Drops is a language learning app that isn't specific to Japanese—in fact, it offers content on more than thirty different languages. It uses a word-to-image pairing strategy to help users memorize target words. Its primary focus is on vocabulary, with lessons organized by topic, such as food, weather, relationships, travel, sports, science, etc. For Japanese, it also offers kana learning lessons, which is where the app shines brightest, in our opinion. One feature that is particularly nice is the ability to "hide" or "learn" a particular study item. This allows the user to skip items that they already know and move on to new material. If you choose to learn an item, you have to work through a series of kana writing screens, which become harder as you go along. In addition to practicing how to write the kana, the app also tests you on your ability to read the characters. To this end, it uses both true/false and multiple choice type questions. The clean design and nicely scaffolded writing practice makes this app a good option for beginning language learners. Be warned though, you can only use the app for five minutes per day, unless you want to pay more of course!

    This app has a pleasant design and is fun to use.

    In addition to the kana and vocabulary practice that Drops offers for Japanese, the app was updated this fall to offer learning content for the Ainu language as well. In fact, this makes Drops the first ever digital platform for studying Ainu, which we think is pretty cool! In case you haven't heard of it, the Ainu people are indigenous to Hokkaido and parts of Russia, and the Ainu language is severely endangered. We really like the fact that Drops has a focus on less-commonly-studied and endangered languages, including Ainu, Hawaiian, Maori, and Icelandic. If this piques your interest, definitely give it a download and learn some Ainu words! Overall, this app has a pleasant design and is fun to use. As it only covers kana and vocabulary, it is not a one-stop app for language learning, but it is a nice addition to your studies.

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