Getting Honest About Learning Japanese with Duolingo: What Works and What’s Better

Japanese is a popular language to pick up these days, offering exciting opportunities. With the rise in interest, many online platforms have popped up to teach Japanese, with Duolingo being one of the most well-known. But, is Duolingo really the best way to learn Japanese, or are there better options out there?

In this article, we’re going to dive into the truth about using Duolingo for Japanese and answer the question “Can I learn Japanese with Duolingo?”. We’ll also explore its pros and cons and also introduce some alternative methods for learning Japanese. So, if you’re curious to find out more, let’s keep going!

Advantages of Using Duolingo:

Easy Access:

One of the perks of Duolingo is how easy it is to use. Whether you’re on your phone or computer, you can learn Japanese whenever and wherever you want. This makes it super convenient for busy schedules or for those who can’t attend regular classes. Plus, you can fit it into your daily routine, like during breaks or downtime at home.

Encourages Regular Study:

Duolingo helps you build a habit of studying Japanese every day. You set your study goal when you sign up, and Duolingo keeps you on track with fun incentives like streaks and rewards. This daily practice is key to getting better at Japanese over time.

Engaging Learning:

Learning with Duolingo feels more like playing a game than studying. You earn points, level up, and can even compete with friends. It’s a fun way to keep motivated and feel like you’re making progress.

Disadvantages of Using Duolingo:

Lack of Speaking Practice:

One downside of Duolingo is that it focuses mainly on reading and writing, with not enough emphasis on speaking. But speaking is a big part of learning a language, so this can hold you back from feeling confident in real conversations.

Limited Cultural Insight:

Duolingo teaches you Japanese words and grammar, but it doesn’t delve much into Japanese culture. Understanding cultural norms and customs can help you grasp the language better. Without this context, you might struggle to understand why certain phrases are used in specific situations.

Passive Learning:

Duolingo’s format leans towards passive learning, where you’re mostly reading and translating. But to truly master a language, you need to actively engage with speaking and listening too. Without this active practice, it’s hard to apply Japanese in real-life situations.

Looking Beyond Duolingo:

Digging deeper into Duolingo reveals some drawbacks. It relies heavily on translation, sometimes teaches awkward phrases, and can lose your interest over time. That’s why many learners look for more interactive and personalized options.

Exploring Better Choices:


Japademy offers live Japanese courses with native Japanese teachers who make learning fun and interactive. With personalized lessons and feedback, it’s a great way to dive deeper into Japanese and understand the culture too.

Nihongo Online School:

At Nihongo Online School, passionate teachers create a supportive learning environment to help you master Japanese. It’s affordable and easy to get started, making it accessible to learners of all levels.

In Conclusion:

While Duolingo is a good starting point, it’s not the only option out there. To truly excel in Japanese, you might want to explore other avenues too. Platforms like Japademy, Nihongo-Pro, and Nihongo Online School offer more personalized and engaging learning experiences. So, if you’re serious about mastering Japanese and asking the question “Can I learn Japanese with Duolingo?”, I recommend considering giving these alternatives a try first.