"My little brother is writing a letter to a girl in the US in English."
After finishing the course, this is without a doubt my favorite sentence in the whole course.
て form, present progressive, use of で, use of に, use of を, a topic which is not the first-person, a complicated noun phrase, and the acceptance of as much kanji as you please. A clause this complicated makes me feel like I accomplished something.
In this discussion forum people often use kanjis wich are not present in the example we are discussing. Why? I can't read them, there are no clues for how to read them and this is not helpful at all! You clever people who knows more japanese then I do, why don't you help out instead of showing off you knowledge?
Duolingo is designed using a structure (source code) that makes it impossible to add kanji with furigana (the little hiragana letters you might have seen above kanji sometimes in other Japanese things like books aimed at a younger audience and such).
This structure was made for other languages and the programmers didn't have Japanese in mind when they were originally making duolingo. Meaning that to teach Japanese in the correct way they'd have to rewrite a lot of the source code from scratch, this might happen somewhere down the line as the Japanese course is still being designed as we speak, being in beta.
Those commenters that are spouting the kanji aren't showing off in order to fight for the title of years biggest know it all. (Well... Some of them might be, but not all of them, I hope...)
They are helping out. Kanji is required to read Japanese to any level of proficiency. With duolingo's inability to integrate kanji with furigana, they've settled on using hiragana for everything in the answers (except for a few kanji here and there that are more or less unavoidable).
I think they possibly settled on this because they think kanji is incredibly daunting to new learners.
So here's an example: Duolingo's answer to this question is おとうとはアメリカの女の子に英語でてがみを書いています。
One of those comments further up says 弟はアメリカの女の子に英語で手紙を書いています。
They both say otouto wa amerika no onnanoko ni eigo de tegami o kaiteimasu.
or in kana おとうとはアメリカのおんなあのこにえいごでてがみをかいています。
Those commenters are just a convenience, presenting the versions of these sentences that you'd see in a Japanese newspaper or something like that for instance. Helping people to learn the kanji by exposure. They're essentially a fix for duolingo's inability to use furigana. It's the closest to the best of both worlds were going to get until the developers fix the current issues and finish the beta version of the Japanese course.
The things I've said about the situation with the source code at the beginning may not be 100% accurate. I'm just quoting bits I've heard and how I internally understand the situation with the apps development. If anyone has any corrections about the source code and development part of this comment, please go ahead and correct me.
TLDR: Duolingo is currently holding this program together with sticks and chewing gum as they didn't plan ahead for it. So there's a lot of workarounds for some necessary things that should be intrinsic to the program.
Hope I summed it up as best I could, I feel like I can barely hold a train of thought today.
Thank you Dante! I really appreciate your answer. And, yes the problem is that furigana can't be used in Duolingo. Perhaps an intermediate solution could be to put hiragana in paranthesis after the kanji like (ひらがな)? Sorry if I stepped on kanji users feet. I was so frustrated over not understanding but I do appreciate learning more kanji. Some of you has mentioned a website for kanji learning and I will surely check that out.
I like your intermediate solution.
When it comes to kanji, I use 4 things
Wanikani (Which I think might be the website you're referencing in your comment, either way it's pretty good and I highly recommend it.)
Kanji Study (An app which allows you to drill writing kanji. I think you get JLPT N5 level kanji for free, but everything over N5 is paywalled. It's £11.99 to unlock level N4 to N1 kanji.)
Lingodeer (An app which is similar to duolingo, but made specifically with Japanese, Chinese, Korean in mind. It's missing some features, like duolingo's strength bar recap system, but has others that duolingo doesn't, such as furigana and the audio side of it is prerecorded by native speakers so you won't have any of those duolingo moments where the computer lady mispronounces something. I can say that using it side by side with duolingo has given me an understanding of the language that neither app would give me on their own, I highly recommend using lingodeer and duolingo side by side. And lingodeer is completely free too.)
Then there's the commonly cited book, remembering the kanji. Here's their free sample which is just part one of their book. It has 294 kanji in it.
Have a nice day. And good luck with the kanji.
That's a good point. But アメリカの女の子does not mean "a girl in the U.S.", it means "girl of America," and it looks like they are trying to say "American girl." So to say "a girl in America" without specifying that she is American you would have to phrase it: "アメリカにいる女の子。" I submitted a report. Thanks.