https://www.duolingo.com/Kippis

新年度もよろしくお願いいたします / Greetings for the new school year

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Duolingo 日本語チームの一員として、年度始めの挨拶を申し上げます。

外国語のスキルは学業においても仕事においても欠かせないものです。皆さまの中には進級された方や新たにご就職された方も大勢いらっしゃるかと存じます(おめでとうございます)し、これをきっかけに Duolingo を始めたかたも多いかもしれません。

私 Kippis も1月末に Duolingo の Contributor(貢献者)になったばかりなので、気分は新人です。

Duolingo 日→英コースそのものも、3月3日にβ(ベータ)開始一周年、3月15日にユーザー数100万人突破という節目を迎えました。

目下、私たちにとって最大の目標はこのコースをβ版から卒業させることです。その目安となるのが不具合の報告数(パソコンではレッスン中の画面左下のボタン、Android では旗マークにタップすると報告できます)でして、学習者100人につき3件を下回った状態が長い間続けば「一人前のコース」と認められて正式運用が始まります。一年前は報告数が20〜30件/100人あったそうですが、私がチームに加わった時点で8〜9件まで減っており、3月には約4件まで下がりました。3月下旬は私が本業が忙しくほとんどこちらでの作業ができなかったせいもあったのか、現在は6件くらいまで「リバウンド」していますが、今月からは再び継続的に修正作業に取り組んでいきたいと思います。

もちろん報告数を減らすこと自体が目的なのではなく、皆さまがより快適に Duolingo で学習できるようにするのが私たちの仕事です。ですからどうか少しでも気づいたことやおかしいと思われたことがございましたらご報告ください。

なお、ディスカッション(掲示板)で「回答が受理されなかった」と報告される方が多いのですが、本来ここは間違いを指摘する場所ではなく文法などに関する疑問を解消するための場所です。しばしばそうした質問が、ただの問題報告の間に埋もれてしまっていることがあります。原則としてはディスカッションでの指摘を正式なルートからのご報告より優先することはできませんし、何よりディスカッションでは「本人が気づいていないところでタイプミスなどを犯していた」「正解判定システムに障害などがあった」等のケースを判別できません。

また、手書き入力を使っている方が多いのか、「夕方」だと思ったらカタカナの「タ」になっていたり、カタカナの「ト」の代わりに占いの「卜(ぼく)」を入力していたり、長音の「ー」ではなく「-(マイナス)」や「一(いち)」にしたりしてしまったのに気づかずに報告されている方が目立ちます。今一度ご確認ください!

Duolingo が皆さまの学習の支えとなることを心から願っております。どうぞ今年度もよろしくお願いいたします。

Kippis @ Duolingo 日本語チーム


The new school year & fiscal year in Japan commences in April. We would like to send you some words on this occasion.

Many fresh(wo)men in Japan will enter a new environment where skills in foreign language are very important. I, Kippis, having just joined the JP-EN team in late January, feel like a newcomer too.

This course also passed some important milestones recently. March 3rd was the first anniversary since entering beta and our millionth user joined the course on the 15th.

Our goal for the moment is to graduate from beta, which is to be achieved if we maintain the number of reports per 100 active users lower than 3 for some period. I heard that there were 20 to 30 reports a year ago, which had decreased to 8 or 9 when I joined the team, and in March it dropped to about 4. I had been occupied with my main job outside Duolingo for the past fortnight and I found the number rebound to 6, but we'll carry on with our modifications and corrections.

Of course our purpose is not to decrease the reports themselves, but to reduce your stress for a better experience in Duolingo. Please report anything you notice.

By the way we often see people trying to report on the discussion board, but please leave that place for people who purely want to ask questions. You can report troubles from the button appearing at the left bottom when you answer a question (for computers) or when you tap the flag mark (for Androids). Points in discussions have no priority over regular reports, and moreover we can't see whether you just unconciously made a mistake or whether there was some glitch in the judging system if you write it on the discussion.

And please be careful even when you're reporting it. First we do not accept "romaji (alphabetical substitution for hiraganas and kanjis)". If you're using handwriting input beware that some characters are alike. 夕 in 夕方 (evening) looks very much like the katakana タ, for the katakana ト there's a doppelgänger 卜 (boku, Chinese character meaning prophecy), and ー for long vowels are often confused with −(minus) or 一 (one).

We hope Duolingo helps your studies. (And personally I hope that our work is contributing for the realization of a "Japanese for English speakers course", which still seems to be so far away...)

Best wishes,

Kippis @ Duolingo Japanese team

3年前

25コメント


https://www.duolingo.com/Kippis
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Many thanks to our reverse-learning friends who infinitely respond better than our fellow Japanese!

Since I also entered Duolingo as a normal user I understand your frustration over lack of information very well. At the same time I'm no longer in a normal position, so I'll try to be careful with what I say. Not that there's something evil hiding, I just don't want to cause false hopes or needless fears out of unreliable and uncertain information.

I stress that while I used "we" in the main article, now I'm talking here as a single "I". This is no official message and I take the full responsibility for what I've said.

Short answer to whether Japanese for English speakers will start right after we get out of beta : no.

I'm sorry.

The biggest problem, I think, is that Japanese does not use spaces to divide words, and it's extremely difficult for making the computer recognize individual words automatically. We're kind of cheating in this course, by treating every single hiragana, katakana or kanji as an independent word, and by registering blocks of letters as idiomatic phrases when we want to add popup hints. This has to be fixed when we're creating a Japanese course, which is going to take a while.

There are other problems, which we're actually suffering from right now. At least half of the English sentences in Duolingo have more than a thousand possible Japanese translations, many of which exceed 3,000 - and the Duolingo system doesn't allow us to have more than that number of possible answers. In order to get around this, they've adopted a system that converts kanji into hiragana, and also an auto-converter for common synonyms, but it often doesn't go well.

However I'd like to stress that Duolingo is working seriously for the realization of a Japanese course. In fact two of our members (not me) are Duolingo employees, and work day and night for fixing glitches while also doing the same debugging like us contributors. I take this opportunity to draw your attention to them (@hideki and @mhagiwara ) who really deserve high appreciation.

By the way, I also want you to help us! Please send us reports whenever you can. And if you find questions on this discussion board that you might be able to answer, don't hesitate! I see the Japanese guys often requesting for ネイティブs to answer their question and I always feel guilty for being a non-native English speaker. It will also give you an opportunity to try expressing something in Japanese. If you've already tried writing or speaking something in Japanese, you may have found that it's very difficult to express something 100% correct but quite easy to construct a recognizable albeit grammatically incorrect Japanese sentence. Don't feel offended to hear this, but many Japanese people tend to take such slight mistakes as something convincing that you're a true English speaker. So there's no worry.

And! The biggest merit is... It gives me more time for concentrating on reports, because currently I'm almost the only one answering every question raised in this discussion board ;-P

3年前

https://www.duolingo.com/oskalingo
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Hello Kippis,

firstly, thank you for the great amount of effort you have been making on the ENJA course. I follow your profile and am amazed at your activity level. Please be careful to avoid burnout!

Thank you also for this post and follow up comment. It is extremely interesting for all of us who have been curious about how the course has been progressing and the difficulties encountered in adapting the duolingo system to dealing with Japanese.

I want to respond to one of the difficulties you mentioned above:

The biggest problem, I think, is that Japanese does not use spaces to divide words, and it's extremely difficult for making the computer recognize individual words automatically. We're kind of cheating in this course, by treating every single hiragana, katakana or kanji as an independent word, and by registering blocks of letters as idiomatic phrases when we want to add popup hints. This has to be fixed when we're creating a Japanese course, which is going to take a while.

My response to this would be why not use spaces as word dividers anyway? I mean in the sentence database. That would easily mark out the individual words. And then, when the sentences are put up for display to the user, the spaces could be stripped out (trivial to do), so that the sentences still display in the traditional manner. I find the news that the current course is treating every hiragana, katakana and kanji as a separate 'word' quite alarming and it would appear to me to be a very inelegant hack that creates far more problems than it solves.

3年前

https://www.duolingo.com/Kippis
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Thank you oskalingo and pseudocreobotra, but I'm sorry to say that I'm not the one dealing with the system and can do nothing with your suggestions. I have my own reflections but I won't dare say it. All I can tell is that there are many problems involved, there's no silver bullet, and staff ARE working. If I may dare to say a bit further, I think that the Duolingo system is so optimized to alphabetical languages that it's really tough to integrate other writing systems into it.

For the meanwhile I'll concentrate on my work as a contributor. And yep you're right oskalingo, I felt quite dizzy when I dealt with ten thousand reports in a week while answering every question on the discussion board. The notorious Japanese work-life imbalance! (But to think that there are more than ten times that number of reports remaining untouched... I wish I could divide into 4 or 5.)

3年前

https://www.duolingo.com/NathanDani10

Kippis, just as Japanese must be learned in stages (master "watashi" before trying to explain when you could also use "boku", "ore", etc), the duolingo interface can also be attacked in stages. Students must learn to construct sentences and must also master using IME's. But they don't have to do both at the same time. For sentence construction, use the UI where a list of words is provided below and the user must click on each word in the correct order. This eliminates the issue of trying to parse user input without spaces. For IME practice, listening exercises work as-is and you can just add a new type of exercise where a Japanese phrase is displayed and the user just needs to retype it. I am happy to discuss this further with you and the rest of the team. I really do believe that duolingo already has the functionality needed to support this course. I am only JLPT4, so I cannot help directly with the course as much as I would like to. But I spent 7 years learning Japanese and have many thoughts on things that worked and things that did not work.

3年前

https://www.duolingo.com/kiookii

すごい!

I headed over to the discussion board to see if there were any questions I could help answer, and I found that you had already answered all of them!

Thank you for your dedication in helping people learn.

I will try to help where I can.

3年前

https://www.duolingo.com/velvelajade
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My idea was to have the sentence posted twice. The top version would be with the spaces for the hints. And then the bottom sentence would be in authentic Japanese style without the spaces. In this way, duolingo coding system could be used and we'd still get the authentic approach as well. I know you have nothing to do with this, but you'd be able to contact them before I could. Thanks!

2年前

https://www.duolingo.com/pseudocreobotra

What seems more troublesome to me is not displaying the sentences in the correct manner but interpreting an input without spaces right?

I've seen that many teaching resources still use spaces to avoid confusion (but point out that this is not common in real Japanese). Just like Russian teaching resources use ё AND e instead of just e. Soo... Why not use spaces on Duolingo if their absence imposes a major problem? It's common practice and definitely helps newbies who are already troubled with telling the different hiragana apart.

3年前

https://www.duolingo.com/Oblithian

From a position of not knowing what is involved or what stage the course has to be in before it hits Beta. It would seem logical to do the most you can just using kana leaving more time to figure out the technical side of incorporating Kanji.

But as the issues being faced here are shared with a number of other major languages, you would think DuoLingo would put some serious effort into solving the issues. Most people I have spoken to are more interested in using DuoLingo to learn non-latin based languages since learning them is much more straight forward using pre-existing tools. Still, not much we can do aside from wait..

3年前

https://www.duolingo.com/kiookii

ありがとう! ありがとう! 本当にありがとうございます!!

Personally, I cannot thank you enough. Now we know a little something more about the "problems" we have been hearing about, but knowing really nothing concerning what those "problems" are. Most people focus on how to teach the writing system when they discuss how the problems might be fixed (they are assuming that's the biggest problem).

I understand the translation problem, as there are multiple translations in the current course. Japanese can omit so many things that English can't, and word order is not as important (not to mention the choice to use kanji or kana for a word).

I also thank Duolingo for working seriously to be able to create a good Japanese course.

がんばります!

3年前

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
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Thank you for the updates Kippis! I have shared it with moderators in the Facebook group since questions about the course come up so often in the forums. :)

PS if you want to join the group put the word out in the Incubator so you can get an invite.

3年前

https://www.duolingo.com/HappyEvilSlosh
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I can't believe I missed this at the time. Thanks for this summary, even if it's not exactly promising I do appreciate knowing what the current situation is!

they've adopted a system that converts kanji into hiragana

And finally I understand why sometimes I get the kanji wrong but it's still accepted! When I'm not paying enough attention I sometimes accidentally enter 「行きます」 as 「生きます」 (I'm using IBus for input).

3年前

https://www.duolingo.com/Measles27
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Thanks for giving it to us straight, and keep up the good work. I guess I'll continue on the reverse learning course, maybe it'll help.

3年前

https://www.duolingo.com/kiookii

Thank you for the report! I have been looking for an update for a long time now. I know everyone is busy and I really appreciate the work that is done for the course.

I and many others are happy to know how far this course is from graduating from beta. However, from your report it seems that Japanese for English will not be starting very soon after. I think many believe that Japanese for English will start phase one right after English for Japanese leaves beta. Could you or possibly someone else give some info on that? Even if it is a "there are lots of problems and we don't know when they will be worked out" type of answer.

ありがとう Team Japanese!

3年前

https://www.duolingo.com/Alternia
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I'm sad to here that the Japanese for English speakers course isn't coming out right away. but it sounds like there are more problems than pretty much anyone expected. Take your time and once they've been figured out, a lot of people (myself included) are looking forward to the course.

3年前

https://www.duolingo.com/velan
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Kippisさん、ありがとう!

Thanks a lot for taking the time to write that. It's great to have some infos about how far from graduating the course is, I'm sure many of us, waiting for the EN-JA courses have been wondering about that! :)

頑張れ!

3年前

https://www.duolingo.com/weskergirl1

For a Japanese course you would first have to teach Hiragana (ひらがな)and then Katakana (カタカナ)and finally Kanji (漢字)。Also, you would have to quiz the learners on onyomi and kunyomi readings of the kanji which would probably be difficult to integrate.

As NathanDani10 said, "...Japanese must be learned in stages (master "watashi" before trying to explain when you could also use "boku", "ore", etc)..." This is true, just as you must master Hiragana and Katakana before Kanji. The Japanese course would most definitely have to be split up into several stages

~Mary メリー

3年前

https://www.duolingo.com/tkw57

I've had duolingo app since the was only 3 courses but have not got very far as I've been waiting since then for Japanese for English speakers so whenever it comes i'll be over the moon cause i love how duolingo teaches over other apps

2年前

退会したユーザー

    こんにちは。 私は2015年3月15日に登録しました。 まだ報告やディスカッションが慣れない中、いろいろ教えていただきありがとうございます。

    このサイト(アプリも含めて)のお陰で、当時学校で学んでいたものとは結構違うと思いました。昨年から日本語から離れた生活を始めていて、英語を学ぶ(覚える)ことが必須になっている中で、有意義な時間を持てていると実感しています。

    これからもよろしくお願い致します。

    3年前

    https://www.duolingo.com/papisgirl

    Is there a beta yet?

    3年前

    https://www.duolingo.com/Hisui-chan

    So what year will the Japanese courses come out? Because this is my favorite app to learn new languages with and I'm planning on doing a foreign exchange to Japan but I want to learn Japanese first and I only have 3 years before I go.

    2年前

    https://www.duolingo.com/laureljd

    Was Japanese scrapped? I don't even see a beta anywhere, I see no sign of anything for it ever existing except these comments from 1+ years ago. Disappointing.

    2年前

    https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
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    I've seen small signs of life happening. Go see http://www.duolingo.com/moeka518 activity stream. I still think it will be a while. But, I think Duolingo might actually be seeing a few bits of progress in that direction. :)

    2年前

    https://www.duolingo.com/laureljd

    Thank you! I guess I'm not very good at maneuvering around Duolingo yet because I hadn't seen that page before. I'm following it now, fingers crossed. I'm hoping to move to Japan after getting my bachelor's if I can manage to get a work visa, so the more of the language I learn the better.

    2年前

    https://www.duolingo.com/Enderlord80000

    uh cool

    2年前

    https://www.duolingo.com/KeremTsuki

    Retapapii s siteru?

    2ヶ月前
    英語を無料で学ぼう。1日5分ゲーム感覚で学習できます。