I've completed the skill tree and got the little trophy, and for the past while have simply been doing strengthening lessons to keep everything golden. The trouble is, the phrasing for English translations is so strict! I report sentences that should be accepted on the regular, but in the lessons itself it frequently becomes a guessing game of finding what specific wording Duolingo will accept, and therefore more about memorization than actually learning the language. It doesn't matter how well I actually understand the sentence if I can't find the magic word combo to make my answer acceptable. I understand that the course is still in beta and being worked on, but the frustration is too much at this point for me to continue.
I'm doing precisely that. But I have a feeling that by the time it's off beta I'll be fluent already lol. (well, hopefully so at least)
On a side note though, the forums here are still amazing. I always come here whenever I feel I don't understand something and need to ask a kind soul about it. There are also many threads about useful questions being created all the time. In my opinion the duolingo forums are a lot more useful than the site itself as it stands.
While I understand that Japanese is probably the most difficult language to teach, I am starting to get disappointed with this course. When it was released I thought it was an excellent first step towards building a great course, but I haven’t seen much progress since. I would like the tree to be expanded. I would like to see more Kanji added.
The saddest thing is, I don’t see contributors active in the forums or the incubator or any plans to improve the course. I really hope that Duolingo has something up their sleeve that will surprise me.
I don't think trees can be expanded once a course has entered beta (phase 2) until after the course reaches full stable release (phase 3).
I definitely agree with what you said about there being no visible signs of life from the contributors in the forums or on the incubator page. They're eerily quiet.
I mentioned it in a recent post you probably saw already, but I'm concerned about how few contributors this course has. The Japanese course incubator page lists only the following four people, some of whom are also contributing on other courses:
- mhagiwara (also: Ja→En; En→Ko; En→Zh)
- hideki (also: Ja→En)
However! Ironically, an hour before you posted your comment tonight, it appears mhagiwara had started going through LOTS of reported sentences and adding the suggestions! For two hours my inbox was going crazy with feedback emails saying my suggested translation was now accepted! ^^
For the last six months I've been reporting sentences every day. From 21st May to 30th November I had received only 36 confirmation emails that my suggested translation had been added. Tonight, in the space of just those two hours, I received a further 23 confirmation emails!!
Some of those 23 mhagiwara added tonight fix a number of my most hated sentences in the tree:
- Let's play football this weekend.
- Can I use the toilet?
- Can I get two of the same bowl?
- Please wait in the corridor.
- What time does this shop open?
He must have fixed many many more than just the ones I happened to report though. I was feeling a bit depressed too about the state of the course, until tonight when "football" has finally been added! :P
Don't quit! Just take a break. I too was frustrated with the lack of variety of English translations they accepted, and it looks like there's progress now! I just got an email that one of my suggestions had been accepted! I'll be more assertive in the future and when a sentence that is correct isn't accepted, I will let them know (instead of grumbling).
I know that feeling. A year ago I completed the French course for Russian speakers. It was a constant struggle to try and figure out what words exactly they want me to use, and quite often they rejected the simplest and clearest translation in favour of not so obvious options.
Another problem these two courses share is almost complete absence of explanations. If you are a newbie to a language and have never studied it before, Duo is a bad choice for learning.
Try this: when you get an error, write the correct sentence down. It will be at the bottom. Later, as you are going through the lesson, it will appear again, and you can write in the acceptable answer so as to be able to continue on. I believe that this will eliminate much of your frustration. This is a problem that comes up with regularity because not everyone who contributes to the course is actually qualified to do so. Many times I report an incorrect sentence or audio. It's just what you have to do. I'd hang in there.
I'm taking a break on most of the tree until the answers that the system will accept increase. I started on the Japanese to English tree and I'm loving it so far - all the jouyou kanji and a wide array of accepted answers. It'll be tough if the English to Japanese course was the beginning of your Japanese learning, though.
I'm going to quit on 1 May 2020, and start using Busuu, because Duolingo only provides the basics. Additionally, the questions are extremely repetitive (eg English -> Japanese, Japanese -> English and match the tiles). Matching the tiles is very frustrating for me because I do Duolingo on a desktop, and I have to drag the mouse. Duolingo gives you sentences which cannot be applied in the real world, for example: "the dog sells newspapers". Another downside of Duo is the lack of explanations. I am incredibly disappointed with this app.