Japanese for English Beta suggestion: Break up the verb tenses.
Today I refreshed Activity 1 in Japanese for English speakers. The exercise used present, past, and future tenses, so it felt very crowded in terms of new information.
If possible I think it would be nice to have a present tense section higher up in the language tree and also introduce past tense and future tense as separate sections so that users can build up a sense of how these tenses work in general without information overload by lumping all the tenses together.
Words like today (今日), tomorrow (あした), yesterday (きのう), etc... could be taught in each section rather than getting all lumped together in Activity 1.
Thank you for reading this.
I agree with having (a) separate section(s) to teach past tenses, however, I believe that it would be unnecessary for the future tense. This is because no words for the future tense in Japanese; whether the setting of discussion is either present or future is completely determined by context and/or clearly indicated time words.
It would make more sense to have the sections divided into "Informal Present/Future", "Formal Present/Future", "Informal Past" (placed immediately before the て/で section), and "Formal Past". I'm not sure how likely something like this is, though, since Duolingo has not made a distinction between formal and informal inflections in any of the courses I've seen.
Well, the Japanese tree for whatever reason is explicitly not built around grammar points. I think the present (simple) tense is pretty familiar by the time that skill is reached. What's introduced there is the past tense and the fact that the familiar present tense form also works for the future. It made a reasonable amount of sense to me (with my zero background in Japanese). Out of a 40-skill tree, I don't know that that second detail (future and present are the same) would merit a skill centered around it (but with some supposed non-grammatical theme), but it could well get one in a new tree version with longer skills. We'll see eventually I suppose.