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Japanese Resources

MyTest Migii
4.5 
Price: Freemium, Quarterly subscriptions start at $27
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MyTest Migii helps you practice for the N5-N2 JLPT tests. It provides a comprehensive explanation of the JLPT test, in addition to 40 mock exams that provide specific recommendations for how to improve your weaknesses at the end.

The practice sections are organized to train specific skills — the vocabulary section includes Kanji reading, orthography, and contextually-defined expressions, while the grammar section will improve your sentence composition. You can read passages of Japanese texts with reading comprehension or thematic comprehension activities, or test your listening comprehension with a variety of different tasks. The app’s SRS flashcards will support your studies, dividing grammar and vocabulary into separate flashcard sets. Furthermore, there are detailed explanations about sentence structure, which are accompanied by audio pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, and a link to the dictionary with stroke order and example sentences.

The app seems to have a couple of bugs, and you may find that some of the tests contain vocabulary or grammar not suitable to your chosen level. Furthermore, it seems to use text-to-voice instead of native speakers for its listening activities, and the flashcards are not as developed as Anki or other SRS apps. Nevertheless, it’s worth checking out, and there is a lot of free content to explore before deciding whether to dive into an annual or semi-annual membership.

The rating is our best guess, but we haven’t yet had the opportunity to fully test and review this resource.

marugoto
4.5 
Price: Free
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Marugoto Japanese Online Course is a free interactive online course that teaches A1 to A2 Japanese learners. The explanations are available in multiple languages, including English, Indonesian, Spanish, Chinese, and French. If you’re unsure of your level, you can take a placement test on the website.

There are two types of self-study courses: one for casual learners (Katsudoo) and one for more intensive learners (Katsudoo and Rikai). Both courses contain dialogues, videos, and speaking and writing activities. Katsudoo and Rikai adds a level of intensity by getting you to read and write short compositions and dive deeper into grammar topics. There is also an option to pay for group classes with a Japanese tutor while following the Marugoto curriculum.

Overall the courses are of considerably high-quality, with lots of opportunities for listening and speaking practice. One of the most impressive features is the way the course quizzes you on vocabulary in context through a variety of dialogues recorded by native speakers. You will not find yourself repeating the same basic sentence structures; instead, you will learn the multiple ways that Japanese is spoken in everyday life. Additionally, some activities allow you to take on the role of one of the characters and speak as if you are part of a dialogue.

The current rating is our best estimate. We haven’t had the opportunity yet to more thoroughly evaluate this resource, as we do for our full reviews.

Kanji Study
4.5 
Price: Freemium, $12.99 for full access
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Kanji Study’s user interface for Android is simple and intuitive. It will help you study hiragana, katakana, and over 4000 kanji with interactive flashcards. You can race the clock with multiple-choice questions, study through rote memorization, or physically write out the characters on your screen.

It also includes an extensive dictionary of characters. Each character page includes stroke order animations, writing practice, definitions, On-yomi, Kun-yomi, notes for mnemonics, and a unique visual decomposition of radicals that make up the kanji. The pages also identify the JLPT level of each kanji and provide a list of example sentences. Some of this information may be overwhelming for a beginner, but the beginner Kanji, katakana, and hiragana are free, so try it out!

Kanji Study extends its support beyond the app to help you learn new words. Although you can’t study compound words within the app, you can add words you want to learn to AnkiDroid with two taps. At any point during your Anki review, you can tap on the word to link back to Kanji Study for a more detailed explanation.

For intermediate to advanced learners, the flashcard part of the app will require a one-time purchase — however, it is affordable and can definitely support you in mastering your writing skills.

Another great, free dictionary app is Takoboto, which has a slightly more organized interface, but less interactive flashcards.

The current rating is our best estimate. We haven’t had the opportunity yet to more thoroughly evaluate this resource, as we do for our full reviews.

Readlang
4.5 
Price: Freemium, Premium subscriptions start at $5/mo
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With Readlang as your Google Chrome Extension, you can have instant translations for words or sentences in over 45 languages at the tip of your mouse cursor (or fingertip)! Browse the internet and effortlessly click on unknown words to get a translation that stays on your screen until it is no longer needed.

If you can’t find anything to read on the internet, you can access a bank of public texts organized by word count and difficulty, browse the most popular websites for Readlang users, or upload your own text to study.

The best part is, Readlang will collect flashcards for you from words you have translated. It will only record the most useful words for you to practice based on word frequency lists, which could be either a pro or a con depending on your study goals. The flashcards follow a Spaced Repetition System that will prompt you to study words based on the natural forgetting curve, so you will be quizzed on the words you are about to forget. Each flashcard also includes audio pronunciation and the sentence from which the word was taken for reference. You can choose to reveal the flashcard to check your comprehension, or type in your response for more effective recall.

The free version provides enough for an average user, but upgrading to an affordable premium membership both supports this awesome resource and allows for unlimited phrase translations. Although there may be some problems with translations in beta languages, and sometimes it fails to recognize text, overall Readlang is an excellent resource for language lovers.

The current rating is our best estimate. We haven’t had the opportunity yet to more thoroughly evaluate this resource, as we do for our full reviews.

HelloTalk
4.5 
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HelloTalk is a mobile app for language learners interested in language exchange. It facilitates communication between native speakers and those learning their language with the use of built-in language tools. It also offers audio lessons in 10 languages as part of a separate subscription.

Satori Reader
4.3 
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Satori Reader is a Japanese learning method available on your computer and smartphone/tablet. It focuses on Japanese reading skills and teaches Japanese grammar and vocabulary by providing weekly annotated articles and dialogues. Satori Reader also contains a built-in vocabulary repetition app that uses new vocabulary learned from the articles. A basic free version and a premium subscription version are available.

Learn Japanese: Bunpo
4.3 
Price: Freemium, Premium subscriptions start at $6.99/mo
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Learn Japanese: Bunpo provides simple and clear grammar explanations from JLPT N5 to N1. The app is not intended to be used alone in order to become fluent in Japanese — rather, it is a support for those who want to have a better grasp of Japanese grammar. A good portion of each section is spent on quizzes to test your understanding (although some people may still find that they advance a bit too quickly).

There are some improvements that could be made, but overall Learn Japanese: Bunpo seems to be an effective resource for anyone who wants their grammar practice in one place.

Learners new to Japanese can enjoy a free introductory level that will provide you with a basic foundation of vocabulary, hiragana, and katakana. For N1-N5 learners, you can try the first section from each of the levels without making any purchases. The paid version includes SRS review, listening exercises, and chat functions with native speakers for support. You can choose to pay monthly, but the Lifetime option is more economical.

The rating is our best guess, but we haven’t yet had the opportunity to fully test and review this resource.

Easy Languages
4.3 
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Easy Languages gets people involved from all around the globe —from Brazil to Mongolia — to film authentic interviews about everyday life with locals on the street.

A typical episode format starts with the interviewer (or interviewers) introducing the topic and location for the day. Then, they will approach various locals to ask their opinion or test their knowledge. Only a handful of languages, like Hindi, and Swahili, don’t follow this format — these are also typically the languages with fewer videos.

Easy Languages invites co-producers to join their channel, which means that anyone can apply to create videos, as long as they are filmed according to the Easy Languages guidelines. These co-producers receive multimedia training if they don’t already have experience in the field, so the videos typically have a baseline quality standard (although sometimes the filming can be a bit shaky).

Most of the interviewers have a bubbly personality, and some of them appear in multiple language interviews within Easy Languages. Overall, the interviews are enjoyable and will train your ear to understand a range of voices and accents. Also, for anyone who uses Seedlang for German, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see Cari’s friendly face in the Easy German episodes!

The current rating is our best estimate. We haven’t had the opportunity yet to more thoroughly evaluate this resource, as we do for our full reviews.

 

Speechling
4.3 
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Speechling is a website and app that makes it easy to improve your speaking skills in several languages. The free version is an incredbily valuable resource that makes it easy to practice mimicking native speakers. The Unlimited Plan provides unlimited corrections of your recordings by a teacher.

Beelinguapp
4.3 
Price: Freemium, $29.99/year
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Beelinguapp makes it easier to read and listen to interesting content in a number of languages. You’ll find short stories, news, fairy tales, music, and more. Their side-by-side reading functionality highlights the sentence in the language you’re learning, as well as in a language you’re familiar with. The karaoke feature makes it easy to follow the audio with the written text. Some of the content and features are available for free, but there are also premium plans to unlock more.

The current rating is our best estimate. We haven’t had the opportunity yet to more thoroughly evaluate this resource, as we do for our full reviews.