Have you been to a movie lately where you heard a line or two from a Japanese character and got fascinated by how it was spoken? What if there was no subtitle to translate what was being said? Would you have wished you knew how to speak Japanese?

How about haiku? Have you read one recently or wondered how it would sound and feel if you read the same in its original language?

There are a thousand and one reasons to learn to speak Japanese, but the question is how?

If you have both the time and the resource, you can enroll yourself to a Japanese language school or get yourself a personal tutor to learn Japanese. But if you are working on a limited budget or simply does not have the time to squeeze in another activity, getting a Japanese language learning software will be your best option.

There are a number of softwares available online to get you started in learning Japanese. To come up with an informed decision, you must consider several criteria. The money that you can afford to spend always comes into play. However, before you decide which software to buy. It may be the cheapest or the most expensive, but what is important is that the software that you choose will provide you with the most benefit to make your investment worth it.

This article will help you explore standards in choosing  a language software and present you with some of the products available in the market.

There are countless reasons why you want to learn Japanese—you may be travelling to Japan as a tourist or a diplomat; or you simply want to go to a Japanese restaurant and place your order in Japanese. Another compelling reason is fascination to the language and culture of Japan.

Japan is rich in culture and tradition. Its language, Nihongo, has its roots in the way of life of the Japanese people. Words and phrases used in the day-to-day conversation are a product of its long history and custom.

Things to consider when choosing a Japanese language software


For a moment, set the concern regarding budget aside. Before you decide on how much you are going to spend for a software, determine how much time you can allot to learn how to speak Japanese. Ascertain the methodology for which you are most comfortable—are you a visual learner or do you thrive in a learning environment where you just need to listen? Set you own personal criteria on how to learn best.

Based on your established standards, identify what attributes a learning software must have for you to fully maximize its potential.

The Essentials of an Excellent Japanese Learning Software


To determine the learning potential of a software, it must have all of the following: (a) fundamentals; (b) user-friendliness; and (c) teaching instrument.

Fundamentals. It is vital that the software you choose offers lessons in reading, writing and vocabulary. A grammar lesson must also be in place to further bolster what you have learned. To ensure embedding of the lessons you have studied, it also must have activities which will test your listening comprehension and pronunciation. Lastly, the software must have a means for you to practice conversation in Japanese. This can be an online support, a community of learners or a built-in activity in the program.

User-friendliness. The software must be easy to use. It will be a lot better if the software or program comes in a plug-and-play mode. Installation of the programs or software should be the least of your worries as a user. Learning Japanese is challenging enough, no need to complicate it with a hard-to-install-difficult-to-understand program.

Teaching instrument. Superb softwares make full use of the learner’s auditory and visual facility. Although one can learn from listening alone, a visual aid will surely facilitate quicker understanding of the lessons presented. This is especially true in learning to speak Japanese as the characters, sound, and pronunciation of the words are a lot different from English. Aside from audio-visual presentations, the  software must also have word and speech recognition program and activities to fully implant the ideas learned. It is critical also that as you learn about words, phrases, grammar and pronunciation, you also get to learn the cultural origin of these. A lesson in history, culture and lifestyle will definitely put into context the things you learn about the Japanese language.

Should you be able to establish that all these criteria are in the software you are considering to purchase, then you are in the right path.

Other considerations


To further reinforce your decision, you also need to look at the features of the software. It is vital as well that the software has a means to track your progress in learning the Japanese language. This way, you will be able to appraise your improvement and concentrate on the areas which you need further development.

Another point to consider is the option of downloading the lessons to a portable audio device like an MP3 player or an iPod. With this feature, you are not limited to just taking your lessons in front of the computer. You can continue learning while keeping yourself busy doing other things.

What’s on the market


Having set your own personal criteria and the specifications for a software which will provide you with the most benefit, it’s now time to go online and choose from among the best in the Japanese language learning softwares being offered.

At this stage, you can put the budget consideration back into play. Surely, you are not going look at the price of a software as expensive or cheap; but rather, which one is the most or least beneficial for you vis-à-vis its price.