Duolingo (why you hate?)


So I wanted to know what your opinions were of Duolingo and Memrise in relation to learning Japanese.
Since joining, I’ve heard quite a few mixed opinions about Duolingo and mainly negative about the latter.

Personally I have found Duolingo to have been pretty good in the way it is set out so far. But I have been wondering why there is so much being said about it negatively.

Just your thoughts,
Thanks Guys :slight_smile:


I use Duolingo, and am fairly happy with it for what it is, but there are some shortcomings.

  • A few odd mistakes, mainly pronunciations. I think the ha/wa for particle は has been cleaned up recently, but there are a couple of others still lingering.
  • Lack of explanations. They throw a lot of sentences at you, but never explain the grammar or structure at all.

I find the app useful as a supplemental method, and it does get me used to hearing the language spoken to me, but it’s not a complete solution. As long as you know this, you’re fine!


Duolingo is decent, it doesn’t really explain anything as you go though. If anything, it’s good for reinforcing/learning some vocab and getting a feel for what Japanese sentence structure is like and some mild listening practice.

There’s nothing wrong with using it as a resource, sometimes when I’m on the go and feel like doing some Japanese practice, I’ll do a couple lessons on my phone - it’s more useful as a secondary/convenient practice resource but nothing really beyond that imo (^^)


As others have said, it can be good practice for grammar reinforcement in the very beginning. I’m not a fan of their “no explanations” approach.


Like others have already explained, Duolingo is good for reviewing grammar that you have previously learned. Their lack of explanations will only make you confused if you’re seeing something for the first time.


I’ve been using Duolingo for years for other languages, so naturally I’m biased when it comes to using it for Japanese. I’d strongly agree with what other people have said though. If you already have a strong foundation for grammar, then Duolingo can be really great for reinforcing and revising that. I’ve definitely found it a huge help for going over a lot of grammar that I couldn’t remember how to use. But if you’re using it to learn Japanese unsupported (without any other resources), then you’re going to struggle. The number of times I’ve wrote paragraphs explaining to people the difference between に and で, or explaining what は actually is, is ridiculous. I’ve been using Duolingo to learn Korean, and I can tell you, without any supporting texts, it is stupidly difficult and impracticable. That being said, when it comes to learning/practicing scripts, it is actually pretty efficient (again, I can only speak for the Hangul and Cyrillic scripts, not Kana or Kanji). If you’re learning languages with similar grammar to languages you already know, then Duolingo is pretty great.

As for Memrise, I only use it for other languages so I don’t know what the Japanese courses are like. I’d imagine it’d have similar problems as Duolingo with grammar explanations, if not worse given that there aren’t even any comments. Memrise is much better for vocab anyway, being more similar to Anki. When it comes to Memrise vs Anki, that really depends on personal preference. A lot of people like the clean, easy-to-use UI of Memrise, but then a lot of people (including me) prefer the power and customization of Anki (sort of like iOS vs Android).

Duolingo - Great for sentence/grammar practice, bad for learning.
Memrise - Great for vocab learning, bad for sentences and grammar.
Anki - Great for vocab learning, bad for sentences and grammar.


I think this is the biggest part of it.

I like DL, it’s fun. However, like all resources, it is not a complete solution. And I think the biggest concern is that of all resources, it is one of the most incomplete ones. It’s a real shame too, the platform could do so much more. I think it’s less about hating the product and more about knowing that, overall, time could be better spent elsewhere.


I haven’t used it since very early beta, so I can’t speak for the state of it now, but I found that the Duolingo approach just isn’t as effective for Japanese for me. Obviously you can’t just rely on the app, you need the website and explanations (did they write those for Japanese yet?) but with Duolingo’s new freemium system it’s just not worth it.


Thankyou :slight_smile:


Duolingo is really stiff when it comes to particle dropping and word order. It also does not go up to a very advanced level. It’s better than nothing, but it shouldn’t be anyone’s primary tool for learning Japanese. The Japanese it teaches is kind of unnatural.


I don’t dislike Duolingo, it’s just way too beginner leveled for me.


I hate Duolingo because they moved their headquarters to my city then painted over a culturally important mural to the outrage of the neighborhood. ¯_(ツ)_/¯