native speaker here! just some tips & some things i noticed while taking the course :) AMA

hey everyone, my name is katie. it's great to see so many people learning japanese!!

what i want to say is, the things you learn in these lessons are not hard and fast rules. take everything with a grain of salt.

i found it difficult to get through the course because my answers were considered incorrect when i dropped particles, changed the word order, etc. while the grammar in the lessons are correct, they can sometimes sound robotic, unnatural, or overly academic. japanese people don't really talk like that.

my personal advice is to watch movies, tv, read books, manga, and if you can, find a native speaker to talk to, or better yet just go to japan!!

happy studying!!

July 1, 2018


I so agree with you. Although I am not a native speaker (and far from being fluent), but one of main reasons this course frustrated me was because it would mark a correct answer wrong because of particles or word order (or even the use of kanji!).

It's much better now since they started going through the feedback again.

July 2, 2018

To a certain extent this is true for all language courses. The language spoken in daily life is less formal, drops all kinds of stuff and is way more flexible than the usually puristic courses.

Duolingo is an automated teaching tool. It is very hard to get all the proper forms in (though reporting errors helps over time).

You should not expect full native fluency or to become conversational using Duolingo alone. It is a learning aid not a replacement for a proper course.

July 1, 2018
  • Hello, My name is Phuc, I am vietnamese.
  • I have just readed your topic and I think that is so great.
  • 1 like for you.
July 2, 2018

Hi Phuc, you are doing great in English. Almost perfect!

Unfortunately, read is an irregular verb. Present perfect is: I have just read your topic ...

July 2, 2018
  • Thank you, because I don't know more of Present Perfect tense, so I write wrong.
  • Thank you so much, I think you are very good in English.
  • Can I make friend with you ???
July 2, 2018

I don't know more of

Perhaps, "much about", not "more of"? :)

July 6, 2018

From context my guess would be "more than"

July 6, 2018

Oh, I don't know that what is your nationality :D

July 2, 2018

I am Dutch.

July 2, 2018
  • I love Japan, It is a wonderful country.
  • I want to listen more of Japan. Can I make friend with you :D
July 2, 2018

What Japanese movies would you recommend to a beginner like me? I would also like to learn more about your culture so if the movies have cultural references or are based on historical events I would deeply appreciate it ;w;

July 3, 2018

to begin just try to watch some japanese stuff (not animes even though are so cool) to learn how japanese society is and how they view the world, you'll find that is reeeaaally different but in a good way, i would suggest you on Netflix "Midnight Dinner", "Japanese Style Originator" (talks about origins of some japanese costumes or traditions which even japanese people dont' know or recognize so easily so it's perfect for you), "Samurai Gourmet", "Jiro and the art of the Sushi" and "Aggretsuko", actually an anime where the protagonist struggle with her routine in work so to relax she secretly sings death metal, it's super fun. btw sorry that so many of them are related to food but I really like japanese food hahaha

July 5, 2018

Thank you for the recommendations! And trust me I don't mind the fact that they are about food uwu

July 5, 2018

Nice to know!

July 1, 2018

Exactly. Nice to have a native speaker chime in on this. I lived in Tokyo for many years (although even now my Japanese is far from perfect) and I'm noticing the same thing. Partially, I'm enjoying being forced to learn my particles "properly," since I mainly learned to speak organically. But I agree...some things here sound a bit too academic. But that's probably true of many of the courses. We often don't write in the same way that we speak. Something that only experience can teach you. But then, experience is the best part of language learning. :)

July 4, 2018

i see, its kind of difficult

July 4, 2018

Been a while since I looked into the course, but got the same impression comparing with my other experiences with the language... Though I guess it can be hard to have the AI convey a natural feeling generally

July 6, 2018

Thanks for your advice, Katie! The grammar does seem a bit stiff sometimes. I haven't tried another course yet, but apparently that's true across Duolingo.

July 7, 2018

You are very kind making this discussion, anyway... I have a question . :) In the sentence "九時ごろに 学校 へ 行きます" what does "へ" means? And in the sentence "学校 に 行きません" why does "に" (which means "to" , right?) stays after the word 学校 and not before like the first sentence? Hope I was clear, pls reply if you can. Thank you :)

July 8, 2018

hi, thanks for your question!! honestly ”へ” and ”に” are more or less the same and can be used interchangeably, generally. (keep in mind i'm only talking about how they're used when referring to place/direction.)

however there is a slight difference. to me, "に" translates as "to" and ”へ” is more like "towards". i looked online for some other input as i'm pretty bad at explaining things lol, i found this, which i agree with:

-へ is the direction particle. You could say it focuses on the journey -に is the destination particle. It focuses on the destination.

also, へ is a little more formal/polite in my opinion. it's used to "soften" に sometimes, in a way. but, don't worry too much especially if you're a beginner or even intermediate. it's basically the same thing and japanese people will understand you either way, and it probably won't even sound incorrect tbh sorry i tried to explain as best as i could!! hope this makes sense.

July 8, 2018

Thank you very much i understand! But so.. can i say " 九時に 学校 に 行きます" repeating に two times (or maybe repeating へ two times)? And, can i say "九時に 学校 行きます" without the particle へ between 学校 and 行きます ? If those sentences are wrong, can you please tell me another way to say "九時に 学校 へ 行きます"? Thank you very very much you are so kind :)

July 9, 2018

Absolutely! There is nothing wrong with saying に many times in a sentence. You use it as many times as you need to, just like in English, you might use the word "to" over and over. It does change the meaning, though, not saying ごろ. You will be more committed to the time of 9:00. If you say 学校 行きます, it is technically wrong, but people do it all the time because it's obvious what you mean.

July 10, 2018

Hi Kadiri, the particle always goes after the word. Think of it as a word ending, like a conjugation. The first sentence, "九時ごろに 学校 へ 行きます" broken down looks like ""九時ごろに (at around 9 o'clock) 学校 へ (to school) 行きます (goes)".

The second sentence is "学校 に (to school) 行きません (do/does not go)".

へ is attached to nouns that represent places and is used with verbs of motion. に can be used where へ is used, but also has broader uses.

July 9, 2018
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