So you decided to embark on the epic quest that is learning Japanese. You're probably super excited to learn a new foreign language (I always am), but you're not sure where to start. There's a lot of courses and tools out there to choose from.
You heard about Babbel. You heard that they have over a million users around the world and offer courses that teach core grammar and vocabulary. You also may have heard that their courses are great for beginner to intermediate students.
There's only one problem....
Babbel doesn't offer a Japanese course.
The truth is that Japanese is far removed from the English language. The two languages don't share many (if any) similarities in grammar or vocabulary. In fact Japanese is often cited as one of the most difficult languages to learn for native English speakers.
Many brands have slapped some Japanese words and phrases onto what used to be a Spanish course and called it "The best way to learn Japanese!", just to sell a few extra language courses. Thankfully Babbel hasn't done that.
Linguistically speaking Japanese is its own beast, and to learn it you need a course that takes into account that differences and difficulties for native speakers. Anything less is a poor substitute.
Hopefully Babbel takes the time to develop a great Japanese course. The demand is definitely there. Until then here are some other comparable Japanese courses that you might want to check out in the mean time:
Rocket Japanese is built around recorded audio in the form of dialogues. The dialogues have English explanations and usually teach the language in "chunks" or phrases versus individual words (this is great for conversational Japanese).
Overall Rocket Japanese is a comprehensive course that does a good job of incorporating speaking and listening, as well as reading and writing.
Japanesepod101 is one of the most popular Japanese courses on the web. It's lessons are audio based and come in the form of podcasts. While not quite as structured as other courses lessons are effective and engaging. It's also cheaper than Babbel with a basic monthly subscription for $8.
Italki is an online market place that connects language learners and language teachers. The site allows you to book individual langauge lessons with a teacher over Skype. There are over 200 professional teachers and informal tutors for Japanese on Italki
*Use this link to purchase a minimum of $20 (US) of Italki credits and receive an extra $10 free! (Bonus added after completion of 1st lesson)
I'm definitely an unlikely language learner. I failed Spanish in high school. I started learning German as a hobby while studying abroad. Long story short...and a couple languages later...I love language learning!
Why Rocket Japanese Might be One of the Best ways to Learn Japanese
The 3 Best Sites for Online Japanese Classes
The Best Way to Learn Japanese (There is One)
Best Programs to Learn Japanese (The Top 5)
Pimsleur Japanese Review (Strengths and Weaknesses)
Rosetta Stone Japanese Full Review (Beginners Beware)
JapanesePod101 (The Ultimate Review)