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Japanese is too specific

Hello, I hope you all enjoy learning Japanese which is my first language :D But don't you think the course is way too specific??
For example, "Please clean up" can mean not only "Souji shite kudasai" but also "Katadsukete kudasai", and "I take a shower" can be both "シャワーをあびます" and "シャワーを浴びます". Both of these answers should be marked correct in order to avoid misunderstanding of the learners.
(Plus, as my personal opinion, it is really annoying for me to be told that I got a question on JAPANESE wrong. How would I, or else what do I speak without making any mistakes?? :((( ) So, what do you guys think about this? I'd like to hear if you think the Japanese course is too specific too, because since daily Japanese is pretty rough in grammars compared to English and other languages I don't quite get the importance of the specificity in grammars.

December 9, 2017



I think a lot of the reason why the Japanese answer variations weren't more fleshed out from the beginning is because the course originally didn't allow typing for any Japanese answers until less than two months ago.

Before this they had no need to add any alternatives, since there are only a handful of tiles to pick from in the "word bank" for each question. I'm not sure if the apps even allow people to type the answers in Japanese yet (if they ever are going to)?

But the tiny team of contributors are very gradually adding more alternatives that people have been reporting. ^^


I'm guessing it is so specific, because the Japanese course is relatively new at duolingo and still in beta so they still didn't have the time to put in and accept all the right possible answers. I think (and hope) that when it is out of beta a lot more translations will be accepted. The only thing we can do is keep on reporting the sentences we think should be corrected and hope they incorporate it into the course.


If they included all those extras the course could go on forever though


I mean if you want to learn the language, it would go on for 10+ years ;). Learning Japanese like a code will not benefit anyone in the end.


Thanks owly121 and Jurien1996, I'll do my best reporting! :)


I have found that the better you are coming into a language in Duolingo, particularly Japanese which is still in beta, the more likely you are to be frustrated at the lack of alternative translations and poor recognition of kanji usage. Many times it seems like they want you to memorize the sentences as a set expression and only replicate it the exact same way.

I think a lot of this has to do with the course remaining unrefined and, due to the ambiguous aspect of spoken Japanese, adding all possible translations must be more involved than in some other languages.

That being said, I believe that this course was designed and intended to be used by beginners. If you give them too many options when answering it can be hard to gauge whether or not they actually absorbed the original material. Hence the 'You will answer the way we want you to answer" phenomenon.

Your example regarding 片付ける and 掃除をする, however, is not entirely accurate. While in many households and situations these are used interchangeably the true definitions are different (掃除をする前にものを片付ける). The small difference between 'cleaning up' and 'tidying up'.

For the most part, I heartily agree with you and hope that there will be substantial improvement in the flexibility of the course.


I only have to say that this course wasn't really design with beginners in mind then. As a beginner likely wouldn't know other way of translating a sentence. So, that wouldn't really matter for them.


I am an advanced Japanese speaker and I was ASTOUNDED by how rigid the answers on this site are. Japanese is a HIGH CONTEXT language; linguistically, it will not be as easy for germanic or romance language speakers to learn it. And it's just irresponsible to try and pigeon-hole the language into fake 1-to-1 translations, some of which logistically don't occur in natural Japanese. This site is not built for learning Asian languages.


Duolingo isn't built for highly contextual Asian languages such as Japanese or Chinese. There are way too many solutions for a translation and some characters' meaning may be completely altered from one context to another. But I think that the efforts put into place to try and teach these languages is worth the praise!

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