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Wednesday, September 28th
Your ultimate goal for learning Japanese is fluency, right? You don't want to just have a classroom understanding of the language, but a real-world level of comfort using it in natural settings. That's what FluentU hopes to deliver with its unique Japanese lessons. They focus on teaching through authentic video clips from music videos, TV shows, movies and more to help students master Japanese in context.
Excellent for more advanced Japanese students
While you may not want to start here if you're a beginner, FluentU is terrific for anyone with some experience in Japanese who wants to kick their ability up a notch (or three). These Japanese lessons go well above and beyond setting your favorite streaming service to captions and dubbing in your target language: the tools on FluentU let you look up every word for definitions and other examples of its use in context, pause and rewind as needed, and practice what you've learned with spaced repetition exercises and quizzes. (Netflix definitely won't do THAT for you!)
Free trial - with a catch
You can try FluentU free for two weeks. Ordinarily, we'd be excited by that, but to access that free trial you'll have to provide the company with your credit card information. Most of their competitors give you sample lessons or limited access in exchange for your email address and nothing more. That's one of the reasons FluentU doesn't rank higher in the Japanese lessons marketplace.
More expensive than many Japanese lessons...
Once your 14-day trial ends, you'll pay $29.99 a month or $239.99 a year to use FluentU. Watch out for a foreign transaction fee of 1-3% too; this company is based out of Hong Kong and so you'll pay that fee when using your credit card. That's more spendy than a lot of Japanese instruction platforms, but on the plus side it lets you access every language they offer. Great news if you're an aspiring polyglot and want to add Spanish, Chinese, Korean, or several other languages to your to-do list.
...and there's no satisfaction guarantee
Another reason we can't give FluentU a higher ranking is because they don't have a refund policy. At all. For any reason. If you've given them your credit card information to access the free trial and you forget to cancel before the two weeks are up, you're on the hook for the membership fees: not horrible if it's $29.99 plus transaction fees, but pretty aggravating if you're signed up for the year-long plan.
Better options out there
When it comes to Japanese lessons, FluentU is good but not quite great. Learning a language through authentic content that's updated frequently is an excellent way to improve fluency, but that leaves out a lot of newer students who need to start with the basics. We also feel disappointed that the service makes users turn over their credit card info just to give it a try: there's just too much opportunity for forgetting to unsubscribe or worse, having one's identity compromised in an overseas transaction. There are other ways to study Japanese in real-world ways that get a higher rating than FluentU.
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.
Select any 2 Japanese Lessons to compare them head to head
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