One of the main challenges of learning Japanese is to learn the Japanese alphabets. That's different from learning a modern Latin alphabet language such as English, German or French and the main reason for that is that you have to memorize a lot more than the 26 or so characters Latin alphabets are comprised of.
With Japanese, you have to memorize both the Hiragana and Katakana alphabet and on top of all that the Kanji as well.
Students of the Japanese start with Hiragana and Katakana usually. Good news is, there are not nearly as many as there are Kanji.
Kana is a free application for Android devices that helps you memorize Hiragana and Katakana. The app offers introductions to each character of the alphabets and quizzes that help you test your skills.
The learning app teaches five characters at a time, for instance the five vowels a, i. u. e and o or the five k consonants ka, ki, ku, ke and ko.
Each character is displayed in Latin and in Japanese. Options are provided to listen to the sound as well.
Once you have memorized the characters you can take a quiz. Quizzes build up on each other so that you have to answer as many questions as you have learned characters so far in the alphabet.
The quiz is multiple choice with questions either asking you to translate from Latin characters to Japanese, the other way around, or to listen to audio to identify the character afterwards.
You pass a test if you get a certain percent of questions right. The Hiragana S Quiz for instance is passed if you get 95% of the 20 questions right.
Tests can be retaken as often as you want. Since questions are randomized it is often a good idea to retake tests right away or at a later point in time to aid in the memorization.
The app offers another interesting feature: charts. It offers charts for both Hiragana and Katakana including basic, with Diacritics and with Combinations.
Here you see all characters listed and can tap on a character for additional information. The information displayed on that page include examples, how it is pronounced, and options to display a diagram explaining how it is drawn and an animation that shows the same thing.
Kana is a great app for beginning Japanese learners as it aids them in memorizing all Hiragana and Katakana characters.
The app is freely available and if there is one thing missing, it is an option to draw the characters right on the screen. It is a good idea to have pen and paper at hand to draw each character a couple of times.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.