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What type of Japanese does Duolingo teach?


Duolingo is a free language-learning platform that offers courses in many languages, including Japanese. However, not all Japanese is the same, and there are different dialects and variations of the language. In this article, we will explore what type of Japanese Duolingo teaches and how it differs from other types of Japanese.

Standard Japanese

Duolingo teaches standard Japanese, also known as hyōjungo. This is the official form of the language that is used in formal situations, such as news broadcasts, government documents, and academic settings. It is also the type of Japanese that is taught in schools and universities in Japan and is used by foreigners who learn the language.

Japanese Snack Box

Kansai Dialect

Kansai dialect, also known as Kansai-ben, is a regional dialect that is spoken in the Kansai region of Japan, which includes Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe. Kansai-ben has distinct grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation compared to standard Japanese. However, Duolingo does not teach Kansai-ben as it focuses on standard Japanese.

Kanto Dialect

Kanto dialect, also known as Tokyo-ben or Eastern Japanese, is spoken in the Kanto region of Japan, which includes Tokyo and its surrounding areas. Kanto-ben has some differences compared to standard Japanese in terms of pronunciation and vocabulary. However, Duolingo does not teach Kanto-ben as it focuses on standard Japanese.

Written vs. Spoken Language

Japanese has two forms of writing: hiragana and katakana (both syllabic scripts) and kanji (Chinese characters). Duolingo teaches both hiragana and katakana scripts, but it does not teach kanji until later levels. In terms of spoken language, Duolingo uses audio recordings to teach pronunciation and listening skills.

Grammatical Structure

Japanese has a different grammatical structure compared to English or other European languages. In Japanese, the verb comes at the end of the sentence, and the subject can be omitted if it is already clear from the context. Duolingo teaches this unique grammatical structure through exercises and examples.


Duolingo teaches a variety of vocabulary words in Japanese, ranging from basic words and phrases to more advanced ones. The vocabulary taught in Duolingo is useful for everyday conversations and interactions in Japan.

Cultural Context

Along with language skills, Duolingo also offers lessons on Japanese culture and customs. This includes topics such as food, festivals, traditions, and etiquette. Understanding cultural context is essential for effective communication and building relationships in Japan.

Real-Life Scenarios

Duolingo offers lessons that simulate real-life scenarios, such as ordering food in a restaurant or asking for directions. These scenarios help learners practice their language skills in practical situations and prepare them for real-life interactions in Japan.

Interactive Learning

Duolingo uses interactive learning methods such as quizzes, games, and speaking exercises to engage learners and make language learning fun. These methods help learners stay motivated and focused while learning Japanese.

User Feedback

Duolingo is a community-based platform that relies on user feedback to improve its courses continually. Users can report errors, suggest new features or content, and provide feedback on their learning experience. This feedback helps Duolingo make adjustments to its courses to better serve its users.


In conclusion, Duolingo teaches standard Japanese, which is the official form of the language used in formal situations. It uses interactive learning methods to teach grammar, vocabulary, and cultural context. Duolingo also offers lessons that simulate real-life scenarios and relies on user feedback to improve its courses continually. Overall, Duolingo is an excellent resource for anyone interested in learning Japanese or improving their language skills.

What Japanese dialect does Duolingo teach?

One advantage of these language classes is that they teach multiple Japanese writing systems, including hiragana, katakana, kanji, and romaji. It is important to learn these systems early on to avoid limitations in comprehension later on. By immersing oneself in these systems, it becomes easier to read and understand Japanese.

Does Duolingo teach formal or informal Japanese?

Duolingo does not teach both polite and casual Japanese. The Japanese grammar and vocabulary in Duolingo are textbook Japanese, without being overly polite or casual.

Does Duolingo teach Japanese well?

I do not recommend it for beginners who are learning from scratch as it would take a significant amount of time to adjust to having a conversation. However, for those with a basic understanding of Japanese grammar, it could be helpful in improving vocabulary and Kanji knowledge, as well as learning situational phrases.

How long does it take to finish Duolingo Japanese?

Duolingo provides an introduction to the fundamentals of Japanese language. Completing the program may take approximately 6 to 8 months, assuming a daily usage of less than 15 minutes.

Can you become fluent with Duolingo?

Studies have shown that Duolingo is an efficient method for language learning. However, it should be noted that no single language course, app, or book can guarantee complete fluency, as every learner has unique language goals and needs.

Does Duolingo use hiragana or katakana?

Our Japanese language course covers the complete set of characters, including Kanji, Hiragana, and Katakana. We provide thorough instruction on the shapes, pronunciations, and meanings of all 50 Hiragana characters, 50 Katakana characters, and 88 essential Kanji characters required for basic proficiency.


While Duolingo is an effective platform for learning Japanese, it does have its limitations. For example, it may not be suitable for more advanced learners who are looking to improve their fluency or learn specialized vocabulary related to their profession. Additionally, while Duolingo does offer cultural context, it may not provide a deep enough understanding of Japanese culture for some learners.

Supplemental Resources

To supplement their learning on Duolingo, learners can use other resources such as textbooks, language exchange programs, and online language communities. These resources can provide additional practice and exposure to the Japanese language.

Practice and Consistency

Learning a language requires consistent practice and dedication. While Duolingo can provide a strong foundation for learning Japanese, it is important for learners to practice regularly and seek out opportunities to use the language in real-life situations. This can include watching Japanese TV shows or movies, reading Japanese books or news articles, or participating in language exchange programs.

The Benefits of Learning Japanese

Learning Japanese can provide many personal and professional benefits. Japan has a rich culture and history, and knowing the language can help individuals better understand and appreciate it. Additionally, Japan is a major economic power with many business opportunities, making knowledge of Japanese valuable for those in the business world.


In conclusion, while there are different dialects and variations of the Japanese language, Duolingo teaches standard Japanese, which is the official form of the language used in formal situations. Duolingo offers interactive learning methods that engage learners in grammar, vocabulary, cultural context, and real-life scenarios. While Duolingo has its limitations, consistent practice and supplemental resources can help learners achieve fluency in the language. Overall, knowing Japanese can provide many personal and professional benefits for individuals interested in Japan or doing business with Japanese companies.

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