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Is the Japanese course good enough?

I feel that compared to the other courses, the Japanese course is lacking and almost not effective at all. I've been doing Swedish for a while now and i have learned a lot. I may not be that good yet but I can at least read and understand a few children's books.

My Japanese however are at the lowest level possible. I don't think that Duolingo has done a good job with it. Whenever I take a new lesson I have to look up everything because Duolingo doesn't explain it enough or it kind off "rushes" over it. I never had to do this with Swedish or any other course.

Don't get me wrong, I love Duolingo but when it comes to Japanese I think I need to look somewhere else. What do you think? Am I wrong? Do you have any alternatives for Japanese learning?

June 13, 2018



I have finished the Japanese tree last year. But I'm still not at level 25 yet. It was surely not enough and I overestimated my Japanese skills which I found out the hard way after moving to Japan.


No, you are not wrong. I think this course posed many challenges for the DuoLingo contributers. It has recently left beta, but still needs a lot of fine tuning to reach a good level, especially for absolute beginners to Japanese. There has been some progress lately, with the addition of better Tips and Notes.

For the time being, I recommend that you check out the app LingoDeer. It is similar to DuoLingo, but it was specifically designed to teach Asian languages and has many nice features, like furigana and kanji practice. It also introduces new concepts slowly, so you are not overwhelmed or confused.


I'm a complete beginner and I'm actually very impressed with the quality of this Japanese course. I've tried many Duolingo courses and Swedish was my favorite one out of the ones I've completed. It's hard to compare a great course in a language that uses an alphabet and is also very similar to English to Japanese. As with any course, I always recommend supplementing with different resources.


The Japanese course is a good introduction to something like 1000 Japanese words. Yeah, that probably falls well short of what one needs to read even a children's book in a language not closely related to one one already knows.


It certainly does help. It is repetitive enough for words to stick to you. There is a great emphasis in practice, hence, slowly builds up on your head.

It is necessary to take a supplemental course using Genki of Yomi books. Explanation is necessary and I strongly suggest hiring an online tutor to sistematize your learning; use a flashcard app and a listening comprehension course to get your ear accustomed to Japanese speech patterns.

Good for beginners to get you confortable with hiragana and katakana but it is necessary to get somebody else to explain the mechanics of the japanese grammar.

It is difficult to learn practical Kanji comprehensively from this course. After a month I hardly come accross the Kanki I have been shown in Duolingo. You need another source to tackle Kanji.


This discussion was posted in 2018, back when the course was still on the original tree version "Tree 1.0". That tree was very short compared to what we have now. It only had 40 skills and only taught ~100 kanji.

In 2019 the Japanese course had the update to Tree 2.0. The course was greatly extended to 92 skills.

In 2020 the Japanese course has now had the update to Tree 4.0. The course now has 131 skills and teaches ~1,350 kanji + over 3,200 unique words.

So the question was about a quite different course to what we have now. I don't think the crown levels system even existed on Duolingo back when this question was posted.

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