Duolingo has SRS?

I’ve been digging into Duolingo again after some time away from it. I’ve noticed a lot of new lessons in the lineup. I also noticed it appears to have an SRS for its vocab.

I did some digging in the more options menu and found this:

It’s quite satisfying when Duolingo presents kanji I’ve already learned on Wanikani too. It lets me focus on the grammar instead of the kanji.


As a related thought, if you like using some sort of app for early-level Japanese, I’d highly recommend LingoDeer over Duolingo. Like it’s not even close.



I just tried lingodeer after your suggestion, and it’s crazy nice and makes language learning fun… until I hit the paywall after 15 minutes. $40/year or $100/lifetime is just wayyyy too expensive for what you get. It looks like it only goes a bit past Genki I, and vocab can be learned for free through other mediums or through WaniKani. I just don’t see the value :confused:


I’m not sure how DuoLingo measure SRS, because it seems off in a few places.

For example:

I know for a fact that I’ve seen most of these within the past week on the app. Maybe something not aligned right, if it doesn’t track 卵 as たまご. At the same time, it is showing stuff practiced “10 hours ago”.


Hmm, I’d rather stick to Duo if Lingo has a paywall.

I think I’d miss the occasional depressing sentences Duo throws out too, like:
いつも一人で飲みます。- I always drink alone.
家族がいません。- I have no family.


Strange, I can see that on my list too with 卵 and たまご. Four and three months respectively and I know I’ve seen them this week. I wonder what counts as a review of the word.

Edit- Apparently Lingodeer retroactively locked most everything behind a paywall, so I removed my comments regarding that. However, my opinions for the other aspects still stand. To add, it seems the “Japanese Pass” and “Multilingual Pass” (which unlocks all languages) are the exact same price, for what it’s worth. I can attest that if the pricing ever changes, though, you’ll maintain your access. I still have access to the (much wider now than when I paid) catalogue, and have never paid beyond my original $20.

TL;DR- Pretty sure Lingodeer is (mostly) free, and even if not I wouldn’t touch Duolingo Japanese with a 39 and a half foot pole after having looked at it now that my Japanese is at a higher level. Every single time I open Duolingo and do a lesson/review, I inevitably spend more time reporting mistakes than anything else.

I bought into Lingodeer way back when they first introduced the subscriptions, so I got lifetime for something like $20 and haven’t looked at the conditions since. That’s my disclaimer for my upcoming comment.

If it still functions as it used to (and as it does with English for Japanese speakers, which I only know from testing it before suggesting it to students), the entire “Unit 1” (the part which roughly covers Genki I/N5) of Japanese should be free to use… It isn’t pay-to-use until Unit 2 (i.e. roughly Genki II/N4). On top of that, the lifetime payment isn’t only one language, but for Lingodeer in it’s entirety. That is, you get lifetime access to Lingodeer’s content for every language they offer.

Now let’s assume that I’m entirely wrong (I very well may be. Again, I haven’t looked at the ToS etc. in a long time). The difference between Duolingo and Lingodeer is similar to the difference in free food and an expensive meal. One you probably got off an expired meat truck from Wal-Mart, the other is from a 5-star steakhouse. You do the math on if that’s worth it (though yes, I do understand worth and affordability are entirely separate).

Edit 2- To add, I should give Duolingo credit where credit is due. The fact that they do what they do with volunteers and for free is pretty amazing, and their review system is certainly something worthy of praise. Lingodeer could learn a thing or two from that system.

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Hmm… I mean I could be mistaken, but it wouldn’t let me progress after the first lesson (nationalities). Every other lesson had a crown icon and clicking on them would lead me to the subscription page. I clicked on pretty much every lesson and got the same result except for the hiragana lessons… and I wasn’t going to spend hours doing something I’ve learned ten years ago.

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Went back, logged out, tried both with no account and a new one. You’re right, they’ve changed their payment platform. I’ll edit my above comment.

Iv read a lot about duolingo and it looks like in japanese learning community it has quite a bad rep. Can smb explain why its so bad? Just curious
genki and wanikani is allready nuff for me to keep busy every day)

The problem with duolingo is that trys to teach Japanese in the same way it teaches Spanish, German and all it’s other languagesーvia osmosis.

To quote this article, Everything About Duolingo Japanese [Ultimate 2020 Review]:
Osmosis means you’re learning in a natural, organic and indirect way through exposure . It’s the way children learn a language. It sounds ideal, doesn’t it? Learning by osmosis can work well when you are studying languages in the same family (German, Italian, etc). Trying to learn Japanese by osmosis without explanations is inefficient and confusing because it’s in a different linguistic family.”

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Ok. I tryed Duolingo few times. It’s sht. Rly. It’s popular cuz it’s completly free and has many languages. But it’s waste of time.
Lingodeer is much better, especially now, when they added so many features. I didn’t pay for it. I got it for free on beta test. But I guess it worth money for full-time access.
So it doesn’t matter, it has srs or not. It was sh
t and it is rn


I would definitely pay for LingoDeer if I was interested in pursuing multiple languages, or even if I could pay a much discounted rate for just a single language. However, I have enough on my plate as a full-time student and the cost a single language is only a dollar or two cheaper than the full-access pass. Its not that I’m against paying for language learning resources, its just that its way too expensive for how far it takes you.

Honestly, I think the money is better spent on other resources tbh. Textbooks are more clunky but they can take you farther and most will use their old textbooks as reference when they move on to further levels.

Also I’m super jealous you got it for $20 lmao, it’s such a nice app.

I can for sure appreciate not going the LingoDeer route if paying for the service is a turn off.

But honestly I would ditch Duolingo entirely. Every minute spent on it is time better spent on something else, IMO. There’s opportunity cost with how to spend your time and whether or not it’s the most effect means.


100% agree with jersytom. @Sajuuk You will be completely wasting your time with Duolingo. Here’s some resources you can try instead:

  • CrunchyNihongo - Here you can practice reading just hiragana

  • KaniWani - If you’re using wanikani, you should probably be using kaniwani. While wanikani enforces recognition, kaniwani enforces recall by having you answer english flashcards in japanese.

  • Kitsun.io - Paid SRS app for building vocabulary (15-day trial)

  • Torii SRS - Free SRS app for building vocabulary

  • Bunpro - Paid SRS app for learning grammar (30-day trial)

  • Kanji Koohi - Free SRS app for learning kanji meanings (no readings). I personally use it to practice stroke order since it’s so minimal.

  • Cure Dolly - Amazing video series for learning grammar. Beware the creepy doll feels though

  • Tae Kim - Pretty good online guide for learning grammar

  • Flo*Flo - Free Japanese Texts. Has SRS for building vocabulary and has japanese texts you can read for reading practice.

  • Satori Reader - Paid Japanese Texts. You can click on every word for a translation, and every sentence has audio and hidden translations you can click on to reveal. However it has a somewhat clunky SRS system (feature overload).


Just out of curiosity, is Duolingo not a good choice for non-European languages or for all languages?

I remember using it for French years ago. While I did give up after a while, I don’t remember if it was because Duolingo was bad or because I lost interest in French.

Meanwhile, using DL for Asian languages, so far I have not had a good experience. I think the curriculum is created by people who are not language teachers.

I’d heard that it was originally made for Spanish, and that for Spanish it’s amazing. You’ll have to ask learners of those languages what they think though lol. In the end, you have to do what works best for you.


The problem with duolingo is that the higher you go the more strict it becomes in what you can answer. This leads to frustration and even finding the occasional wrong answer. They seem to heavily rely on user submitted reports for ‘my answer was correct’ to improve their system as there’s just no way to cover the sheer variety of possible answers a question merits.

I wouldn’t go past the first few levels unless you want to know what it’s like to feel this frustration yourself. Other than that, the one thing that’s more important than anything when it comes to learning a language is staying interested and engaged. Duolingo certainly achieves this being free and addictive. Anything beyond beginner level you’ll have to look elsewhere though.


I remember being very frustrated as an already high-level French learner when I started with duolingo. It would mark me wrong for translations that I knew were correct but were just different from what they wanted because I used a synonym or something. However I don’t find I mind it much for my (very early-stage) Japanese even though it has many, many failings–I use it more as a jump point for introducing concepts to me, and then I go and do my own research on them. Since I’m very much a beginner, I have yet to run into many of the higher-level problems, so who knows when I will finally reach a point where it is too frustrating to continue XD

Like most things, it depends on how you use it I suppose, and your personal preferences. It keeps me learning, which is always better than not!