A:The "Shingo Japanese Trainer" at Neologue.co.uk is a "web-app" (IE, it runs in your web browser, you don't have to download it) that teaches you various aspects of the Japanese language, by testing you thoroughly. It can teach newbies the material from scratch, or reinforce it for more experienced users, keeping them fresh and in practice. You don't have to sit and stare at a page of words or symbols and just sort of hope you pick them up, instead it becomes almost inevitable that you learn what you want to. Even my old mother can do it! It doesn't teach you everything you need in order to use Japanese, not by a long shot, and it never will (even after planned additions), but you can certainly use it alongside other study methods, and some people may only be interested in learning a few aspects of it (eg the characters) for fun, anyway.
You can use the tester for free, it is to be mostly supported by small adverts. Don't feel obliged to click them unless you're interested, they aren't paying per-click anyway. But please don't block them as there shouldn't be anything objectionable anyway.
A:Do you want to learn some (more) Japanese? Or to reinforce or revise what you already know? Got a browser but no fancier software, or can't install stuff where you are? Or just want to try something different? Then this is for you! And you don't need to register or install anything weird or pay money- just pick a lesson, read the instructions, and go do it! More specific examples: If you don't know any at all, it will help you to read simple Japanese (though it might not make perfect sense); if you're taking lessons or learning from some other method already, it will strongly reinforce a lot of the stuff you get taught and help you become more fluent. If you learnt some long ago and need refreshing, this will do that (that's my situation- a more accurate answer might have just been "It's for me, but you can use it too"!). If you somehow know all the Kanji like the back of your hand, this probably has nothing to offer you.
A:Yes, Shingo is ready for you to use right now! However there's pretty much always going to be further improvements and additions that can be made, and I already have plans for various such things, so if you need something it doesn't yet have you should check back every so often.
Although what it offers currently may seem limited to some, what it has is of use to plenty of people, and what's being worked on right now will be of use to many more. You may well be one of them! It's never going to cover everything anyway, it'd be absurd to suggest that it ought to.
A:In order to use it, you just need an ordinary web browser with cookies enabled; it also needs the ability to either display unicode text, or simply display images- neither of these should be a problem. You can choose which display method you want to use from various parts of the app if one doesn't work for you.
If you choose to use the unicode text display (the default), your computer will also need Japanese fonts installed; many systems come with these pre-installed and will have no problems, a few others may be more problematic and maybe also need special software packages installed to use them. I'm afraid I can't help you with these issues but there is helpful info about it on this Wikipedia page. To check if the unicode text method will work with your browser, and switch modes, click here. And yes, those are the only requirements, I don't believe in unnecessary bells-and-whistles that make sites slow and awkward for everybody. (Also see the next question if this your computer can't manage this...)
Again, if the one display mode doesn't work for you, you can switch to the other one instead.
A:Various pages in the app (eg: the lesson selector pages and the browser compatibility test page) have a little control box where you can choose to have the text shown as images of text, rather than as ordinary unicode text, just in case your system lacks the Japanese fonts or your browser can't display them properly. So if it doesn't show, just change the setting! Your browser must accept cookies, but that applies in general. Note that it will forget the settings if you use another computer or close the browser down. If this happens, just set it again.
A:Right now, it teaches you to read "kana", the 2 Japanese syllabaries (known as Hiragana and Katakana) used for spelling words. Being developed currently however, is a trainer for kanji, the far larger set of ideogram-type characters that Japanese inherited from Chinese, used to represent concepts, parts of words, and whole words. There's a working prototype version of the Kanji trainer with only one little set of kanji in it, mostly as a preview whilst vital administrative tools are finished off to work on the rest with.
There's probably a few people to whom neither of those things are of interest (even with the kanji trainer finished!), however there's various other additions planned, so in time it should become more and more valuable. There are no plans to try and cover every aspect of the language though, which would be quite ridiculous for just about anybody, and certainly beyond my ability. I also don't intend to go into detail about future plans, although spoken Japanese is unlikely to ever be covered in any depth, a bit too hard to do this way.
A:At least three possible reasons- Firstly, some people might only want to learn certain parts of the language, such as what the characters are, without having any intention of becoming able to use the language properly but just finding it interesting or cool. Well fair enough, if that's what they want, they can do it! Probably quite easily too.
Secondly, for everybody else, there's the simple fact that it trains you that material quite effectively, compared to say just staring at a page. As it's free, doesn't require any fancy software or so, and can be used from just about any computer on the net, why wouldn't you? Everything else you need you can get from your other sources (which you ought to have if you do want to learn the whole language)
For that matter, thirdly, perhaps you have fancy expensive educational software at home, but don't have access to it from work or school, and sometimes want to do a bit in your lunchbreak. OR they have the fancy expensive software etc in your Japanese classes, but you want to practice at home too. Well now you can!
A:The Shingo Japanese Trainer teaches you stuff by testing you on it, in little drills. The "intro lessons" are very simple short ones that make it very easy for you when you haven't even seen the subject matter before, so these are what you use to introduce yourself to something- or if you're severely rusty maybe. A typical intro-lesson might take about 4 or 5 minutes to complete.
One intro-lesson however is not generally going to fix anything very firmly in your memory for long, so we also have "standard lessons". Each of these is comprised of subject matter from 2 or 3 intro-lessons, and is harder besides. Once you've done each of the relevant intro-lessons at least once or twice (or if you're already familiar with the subject matter from elsewhere), you should have a go on the standard lesson that goes with them and see how you do. You should have a break after doing the intro-lessons before you try the standard lesson. (no I haven't a good figure for how much yet. Somewhere between 10 minutes and a day??)
A:I've not quite had time to reformat it to the style used in much of the rest of Shingo. I might make a quick prog to help automate the updating of it and do all that sort of stuff at the same time, but that'd be... more time.