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Wednesday, September 28th
Textbooks and flashcards are boring, right? Why not learn with a game-like platform like Mondly instead? These Japanese lessons let you pull out your phone and sneak in a few new vocabulary words and phrases anytime you have a few free moments. You'll be extra-motivated by the points and leaderboards if you're the competitive type!
Let's start at the beginning!
When you create a free account on Mondly, you can try out the introductory "Hello" lesson for all of the 40+ languages they offer. You'll still have to set your experience level as beginner, intermediate or advanced, but most of the content here doesn't get very challenging even at the higher levels. As you work through the sample lesson, Mondly teaches you words like "mother" and "father" , and then has you start piecing together basic sentences like "This is my sister" . That last part is a little challenging, because you've got no explanation as to Japanese word order, verbs, or any other grammar to go on. We're glad that it defaults to the romaji to make it easier for English-speakers to approximate what's being said/written, and that you can click the toggle switch at the top of the page if you want to see it in Japanese characters at any time.
Vocabulary around common themes
Mondly focuses your learning around vocabulary themes. Typical sets include Family, Pets, Travel, and so forth. The amount of content in each theme varies; you'll see 113 words and 59 phrases in Countries & Languages, a meager 68 words and 35 phrases in the category Bank, etc.
Where's the grammar?
You'll also see that there are a few lessons specifically marked as "Grammar" - but again, that includes words and phrases without a lot of teaching. Mondly's Japanese lessons aren't what you'll need if you want detailed instruction on how to put the language together and make your own unique sentences. You can get a bit of insight when you finish a lesson and click the little blue box next to the "Redo" link - for instance, on the "Hello" lesson, you'll see the conjugations for "to be" in the present tense - but it's still not much help if you're trying to understand why the sentences are ending in "desu" .
Learn to converse with Chatbot and Augmented Reality
A feature unique to Mondly is the way they let you practice real-world conversations. First, you've got the Chatbot, and your free account will let you try one sample interaction. Picture texting with someone and using voice-to-text to fill it in for you: that's how the Chatbot works. The bonus is that Mondly will give you appropriate responses to choose from, like how to answer "What kind of music do you listen to?" or "What's your favorite color?" There's also an Augmented Reality tool, where you can superimpose a digital character on the world around you and carry out conversations that way. We're not sure how much learning this provides, but it's fun anyway!
Inexpensive way to practice Japanese
To move beyond Mondly's limited free resources, you'll have to subscribe. One thing we've noticed about this service is that prices fluctuate: on one visit to the site, you might find their regular prices of $9.99 for month-to-month memberships or $47.99 for a one-year, one-language plan. On your next visit, those prices may have dropped because of a promotion. You might also get a pop-up with a full-access free trial for a full week. If you love studying languages, Mondly also offers a year-long plan that lets you use everything they offer. But, we didn't always see pricing for that; when we did, it was $47.99 for that as well. Even less frequently, we've spotted a Mondly mega-offer of lifetime access to all languages for $89.99. Confused yet? We are too, and yet no matter how you look at it, Mondly is affordable (if unpredictable when it comes to cost).
No satisfaction guarantee
Unlike many of the Japanese lessons in our evaluation, Mondly doesn't give you a refund if you change your mind. That's one reason to consider a month-to-month plan first, instead of a long-term subscription. You can cancel your membership at any time.
Mondly can be fun to use, especially if all you need are little bursts of learning to reinforce the Japanese vocabulary you've studied. It's a pretty low-stress program, and the conversational tools feel like a natural way to practice real-world interactions. On the other hand, for more serious students, Mondly doesn't go far enough to produce significant fluency and they'll likely need a different type of Japanese lessons to meet their study goals.
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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