Informal Japanese with Duolingo: A Crazy Suggestion

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The Japanese that is presented in the current version of the Duolingo course is rather formal. It being as easy as it is to seem rude by using the wrong phrases in the wrong situations, this formality is probably a good thing for new learners.
When it comes to expanding on what can be learned from Duolingo and discovering more informal speech, it could be much like learning yet another language...

This gave me the idea that the Duolingo Japanese course could have an informal Japanese topic (or topics), where instead of translating from English to Japanese or vice-versa, one translated from formal to informal Japanese, or vice-versa.

I think that this could have benefit of introducing learners to informal speech without confusing them with new translations for already familiar phrases but no context of when it is or isn't appropriate to use them.

I realise that this is quite a departure from any style of exercise that Duolingo currently offers, but I was too intrigued by the idea not to share ^^

August 20, 2018


I love it! Duolingo has the learning world on their fingertips, if only they release certain interactive interfaces. Showing more of peoples profiles, not just for friends, but for institution that can see real progress. Maybe you should become a contributor. I would like to see that idea on Duolingo

August 21, 2018

it is good practice to learn formal first, so that you would instantly be polite when talking to people for the first time. and leaning the informal is best when you actually learn it with the native people, since japanese has a lot of expressions that broadens so wide youll get overwhelmed.

August 22, 2018

Yes, that's a great idea! As I try to read social media posts from various Japanese people, I often struggle when it comes to the informal speach or writings.

I second this idea! :)

August 24, 2018

There are 3 levels of polite speech in Japanese: hira, teinei and keigo. I have always thought it was a bad idea to teach teineigo first. Japanese people all learn hirago first. It is simpler and all the other forms are based on it. No one expects fluency from foreigners. It is better to be understood first and foremost. And fluency is more quickly attained if the learner understands how all the pieces fit together.

November 29, 2018
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