Human Japanese is one of my most favorite learning apps, I have it on both my phone and tablet. The software is available for any platform – PC, Mac, Android, iPhone, Windows phone. There are two versions – Basic and Intermediate. You don’t have to know any Japanese to start, the Basic will teach you all the hiragana and katakana and get you up to reading sentences like below in no time. Intermediate will introduce kanji and advanced grammar.
Voice Recordings and stroke animations
All kana, vocabulary words and sentences have voice recordings. The hiragana and katakana lessons include stroke animations and tips on writing the characters. Mini-quizzes inside these lessons will quiz you on your reading skills, allowing you to hear correct pronunciation.
Sentence “Ingredients” Feature
As you learn to put together sentences, you’ll be able to click the sentence for a voice recording, or click below and show the English translation. To the side is a yellow note, which opens up an “Ingredients” window that breaks the sentence down to all the parts of the sentence, in order. You’ll see all the nouns, particles, adjectives, adverbs, verbs, and more. Below is an example for “There’s a cat on top of the fridge.”
ねこが れいぞうこの うえに います。
Chapter Review Quizzes
At the end of most chapters are a Chapter Review quiz and any related quizzes (kana, vocabulary). Each of these quizzes has 10 questions. You get points for answering each question correctly, which increases your XP and level. You can revisit each quiz to get more points, up to a total of 4 times, and can “master” the question. You can see in these screenshots, I’m currently:
Chapter quizzes will unlock the next chapter. This ensures you understood the material before you move on to new lessons, but you can disable this feature and move around freely if you like. One quick note: You can see above that I unlocked all these chapters within a few days of each other. That is because I got a new Samsung tablet this month, so I ran through all the chapters real quick to “unlock” them. I didn’t need to, but I like to see my progress, so I have “Unlock as you go” checked in the Preferences.
Here is a sample question, testing on the vocabulary word “right”. I hope I get it right! (I did.)
Some chapters are culture lessons, so in the basic Human Japanese version, you will learn about geography, ofuru (bath), trains, countryside, and more. They have stunning pictures and wonderful descriptions of fascinating Japanese culture.
Once you buy Human Japanese on one platform, you can download it to any device that uses that platform. So since I got the Android version for my tablet, everytime I update it I can install it again on my Android phones and tablets without paying again. However, it won’t save your progress, at least not at this time. It is on their future feature list to synchronize user data. You can however have multiple profiles on one device, allowing family members to also learn! I used to homeschool, so I can see this being very handy for families with multiple children using it.
Need more Practice?
As I mentioned earlier, you can always go back to a specific chapter to “master” the questions from that chapter. There are also three “Freestyle” cumulative reviews, so you can indicate if you want more practice in vocab, kana, or numbers. I just tried the Vocab freestyle quiz, set to a specific chapter and all previous chapters (you could also choose just one chapter or just the questions you miss the most). And I leveled up to 15!
Like I’ve mentioned before, I read a bit of Human Japanese a bit every day. It reads like a book to me, with beautiful pictures and backgrounds, so I curl up with the app at night and use it as a review for vocabulary and grammar I’ve learned in my other programs I use. The interface is very soothing, yet very user-friendly.
You can purchase it on Amazon for your PC, or via the app store on the platform you use. Most offer a “Lite” version where you can try out the first 8 lessons for free.
My Personal Progress
My progress with Human Japanese has been steady this spring the past few months. There are 45 total chapters and I’m currently on chapter 30. I look forward to ordering Human Japanese Intermediate and seeing more kanji in my readings as well!