My Japanese Coach (Nintendo DS)

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009 | No Comments »
Tags: , , | Categories: Japanese |

I’ve been playing with the My Japanese Coach for Nintendo DS for a couple of days now (that means about two XD). Let me tell you a little bit of background about myself as a Japanese user:

  • About 2 years of classroom study
  • About 300 kanji recognized, can write about 200
  • Know how to conjugate verbs and use past and present/future tenses.

For me–and this is something I’ve read from other reviewers of the game too–this game runs too slowly.  Each lesson only teaches 10 vocabulary words or kanji, and there’s not really a sample sentence for each word, nor is there more explanation on the tenses or roots of verbs that are on the vocabulary list.  So you’re shown the English translation for a phrase, but there’s less explanation on how you achieve the differences in tense, and what individual words in certain idioms mean.

So far I’ve gone up to lesson 60. The lessons are very short, and usually introduce grammar along with the ten vocab/kanji, though sometimes it can just be the vocab.  You then have to play a few mini-games to get mastery points for each of the vocabulary words.    A mini-game usually has a question related to each word, and if you get the question right your progress meter for that word goes up.  There are three levels: easy, medium, and hard.  I play on the hard level, which gets you more progress points (the mini-game gives you less time to answer each question).  It takes me about three mini-game plays to beat a level and unlock another lesson.  If you’re diligent you could unlock a lesson in about 10 minutes.

This doesn’t mean I would recommend this for advanced or intermediate learners.  It just means I wouldn’t recommend this to impatient advanced/intermediate learners.  This may be very useful once I get to the upper levels, but it takes quite a while to get there.  I would suggest waiting until someone can tell you a bit more about the overall capacity of the game before making an investment.  I’ll definitely keep you updated on the game’s progress.

There are stroke order problems in the game, so it may not be appropriate for a total beginner–though as a supplement to another Japanese language study program/course it may be of some use.

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