Beginner conversational Japanese question


I’m lvl 12 and thinking about starting to try and listen / speak conversational Japanese.

I tried Duolingo, and like the idea of an App / Structured approach, but I’ve heard mixed things about it.

Genki looks interesting, but wondering if there’s an App, or something similar to WK for it that will help me progress little and often, keep me motivated with seeing progress and monitor if I need to slow down and repeat lessons etc…

On a side note, is it possible to view all WK’s ‘Context Sentences’ in one place? I’m thinking going over those and reading / listening / speaking out loud could be fun :slight_smile:

Thanks in advance!

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Irodori is a pretty good starter for a low-beginner, and it’s free!
Website: TOP | IRODORI Japanese for Life in Japan

It’s also got a separate (or you can do both at the same time) online lesson format with videos, quizzes, etc. that covers the same content. It’s also free (but you have to register an account with your email or something).

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If app, I’ve heard slightly better things about lingodeer than duolingo, tho it’s only free up to a certain point, unlike duolingo.

I don’t think so, and tbh, WK’s context sentences can be kind of strange at times.


If you want to practice conversational Japanese nothing beats having an actual conversation.

I highly recommend trying italki. You can get a 1:1 lesson with a certified or a community tutor. Community tutors charge very little (I remember paying as little as 6USD/hour) and can be a decent entry point. But generally they only offer free conversion, not a structured study plan.

I started taking online lessons when I was around lvl 10 on wk. It was really hard in the beginning. I can’t forget my first lesson… it was such a disaster. But I quickly improved.


[reflexively looks for the skip button on the in-thread ad]
Just kidding, I like iTalki too.

It seemed like all my choices were around the $20/hr range, BUT it wasn’t just talking whatever. The one I chose was where I heard of irodori, and he kept to the order. We’d go over the lesson in the book briefly, I’d say 15-30 minutes, which is about all it takes to explain the concept. But then he had prepared conversation scenarios that used that lesson’s content and he would let me practice by asking questions in different ways, using different vocabulary, letting me say things in different ways, etc. And, you know, responsive so if I was mispronouncing something or using a phrase wrong, or saying something a real Japanese speaker wouldn’t say, he could explain it right away.

Best $20 I ever spent, every time.

I should do that again, actually, it’s been a while. I stopped when I was in Japan for 6 months. But that kind of “all around you, casually” practice isn’t the same as 1 on 1 practice focused on certain things.


I just checked the app. I see a lot of offers at 10 USD/hour (and that’s filtered to those who also speak English). You can get a discount if you buy a package. Which I wouldn’t do until I’m sure I vibe with the teacher.

Btw, coincidentally I’ve also been in Japan for 6 months. And It’s been a big help in improving fluency. But that’s on top of 3-4 years of italki lessons.

1 Like has genki vocab lists that you can srs and also grammar lessons for all of N5 and N4, so it should cover a good portion of what’s in genki. There’s more grammar practice as well, but not the explanation type lessons yet (higher jlpt levels are a wip)

Renshuu is also free

Additionally, the discord has conversation and read aloud practice sessions

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ありがとう ございます!

Thanks for all the replies, I’ll have a look over the suggestions :man_bowing:t2: