Japan is easily one of the best countries I’ve ever visited. I love writing and talking about it, so naturally many people tend to ask me questions about the country. One of the most common questions I get asked is do you need to speak Japanese to visit?
Of course not, the people of Japan are very friendly and will try to help you even if they don’t speak English at all. That being said, learning some basic Japanese phrases will help a lot during your travels.
So what’s the best resource? I personally prefer LinguaLift since it’s all done online with tools and conversations that feel natural. There’s 49 lessons total, but you get the first one free to see if it’s the right fit for you.
What is LinguaLift
LinguaLift is an online education course that will help you master Japanese. They also offer Russian, but for the purpose of this LingualLift review, we’ll stick to Japanese.
The 49 lessons start with the basics but by the end, you’ll be able to give directions in Japanese. Subscribers don’t have to start at the beginning. If you have some experience with Japanese, you can go straight to the lessons that appeal to you.
The cost of LinguaLift is $29 USD a month or $204 per year. Again, you get the first lesson free to test things out, and you can also unlock lesson two just by sharing it on social media.
How does LinguaLift work?
LinguaLift is completely web-based. To help you learn, there’s audio for all the words and phrase. What I like most about this is how the voice sounds natural. There are different tones used, so it doesn’t like a robot, you really get to hear the words how they would sound in a natural conversation.
Most of the lessons are broken down into 5 categories: Primer, Assessment, Like a local, Vocabulary, and Cake.
The idea is to immerse yourself in the language while rewarding you for your efforts. Practice makes perfect, so LinguaLift recommends studying daily. It’s not like you need to study for hours, but you should set aside some time every day to keep things consistent.
Let’s look at each of the individual categories.
Every lesson starts with a primer where most of your learning will take place. What I like about the primer is how it’s more like storytelling as opposed to brute memorization. You’ll learn about the history of Japan and the language which is a fun way of learning.
When you’re being taught new words, there’s audio, so you’ll know the proper pronunciation. At times, there will also be visuals to help you understand why things are the way they are in Japan. You’ll also be prompted with tutor tips and hints to help you along the way.
If your primer taught you new words, you’ll be quizzed now to see if you remember what you just learned. The cool thing about the assessment is that they’re different quizzes, so you can take it multiple times to make sure you’ve got things down.
Like a local
Many people learn Japanese without ever visiting Japan. The like a local section is meant to show you how daily life is in Japan. Even though you won’t learn many new words here, it’s fascinating to learn about Japanese culture.
It was quite fun learning about the history of capsule hotels and why you won’t find many trash cans in Japan. For those who have been to Japan, you’ll absolutely love this part since you can picture everything they’re referencing. For those who haven’t been to Japan, I warn you now; you may want to book a ticket right away!
This section is pretty straight forward. It’s a list of all the words that you’ve just learned in English and Japanese. The audio prompts are here also, so you can practice your pronunciation. Think of this area as a textbook where you can test yourself when you’re ready.
The final category of every lesson is cake. It’s meant as a reward for completing the current lesson. Your reward? More information on Japanese culture! Yes, this section is very similar to the like a local section, but the main payoff are the entertaining YouTube videos that are related to Japan.
My LinguaLift review is positive. I personally enjoy how you learn Japan in what feels like a natural environment. LinguaLift never feels like formal education, it feels more like an immersion which is paramount if you’re trying to learn a new language.
As for the price, some people don’t like the idea of paying a monthly fee, but I think it’s good value when paying for it yearly. The key is to practice every day so you become fluent. Remember, you get the first lesson free, and you get the second one unlocked for free just by sharing it on Facebook.