I wish Japanese sentences had furigana
Sometimes they speak so fast I can't really understand the pronounciation and when I try to press on a single kanji in order to listen to how it's pronounced alone, they say completely different thing.
For example in this sentence 母と父の間にわたしがいます。 they pronounce 間 as "aida" but when I press on the kanji to get a hint they say "ma".
If there was furigana あいだ above the kanji I wouldn't really have any problems with learning the pronounciation at all.
Adding to this, there have been a few times in EN -> JP challenges when I've tapped an (English) word to get possible translations for it, and the suggestions all contain kanji (usu. w/ okurigana) to which I haven't been introduced. This is especially frustrating if the tiles are all hiragana. Furigana would help with this immensely.
I believe furigana suppresses the learner from progressing at a faster rate. When you click on the individual kanji it is reading it as a single character. Depending on the context on how it is written there is a different reading. But yes there should be a setting to which the user can select how the kanji is presented. Personally for me I would not want the furigana because I need to practice my listening skills. But for you and many other users furigana would be a huge help!
I may agree with you, but on the other hand may the use of more complex kanji in the earlier stage (and the duolingo Japanese course is actually only a first sight into Japanese) encumber a successful progress of a beginner.
In Japan, the kids learn first to read and write kana with some simple kanji first and then in 9 years more and more complex kanji. Furthermore, they see kanji and kanji compounds everywhere: In mangas, magazines, newspapers, commercials, TV, public transportation, infos and so on. They get used to also complex kanji in their life (that´s why Japanese forget some kanji as well when the live abroad). Additionally Japanese people are already able to speak, they know the words mostly, before they begin to read. For us abroad, it is much harder.
The duolingo course seems not to follow the official jōyō kanji list, so you have to be a very enthusiastic lerner, to learn more complex kanji along the way. So either I wouldn´t use complex kanji in this course at least till the kanas are fully teached. Students should first become fluent in reading kana (both!), before they get deeper into kanji.
Also I think, you can´t learn really kanji without effort, you have to learn them, the structure, the different readings and there are many: For JLPT N1 (Japanese Language Proficiency Test), which is at least needed to read newspapers, you´ll need all kanji of the jōyō kanji list and the jinmeiyō kanji list. A duolingo Japanese course can only aim for JLPT N5 or maybe N4.
Maybe it would be helpful, if they would add a section only for teaching some kanji, to teach some basics, like radicals, stroke counts and the structure of kanji. If you know, that the complex kanji are mostly built of some or more simple radicals, which are not rarely kanji itself, you can better recognize more complex kanji, even if you do not know them good. My favorite example is the kanji for tree: 木 If you write two of them 林 it is a grove, three of them 森 means wood and the connection of wood and grove 森林 means forest. It is not always so simple, but there are many more examples like that, so that the beginners can see a structure in more complex kanji and will learn to recognize them faster.
Providing furigana may suppress the progress of some students, but it is up to the student, how he goes around with this. Some may only read the furigana to get more quickly through the course, but others may use this to learn the connection between the reading and the appearance of the kanji. In Japan it is common to use furigana for more complex compounds, difficult name readings or rare kanji, even in daily newspapers. So why shouldn´t we use this possibility?
And sorry for this long post, but kanji are very faszinating for me and the main reason, why I learned Japanese (second is, that I love the sound of the Japanese language much more than Chinese).
Perhaps but it may be useful as a learning aid? How about optional as they hints are? I think this will be implemented in due course but it is technically very challenging as the Kanji have different reading depending on the context. I suspect that they've focused on the Apps with clicking tiles to circumvent the issue for now, although I actually find it easier to type Japanese myself (via an IME).
Well, you can download Rikaikun or Rikaichan depending on your browser. Once you activate one of this extensions, when you hover over Japanese words they'll be translated in a pop up. If you hit shift/enter, you'll see some information about the first Kanji. You will also see pronunciation. You can use it on any website. Although I never tried it on Duolingo, I'm sure it will work.
P.S.: I'm not good at English, I hope you understand. :-)