iKana touch in Review – Wipe-on, wipe-off Japanese kana learning

The iDevice is an excellent platform for language acquisition apps. Languages which use especially benefit from the svelte touch screen and multimedia slant. iKana touch is an exquisite app for students of Japanese to learn both official syllabaries: hiragana and katakana.

The main reason that iKana succeeds so well is that it is easy to use, but still packs a punch of great features. Under the bonnet are: flash cards, stroke order tutorials, vocab examples, sound clips, and a couple of tests to make sure you have it all sussed out. Each of these are easy to access and the interface which is simply posh, is extremely well laid-0ut.

iKana touch allows users to tackle any of six kana sets and then practice what you have learned. Selecting a basic set of either: hiragana or katakana is iKana touch’s study meat and potatoes. There, the kana is printed on the screen with an option to playback its pronunciation or add it to the practice queue. One of the most helpful items, however, is the stroke order tutorial which is enacted by tapping the main kana card.

The two tests are pretty good for practice, but pose some pragmatic problems. The writing test will have you tracing a kana’s strokes without divulging their order. Naturally, this sort of test wasn’t possible prior to touch screen technology. But sadly, there isn’t a blind mode where users draw kana from scratch.

The speed test presents a large central kana which you must identify from among the list below in a limited amount of time. I have studies Japanese for years, but still found myself scrambling to find the romanised pronunciation!

What more can I say? iKana touch is an excellent study tool. For 4.99$ and good hard practice, you will be able to read every Japanese kana. The app is easy to use, well laid-out and feature-packed. If there was a true blind practice mode, iKana touch would receive full marks. As it is, it leaves the smallest of margins for improvement.

App Summary
Title: iKana touch Developer: ThinkMac Software
Reviewed Ver: 1.00 Min OS Req: 2.2.1
Price: $9.99 App Size: 16.0 MB
  • Excellent interface
  • Easy to access all portions of app
  • Great touch-screen enhancement for language learning
  • Good practice
  • Too bad there isn’t a fully blind writing test


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