Lingodeer for an active WaniKani user - Yay or Nay?

So a friend of mine has (re?)started learning Japanese and she’s settled on an app called Lingodeer. She suggested I check it out but from what I’ve seen it looks like a catch-all beginner’s guide similar to what a tourist might when use when learning French before going on holiday.

I thought it might be good for grammar but that seems to be sporadic at best. My reasoning for learning Japanese in the first place was to be able to read it (and speak it if need be) more than recite memorised fill-in-the-blank sentences, so the kanji and kana took more precedent at the time I started.

So, my question is; has anyone else had any experience with is AFTER using WaniKani for a while? I was also looking into BunPro and it seems to be the winner so far but I wanted to get clarity on other alternatives before I started a second subscription.


I haven’t used it myself, but a lot of people on the forums recommend it quite often. Lingodeer seems like Duolingo done right.

I’d say it’s definitely worth a try, mainly because the first few levels are free, I believe? :slight_smile:


It’s great. The Japanese I course covers about the same material as Genki I, and the Japanese II course covers about the same material as Genki II. It’s an enjoyable and efficient way to learn your grammar, especially if you’re on the go a lot, which was the case with me.

Anyone using it should go into the language settings and turn off romaji (switch to kanji+furigana), if you’re a decent way into WaniKani then you could set it to kanji only, too.

The Japanese I course has 1,000 sentences. I don’t think if you’re studying properly you’re simply “memorizing the sentences.” You should be actively thinking about what grammar points you’re using and formulating the sentences actively based on the English prompt. But I guess it really comes down to the user.

The review section needs an overhaul. That’s my one complaint about the app. I took all of the practice sentences from the review section and made them into anki cards (English front, Japanese back) as I went through the program and it worked well for me. But my Genki textbook doesn’t have an SRS based review section built in either so … lol. More an issue of how LingoDeer could be even better with a little fixing up.


I’ve really liked using Lingodeer alongside Wanikani, though I’m also using the Genki textbook and other resources to learn. There is a lot of overlap in vocabulary used between Lingodeer and Wanikani, so with a few exceptions, I haven’t had to spend much effort actually learning the new words that Lingodeer presents in each lesson. Several times, I’ve had Lingodeer teach me a word and it’s shown up in my Wanikani lessons shortly after.

Lingodeer also does not focus on tourist phrases, the app is aimed at actual learners of the language rather than those needing a way to ask where the bathroom is on their vacation (though it does teach you how to ask where the bathroom is, iirc). It just starts at the same place any grammar resource begins, with very basic sentence structure, and develops from there.

In terms of using Lingodeer as the sole grammar resource, I’d be a bit hesitant to advise that, if only because as you noted, it does use set sentences to teach and practice the grammar points rather than forcing you to create your own responses or find the answer without it being a multiple-choice problem. A textbook like Genki or resource like Bunpro will probably do better to let you practice the grammar points, though I personally haven’t cared much for how Bunpro approaches their ‘lessons’. Also, audio is integrated into the lessons and to my knowledge, there isn’t a way to do the lessons without it, so it does more or less require you to be somewhere private or have headphones on hand.

Lingodeer does have clear and concise explanations for the grammar points built into the app, though, and it does have a review capability to let you revisit learned grammar without redoing the individual lessons, though the reviews do not operate on an SRS system like Wanikani or Bunpro. It uses native audio and has a few customization options that allow you to switch how you want the Japanese displayed (kanji, kana, or romaji, or various combinations thereof) and the ability to switch one of the lesson activities to text input, so you get some practice with producing the words or using the Japanese keyboard on your device if you have one installed, though the sentences you’re writing are pulled from the sentences used in the lessons.

However, I use Lingodeer as a way to introduce myself to grammar points and become comfortable with the concepts and I think the app excels at that. I wouldn’t consider myself as having properly learned most of what Lingodeer has taught me so far (I’m 80% of the way through course 1), simply because I haven’t spent enough time learning the rules and using the grammar points to create my own sentences, but that’s why I use Genki and other resources. Lingodeer lets me take fifteen minutes, read about and get comfortable with the idea of a certain grammar point and how it’s used, then take that minimal knowledge out into the wild so that when I see it, I have a general idea of what’s going on or at least where to look for a reminder on how that grammar works. The app is very well-designed for that purpose, I think. And each lesson takes about 5 minutes to go through, so it’s easy to pull it out when you have a few spare minutes to look at it.

Overall, I’d definitely recommend Lingodeer as a way to be introduced to and become familiar with grammar or as a way to do quick reviews of learned grammar, but would recommend additional resources to really start internalizing it.


I would just use it for the user experience. It’s the most fun Japanese app I found so far…I still can’t believe the whole Japanese I is free. It’s just so well made.

I started with romaji as well and when I reached like 25% of progress I removed them and kept only Kana + Kanji thanks to Wanikani.

I never used it at home though. I use it when I am commuting to work/school, 5-10 mins here and there and that’s it. And yes, it’s kind of a better version of Duolingo, I am almost finished with both.

I would go as far as to say it’s a must use resource for beginners, a fun way to introduce grammar points!


Sadly I don’t think Japanese I is free anymore :frowning: correct me if I’m wrong?

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Only the first few levels, I think. He probably has a somewhat older account. I’ve been on it since early beta and never had to pay, although I did do a few coffee donations back when there was a button for it.

I downloaded Japanese I and Japanese II and so far they seem free. Maybe the later Japanese levels are paid since they aren’t listed in the language list. The paid version says it has 200+ grammar options which makes me a bit apprehensive to use the free version or pay for the full version (despite BunPro being about the same price for an annual subscription). But I’ll give it a go for now I guess?

What the heck, after what you said I checked Japanese II and it seemed like they removed the membership part. I think they decided to make the whole Lingodeer free and make you pay for the Deer+ app. I am not sure I will have to take a better look at it but if it’s true it’s lit!

@hobbypup I have no idea. I have an old account before they made Deer+. They keep changing the payment options, I think they are looking for something that works for them but it’s kind of annoying lol. Well…I don’t have the right to complain since I didn’t pay any dime :stuck_out_tongue:

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I checked and here it is for anyone interested: (copy pasted from the app)

Is LingoDeer free? How much is it?

For all courses in LingoDeer, everything in Alphabet, the first unit (e.g. “Nationality”), Test Outs, Flashcards, Reviews are available for free.

The rest of the app, access to browser version, Offline Learning, Cross-Device Synchronization, Priority Support require a LingoDeer premium membership.

I’ve installed it twice and I hated both times I installed it :sweat_smile:
I don’t like the user interface and unlocking things.
Had much better success with WK + BunPro + iKnow.
If you’re looking for second subscription, I think BunPro is your best bet.

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I think I’ll get more value out of BunPro on the grammar side of things but I’m gonna keep using it for now to and from work.

These are the exact features you get out of the pro version from what I can within the app itself.

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I’m going to preface my opinion with the fact that I’ve never had to pay for LingoDeer so far, and that definitely is going to influence what I think.

I think it’s fun and helpful ! I really like that it’s an app, if I’m ever in a waiting room or a passenger in a vehicle I can run through some stuff on lingodeer for easy studying. I like that the vocab is taught with pictures, I like the cute little stories they have at the end of each lesson, and I like the audio in general.

I don’t use it as a main grammar source. I do use bunpro, and I guess that’s technically my main grammar source right now as I’m in college and so it is hard to make too much time for grammar study during the semester. Mostly with things like bunpro and lingodeer, its just about making myself familiar with sentence structure in a gentle way. I think textbooks are still valuable for more thorough explanations, but even more than that I think the real way to become more comfortable with grammar is to go engage with native content. I think that’s where you can go from just having knowledge about a collection of “grammar points” to actually understanding someone trying to express an idea, which is the goal (for me at least).

Edit: I completely forgot. The lingodeer “review” section is kinda hit or miss for me. I kinda like the 5-min quiz option, but the standard review button does flashcards that don’t require you to input the answer so yeah. Also it does multiple choice a lot in lessons which isn’t great for solid learning but really, I just treat it like a game to pick up when I’m bored and only have my phone.

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