Learning a new language can be hard, especially one that uses non-English characters, but iStart Japanese from Mirai LLP shows that learning Japanese can be both an enjoyable and rewarding experience. With a pace and style aimed at beginners, iStart Japanese is a great way to improve your Japanese writing and speaking skills.
The app features 10 lessons in total, which begin with an introduction to the Japanese writing system and gradually move toward conversational Japanese with lessons on asking questions, going places, playing sports and several others. Each lesson consists of a conversational dialogue between a native English speaker and a native Japanese speaker and Mirai LLP has plans to add new lessons in the future.
The lessons themselves take advantage of a graphical format that is similar in many ways to the way text message conversations are handled on the iPhone. Dialogue between the two tutors is visually represented by speech bubbles and the entire lesson can be played in sequence, or you can play the individual audio files that accompany each speech bubble (or just read them). You can also tap on the Japanese responses to toggle between Roman characters and Japanese text.
The audio lets you hear the correct pronunciation of Japanese words from a native speaker, and you are able to pause and re-listen to a word or phrase at any time.
Each lesson has four parts to it:
In addition to the Tutorial section outlined above, the Writing lessons in iStart Japanese will help you to gain proficiency in both recognizing and using Japanese letters as well as animations to show you how to draw both Kana and Kanji characters. The Vocabulary section helps you to revise some of the new words introduced in each particular lesson and the Quiz allows you to consolidate what you’ve just learned.
With great lessons, clear professional audio and a slick, easy-to-use interface, iStart Japanese is a great way to start learning Japanese.
iStart Japanese requires iPhone OS 3.0 and is compatible with both iPhone and iPod Touch.