Human Japanese by Rak Software

Score:
7 / 10
Pros:
explains the basics of Japanese the way an engaging teacher might; the explanations have a warm touch to them; lessons include interactive practice exercises; lengthy but insightful cultural notes about Japan & the Japanese; audio files allow you to click on and hear vocabulary words; built-in mini dictionary allows you to search for any vocabulary word as you’re progressing through the lessons; learn to read words in the native Japanese syllabary scripts; these 40 lessons focus on the basics for beginners; provides tips & tricks for learning Japanese along the way; low price

Cons:
not an immersive software experience (perhaps a good thing for those who feel that other software programs bombard them with phrases to memorize); lesson text can be wordy; exercises very simple, involving tasks like clicking on the right translation of a word; to practice pronouncing & speaking requires listening & repeating along with sound files; kana writing system not introduced in the most intuitive of ways


Human Japanese is a program of 40 modular software lessons that help you learn to speak Japanese as well as understand Japan and its culture. You’ll read through lots of linguistic and cultural notes, as well as helpful tips directed at you. The grammar and vocabulary material covered is basic, pushing you to grasp the fundamentals.

This software course focuses on how to go about learning Japanese just as much as it does on the Japanese language. Along the way, you’ll read plenty of explanations, complete matching exercises, and learn to read Japanese syllables in the hiragana and katakana writing system. You’ll also take breaks from the readings. This makes for a wordy but engaging learning experience – the text guides you the way a good teacher might.

The lessons aren’t all reading, though. You’ll be able to listen to words and phrases as you progress, and a search bar allows you to look up and hear words through the built-in vocabulary glossary as you’re completing each lesson.

As a series of multimedia Japanese lessons, Human Japanese isn’t an inexpensive replacement for Pimsleur or Rosetta Stone (both reviewed on this site). This CD doesn’t focus on immersion. Instead, it offers a lot of text that explains the basics of the language, with audio files to help your Japanese pronunciation and kana text to help you read the Japanese script. Weigh the advantages and drawbacks, and decide if this is the right Japanese course for you.

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