Summary: Nihongo Shark’s Hacking Japanese Supercourse is a bundle of twenty-nine courses. Over the thousand+ lessons you learn to read and write Japanese as well as gain an in-depth understanding of the grammar and how the language is spoken. Despite the huge number of lessons, they all look very similar and so students need to be very serious and diligent to make the most of the material. Due to the lack of exercises, you would need to use other resources to practice what you’ve learned from the course.
Quality Overwhelming in the beginning, you quickly get used to the course layout and the content quality is good without setting the world alight.
Thoroughness For Japanese grammar and how the language is used in day-to-day life, you can’t beat this course. A lot of other stuff is missing though.
Value It’s not very expensive but learners will need to utilize additional resources to study Japanese.
I Like The course goes into an amazing amount of detail when it comes to Japanese grammar and how it is used in the real world.
Niko obviously cares a lot about the product, is continuing to improve it and writes in an engaging and humorous manner.
I Don’t Like I came away feeling very disappointed as all of the courses and lessons are very similar in look and format. As such it got quite monotonous and boring.
There are barely any exercises or quizzes for students to work through so you’re basically asked to read endless pages without engaging with the material.
Some of the courses don’t amount to much and are more just tips and tricks on how to learn a part of the language after which you’re told to work through endless flashcards.
Price: For the basic subscription, Nihongo Shark costs $12/month if you sign up for a year and $14 if you sign up per month. For the premium package, it is $20/month if you sign up for a whole year and $22 if you sign up per month.
Summary: Rocket Japanese doesn’t excel in any one specific area but is more well balanced than other Japanese courses I’ve tried. The lessons can be very repetitive, somewhat boring, and rely too much on memorization exercises. But, the various aspects of Japanese are all explained pretty well. Their lessons also push you to speak aloud often while not neglecting things like grammar or Japanese culture. Overall, it’s better than I expected.
Quality Everything works well but parts of their teaching methodology could be improved.
Thoroughness Covers most things well but reading is mostly ignored.
Value Somewhat expensive, but the price is reasonable considering everything included.
I Like Balances speaking, grammar, writing, and listening better than other Japanese courses.
Cut down on corny jokes and obnoxious English repetition found in other Rocket Language courses.
You’re pushed to speak often and practice the language with lots of exercises.
I Don’t Like Too much emphasis on memorization and not enough critical thinking.
The lessons are very boring and repetitive.
You’re asked to complete writing exercises before ever being taught how to write.
Summary: LinguaLift currently offers courses in Japanese, Russian and Hebrew. I chose Japanese and working my way through the lessons was very much like going through an online textbook. Very text-based, the material is best suited to beginners although the slow pace and heavy use of English means that it takes a while to make progress. While it’s nicely designed and includes lots of interesting content about Japanese culture, you don’t learn how to speak or understand conversations as the focus is on learning how to read (which it does very well).
Quality Very easy to use and nicely produced but all lessons look the same.
Thoroughness Great for teaching reading and the cultural context of a language but not communication skills.
Value The material is comparable to a textbook but much more expensive.
I Like LinguaLift is one of the best resources out there when it comes to teaching you about the cultural context surrounding the language.
The texts are quite humorous to read and each lesson concludes with a reward which usually comes in the form of a video about some part of the culture.
It really succeeds at teaching you how to read Japanese and the course is easy to follow.
Don’t have to pay extra to access courses in more than one language.
I Don’t Like All of the lessons look almost identical which gets monotonous.
The course is mostly in English and it takes a while for you to actually encounter all that much Japanese.
Other courses will almost certainly have you speaking and learning the language at a quicker pace.
The focus on reading means you don’t get to listen to much Japanese and there is no way to practice speaking or holding a conversation.
Summary: One of the most famous language learning resources out there, the Rosetta Stone method relies on immersive teaching so students will only find the material in the language they’re learning. Starting off with the basics, the units get progressively harder and cover a large range of topics. Suitable for beginner and intermediate students, it is more expensive than competitors and the exercises get very repetitive after a while. While it isn’t a bad resource, you can definitely find something better.
Very easy to use and navigate, the content is well presented but the similar format becomes deadly boring after a while.
While a lot of material is covered, you have to infer everything from the pictures that you are given. As such, there are no explanations at all.
It’s not as good and more expensive than other resources.
It’s easy to use and navigate – the content is very clearly laid out.
The extra features in the ‘Extended Learning’ pack make the material a bit more interesting to engage with.
While it is not particularly fun to use overall, I do believe that learners would improve their language skills using Rosetta Stone.
I Don’t Like…
The main units are very repetitive and I think I would find it demoralising after a while if I kept using it.
It doesn’t explore the cultural context of the language at all.
There are no explanations about any of the content and so you have to infer the meaning of everything through pictures.
It’s too expensive.
Price: The price varies by subscription length:
$79 for 3 months $119 for 6 months $179 for 12 months $249 for 24 months
Summary: Pimsleur’s courses primarily focus on oral language. They are one of the biggest names in language learning but was something I had a hard time recommending to people in the past because of the insanely high prices.
They recently added a subscription model with much more reasonable prices and a new app that is much better designed. This review focuses on the new subscription model which isn’t yet available to the general public from the Pimsleur website but you can find it here.
I was really impressed with the quality of the lessons and now that the price is much better, I’m happy to recommend studying with Pimsleur.
The lessons are very well structured and the new app works great
Pimsleur primarily focuses on oral language at the expense of grammar.
The new subscription cost is very affordable.
The lessons focus on oral language which gets students speaking right away.
The lessons are very active. You’re constantly being prompted and need to produce the language you’re learning.
The lessons build upon each other exceptionally well with previously learned material constantly being reinforced.
The app is well designed with lots of beautiful images and interesting cultural notes.
I Don’t Like…
The lessons aren’t terribly exciting.
The written language is much more of an afterthought and not heavily featured in the lessons.
The practice activities included in the premium plan aren’t particularly well done.
Price: A basic subscription costs $14.95 per month and a premium subscription costs $19.95 per month. This is a massive improvement over the old prices which cost as much as $550 for five levels.
You won’t find any information about this new subscription price on their website. The link below will take you to a page with more information on their subscription plans.