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Saturday, January 22nd
It's okay if you didn't know that "Busuu" is an endangered language in the African nation of Cameroon. What you really need to know is that it's also the name of a fantastic way for new and experienced students of Japanese to get high-quality, effective lessons. The company even refers to an independent study that demonstrated how Busuu members get the equivalent of a one-semester college course with just 22 hours spent using their Premium service. Ready to find out more?
Free basic account
Busuu gives away an incredible amount of Japanese lesson content at absolutely no cost. Enter your name and email address (no verification required) to start. You'll be asked why you're learning Japanese (professional development, travel) so that Busuu can make suggestions focused on your goals. Indicate which level of fluency you're aiming for, from Beginner (A1) to Upper Intermediate (B2) and how much time you can dedicate to studying. From there, Busuu then gives you an estimate of how long it will take you to reach your fluency goal. For example, when we indicated that we wanted to reach the B2 level and would commit to 10 minutes of study seven days a week, Busuu estimated that it would take us about a year and a half to do so.
Learn what you need, whenever you need it
While Busuu starts you out at the beginning level, you can move around among any of their lessons at any time. That's a big win for anyone that's already studied some Japanese: why wade through introductions and numbers if what you really need is to pick up vocabulary about computing or phrases needed to prepare a job application? There are also specialized Japanese lessons for travel, and three independent courses if you want to focus on writing and recognizing hiragana, katakana, or kanji.
Lots for free - but subscriptions give you more
There's so much to learn with Busuu's Japanese lessons. There are over 100 lessons in their A1 level alone, and 100+ additional lessons through their A2-B2 coursework. You could use the free content for a long time and not run out of things to do. However, you'll get more with a paid plan. For example, as you browse lessons you'll soon see that many review features are locked unless you're a subscriber. You can get Premium for $9.99/month, which will give you in-depth grammar lessons, access to Busuu in offline mode, and AI-customized review sessions. Jumping up to the Premium Plus package at $13.99/month offers even more: certification of your fluency by McGraw Hill's official testing service, unlimited feedback from native speakers on your written and spoken exercises, and a personalized study plan. Paying for your Busuu memberships in 12- or 24-month increments will get you a discount too.
Only a few downsides
What's the catch? There isn't one, really, but there are a few things you should know. First, if you plan to use Busuu to learn more than one language at a time, you'll have to pay for an account: you only get one for free. There's also not a lot of speaking practice here, other than the options for recording yourself and waiting for a native speaker volunteer to give you some input. Finally, while more than 5,000 people give Busuu a perfect five-star rating, there are a lot of complaints about the company's 14-day refund policy and automatic renewals. If you're on a 12- or 24-month plan and you don't cancel your membership ahead of the renewal date, there's no way to get your money back.
Risk-free to give it a go
Because Busuu has so very much to offer across many fluency levels, we recommend that you give it a try. You can always upgrade to a membership plan, though we'd suggest doing a monthly subscription at first to avoid any expensive mistakes with the satisfaction guarantee or automatic renewals. As long as you're not expecting Japanese lessons that will bring your spoken fluency to near-native capabilities, Busuu will be a useful tool for your language learning.
Lots of people ask that question because Japanese is the fifth-most studied language in the United States! What's driving its popularity? It'll come as no surprise that many learners develop an interest in Japanese because of manga, anime, and video games. Others realize that speaking Japanese can offer significant advantages in the worlds of technology and business. And, of course, many travelers like to learn at least the basics before spending time in Japan - to better appreciate the culture and to communicate more effectively in-country.
No matter what your reasons are, studying Japanese can be challenging. Because it uses a writing system that's completely different from what you already know from English, learning it can take much longer than mastering languages that use the Roman alphabet (like Spanish or German). You might even need to figure out how to use your keyboard differently!
Also, it used to be tricky just to find Japanese lessons. If you didn't live near a university or in an area with a significant Japanese-speaking population, your chances of finding classes were pretty slim.
Not anymore! Today there are many ways to take Japanese classes online, from traditional grammar lessons and flashcards for memorization, to live video sessions with a personal tutor who can help you master a flawless accent. Whether you need an app you can use on-the-go to sneak in study sessions or you have plenty of time to sit at a computer and practice, you'll have no problem finding Japanese lessons that match your availability and your budget.
As you start to explore the possibilities for taking Japanese lessons, you might feel a bit overwhelmed. How can you determine which program is right for you? You may find it helpful to keep the following criteria in mind as you consider your options:
To help you get the most out of your language studies, Top Consumer Reviews has tested, evaluated and ranked the best options for online Japanese lessons today. We know this information will give you all the info you need to choose the best program for your learning style and schedule.
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