Here are some useful sites for studying Japanese and Chinese. I will keep posting more useful links as I find them.
Is there a cool site I should be looking at? Let me know in the comments!
(Updated 2010/6/25) Added Grammar Guide iPhone app
- Jim Breen’s WWWJDIC – This site has an extensive Japanese to English dictionary with example sentences and an equally extensive Kanji dictionary with animated stroke orders for all of the 常用漢字. The multiple radical search method is also the easiest way I’ve found for searching for kanji (outside of copying and pasting). Unfortunately, it’s almost useless as an English to Japanese dictionary.
- 英辞郎 – A great dictionary with a huge number of expressions and example sentences in both English and Japanese. I especially recommend this dictionary for English to Japanese lookups since it has the ability to search a surprisingly large range of English expressions.
- Yahoo!辞書 – I highly recommend this dictionary if you are an advanced learner of Japanese. It’s a dictionary for Japanese speakers so you’ll get Japanese definitions of English words instead of translations (which never works anyway). There’s also lots of example sentences in the definitions and I prefer it now over goo 辞書.
- Denshi Jisho – Despite the misleading name, Denshi Jisho has nothing to do electronic dictionaries. Instead, it’s a great new interface to the WWWJDIC dictionary. It’s not just a pretty, new face, it adds a variety of neat features such as instant partial results in the multi-radical kanji lookup. In addition, you can use * to conduct wild card searches, which is great for cheating on the 四字熟語 game on 「もっと脳を鍛える」. I’m sure there are other great features but the biggest disadvantage, compared to the WWWJDIC, is the lack of stroke order diagrams. (Perhaps due to copyright reasons.) It would also be nice to have a mirror in my area like the WWWJDIC does because it tends to be slow at times.
- Tae Kim’s Guide to Japanese Grammar – My guide to Japanese grammar. I really hate to blow my own horn since I’m not even finished yet but other grammar resources usually use only romaji, which makes them completely useless for learning real Japanese.
- Grammar Guide iPhone app – The grammar guide on the iPhone. This app was written by Ronald Timoshenko.
- Jgram – A wiki approach to Japanese grammar. It has short English definitions for a wide variety of grammar organized by JLPT level and accompanied with examples sentences.
- MLC Meguro Language Center – An amazing resource for studying the JLPT and all for free! You can download hundreds of pages of study material in PDF format.
- JLPT Study Page – A very helpful site for studying the JLPT for levels 3 and 4. It has a variety of sample problems from past exams so it’ll really give you a good idea of what the JLPT is like. The site has a forum as well. Unfortunately, level 2 is hardly covered and level 1 not at all. Since the JLPT is useless as a credential unless you pass level 1, I look forward to seeing more material for the higher levels.
- Read the Kanji – Fill in the reading for highlighted word in a sentence. Kana and N5 levels are free but higher levels require a monthly subscription fee.
- Nippon VoiceBlog – The name speaks for itself. Each entry in this blog features a narrative about various topics in Japanese. It even offers podcasting so that you can listen on the go. The site now has transcripts so it’s also a great resource for picking up new vocabulary. The narratives themselves are fairly interesting and you’ll probably learn some interesting trivia such as the origin of umeboshi.
- ECIS インターネット放送局 – A large number of videos on various topics in quicktime and real player divided into three levels. Transcript of video and quizzes are provided as well. All speakers are native but I can just barely tell that the male on the other line of the phone conversations is not. You can find more videos here, as well.
- NIHONGO-JUKU – There seems to be all sorts of audio blogs popping up for Japanese lately and NIHONGO-JUKU is one of the better ones geared for intermediate to advanced learners. Each podcast comes with an complete transcript.
- Japanesepod101 – I haven’t used this site myself but I did manage to find a direct link to their podcasts. They have a lot of audio material that should be useful. Unfortunately, transcripts are not available with a free account.
Free Learning Tools
- rikaichan (Firefox extension) – A very popular firefox extension that provide mouse-over definitions for Japanese. The constant mouse popups might get a little annoying but you can set a hotkey to easily turn them on or off.
- 理解.com – For those of you who don’t use firefox or don’t want to install anything, this website will also translate words on Japanese websites by providing popup definitions. Unfortunately, this site is blocked at my work so I’ve never tried it myself.
- WaKan (Windows-only) – I can’t say too much about this program since I couldn’t get the fonts to work but I hear it’s a great tool for learning Japanese. The features page has more detailed descriptions and screenshots so you might want to check it out.
- JWPce – It’s been a while since I last used this program but I mainly used it as an offline dictionary before I bought my electronic dictionary. The word processor function is very clunky and practically useless but the program is still a useful tool as a substitute for WWWJDIC when you can’t get online. But first, I suggest you download the newest version of edict to update the dictionary.
- The Mixxer – A free educational community for language learners and teachers to find a language partner for a language exchange. The language partner is someone who speaks the language you study as their native language and is studying your native language. The partners then meet online to help each other practice and learn a foreign language.
- Lang-8 – You can write journal entries in any language and have native speakers correct your writing. You can of course correct other people’s writing in your native language. So far, I find the community very friendly and helpful and highly recommend this site.
- 教えて！goo – Not really a social network in the traditional sense but I use this site when I have a question for native Japanese people. In particular, the 国語 category is where you can ask questions about Japanese in Japanese.
- Dict.cn 海词 – A great English<->Chinese dictionary with loads of example sentences. The traditional version is here.
- Chinesepod.com – Podcast for learning Chinese. This site was a lot better before they took out the transcript from the free downloads. It’s a great resource if you’re willing to pay the membership fee. Or you can get the free trial and download as much as you can before it runs out!
Free Learning Tools
- Chinese perapera-kun – Firefox plugin that shows mouse-over popups for Chinese both traditional and simplified. In my experience, the dictionary could be better but it still works pretty well. It’s already upgraded for Firefox 3!
- Google Pinyin – A great free Pinyin input program for Windows. I like it a lot better than the built-in IME. You can also easily switch to traditional characters.
You can blow your horn a little more, Tae Kim. Not only you do avoid romaji, your “learn what makes sense in Japanese, not English” approach is hard to find elsewhere and very welcome.
Definitely. I just found this site, but I’m finding it to be one of the very best I’ve seen. Thanks for the pointers.
A much better firefox plugin than moji is rikaichan:
It’s absolutely awesome.
Thanks, I’ll take a look at it.
Bravo! Your site is excellent.Very easy to understand. Wish I had found it sooner. Thanks a lot.
The Pikkle.com link does not work, though, I am getting a page not found error.
Thanks, the link should be updated now.
Not trying to be a rabble rouser, but for a kokugo dictionary, goo blows. By your own admition the eiwa/waei dictionaries are suspect, but more to the point, the kokugo dictionary is daijirin, which is stilted and (like koujien) consistently pulls examples from manyoushuu, etc. Daijisen is IMO far more practical, and lists examples from modern-day Japanese. See http://dic.yahoo.co.jp/ for daijisen-driven kokugo dictionary. Select multiple-dictionary lookup for simultaneous eiwa-waei and thesarus. Also enables refinement of search results to also check daijirin if you start getting lonely (or start missing daijirin’s real saving grace, the fact that commonly used phrases involving the key lookup word are listed following the main entry).
There’s a very cool Kanji site that has animated letters to show stroke order:
This is a must for writting!
Once again our free Japanese lessons are left off of a list.
Or search for Japancast.net in iTunes.
We’re the number one audio blog in the iTunes music store.
Hmm… I have no idea where your audio material is or how to access it.
There is another podcast/lesson site, called http://www.japanesepod101.com; I’ve found that they have really nice lessons if you follow them from the beginning, that complement your grammar guide nicely by providing sound clips and getting the pronunciation into your head.
While I don’t think that japanesepod101 would be very useful on your own unless you prefer to learn completely from examples and not learn the rules, but like I said, great complement to jgram/grammar guide.
it looks like this should be the address for japancasts’s podcasts:
not sure about where to find it in itunes, as i don’t have that installed on my computer.
I wholly recommend http://www.nihongoresources.com It’s actually the site where I found your site. There is a link to http://www.guidetojapanese.org but it’s out of date and not working anymore. Like your site, it’s a one man operation that completely avoids romaji. It has a nice dictionary feature and some interesting sections, such as a few on Kansai-ben. There is also a very good grammar book by the author of the site free for download.
i meant that the link was out of date and not working, not your site
A fun and quite good audio resource for beginners to upper intermediates is Ajalt’s “real world Japanese” http://www.ajalt.org/rwj/
It contains about 60 animated every day situation conversations in Japanese. There are 3 levels for every conversation: beginner, intermediate and advanced and the conversation becomes of course more and more complicated (and more natural sounding 🙂 )within every level.
I don’t personally recon that ‘the advanced conversations’ are really that advanced, I can understand almost everything in them and I’ve studied Japanese only one and a half year. This is, however, one of the best audio resources for beginners I’ve found in the Net. Too bad they use romaji text in scenes meant for beginners…
The best site to study for the jplt, with the official list of kanji and vocabulary needed for 2006 exam, and a lot of examples of past exams.
Thanks for the links everybody. I’ll make sure to add the ones I particularly like. Also, how is http://www.japanesepod101.com? I love chinesepod so I really want to like japanesepod101 but I can’t help wishing that Peter’s Japanese and pronunciation was better. I mean, the intermediate level in Chinese pod is all in Chinese! I have no idea what’s being said but it’s a great source of motivation. I can’t help feeling that japanesepod is just not as good. Is this just bias on my part since I don’t know Chinese?
Nah, that’s a fair statement… Chinesepod is done a lot more professionally. It’s really much better organized, and they stay on topic and stuff. But that doesn’t mean that Japanesepod is bad…imho
I’d just like to point out to anyone who follows the link to ‘jlpt-kanji.com’, that the kanji lists given at this site are pre-2002 JLPT Test Content. They are now outdated and incorrect. The Level 4 list does not contain 80 but 103 kanji, likewise Level 3 contains 284 not 246 and so on. Quite a difference… so by all means use the site, but check http://www.jlptstudy.com (sorry, it’s the only site I know of) for the missing characters.
I just (5/31) tried MLC Meguro > and they appear to be back with all the freebies.
If I might be so bold, I recommend the site I put together, Yookoso! (http://www.yookoso.com). It has tons of well-organized links and some grammar notes, but the most unique features are Kanji a Day and Grammar a Day email lists and RSS feeds. The Kanji lists include school grades 1-6 and JLPT 1-4 (the “updated” JLPT lists). The grammar lists are done in partnership with DC at jgram.org.
There’s probably a reason why it hasn’t been mentioned, but I’ve become addicted to JapanesePod101 lately. I realize they charge for the backup materials, but they’re the only site that reliably updates to my iPOD (through iTUNES). Very professionally done. So much so, that I’ll probably subscribe to the pay service. I’ve only been in the “beginner’s” section so far, so I don’t know whether their more advanced stuff is any good.
Can I reccomend http://www.language-global.com/japanese-main.php as a useful resource with info and practise tests for kanji (levels 1-4) and grammar (1-2), and http://www.language-global.com/lglbbs for an active and helpful japanese forum?
I have just started to learn Japanese and these links are a great additional resource. I also found a dictionary for the Mac that I like a lot – http://www.sugoisoft.com/jisho/
Very useful links here. Thank you
hi i´d like to present you http://www.palabea.net it´s an elearning platform focused on language learning.
though it´s not specially designed for japanese, many japanese native speakers,teachers and students meet in our community to share their knowledge.
check it out!
feedbacks are always welcome
Thanks, I’ll be sure to check it out once I have some free time.
I read your little comment on putting passing the JLPT as a credential. Is it true that in America that you need to pass 1kyuu to be able to write it in CV’s?
IMHO, here in the Philippines having passed 2kyuu goes a long way already. Do you know how about other places? Thanks for the info btw and I truly find your guide very helpful in my self study.
There really is no strict guideline here about what to put in a resume (CV). Usually, if a company or school requires JLPT certification, it will state what level. I have seen requirements for at least 1 or 2 but never as low as 3.
I always wish learn japanese, and these links will be good to start. Thank you!
Hi – I created a Japanese Kana desktop widget that you are welcome to download for free – the site is located here: http://www.concise-courses.co.uk
The desktop widget works on windows vista and rotates Japanese hiragana and katakana characters with their equivalent english phonetic sound.
Thanks for all these links!
You might want to look at http://www.yellowbridge.com for Chinese, as they have a pretty amazing 汉字 dictionary, among other things.
Love your blog btw, since I’m learning both Mandarin and Japanese.
Hey, just letting you know the link for the Cornell audio conversations is down.
I’d suggest adding iKnow (http://smart.fm/home) to that list.
As for rikaichan… because I don’t like popups, I use the http://jisho.org/ Bookmarklet instead. Simply drop it on the quick links bar. You can either hit the link and paste some Japanese in there. Or you can do the same and type romaji if you don’t feel inclined to hit the Alt+Tilde combo. Or you can just highlight (doubleclick) text in a paragraph and hit the button outright. Much simpler.
I wanted to suggest Lingoes. it has dictionaries for many lanaguges but anyways for korean
It’s like rikai-chan for korean except it does NOT unconjugate anything for you and you have to separate the particles from the ting if you want to do the cursor look up thing AND AND
or you could just look it up in the dictinoary thing. but i like the cursor like thing even i though i have unconjugat emyself
and the korean grammar that’s online is really helpful. but i’m sure you already know about it?
You might want to check http://kanji-yorokobi.blogspot.com. It’s some sort of journal of my effort in understanding Kanji.
Check out http://www.japanese-flashcards.com/
Mostly free to use.
I would like to let you know about our game that just launched on iOS.
The game is called “Hiragana Pixel Party” it teaches you to read Japanese Hiragana / Katakana but blends learning with a music game (like Parappa the Rapper or Rock Band)
You can view the trailer here:
I thought you might be interested as hopefully it’s a fun way to get started with reading Japanese. If you like the app, It would be great if you could share it with your readers!
japanese grammar points plees explain this
I’d like to submit my online japanese dictionary to your links: http://jlearn.net
I am adding features regularly – one nice feature is you can search conjugated forms and it will return the root dictionary entry. It also contains a slightly different take on a kanji radical search.
I really like the references on this site, it’s great 🙂
I find the hardest thing to do is practice my speaking, having tried a few sites out already, I came across http://www.easylanguageexchange.com/ great way to connect with native speakers and you can use video calling just like skype.
Happy Learning Everyone 🙂
You’ve got some great links, I’d love to throw another (new) one in the mix. Nihongo Master http://nihongomaster.com
Achievements, point system, and a great community to help keep you engaged and excited about learning.
Hi Tae Kim!
Interesting website and interesting background, actually our school teaches Japanese, Chinese, and Korean to new yorkers. The Japanese site in particular is good, I like the grammar explanations it should be helpful for our Japanese students.
I’d like to recommend our website as an addition to your collection of resources (http://www.hillslearning.com/classes/japaneseclassesnyc/). We have a blog that has multiple articles on learning Japanese (grammar, conversation, JLPT, beginners, etc), posted both from teachers and students. Also we have a word of the day on Twitter based on the Genki textbook for beginners and flash cards (coming soon).
I would like to suggest a language forum with a really nice community and a lot of eager language learners (Japanese, Chinese and many more). Every language has its own subforum and the subforums are divided in Grammar, Vocabulary, Language Teaching and many more. You might find this useful. The link is http://www.linguaholic.com
regards from Switzerland
I would like to suggest the following two online dictionaries to you:
There you will find a lot of sentence examples as well as word translations. Since it is a collaborative dictionary you are able to register and start adding new translations.
Hello Tae Kim,
Some friends and I have been working on a site for a couple of years now, http://www.sulantra.com. Currently we have thirteen languages up, (if you count both North American and British English). Learners can study to and from any of these languages, Japanese, Korean and Mandarin Chinese are among them. Our “Starter” courses are free, the “Basic” courses a one time fee of $US10. Hope that they are of use to some of your readers.
I enjoy you because of your entire work on this web page. My daughter takes pleasure in making time for research and it is easy to see why. We know all regarding the powerful manner you provide functional guides via your blog and even boost participation from other people on this area and our simple princess is certainly being taught a whole lot. Have fun with the remaining portion of the new year. Your carrying out a tremendous job.
Hi Tae Kim,
Thanks for the great resources!
I’d like to also share my site which has 3 different online/mobile game apps for studying Japanese. The online versions are free, and track your progress for you. You can even import your own vocab lists from Quizlet.
They are designed in an interactive way (not just the usual multiple chloice quiz) to get your brain to really make the connections between meaning/form/reading with kanji, vocab and even sentences.