First Impression: Clozemaster
I just heard about Clozemaster and I thought I’d give it a try. Clozemaster is “gamified language learning” based on filling in the blanks in sentences in your target language. I tried a little bit of N4 and N3, but I didn’t play for long so this is truly a first impression.
Here’s what the site looks like while you’re using it. The default is black text on a white background, but I like how you can switch to white text on a black background!
First of all, I really appreciate that this site has recordings of actual Japanese people saying every sentence. The recordings play automatically after you finish each question, but you can quickly skip ahead if you don’t feel like listening.
I also like how the whole system is repetition-based, so sentences will keep coming up until you get them right.
My first criticism would be that the words are written in kanji, so you need to be able to read kanji in order to select the right answer. (Just knowing how to say the word won’t help you.) But that’s not necessarily a bad thing! Just depends what you’re trying to achieve.
Since this is a game, you get points each time you get a question right. Getting a question right in the multiple choice mode (pictured above) gets you 4 points, but getting a question right in text input mode (pictured below) gets you 8 points.
If you get stuck, you can click the question mark on the right to make choices appear.
The next issue I encountered was related to the words being written in kanji - you can’t just type the answer in hiragana if there’s a kanji for that word. As you can see below, I got the answer incorrect because I typed は instead of 葉.
There’s an option to take away the English translation, and at first I thought this made the game way too hard, but I realized it’s actually pretty cool. The whole idea behind a “cloze test” for languages is that you’re able to really process the sentence as a whole and think about which word would make the most sense, rather than just translating the one English word that’s missing from the sentence.
Finally, here’s a look at the dashboard that keeps track of your progress:
Overall, I think Clozemaster is great. It’s not a stand-alone tool for studying Japanese (or any other language), but I already feel like I strengthened my Japanese from the 30 minutes or so I spent playing around with it.