When it comes to learning foreign languages, I never came upon a more learning intensive language than Japanese. This can be partially attributed to the foreign characters, and to the fact that you have to get your head around multiple alphabets and thousands of Kanji signs.
Japanese learning software can help students tremendously in the task, both when memorizing and understanding the different alphabets and signs, but also when trying to improve Kanji drawing skills.
Tagaini Jisho is another excellent free Japanese dictionary and Kanji lookup tool that is available as a Open Source application for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.
It takes little time to get accustomed to the program. You can look up any Kanji right away in the interface by using the search form at the top right. The program accepts both English words, Japanese signs, and Romaji. You see both the Japanese Kanji and the English (sometimes German as well) meanings of the word.
The software ships with stroke order animations for more than 6000 Kanji, which you can play directly in the program to learn how to draw Kanji. It lacks a drawing module though, which means that you should have a sheet of paper at hand, or an image editor open to practice the drawings.
It is possible to add looked up word to a study list that the program maintains. The study list can be used in tests that the program creates for you, or as a way to learn new words or words that you have difficulties with. Personal notes and tags can be added at any point in time, which may contain custom explanations, memory hooks or related words or signs.
The program in addition can display both the Katakana and the Hiragana alphabets in the interface, again with options to add individual letters to the study list.
Print and export options are provided as well. When it comes to printing, options to print normally or in booklet format are available. The export options include HTML and TSV formats.
The program's strength is its search feature, which you can use during your studies. The Kanji animations are also excellent to get a better understanding of how characters and signs are drawn correctly. When it comes to tests though, it is not the most sophisticated of tools just yet. Still, if you are currently learning Japanese, or have the intention to start learning the language, then this is a tool to have in your arsenal.
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