LingoDeer "review" for those interested in the app


#1

Hello all!

I just finished all of LingoDeer – a free (for now?) app aimed at teaching beginners (/low intermediates?) some Japanese grammar and words.

Since you can’t look ahead at what closed sections contain, I thought I’d share some screenshots of the last three sections, so people can gauge if it’s above or below their level.

If you are higher level, there are small tests you can do to test out of about ten sections at a time (each section containing several levels). So you can skip forward, but if there is one section among ten that you’re fuzzy on; prepare to do the other nine that got lumped in along with it. No testing out of individual levels like DuoLingo.

The majority of LingoDeer is some form of multiple choice. Only on the last two questions of a level can you input yourself, but it always defaults first to a screen of pre-selected kana to make the sentence. They only give the kana needed for the sentence, and for some reason, they are mostly in order already. As @Shadkat pointed out: best to use the “Try it yourself” feature to input. And some will use the app for 100 days straight while somehow forgetting about that button, making the most educative two exercises insultingly easy. Sigh.

Ergo: it doesn’t train recall and usage that well, which is a problem if you want to speak and write on your own.

Of course, none of this stops anyone from getting more out of the app by themselves. Copying the grammar breakdown sections – using the grammar taught to make your own examples on the side – etc.

My personal pros and cons list:

Pros:

  • Free (may not stay that way)
  • Breakdown of grammar points available at the start of sections
  • All audio spoken by a native, with the option of slowing introductory examples down to 0.8x audio speed, to aide listening comprehension
  • Offline mode available if you want to use it on a commute without using your data plan
  • The audio review feature. A Japanese audio clip plays, and you must think of the translation. Reveal the answer, and select whether your own answer was weak, good, or perfect. Anything classified as weak will be prioritized in your next audio review. Reminded me how weak my pure recall could be for stuff I considered easy in lessons.
  • Their Beta feature “Story.” Some audio accompanied by some pictures, along with two or three questions in Japanese about what you heard. Unfortunately only added to the first 12 sections (at last count).
  • Doubt anyone here wants to avoid kanji, but for inclusion’s sake: there are options for full kanji, hiragana only, romaji only, and four different blends of those options.

Cons:

  • Especially if you’re more than a few levels into WK, you’ll be rolling your eyes a lot as they teach you kanji you already know.
  • Audio review only gives Japanese audio for you to translate, not the other way around
  • It doesn’t challenge the user enough to use what they learn in order to really cement things

For me it wasn’t too annoying to get through everything because I’m quite low level. It hasn’t made me feel much more skilled, but I’ve also not been working too hard to apply what I learned from it. I’ve been using it as very casual exposure, while doing more serious grammar study with other resources. Total time spent: about 100 days, going with the minimum XP needed to build a streak - equating to two new lessons a day.


#2

I agree with everything you’ve said but there is one quick thing I wanted to point out
On that last section, you can type the answer yourself:


And then you’ll get this screen instead

I’m still not through all of Lingo Deer myself, but I like it well enough :relaxed:


#3

:woman_facepalming:
After not messing around with that option since just starting I simply… turned blind to its existence.

I’ll update my post shortly. Thanks for pointing it out!


#4

I didn’t notice till a few weeks ago myself, don’t feel bad :wink:


#5

What is the level of available lessons? Is it (at least grammar) sufficient for N4 or you need to learn something else?


#6

If the lessons in the OP is the maximum it has to propose, it looks like N5, I would say.


#7

DeerLingo doesn’t equate any of their progress with JLPT levels, and I’m not familiar enough with what belongs to what N level to answer. Others, like @Naphthalene, know better than me. :slight_smile:


#8

On their website, they say that what’s currently available is N5, but that, “more lessons up to N3 are coming soon.”


#9

I think LingoDeer is great to start learning Japanese just after learning kana. You get all the content of a the first book (maybe even second too) in a beginner’s textbook series for free. I swear by it for beginners- I tried out the JLPT N5 test that’s online and I passed only going off LingoDeer, not using any other resources. I’m really excited for any updates to the Japanese course coming soon.


#10

Hmm I haven’t seen this on the ipad version(what I normally use) but ill check again. That would be useful, I find it a bit like cheating using the preset list of kana.


#11

I don’t have an iPad, so I couldn’t check for myself (unless I borrowed my dad’s, installed LingoDeer, and checked…but that would be weird :smile:) But I don’t see why it wouldn’t be there. It does feel kinda camouflaged–I was surprised the first time I noticed it and realized it was an actual button and not just a graphic that’s all like “Hey, look at you, writing sentences!”


#12

I agree. The preset list of kana, especially in the order they present it in, makes it too easy. I downloaded the Google Japanese keyboard for my phone, but I don’t like it much so far. It feels quite finicky.

I hope that I’ll just get used to it, and I’ll keep trying it when I do my occasional refresher reviews on LD.


#13

Iphone has built in romaji and kana keyboards. Trying to get used to the kana ones. The kana keyboard works well, basically like texting on a older phone you press one button for あいうえ and then has a layout that continues for the rest of the kana. Button on the bottom for dakuten and combo. Works well just need to get better at typeing quicker. Idk if android has a keyboard like that.


#14

Semi-update:

For anyone that finished all the content: I noticed in the LD app that it says new content is coming on November 1st.

Their website says they hope to add lessons of up to N3 level over time. I don’t know if the coming update will get it all the way up to those levels, or if that is a goal they’ll work on over time, but we’ll see!

I’ll go through all the upcoming content as well, and I’ll share screen-grabs again of what the highest level offerings will be at that point.


#15

I went through lingodeer and I sit around 4.5ish (according to bunpro).

When i went through (just something to do whilst layed in bed at night). I would have said the material is mainly at N5 at the moment (and wasnt sure if that is complete) but it also might have hit on some grammer from n4. I doubt it would go to n3 in next update.

From what I witnessed the grammer points of a chapter seemed very, very brief. I knew most of the points already just went through the tests, but if I didn’t, i don’t think it would stick with how short and quick to the point it was.

The biggest disappoint was the quiz system, i think it would benefit from some concepts of SRS for points you know, but arent confident on. Its a little fun to go through, educational, multiple choice doesn’t really help re-inforce content in long run but still I heard they are going to be changing it to paid app/subscription model on reddit, though I would take that with a grain of salt. But if it is true, I don’t think its good enough to be subscription based, maybe 1 time small fee as they do have to get money from somewhere and then they can maybe go on improving it.

For the fun aspect, I don’t think you could beat it for breaking into a language. I wouldn’t recommend this being main source of grammer study more a supplement, but again I guess it all comes down to personal preference in the end.

Apparently on iPhone there is a free bunpou app that goes through each grammer point on each JLPT and quiz - don’t know if it like Lingodeer? I don’t have iPhone, just Android phone.

As for Bunpro they are working on app for both Android/iPhone, though I wouldnt recommend bunpro for learning actual grammer as they take you to sites that go other that grammer point, but the problem is the site can mention points from previous lessons and can be quite messy if you havent been using that site for learning. But it great for testing and reinforcing grammer points.

Human Japanese usually gets high comments for grammer app on mobiles, the only bad thing i heard, which i agree with is it that it relies too much on hiragana, then advance human japanese starts introducing Kanji. I feel with it being an app, I think there should have been a toggle (so you could change it to kanji and back)

Also off topic - the Woman who does the audio for Lingodeer, I’m certain I’ve heard her from else where but I can’t pin it?

@Omun what are your thoughts if they change to payment model?