As you may know, I'm trying to learn Japanese in 6 Months, and as crazy as that sounds, I think it is doable given the amazing resources I'm using. What resources you ask? Well, read on to find out!
Resource One — Jalup
Jalup is a resource that is still not well known, but you can find out everything you need to here! Started in 2010 by Adam Shapiro, Jalup has only garnered 34 reviews on Apple as of writing. This is shocking given the effectiveness of Adam’s crazy efficient technique.
How it works
He takes the “+1” idea and puts it to practical use. Starting with the beginner packs gets you familiar with the grammar basics and N5 words. Each card has one word, particle, or ending to “+1” your knowledge built off of prior cards.
After that though, the training wheels come off. Doing J-J definitions only, the intermediate pack sounds intimidating at first. Yet, Japanese people read Japanese to understand Japanese, why shouldn’t we? And not only does it follow the “+1” motto we learned to trust in the beginner pack, but it also steps up even more. It only uses words from the beginner pack to explain the new word. 😱 This gets you comfortable reading Japanese to learn Japanese and increases progress two-fold.
Too Good to Be True
All that together is a packed app, not to mention the other features. SRS reviews, learning kanji meaning, and unlimited sentence playback to boost listening. Coming together in a convenient app has sold me on using it to get to fluency fast.
Resource Two — Kanji!
UPDATE: I've personally stopped using this, but still think it has awesome value, especially if you're struggling with Kanji. I now use Notecards (below) and Jalup's Kanji Kingdom instead.
As much as I love the Jalup resource, I can tell it falls short with Kanji (the fun pictures for those unfamiliar). Namely, It focuses on what it’s good at; sentence building and context. To fill this gap and get used to writing Kanji, I turn to “Kanji!” (a befitting name if you ask me).
How it Works
Each “lesson” is 3–4 new words or kanji conjugations. They feature drawing practice with correct stroke order, the kun-yomi, and the on-yomi in conjugated examples. This builds out my writing knowledge as well as the different use cases for common kanji.
As a bonus, getting to draw the kanji brings them to life and gives me a chance to enjoy what so many love about Japanese. It’s exciting to see the two systems overlap and complement one another.
Resource Three — Notecards
Notecards is an app that excels at getting something into your memory fast. It struggles with keeping it there, but does have some awesome review features overall.
How it Works
Notecards is set up for you to make folders and decks of cards. Each card is like a flash card we all know and love and is stored in a deck (which can then be stored in a folder). You're then able to study by 4 methods: straight through review, slowly building review, small chunks review, and worst only review.
Straight Through: Does just that by going over all of the cards in a deck/folder
Slowly Building: This is it's best feature honestly. You can start with a small number of cards (5 for example) and then when you get them all right, add more to the pile and run all of the old and now new. This continues until you're reviewing the whole deck.
I use this to learn kanji by memorizing them and then immediately having to recall them not even 10 seconds later when it comes back up. It also helps to continuously strengthen the connection by seeing it multiple times in a session.
Small Chunks: This is great for reviewing a lot of things but wanting to see what you get wrong, again before moving on. You divide maybe 200 things into 10 groups of 20 and review 20 at a time. It makes it feel more manageable.
Worst: It's like Straight Through, but only uses the cards you have the worst percentage on.
All in All
I love this app for learning and quick reviews as I primarily use the start small when I'm first learning a set of kanji, and then the small chunks to review. It's a great tool with one flaw: no SRS. However, compliment it with Jalup's SRS and you've got a deadly combo.
And there ya have it! It's a pretty short list, but we shouldn't stretch ourselves too thin when doing things. I know there are other awesome tools out there, which do you use? Let me know below!