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Posts tagged japanese links

Hiragana and Katakana quizzes

hiragana quizzes

My son finished learning hiragana and katakana a week or so ago. Now he has moved on to kanji with the hope of learning almost a hundred before we arrive in Japan in less than 6 weeks. My daughter is just about through with hiragana. One problem I found with teaching her hiragana (other than the obvious lack of motivation on her part) is that finding an online quiz that was just at her level was difficult. She was much more receptive to an online quiz than any coming from me so I persisted. At last I found one.

On Josh Gemmell’s site he has created three sets of quizzes for both hiragana and katakana. The really nice thing about Josh’s quizzes is you can be quizzed based on just the kana you have learned rather than all of them at once. So, for instance, my daughter just finished learning ma, mi, mu, me, mo. Instead of testing her on all of the hiragana (in which case I would have to tell her the answer for ya, yu, yo, ra, ri, ru, re, ro, wa, particle o, and n) I can select just “a” through “mo” to be tested.

If you are really good at multiple choice quizzes, and that is why you are getting them all correct, have no fear. Go to quiz 2 and now you will have to actually type in the sound.

Anyway, check it out if you are currently learning hiragana or katakana. I’ll show you how my son is learning kanji soon.

Nihongoup

nihongoup nihongo up japanese learning game Nihongoup is a little program you can download for free to help you master hiragana, katakana, particles, and kanji on the JLPT 4 and JLPT 3 exams (the first few hundred). For $4.99 more you get practice exercises and JLPT 2 and JLPT 1 (I think). I haven’t actually paid the $4.99 so I’m not sure exactly what you get. The free program only works for 15 days.

The free download features games of balloons falling from the sky. You type in the correct pronunciation of the hiragana, katakana, or number of the correct kanji displayed in the balloon.

I figured out that to type ん you need to hit n twice. How do you type ぢ or づ? I tried ji and dzu but neither worked.

Overall I’d say this is a nice little trainer for beginners in the Japanese language. It doesn’t help much with writing, speaking, or listening though; mostly it is just character recognition practice.

Best Japanese dictionary on the internet – Jisho.org

Jisho.org, or Denshi Jisho, is probably the best Japanese dictionary available on the internet. I previously used the dictionary on the Kanji-A-Day site I previously mentioned, but recently I’ve found jisho.org to be more useful. Not only does it give you the results you ask for, but it provides much more that can prove useful for those studying the language.

The results of your searches are presented in an aesthetically pleasing way. The author of the site has a knack for no-nonsense, clean, and clear design which I particularly like.

The site supposedly is optimized to run on cell phones, iPhones, and iPod Touches as well (although I haven’t tried these out as I don’t own any of them).

Rather than describe what you can figure out on your own with a few clicks, I’ll just leave my recommendation at that and encourage you to try it.

Human Japanese

My wife is currently enrolled in her second term of Japanese. One of her classmates turned her on to Human Japanese 2, a software package designed to teach someone with no knowledge of Japanese how to speak, read, and write Japanese. We downloaded it last week and have been messing around with it ever since.

I’ve been pretty impressed with this package, although I must admit that I haven’t tried much of the competition. The main reason for not comparing it to the other programs out there is you have to fork over $50+ for them (and sometimes well over $100) before knowing if the software is even useful.

The audio is very good (even funny at times when you get to compare how a foreigner pronounces a Japanese word versus a native for instance); the lessons are logical and clear. Stroke order is animated (and always correct unlike My Japanese Coach) and easy to follow. They even toss in some Japan culture items between some of the lessons.

Overall I think this is an excellent package for the price for anyone at the beginner level in their Japanese studies. One of the nice things about Human Japanese is you can try it before you buy. Once you are ready to buy, the version from Amazon is actually cheaper (at the time of this writing at least) than if you purchase directly from the publisher. The trial version allows you to go through the first 12 lessons. The full version gives you another 28 lessons. I don’t know if the version that costs about $20 adds anything to the first 12 trial version lessons.

If you are past the beginner level in your Japanese studies then this software won’t be of much use to you. It would be really nice if they did a subsequent version for more advanced learners.

Kanji Box

Kanji Box is a cool, little application for Facebook which allows the user to learn and/or test their Japanese skills. It’s mostly a reading application, but you are likely to pick up a few new words along the way. You need not know any kanji to use this application as there are also kana quizzes. You can change the level of kanji tested to any JLPT level or Japanese grade level you wish to quiz yourself at whatever stage you are at in your kanji studies.

For those with a competitive streak in them, you can also work on improving your personal high scores, compare your high scores with other Facebook friends, and stare in wonder at the leaderboard (which I am still 250 points away from). On the stats page, after taking a few quizzes, you can see what level you are at. For instance, I can see from my results on the stats page that I can easily pass JLPT 4, JLPT 3, and JLPT 2, but I’m borderline passing for JLPT 1.

You can even export printouts of kanji you miss for offline studying.

Check it out.

Read the Kanji

I’ve been playing around with the site readthekanji.com for a few days now. This site is a nice tool to improve your skills in reading Japanese (not just kanji) and in preparing for any level of the JLPT.

The registration process is painless and free. It doesn’t even require an email address. You do want to register as doing so allows you to track your progress. You will be shown the characters you are having the most difficulty with so that you can focus in and master them.

If you are just learning hiragana and/or katakana you can start at that basic of a level too. Otherwise you can choose to start at JLPT 4, JLPT 3, JLPT 2, or JLPT 1. Even if you start at a higher level (like JLPT1 or JLPT2) you will still be tested on more basic kanji. I recommend you read this page before beginning.

Happy studying!

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