Learn Languages with Dr. Moku

    learn languages with dr moku

    Learn Languages with Dr. Moku is a mobile app that uses the power of mnemonics to help visual learners study the characters of foreign languages, including Japanese — hiragana, katakana, and even basic kanji. In their hiragana and katakana courses, you'll be presented with mnemonic illustrations and a short phrase or two to help you associate the shape of the character with how it's pronounced.

    Upon tapping the mnemonic image, it plays an animated version of the visual mnemonic (You'll hear Dr. Moku reading the mnemonic aloud for you!), then an animation showing how the character is written following its stroke order. Many mnemonics are clever, but just be aware that there are some pop culture references used in the mnemonics, such as Mr. T or Ed Sheeran, which may not be relatable to everyone.

    Following mnemonics is an audio play button to hear the pronunciation along with some useful information about each character — how to pronounce it or where you might see the character. It also shows a few words where the character is used.

    After learning a set of characters, you'll be prompted with quizzes to review what you've just learned. It offers various formats of quizzes, such as typing in romaji, and selecting a character corresponding to the sound you hear. It quizzes you with not only single characters but also sometimes words that are made out of multiple characters.

    The app overall has a great design and quality illustrations and animations, but you have to pay for what you get — it's not free to learn all the kana. You can use it for free to study eleven hiragana and eight katakana, but after that, you'll have to make a one-time in-app purchase to upgrade to the full kana coverage. Each kana package costs $5.99, but there's a Japanese Bundle package for $7.99, which includes both kana as well as basic kanji and a phrase book.

    The upgrade also unlocks some bonus features, including a practice tool where you can do extra quizzes, but this practice feature won't really be useful until you're already familiar with the whole set of 46 basic kana plus variation characters. You can choose how many questions you want to go through in a session, but it doesn't consider what kana you've already learned on the app, nor does it let you select kana you're already familiar with and want to quiz.

    Mobile App