Before looking at the best apps for learning Japanese. Let’s look at some of the benefits of learning a new language. Whether it is understanding a new culture, bettering your grasp on your own native language, or having better concentration skills– learning a new language has no downside.
The best part about living in the 21st century is that learning a new language is extremely easy and affordable. There are numerous in-person and online options to choose from depending on what you are looking for.
Apps, in particular, have seen a sudden boost in popularity as more people now than ever before are glued to their smartphones. Combine this with the fact that more people are learning Japanese than ever before and you will soon realize that it is worthwhile to consider the options outlined for you below.
Benefits of learning a second language
Before we get into, let’s cover a few perks of being fluent in more than one language.
Language skills are one of the top skills required in all occupations. It is evident that as the world gets globalized, the people that can communicate better are going to be at an advantage. This is because being bilingual can really benefit customer experience.
Eligible for your dream job
Being fluent in two languages at the same time not only allows you to advance your career but also gives you more career options. This means you can make money doing what you love and possibly travel while you do it. Freelance translators, expat teachers, foreign correspondents, and study abroad coordinators all have one thing in common- they decided to learn a second language. Even if you want to keep your normal 9 to 5 job, you could take on a side hustle like working for a company like VipKid that teaches children in China the English language over video.
With an average pay of $15- $22 an hour, this can be a great way to boost your income.
Understand another culture
A TED talk by a cognitive scientist, Lera Boroditsky, talks about how languages shape the way we think. Understanding the nuances of another language will help you understand the culture of the country far better.
For example, an Aboriginal community in Australia uses cardinal directions instead of left and right. Studies have shown that this community stays oriented far better than someone who speaks English would, for example. Languages shape the way we think which shapes our culture. This is why learning another language can help you love another country.
Bilingual people enjoy the benefit of having better cognitive control. This means that they are likely to be able to process information better, remember things with more clarity, have better visual-spatial skills, and even be more creative.
Your grasp on your native language improves as well
Learning a second language improves your understanding of your native language because your brain now has a better understanding of linguistics and grammar. This will not only help you speak your native tongue with more ease, but it will also help you pick up new languages later on far more quickly.
6 Best Apps For Learning Japanese
Now that you are absolutely convinced you need to know a second language, let us get into the main part of this article. What are your options?
These are some of the best apps for learning Japanese online while keeping your spending in check at the same time.
#1 Lingualift (Top Pick)
What makes LinguaLift different, is their HILL system. (Hybrid Innovative Language Learning) This system combines the best strategies and techniques available to create a complete language learning program. Their app is great, but it’s just one part of this program, which includes tutor support. Something that you don’t see in any other language apps.
Lingualift currently has lesson options for three languages- Hebrew, Russian, and Japanese. We are going to be focusing on their Japanese teaching option today.
You can sign up for a free trial that includes the first 3 lessons of each level for all languages.
This is a great way to get started with your learning process and it will also help you figure out whether their learning system suits you.
If you do decide that you want to invest in their service, it is $29 a month and you get access to all of their languages, Hebrew, Japanese, and Russian (French and Spanish to be released in December). You also get a discount if you decide to pay on an annual basis.
- This is a complete program. It includes everything from a customized study plan, cultural lessons, listening and speaking, and optional writing exercises to send into your tutor to have corrected.
- They have a book called Language Learning Secrets which you can get for free on their blog.
- There is a certain amount of accountability. They do not just leave you with the content and hope for the best. The team behind the program stay in contact with you to keep you on track. They want you to succeed.
- The entire program is laid out for you. The grammar explanations in the lessons are extremely easy to understand and there is even a bit of humor thrown in to keep it from getting dull. Like some of the reviews say, if you follow the plan you will succeed.
- At the moment they only offer three languages while some reviews point out that people would prefer if they grew that list.
- As stated right on their homepage, the program is designed for people who are serious about learning a second language. If you’re just looking to play around with the language, there may be better options. But if you’re looking for the best apps for learning Japanese because you want to become fluent in the language, this is the app for you.
LingoDeer is not as well known as Duolingo but they are quickly becoming known as an affordable language learning option. There are various exercises in each lesson with detailed explanations.
At the moment they offer 11 different languages including Japanese.
- It is a very affordable option with the monthly subscription coming in at $11.99 per month. You can also pay yearly at a discounted rate of $55.99 or get lifetime access by paying a flat fee of $99.99.
- There is a focus on Asian languages and you can tell through their content that every lesson has been well-researched and made as thoroughly as possible. This is a good plus if you want to focus on Japanese.
- Like with most apps, it will give you an overview of the language, but will need to be supplemented by other language learning resources.
- The app is not that fun or exciting, so it may take a little more willpower to get that daily study sesson in.
- Not many languages have been added so far. Even though 11 is pretty decent, it would be great if they added a few more.
#3 Kanji Study
Kanji focuses on having an on-the-go aspect to all of their content. You will quickly notice that all of their lessons can easily be learned on your train ride home from work.
It has a strict focus on Japanese with no other languages being taught. Most of their content comes in the form of flashcards which makes it a good option for people using it as an extension of other language learning programs.
- There is a focus on the Kanji characters and you can see how they are written with the animated stroke order. There are also multiple writing challenges that make the process of learning the alphabet easier.
- Lots of customizable quizzes to test your progress.
- The character analysis features allows you to compare your stats with other users.
- Not really appropriate for vocabulary study. It’s just designed to help learn Kanji.
Learn Japanese is an app that focuses on the vocabulary and grammar elements of learning the Japanese language. This is why it is most appropriately used alongside another app like Kanji Study. This way you can get the benefits of both teaching methods and cover multiple elements of the language.
- There is a free version of the app you can use with optional in-app purchases as well.
- There are over 800 words and phrases within the app that you can learn. This makes it a great option for someone who wants to learn a few key phrases to make their visit to Japan easier.
- The phrases are grouped into various categories that make it easy to find what you need.
- It is not a good app to choose if you want to truly learn the language. It will only help you with beginner-level phrases in Japanese which might not be what you are looking for.
FluentU has lesson plans for multiple languages apart from Japanese. Their focus for Japanese lies in grammar and vocabulary. If you choose to go with this option, you can start off with a 14-day trial and then choose to continue with their subscription.
- The unique element of FluentU is that they use real-world videos (music videos, TV shows, movie trailers, etc.) and create language learning lessons out of them. This is what makes them different from their competition.
- You can tap on any word that comes up on your screen to look it up instantly.
- You can access the learning platform on their website or through their app which is available on all iOS and android phones.
- There is not much course structure and some users feel a bit confused as to what they should be doing when.
- The videos can be a bit boring and uninteresting at times.
Pimsleur’s premium course comes with a 7-day free trial and a subscription cost of $19.95 per month thereafter. You will get immediate access to all of the lessons and you can learn on any device of your choosing through their website or app.
This is a good option for beginners and it has some awesome benefits like a driving mode for car use and compatibility with Amazon Echo devices.
- Pimsleur allows you to share your course with three other members and it can be accessed on unlimited devices.
- Flash cards are available for vocabulary review. This makes practice easy.
- There are multiple speed round games that allow you to test your progress.
- Some people find the formal language that the app uses a bit too dull. There is not much of a focus on more casual speaking.
- This should be used as a supplement course, not as the main way you learn Japanese.
#7 [Bonus]: Preply
One last option worth mentioning is preply.com. The great part about this platform is that you can post your requirements and let a tutor find you. Out of the 24 languages that they offer, Japanese currently has 333 tutors available. You can choose any tutor you want depending on your budget.
This definitely helps it become a more ‘guide you by the hand’ approach rather than just having to depend on an app. For some people, that is exactly what they need.
To truly know what the best apps for learning Japanese are, you must first know your language learning goals. Do you just want to check out the language to see if it’s for you? Or do you have a strong motivation for becoming fluent in Japanese. This should be a big factor in your final decision.
Being fluent in a second language is a powerful feeling and online options have made it affordable, easily accessible, and fast. If you do want to learn Japanese, doing it through an app could be a budget-friendly way of making it happen.
Hopefully this article has helped you see that “He who knows no foreign languages knows nothing of his own.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
About the Author:
Burkhard Berger is the founder of awesomex™. You can follow him on his path from 0 to 100,000 monthly visitors on www.awesomex.com. His articles include some of the best growth hacking strategies and digital scaling tactics that he has learned from his own successes and failures.