Fellow blogger and podcaster John Sensei of Manga Sensei has recently created a Kickstarter for a new Japanese learning app, Japanese Verb Conjugator.
Rather than be a jack-of-all-trades app that tries to do everything, this app will target the process of conjugating verbs in Japanese (活用, katsuyou). While I feel verb conjugation is a little easier in Japanese compared to English, nevertheless it represents a bunch of arbitrary rules to memorize that can be tedious to beginning learners. Conjugations can also be tricky to look up quickly, because you generally can’t just get all of the conjugations from an regular dictionary (though there are some books out there that do this for a limited set of verbs). It looks like John Sensei and team also have plans to categorize verbs by JLPT level which is a really useful piece of data.
While the I believe the full set of functionality is not finalized yet, I hope John Sensei and team can add a mode to test verb conjugations, as opposed to just look up. It looks like if you pay past a certain point you get to be an alpha-tester, which is pretty cool since you play a bigger part in driving the features and look-and-feel of the app itself.
I’ll admit that I am not too familiar with the world of Kickstarter, but it seems like a pretty dog-eat-dog place where projects live or die from funding in a very short period of time.
If you do decide to participate in this project, I’d suggest leaving a comment on this post if you have any ideas for features for the app. I’ll let John Sensei know and maybe they’ll use your idea(s).
I think making mobile apps is great fun and have considered creating study apps for Japanese, but creating a quality app really takes time. Hopefully this project can get the funding it needs to become a truly great study tool.
Here is the Kickstarter link again.