About The Nihongo Machine:
Briefly, the Nihongo Machine is a full featured flash card based study system for learning Japanese. In addition to flash cards, the NM has a full featured multiple choice testing system. The flash card and test engines drive vocabulary lists of 50 vocabulary records each. Each record has 6 components. The free trial version has several lists to help you evaluate the program and help get you started. The full version comes with 1400 words ranging in level from beginner to advanced. Vocabulary lists are in a constant state of development making the Nihongo Machine a very powerful tool for studying Japanese.
Flash Card System:
The Nihongo Machine's main delivery method is based on the proven flash card style of vocabulary study. Simply, there is a front and back of a virtual card that you can look at. We have tried to make this as flexible as possible by allowing the student to decide what to see on the front and what to see on the back. There is a Manual mode which let's you browse the lists at your leisure, and there is an Automatic mode which is driven by a timer. You can set the flash time for the front and back of the card independently.
The Test System:
The Nihongo Machine's Test System is designed to test the limits of your Japanese ability. The NM Test System is very flexible allowing you to set the question type and the answer type as well as the number of answer choices presented. The tests are 10 multiple choice questions each and when you are done a comprehensive breakdown of your performance is given. You will see the total time elapsed, the time for each answer, the ones you got wrong and you are even alerted to ones that took longer than usual to answer. All of the questions are presented and you can toggle the answers on and off.
The Vocabulary Lists:
By far, the strongest point of the Nihongo Machine, the vocabulary lists are big and very powerful. Each list contains 50 vocabulary records. Each vocabulary record contains 6 fields of information. A typical record will contain the following fields:
1. Kanji (often combined with hiragana - this is the main object of study)
See the screenshots for a better idea of the exact field types and what they can contain.
The demo version of the Nihongo Machine contains lists for beginners, intermediates and advanced students of Japanese. The full version comes with 1400 vocabulary words for all levels. The best part is that more and more lists will become available. We already the entire Joyo 2000 catalog and dozens of theme based lists are in the plans - based on grammar grouping like adjectives, nouns and verbs and based on subjects like art, music, business, food, restaurant, health and on and on. See the Expansion Vocabulary page for currently available word lists. New lists will be made available when ready and will be modular in nature, meaning you will be able to purchase lists separately. Each list will be accompanied by a Read Me for any special instructions or study method recommendations.
The NM Study Method:
The Nihongo Machine was designed to be very flexible and accommodate various study methods and scenarios. In many cases the vocabulary lists themselves will have certain methods specific to the list and it's components. The default settings are our preferred initial run through settings. A quick trip to the preferences screen will open up a whole new method of study that you can tailor to suit your own needs. We strongly encourage people to use the system in a manner that is best for their individual study habits. But, once you think you have mastered the list words, test your skills against the clock in the fully customizable Test System.
Version 1.0 of the Nihongo Machine was originally developed back in the early nineties as a HyperCard Stack that ran on Mac only, the original NM was a great study aid and really helped us study. This being the third incarnation, we have reconstructed the entire program from scratch to bring out the best flash card based software for studying Japanese. We hope you can use it to become fluent or at least get a whole lot better!
Who we are:
The Nihongo Machine was programmed and designed by Neil Birch and Stephen Prokai. Neil has been living in Japan since 1990 and still resides in the greater Tokyo area. Steve lived in Japan from 1990 through 1995 and now lives in the New York City area. They are both students of Japanese and created the Nihongo Machine as a way for them to improve.