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Japanese Resources

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Skritter is a language app that teaches learners to write characters in Chinese and Japanese. It uses handwriting recognition technology in conjunction with a spaced repetition system to teach stroke order, meaning, and vocabulary. Users can choose from many pre-made study decks, including some from popular textbooks or programs. It’s also possible to create your own decks.

Language learning with Netflix
Price: Freemium, Free Trial, $4.95/mo
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If you want to make language learning more accessible while watching Netflix, this chrome extension is for you.

The free version allows you to skip subtitles forward and backward in case you didn’t catch what was said, and you can also choose to automatically pause the movie or show after each subtitle. The full transcript is also displayed on the side. By hovering over a word you can see a short translation and hear an audio pronunciation, or you can click on the word for more context and further links to various dictionary sites.

With a Pro membership you can save words or phrases, receive translations that are closer to the meaning in the original language, and create subtitles for dubbed movies.

LLN’s catalogue can help you find Netflix movies or shows with high-quality subtitles to improve your experience,

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.

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Assimil is a French company that has been selling language-learning resources since 1929. Assimil materials are available as books, CDs, and downloadable e-courses; there are a variety of available course types, and instruction is based on interacting with phrases in the target language. The popular Sans Peine or, With Ease, courses are for absolute or false beginners that would like to reach the B2 level, but we think you’ll need to incorporate some other study materials to make this happen.

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LingQ is a language learning platform that makes it easy to read and listen to interesting content at varying difficulty levels. As you read, words will be marked as known and LingQ tracks the total number of words you “know”. The content comes from lots of different places with very little of it being original. They also make it very easy to upload your own content.

Price: Freemium, Premium subscriptions cost $17.99/mo, $30.99/quarter, $94.99/year
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Learning with Eggbun is like text messaging a very enthusiastic friend. The 2-minute lessons take place in a chat box with a character named Lanny (who might literally be an egg bun). This review will focus on the Korean app, but the Japanese version has a similar lesson style (and the Chinese version is still under development).

Lanny clearly explains the different sounds that Korean consonants can make depending on where they are located in a word. You will receive practical pronunciation tips for each new jamo, and you will be typing out your first words on a Korean keyboard before the end of the first lesson.

After the writing lessons, you can explore both casual and formal language through cultural notes, dialogues, dictations, multiple-choice questions, fill in the blanks, role plays, and more. There are even entire sections dedicated to special topics, such as pronunciation, borrowed words, and verb conjugations.

Whether you want to learn survival Korean, business Korean, or real-life conversations, Eggbun seems like an effective app for beginners to build their confidence in basic Korean conversation.

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

Price: Free
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Imabi is a thorough website that teaches Japanese vocabulary and grammar through text-based lessons. There are over 400 lessons that cover beginner to advanced topics, including over 30 lessons that teach classical Japanese.

The website is entirely text-based and should probably not be used as a standalone resource, as there are no audio files and only occasional exercises. However, there are lots of thorough explanations and extensive examples of how to use new concepts in various contexts.

Becoming a member gives you access to four kanji lessons that cover 60 characters. In these lessons, you will receive a basic explanation of the kanji, learn how it is used in a list of words, and differentiate between different readings. It is important to already have a strong grasp of hiragana and katakana before taking on these lessons.

Overall, it is a comprehensive and well-organized reference guide to support your Japanese studies. You can also check out Tae Kim’s Guide to Learning Japanese, another free resource for learning Japanese. It has similar text-based explanations, but also some accompanying videos and comics.

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.

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Memrise is a super popular language-learning app available online and on mobile. It functions much like a gamified flashcard app, and it offers a lot of content for free. A lot of the content is user-created, and there is a premium subscription that provides access to additional features. Memrise can be a great tool in your arsenal, but you’ll need more to learn a language seriously.

Price: Freemium, Premium subscriptions start at $6/mo
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Kanshudo is unique, diverse, thorough, and an overall fantastic resource for anyone wanting to train their reading skills in Japanese. This mini-review can only brush the surface of Kanshudo’s many features.

The program teaches beginner to advanced levels; there are a variety of activities to engage in, such as lessons, SRS flashcards, challenges, games, and reading. One of the many neat features of Kandusho is that the more you study, the more coupons you can earn to receive free Pro access.

Beginner lessons will introduce you to 5 new kanji, then reinforce your understanding of each kanji through several engaging activities. After completing 20 beginner lessons, you can tackle the next 1000 kanji and more complex vocabulary and grammar. You can take a kanji quiz whenever you like to determine roughly how many you have learned; the site will change its study recommendations based on your score. You can also use Kanshudo with your current textbook — many of the most common textbooks are supported.

In the Reading Corner you can find reading practice organized by level. In each text you can click the sentences to receive audio pronunciations, translations, grammar explanations, vocabulary explanations, and a breakdown of each of the kanji (including the radicals within the kanji and mnemonics to remember them).

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.

Price: Freemium, Premium subscriptions start at $9.99/mo
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Brainscape is a flashcard app that uses a Spaced Repetition System, also often referred to as ‘adaptive flashcards’, to help you memorize new vocabulary and facts. It has a team of scientists, engineers, and education experts working to optimize their program for effective learning.

Brainscape is quite similar to Anki, but has a more modern and colourful interface. They also have Certified Classes, which are decks that seem to have been developed by experts in the chosen topic. The app adds what they call Intelligent Cumulative Exposure (ICE) to some of their Certified Classes; it seems to combine a Spaced Repetition System with gradually introducing new concepts, increasing the difficulty of the concepts, and providing context so you can build your own sentences.

It has several Certified Classes for various languages (and other topics), and many more decks created by users. Unlike Anki, edits that creators make to user decks seem to sync up even after you have downloaded the deck.

With the free version, you have limited access to premium decks but unlimited access to user-made decks.

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.

Price: Free
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YouGlish is a website that has indexed millions of video clips to put words in context for language learners. After searching for a word in your target language, you will see a YouTube video with subtitles and your target word highlighted in yellow. When you have heard the word, you can continue listening to the video or move on to the next example. You can also slow down the speed of the audio, click on a sentence in the transcript to replay it, or skip backwards 5 seconds to listen again. Sometimes you can watch over 1000 videos with your target word, other times there may only be a couple dozen available.

Some languages also allow you to choose between different regional dialects, such as: French from Canada or France; Chinese from Taiwan or China; and Spanish from Spain or Latin America.

You will need to search for the word in your target language, so you can check out WordReference or Linguee to get a translation. Forvo also provides audio clips of native speaker pronunciation, but with YouGlish, you can practice listening to these words in context.

If you want help with reading the subtitles, you can download Readlang for on-screen translations. The Zhongwen Chrome extension will be better for Chinese learners, as it provides the pronunciation of each character as well as a definition.

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.