Kanji Teaching Suggestion
Currently, kanji is one of this course's weakest points. One way to quickly help increase learner's kanji vocabulary would be to show a translation for the kanji on exercises where you select what sounds a kanji makes.
I've looked at many kanji and learned to select the correct pronunciation by rote, but without being able to assign a word to it, the kanji remains a meaningless combination of symbol and sounds.
For me at least, seeing the English translation more often with kanji would help a lot with building vocabulary and translating sentences.
An example mockup of what I mean- https://i.imgur.com/Szz9tAx.png
I am not taking the Japanese course here, but I have been studying it for some time now. In my opinion, it is a big mistake if Duolingo is teaching kanji readings apart from actual words.
I think duo needs to take a significant overhaul to their approach of kanji in general. Adding furigana, better paths to introduce new kanji in context, an explanation that kanji can have multiple pronunciations... I think the first kanji you are introduced to in the course is 中, with an audio cue of 'naka' and the correct pronunciation option of 'chyu.' Kanji in particular may be very hard for DuoLingo's explanation-light teaching method but they definitely need to try something better.
Yeah, the handling of 中 is ridiculous. It's even outright wrong, in one exercise they have you match it to "ちゅう" and yet "ちゅう" is pronounced "なか". It's egregiously wrong and the fact that this bug, in one of the first few lessons, was not caught and fixed by the contributors and/or DuoLingo team, seems really ridiculous to me.
This is the sort of stuff that is really confusing to learners...and of course I've seen lots of people posting in discussions, being confused about this. All this confusion is totally unnecessary too, if they would just fix that glitch.
The fact that it's been a couple weeks and this still isn't fixed is even more aggravating. What the heck are the DuoLingo staff working on any way? And they have a huge team of unpaid volunteers working on all the languages?
It's frustrating to me.
I've seen a lot of posts about how important it is to learn Kanji along with everything else. Since Duolingo doesn't seem to do that, I think I'll just look them up myself as soon as I learn the corresponding characters. I'm really serious about learning Japanese, so I don't want to miss anything.
I agree and this seems a really basic / common-sense thing for them to do, and something that would be very easy for them to implement. It puzzles me that, with all the time they spent programming the framework for this course before its launch, that they didn't do this.
I hope they do something like this soon. I think it would be a simple or easy change that could yield big benefits.