iStart Japanese

For me, a must-have app when I started to learn the Japanese language was iStart Japanese created by the clever folk at Mirai Language Systems.

It’s targeted at beginners with no previous knowledge of the language and takes you through step-by-step.

The beauty of any app is that you can work at your own pace, conveniently use it on your iPhone or iPad when you’re on-the-go, listen to native speakers pronounce each word, and easily review past lessons.

This app works through the basics, building your vocabulary 5 words at a time. Nice, manageable, bite-sized chunks.

I found it easy to use and navigate, providing me with a more than adequate proficiency in Japanese for my first trip to Japan.

It made learning the language lots of fun rather than intimidating.

And best of all the “Lite” version is free. Although if you want the ad-free version and some extra bells & whistles you’ll have only need to spend a princely sum less than the cost of a coffee (コーヒー).

As this app is specifically aimed at beginners, I would love to see similar apps targeted at intermediate and more advanced users as well.

They do make another app called WordUP that does cover this to some extent which I’ll also review shortly.

Kim*

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