Duolingo Can Now Teach You Japanese

Posted on May 18, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Cloud, iOS, Mobile with 8 Comments

Duolingo Can Now Teach You Japanese

Duolingo announced today that its amazing language learning app now supports Japanese, one of the hardest languages for English speakers to learn.

“This is by far the most requested and highly-anticipated course launch in Duolingo’s five-year history,” Duolingo co-founder and CEO Luis von Ahn says in a prepared statement. “No matter what we’d share on social media, tons of people would respond with, ‘that’s nice, but when are you launching Japanese?'”

The time is now.

Starting today, Duolingo users on iOS will be able to take a specially-tailored Japanese language course that the firm says it has spent months perfecting. This course provides the following:

Full character set support. Some Japanese language course offer only a minimal set of Romaji characters, which represent Japanese sounds using the western alphabet. But Duolingo helps you learn all three Japanese writing systems: Hiragana, Katakana, and basic Kanji.

Thematic lessons. As with Duolingo’s other courses, Japanese is taught thematically, rather than alphabetically. “All lessons are based on themes like travel, food, and hobbies, and are made up of a practical mix of vocabulary and grammar,” the company explains. “And there are even bonus lessons at the end to teach learners phrases relevant to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and popular Japanese subculture like anime and manga.”

Research-backed learning. Duolingo designed its Japanese course from scratch using the JF Standard, a Japanese-language education framework. And the course teaches all of the vocabulary and grammar needed to pass the JLPT N5 Japanese language proficiency test.

As you may know, I am a huge fan and user of Duolingo, and in fact, I’m currently on a 736 day streak of using the app. I was lucky enough to begin testing the Japanese course a few days ago, and I can confirm that this is a tough language to try to learn, especially if you’re used to western-style languages like English, Spanish or French. But I will try to keep with it.

Japanese language learning is available today in the Duolingo app for iOS.


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