it will be highlighted/underlined to encourage you to do so.
You can also look at the word bank options. These early lessons usually only give you a small number of options to choose from and most of them will already be familiar to you based on past questions/lessons.
If you still get the question wrong the correct answer will be provided to you in the red box at the bottom.
The question will then be repeated to you at the end of the lesson to give you another chance, and it will continue to repeat that question until you are able to answer it correctly - learning through repetition.
This is Duolingo's main teaching method.
It's "ru" but the r sound is not the same in english. You have to place the tongue a bit further forward than if you were going to say an r sound, but further back than if you were going to make a d sound. You want to aim a little in between and try to pronounce r sounds like that. It does come out sounding kind of like a d sound but that is not the intention of the pronunciation.
To add on to this, the way I've tried explaining it to people irl, and the way it was explained in a different post by someone else, is that it's like a combination of "r", "l", and "d".
I'm starting to realize just how lucky I was to grow up around this, I never even had to think about the pronunciation, it just came out perfectly.
Is the Japanese R the same as the Spanish R like "Ser" or is it different?