Learning Japanese is maybe one of the hardest languages in the world. iKana is a Japanese learning aide which helps to teach you the two Japanese phonetic alphabets Hiragana and Katakana although it can also extended to teach other alphabets and Kanji.
iKana works via a combination of flash cards, speed recognition and a Romanization test. The best place to start is with the Flash cards which aid memorization. Then you can move onto the speed recognition which tests you against the clock in a multiple-choice test. Finally, the word Romanization helps you practice reading whole words by translating them from kana into Romaji. This apparently helps you learn some Japanese vocabulary as well as improving your translation and reading skills. Note that you can use the Apple Remote to control all of these tests.
The interface of iKana is very slick and the Flash cards are elegantly crafted and designed. iKana takes you through the learning process set-by-step and I especially like the way characters are given English descriptions to help you remember what they look like. iKana has been completely re-written in version 2 to integrate with iPhones which is handy as you can't print out the Flash cards for learning on the move.
With over 740 Japanese characters to choose from, iKana is a comprehensive and elegant language learning aid that will appeal to all those who learn best with Flash cards.
- No matter how long you spend testing something a few bugs always seem to find a way to get out into the wild, sadly iKana 2 is no exception. Embarrassingly the two problems primarily affect the registration experience and your ability to download new upgrades through the application itself. So if you were puzzled at seeing an empty grey box appearing after 10 minutes of using iKana, here's why: iKana's new trial limitation is limiting you to a 10 minute session before it will ask you purchase or quit. But due to a font presence check going awry that message was not being displayed. Now it's working properly in 2.0.1, I hope you appreciate the improved license installation process in iKana 2. It should be a lot more trouble free and pleasant to use. This new method will be cropping up in iKanji 1.4 next and will eventually spread to all our Mac apps. The other, more annoying problem is that 2.0 also broke the Sparkle based update mechanism which means you'll have to manually download and install the 2.0.1 update from our website. Hitting the update button in iKana at the moment will download the update but will land you with a code signing error. Sorry about that! Unfortunately we only tested upgrading from older versions of iKana – which works fine. It's important to install the 2.0.1 update or you won't be able to auto-install future updates either.