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As one of the 10 most spoken languages in the world, Japanese is a popular language for students of all ages. With more than 125 million people worldwide who use it on a daily basis, the opportunities for using Japanese are numerous, from business owners who are looking for a new partner in trade to middle schoolers who want to understand their favorite anime TV show without English subtitles.
Whether the only Japanese you know is "domo arigato" from Styx's classic 80's song, or you've got a basic grasp of conversational Japanese and want to take your skills to the next level, there are a number of programs that will allow you to learn the language from the comfort of your own home, car, or other location - without having to fit traditional classroom-based lessons into an already busy schedule.
Tuesday, September 28th
Rocket Language's comprehensive approach to learning Japanese includes nearly 400 hours of lesson time across three levels of instruction, taking students from beginner to advanced levels. Because of its excellent track record of happy students and unparalleled customer satisfaction guarantee, Rocket Language's Japanese lessons earn our top ranking.
Transparent Language offers three basic methods for learning Japanese: an audio course and an online subscription for adults, and a KidSpeak desktop app for Windows computers. If you're an independent learner who wants flexibility in moving from one lesson topic to another, without needing to be motivated by mastery requirements, Transparent Language's Japanese programs may be a good fit.
Rosetta Stone has the market cornered when it comes to name recognition - their foreign language programs are some of the best-known in the world, especially for business people hoping to add to their repertoire. Recent changes in pricing make all of their products more affordable for a wider range of students.
Living Language uses all of today's modern tools - tablets, MP3 players, and so on - to put Japanese language lessons at arm's reach. They also have print and audio instruction for students who prefer a more traditional approach, and their Japanese Platinum package includes the best of both worlds.
If you like to learn by listening, Pimsleur was made for students like you. Their Japanese lessons focus almost exclusively on audio files that teach you how to speak Japanese by listening to and repeating conversations. Unfortunately, the extremely high pricing of Pimsleur's program puts it out of reach for most customers, without delivering results that are significantly better than other, more economical programs in our review.
Pronounced "link", LingQ offers language instruction using real Japanese texts and native speaker "helpers", who create lessons and help students sound more natural. LingQ's point system for making those connections is confusing and makes it difficult to know how much it costs to learn Japanese using their program. The lessons available feel scattered and random, and might be challenging for new students to navigate.
Strokes International's Japanese lessons target levels A1, A2, and B2 of the European Framework for Languages. However, errors on the website combined with virtually no positive reviews for Easy Learning programs in other languages land Strokes International in the lowest position among all of the Japanese language programs in our review.
When choosing a Japanese language program, you should explore what each system and method has to offer and whether or not it will help you reach your goals. Some Japanese lessons focus solely on conversational ability, using audio lessons to teach, while others use a variety of ways to teach reading and writing in addition to speaking the language.
Of particular interest with respect to Japanese is the written language. You'll want to determine if reading and writing is a priority, as not all programs include this aspect of language learning in their lessons. There are three basic scripts used in written Japanese:
As you can see, written Japanese is considerably more complex than English and other languages based on the more familiar Roman alphabet (such as Spanish, French, and German), so it's important to know how each program addresses the written component of Japanese if you'll need to be able to read and write it yourself.
In general, there are several things to consider when choosing a program for your Japanese lessons. These include:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best Japanese Lessons available today. We hope these reviews help you to move quickly beyond "konnichiwa" and "sayonara" and towards a comfortable fluency level in the Japanese language!
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