There are a lot of digital courses that help people learn Japanese and one of the lessor known ones is called Human Japanese. I’ve been playing around with their free version and reading what other people think of them, so today I’m going to give you my Human Japanese review.
First I’ll talk about what it is and what kind of Japanese it teaches you (difficulty and such). Then I’ll talk about the kinds of people who I feel would most benefit from using it.
At the tail end of this post I’ll provide you with my overall thoughts and where you can try it out for yourself if that’s something that interests you. Let’s begin!
What Is Human Japanese?
To briefly summarize what Human Japanese is, I would say that it is a digital and interactive course that teaches people the Japanese language.
When I say “digital” I mean that you can use it on just about any electronic device that you own. The content is the same, but there are different versions depending on if you want to go through the course on your computer, on your tablet, or on your smartphone.
For me, I tend to do most of my Japanese reading while on my computer, so that’s where the screenshot directly below comes from.
As for the interactive part, this comes into play in some of the features that the course utilizes. As you would expect, the course is broken down into topical lessons that clearly explain various aspects of the Japanese language.
There are parts during the course where you can click to see English translations, hear native speaker, learn correct stroke orders, and answer quizzes that test your comprehension of the material.
In a way, this is like a super textbook on learning Japanese!
It actually solves on of the biggest problems with learning Japanese through books. That is, being able to actually listen to and hear the correct Japanese pronunciation of words and phrases.
In addition to that, it’s actually a lot cheaper than most of the main Japanese textbooks students typically use. This is a nice feature since it makes it one of the most affordable options out there for people.
That being said, there are actually two separate versions of Human Japanese:
- Human Japanese
- Human Japanese Intermediate
Let’s take a closer look at each one now.
Human Japanese – Level 1
The first one is designed to help you “learn Japanese from square one” and assumes that you know absolutely nothing about the language except that you want to learn it.
For example, you learn the two Japanese scripts hiragana and katakana. Not only does it teach you how to read them, but also how to write them with the correct stroke order.
It teaches the basics of Japanese grammar such as particles, counters, conjugations, word order, and pretty much everything else that you would need to know about coming from a native English speaker’s perspective.
That’s one of the things that I admire most about this course. It teaches Japanese specifically for people whose first language is English and therefore helps overcome some of the unique challenges that we face with Japanese.
This is different from larger companies that teach Japanese as one of many languages in their catalog. Not that they are all bad, but I find the lack of additional attention in those other company’s Japanese courses leaves me with a lot of questions.
Human Japanese on the other hand spends extra time on this “common problems” when learning Japanese, which is really nice in my opinion.
Anyway, there are a lot of topics that need to be covered when it comes to learning new words (nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc.) and this course has dozens of chapters included that progress from one to the next while building on earlier material.
Here’s a short video on Human Japanese that actually shows you some of the cool things that you can do with it. I recommend checking out:
Human Japanese Intermediate – Level 2
Then there is the intermediate course that is aimed at people who already know the basics of Japanese.
If you’ve competed the first course, then the intermediate one is a natural next choice and takes off right where the first one ended.
It’s topics are a bit more challenging as it starts teaching you kanji, transitive & intransitive verbs, relative clauses, and other things that intermediate Japanese students typically spend the majority of their time learning.
But the format of the lessons and all of the great features like being able to take notes, looking up words, listening to native speakers and the like are still the same.
Basically, if you enjoyed learning from the first one, then you should also get a lot out of the second level.
Even if you haven’t used the beginner course per se, you could still get a lot out of this intermediate level as long as you’ve gone through the basics of the language somewhere else before.
My Personal Thoughts
I mentioned before that Human Japanese was like a “super textbook” for learning Japanese and I think that’s a pretty good way to look at it.
It’s a great resource to use for people who are studying on their own, or who are taking classes but want to get some extra exposure to Japanese in their free time.
I think that the people who would really get the most out of it are those who are either just starting out learning Japanese, or those who have only gone through one textbook or semester of classes in school.
In other words, it’s really designed for beginners to early intermediate learners.
If you’re past that point already, then I don’t think you’ll really get a lot out of it since most of the time will be going over concepts that you (presumably) already know.
If you’re at the point where you’re trying to break into native Japanese materials like shows and novels, then I think LingQ is a better tool to use since it’s designed to make accessing those sorts of things easier.
The other thing that Human Japanese doesn’t really focus on is teaching people how to speak Japanese, but I don’t actually think that this is a bad thing for beginners.
If you’re just starting out, it’s better (in my opinion) to focus on comprehension than conversation.
Once you know a certain about of the language, it’s much easier to hold a natural conversation with someone. It also allows you to build up your passive vocabulary so that you can understand what the other person is saying to you.
But I mean, if you’re planning on visiting Japan in the near future and want to speak with locals when you arrive, then you will probably want to take a course that is more focused on that particular skill.
Where To Find It
At any rate, I think that Human Japanese is super cool and a great resource for anyone who is wanting to learn Japanese.
The best part is that you can download a free version and get started right away!
Then if you end up loving it, you can get the full version and work on completing the course. The link below will take you to their homepage where you can access the many different free versions for each electronic device.
Thanks for reading! If you have any experience with Human Japanese, then please be sure to leave your thoughts in the comment section below!
Further Resources for Learning Japanese: