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Polite Japanese vs. Casual Japanese


It seems that Duolingo's Japanese teaches almost exclusively the polite form of Japanese, and teaches almost no casual Japanese, even going as far as not accepting answers which are correct as casual phrases. I have come to understand that the casual Japanese is the language people actually speak in their daily life, so the absence of casual Japanese in the course is very unfortunate. Is it possible for causal Japanese to be added to the course?

P.S. It is possible that the skills I have not done yet teach casual Japanese more extensively, but it seems unlikely to me as I have finished most of the skills.

October 12, 2017



I think teaching the polite form is just standard practice for a beginner's course - I have yet to come across a textbook that does not do this. So I don't think it's "very unfortunate" at all.


I think it is valuable to teach both. Also, because families generally speak to their children in the "base" or casual form, and because this is the simpler form linguistically speaking, and then they later learn to speak in polite forms as they get older...it makes me wonder if something is being lost or something inefficient is being done, when we teach polite form by default and then introduce the casual form only later.

I am generally a fan of learning a language in the closest possible way to how native speakers learn it.

When I learn a new verb in Japanese, I always look up and repeat to myself the base form of it. I find this very useful and intuitive to me because I think it gives me a better sense of how the different forms of the verb are related to each other...it helped me to understand the internal logic of the language.

So yeah, I question how Japanese is conventionally taught. Just because something is "standard practice" doesn't mean it is good. Society is full of things that are "standard practice" but are counterproductive, inefficient, or unnecessary, so that oobservation convinces me of nothing.


Could you give some examples of the casual Japanese you tried?

Before the web version of the course had all of its Japanese typing removed, I spent a lot of time typing sentences with plain forms of verbs and adjectives, more casual or more honorific pronouns, and alternative sentence constructions. I've used the "report" function a lot (/ maybe too much...) :P

Back in April, hardly any of this was accepted. But it has been steadily accepting more and more stuff like this, reaching a point recently where it accepts plain forms of verbs and adjectives as correct alternatives for the vast majority of sentences. ^^


(off topic): Hey, you reached Level 19, congratulations! I don't know if I'll get there - with my current rate of "one skill a day" it'll take months, and also I'm starting to get just the tiniest bit bored.


Thanks! Sadly though, I don't think I'll get any higher than this. These tile clicking questions are utterly unbearable on a desktop computer.

Unless I can find some way to crowbar the typing exercises back into the course (and I do actually have an idea with at least a slim real chance of working), then I doubt I'll get through many more days before I've had to just stop using Duolingo altogether. :|


I can understand how using the prefab pieces instead of typing would greatly reduce complexity, though. There are so many ways to express things - it must be a real challenge to accommodate all of them.

Quick question: your tree must be even more solid gold than mine, so how do you handle your practice? When I do "practice" (or "strengthen skills"), I get sent right back to the beginning and to good old Maria who, as we all know by now, is from China. And if I start just anywhere, I usually forget where I was. So how do you do it?


Since I didn't take the placement test and I'd been purposely answering things I knew were likely not going to be accepted, all the skills kept decaying very rapidly. I only managed to have the whole tree gilded for the first time around a month ago, even though I completed the tree back before the course had even been released on iOS...

Basically, yes, it will keep sending you back to the really early skills. But, once you build up the SRS enough for those skills, then they start taking longer and longer to decay.

I've heard Timed Practice builds up your SRS score considerably quicker. I used Timed Practice quite a lot. But now this isn't really an option for me, because it takes me longer than 30 seconds to find+click all the tiles for a simple sentence that previously took me less than 5 seconds to type. ^^;


Looks like I won't have to leave Duolingo after all! I've realised how to get back to the old lesson design, where the typing still works (to some extent)! ^_^

The downside is that I've only managed to get it to work for strengthen and Practice, not for lessons. And also it gets stuck whenever a "character challenge" question comes up, because the old lesson design can't load those questions at all....

Timed Practice is just about good enough to use with this though, since it isn't necessary to answer every question in the round to still get awarded EXP for the ones up until the point it gets stuck. ^^

However, I've also figured out a pretty awesome trick for the current lesson design. Unfortunately, it turns out it's not possible to make it work for the old lesson design... This is such a shame, because it would 100% solve the problem of "character challenge" questions freezing the Practice round on the old lesson design should I find the equivalent of it on there...

Annoying that I found both halves of the puzzle, only to find out they can never be joined together. Going to have to come up with something better, but this will do for now. ^^;


> These tile clicking questions are utterly unbearable on a desktop computer.

This bothered me too, so I made a little something to improve the situation: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/24851618


Thanks for letting me know! I was at work earlier when I saw your post and couldn't try it out. ^^

Looking at what that userscript is designed to do, I don't think it's is going to make these tile exercises much more bearable. I just want the tiles gone completely (which to a certain extent I've already found a solution for—as I've recently mentioned in another comment in this thread).

But I'm certainly interested in things like this and going to test it now. Thanks!. :)


When they don't accept casual Japanese answers, report it.

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