Japanese for English Speakers

I noticed a lot of people...a LOT of people are interested in Japanese for English speakers. I am one of these people. I did study Japanese during my Bachelors degree and was lucky enough to visit Japan as a part of this 3 part course. Of course the trip was only a year after the course had been made available to students, so I traveled with Japanese 1 which helped but was not enough for me to feel confident in speaking it. Because of this I know it would be quite difficult to develop a Japanese course since there are so many details in the language. For instance, three alphabets, proper speech, improper speech, dictionary form and so on. I want to contribute but my skills are not great.


I still really want to start developing this course, I looked up the contributers in English for Japanese speakers and none of them have been active as of late. So does anyone have any suggestions on how we can get this going?

Pretty sure I am not the only one who has tried this. I would also like Mandarin (Chinese) and Korean for English speakers.

I've tried Memrise but there are too many courses and it doesn't have structure, for me is more of something you can add to your language learning routine.

Please share your thoughts on this :)

September 18, 2014


Feel free to check this out. It has tips for getting started on your own.

Also, Incubator activity doesn't show up in one's Activity stream. So, if the contributors have been active in the Incubator, people who don't have access wouldn't be able to see. (I couldn't tell you whether or not they have been active lately. I don't have an Incubator account. I know that they've hit a few major technical bugs in their journey to putting together the English for Japanese speakers course though, which have caused some hold-ups. Not sure if those are still acting up or not.)

September 18, 2014

Thank you Usagi-san! :) or should i say Bunnyboy? in all seriousness I will look into this and see what I can do I have acouple of friends who can help me out in this. :)

September 18, 2014

Usagi or Bunny is fine (you can add the honorific if you would like, but, it isn't necessary ^_^)

September 19, 2014

With all the help and advice you provide here, maybe we should call you Usagi-sensei.

October 29, 2014

I'm still a first year student. Senpai maybe, but I'm still very far behind many people! And, I'm really far away from being sensei. I would feel a little embarrassed if people called me that. ^^'

October 29, 2014

To my understanding in Japanese culture; you would be a Duolingo sensei because of your mastery of the Duolingo site and you would also be a senpai to everyone in the community since you're always looking out for everyone. Usagi senpai!!! :D

October 29, 2014

Well the japanese to english course has been going along in beta for about 7 months. So, I think we can expect at least 5 more months before they either consider making a reverse course, or tell us its impossible on the platform with the available resources.

As for chinese, there are 2 and a half MILLION users of that course. Sorting through all the error reports sent in by 2.5million will take forever. So it will be a long time.

Korean unlike chinese and Japanese has an easy writing system (you can learn it in an afternoon) so they might actually get around to doing it.

There is not a set time line for how long a course should take to finish beta. The duo people cannot do what other businesses do (set deadlines and force people to stick to them) because they are not paying the course creators. So what I am saying, is don't hold your breath. Short of actually paying the course creators, there is not much we could legally do to get it going. None of them have come forward with updates so for all we know, they just burnt out and decided to give up. That would be understandable as it is very difficult work for no pay. Since duo does not pay them, duo cannot really require weekly reports given to the public.

September 19, 2014

duo should set up a fundraiser or way to donate for the languages in production. i think there's lots of people who appreciate being able to use duolingo for free and would support them in making more courses in other languages. i would!

September 19, 2014

maybe when you go to pick a new language, it can also show the options for other language currently in production and instead of being able to click on it, it would say "still in incubator phase, donate to help" and link to a page where they can donate however much they want.

September 19, 2014

Momokoala! that would be a nice incentive for the contributers and having a link would make it easier to get courses rolling out sooner. Then again, now that I've taken more time to think about it maybe it's not as bad they take long, I mean, this makes it kind of organic for languages to develop. None the less I think it would be a neat idea. :) Thanks for sharing your idea! :D

September 19, 2014

Yeah I get what you mean, though probably part of the reason it's taking long isn't because they aren't paying people but because they can't afford certain tools to create certain courses, like Dessamator stated below. Well, if it's not for speeding up the process,maybe it could just be to give them some mula for their time & efforts:)

September 19, 2014

More importantly Chinese (and probably Japanese) had been planned 2 years ago. Yet it is highly likely they still don't have the tools to create such courses. Most of the new language trees being incubated use either latin or cyrilic which isn't that different from English.

I think Duolingo really has a couple of viable possibilities, either throw out the book, abandon its current translate A → B approach, create a immersive kind of course for those Asian languages that doesn't rely on translation, and teach it like they would teach a L1 speaker. Or develop a very robust tool to fit into its current method.

In my opinion Duolingo is placing too much of a burden on contributors when they create a new language tree. They must create skills, add words, decide on the number of lessons, course guidelines, design, words, frequency lists, sentences, proofread sentences, translate them, proofread translation, and use limited words. Lastly, handle probably millions of reports from users who speak several dialects and believe their "version" of a language is always accurate.

Personally I would split some of these tasks and give them to different teams. There could be a way to design a language tree without bilinguals, and then allow other people to translate it.

September 19, 2014

I have to agree with you. These languages are quite complex to build lessons for, specially taking into account what you said; the dialects. These are Languages that have so many dialects. For instance, I didn't think there would be a difference when I started learning it, The people up in Hokkaido have about 8 or 9 dialects if I'm not mistaken -I could be way off. Not only that but within these dialects you have the proper terms and the improper terms. Since, this language will have contributors from all around Japan and of course the world thsi has to be taken into account.

Much like learning Spanish, there are so many parts of the world that speak it and each one has there own meaning for certain words which we all use in the language and they each have a similar or a very different accent. I guess this pretty much goes for all languages.

But, that's what makes me like this site so much, you have different people connecting and contributing their own knowledge and skills to give people the closest thing possible to a Standard way of speaking the language without taking away the languages essence which is ever evolving not static.

And yes, I think a great way to tackle this would be to create teams I'm all for contributing and joining a team. I feel it would be easier for me to bounce of my knowledge off of someone and get a better understanding of what the lesson will be gearing towards.

September 19, 2014

I would love to see a thorough course on DL.! And yes, I agree that this must be an incredible challenge for the course contributors!

September 20, 2014

Thanks sguiggy.fl!

I guess we'll just wait patiently for the course to hatch. In the mean time, I wonder if it would be alright to set up discussions with basic Japanese grammar or for that matter, any other language that is in the beta stage?

It makes since that they would take their time it isn't easy to do things for free even when your really passionate about something, all those hours invested takes up money too.

September 19, 2014

Hi Oneduhhh!
We just got an awesome @hideki joined the Japanese team! Check his post here, we may start the reverse course at some point, stay tuned! :)

September 20, 2014

@S.Chx Thanks for kindly introducing myself :)

@Oneduhhh Nice to see many up-votes! Does that probably mean there's at least 37 people who are interested in learning Japanese from English?! :)

Hopefully, I can post the status of the Japanese related courses in a few days!

EDIT: I posted this one about the current status:

September 21, 2014

hideki san, more than 37! Inquiries as to when the Japanese for English speakers course course is likely among the most posted discussions. We have seen it a couple of times a week since before the Incubator came out last October! :D

PS jitengore posts a weekly status update for courses in the Incubator. I would recommend contacting that person so they can include you, and any message you might like to write to those interested in the Jpn for Eng speakers, in their next update. ^_^

September 21, 2014

Wow, sounds exciting to hear that! I'm also curious to see how JP/EN stats comes out from jitengore's report :)

September 21, 2014

@S.chx Thank you so much for the heads up! :)

September 21, 2014

No problem! ;)

September 22, 2014

For a Japanese course from English, you might take a look at At this moment it only contains 57 lessons, but we will add new lessons regularly. In case you have feedback, I'm listening.

April 11, 2016

Please give us a Japanese course, Duolingo!

November 21, 2016

Total agreement! I wish the best!

November 29, 2016

I just saw on the course status of Japanese for English Speakers on the incubator page a posting dated 2/2/17 that estimated release date is 5/15/17! Gambatte Kudasai!

February 4, 2017

id love to learn japaneese on duolingo

April 5, 2017

I wonder whether it's really necessary to reinvent this wheel. After all, there's already a Japanese-for-English speakers course that's very much like Duolingo, Hugo's Japanese in Three Months: chapters with sections of related grammar points, each illustrated with a number of sentences and with audio for the Japanese. No games, no owl, but a straightforward translation-based (JA-EN and EN-JA) course with human-read audio. (It has tests that do not involve the exact repetition of the example sentences, so it's a bit more difficult, I suppose.) Why not use some investor money to buy the rights and just add the trumpet fanfares?

October 29, 2014

That's not exactly the same as Duolingo. In fact it's ..... absolutely nothing like Duolingo.......

February 22, 2015

So 5 months and no word? Not even a Phase 1 project?

Come on Duo, if the current volunteers are too busy to do it, open up the course for new volunteers. It's the most requested course by far. And yet absolutely nothing, not even a Phase 1 project.

You can't blame it on Kanji - computers and web browsers have had tools for dealing with these languages for years.

February 22, 2015

If you haven't seen this already, here's the progress of the English for Japanese tree course:

Once it is completed it should be a lot easier to create the reverse tree. I'm sure this could be done a lot quicker but the team is making sure that it's done right. They don't get paid for contributing, they have to put in their free time to complete this project and having too many people work on it might delay it because in all languages there are incongruences so you have to figure out what the best choice of words are. At least there are updates which proves there is some progress.

I started doing the English course for Japanese speakers. It has it's challenges but it's great practice if you have basic knowledge of the writing. All you have to do is change your native language to Japanese and you'll be able to access the tree. The buttons work the same as if the website was in English.

March 26, 2015

I think that they should a japanese course for english speaker.

September 12, 2016

this was a ok thing thing to say an we are in epic and we are doing a spanish thing and no we can do other languages and we are wanting to learn japennese and it is not letting us do that so i was looking up comments to see if any one put up anything about that.It will only let us get to the third one and then i kicks us off of the website so thanks that was a paragraph

April 19, 2017
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