Anyone know where I can find a list of common words/phrases that act like connectors, or "ropes"?

Inspired by this quote from a user I read on another forum:

“Reinforcement is CRITICAL. Hearing even basic things like そうだね、あっなるほど!、ので、ですよ、など hundreds of times, is going to help you immensely, because those “threads” are going to turn into “ropes” in your mind, and set up a framework from which it’s easier to recognize surrounding vocab & words.”

So words like those in addition to the really common grammatical words. Id love to have these in an anki deck to help improve my listening comprehension.


This probably isn’t a helpful answer but the only way those “ropes” are going to form for you is listening and reading. A lot. I have a lot of these “ropes” minus the vocab and am filling in the blanks by swallowing a dictionary because I had a habit of watching a ridiculous amount of anime when I was younger and parroting what I heard, and these “ropes” got repeated again and again, and I really think at some point the SRS has to give way to hearing and reading native speech.


It’s a very helpful answer thank you! Yes I’m starting to listen a ton and watching without English subtitles etc.

I guess I’m hoping as a side if I can practices specific “connector”/grammatical phrases it might help with my listing comprehension.

It may turn out that the best way would be to simply just watch and listen a ton and work those out for myself though.

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Maggiesensei has a post on this, or similar, topic:相槌-あいづち-aizuchi-gap-filler/


I don’t think “without subtitles” is necessary early on so much as trying to consciously make an effort to catch common phrases or connections rather than just passively watching. Really repeat lines when you catch them a second or third time and try to figure out what part is the word and what part is the glue holding it together, and focus on the small manageable pieces of dialogue rather than trying to digest huge sentences of complicated speech imo. No subtitles will have you shooting blind but if they’re good you can use them to bridge the gap. Plus you want it to not be a chore because if media becomes “more practice” it might risk becoming work rather than fun, and I think enjoying the slow growth and understanding will be easier if it doesn’t feel like work.

Just my 2c, I don’t really know of any “best method” but I think this helped me a lot in the early stages and also made me curious and want to keep learning. Good luck.


Cool! Thanks for this.

I went over the lesson, is there a list of these words anywhere?

If not I’ll go through and add then to a “gap filler”'esc anki deck.

Thanks for the advice. I do that!

I watch a ton of anime with subtitles. Now that I recognize the syllabary, I can easily look up oft repeated phrases, and do. I also frequently spot translation errors or rephrasing.


you could do japanesepod101, they teach this kind of conversation tools, too, and you get to hear it in context.

I obviously don’t know the context of this quote, but are you sure you’re not misinterpreting the intent? It seems that you’re approaching it as talking about specific types of words or phrases that are “ropes” for the language, but I don’t feel like that was the intention.

Reading it, I think the person is describing how the loose, undefined “threads” that form in your mind from words and phrases you start to recognize gradually turn in to strong “ropes” (collections of threads, thicker and stronger) on which you can connect many more things. Anchors in the language, maybe? There wouldn’t be a set list of words. It’s what forms for you. I think this is what lollipophuho is talking about as well.

I could be mistaken. But I don’t really understand the idea of the former, and can definitely attest to the reality of the latter. With constant exposure, the things you are familiar with work as a base to allow you to grasp the things you’re not.

Last thing, I think watching shows with Japanese subtitles is great, if you can. It might feel like cheating your listening comprehension in a way, but I think it really helps to build these connections.

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Thanks I watch their vids on youtube… but it might be worth subscribing.

They’re really helpful.

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I understand what you mean!

I may have misinterpreted it. Maybe I didnt fully understand what they were implying by
using the term " ropes" pulling things together. I think I’m starting to understand now though.

I’ve been really digging into more tv shows/movies with subtitles!

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“No English subtitles” does not mean “no subtitles”, though (although that might be what OP meant).

Having Japanese subtitles on is a huge visual help to understand what is being said. Plus you get to reinforce reading at the same time :slight_smile:

Maybe so but I was specifically talking about English subtitles. How can you reinforce the correct meaning of a repeated phrase if you don’t know what that meaning is? I was hearing connectors like が for however, and だけ for only or that alone or whatever (I can’t even provide an exact translation of a lot of these but I know the intention when they are said), ため “for the purpose of/for the aim of”, だから “that is why”, thinks like やっぱり, まさに, もちろん, and a thousand other small things like this and building these connections before I could even read hiragana where Japanese subtitles would have been totally useless for me.

What I meant was that English subtitles don’t have to be something that prevents you from learning anything, it can be a tool to help. Even at level sixteen I’m finding words that I knew already in spoken language because of these connections built through sheer osmosis and English subtitles are the only reason I know what any of them mean. Like I just learned 勇気 and I never knew the kanji but I’d heard characters say things like ゆうきをだせ a thousand times before I could have ever read it thanks to sheer exposure and English subtitles triggering me to remember the word and match it to the translation.

I’ve seen a lot of poo-pooing of the idea that you can learn anything by watching English subtitled anime but for me that couldn’t be further from the case. It built the entire foundation of my knowledge of Japanese from these subtitles and made these “ropes” for me.


I was just commenting on the fact that OP said they were not using English subtitles, and you immediately jumped to “no subtitles”, which is not the same thing :sweat_smile:

But anyway, context can be enough to understand. If you read and hear いい天気だね, even if you don’t know 天気, you’ll get it. Plus, you’ll get to hear てんき, so you are actively learning things.
In you example, even if you don’t know 勇, you’ll learn how to read it from hearing the character say 勇気をだせ!

I also want to add that Japanese subtitles do not prevent English subtitles either. You can watch first with the Japanese subtitles (and get some reading reinforcement), then watch with English subtitles. :slight_smile:

Oh, gotcha. Still that sounds a lot like work, and I wasn’t interested in more study, I was interested in subconscious learning while relaxing and enjoying a show. Having いい天気だね would have been about as useful as having it in Greek for me because I couldn’t read anything, and so my eyes would skip past the Japanese to the English unconsciously anyways in that scenario.

What you’re describing sounds like the reading practice I’m doing at the moment, which is not leisure, it’s a slow chore that happens tiny bit at a time, and I definitely don’t get enough in to hear the same phrases and connectors in the kind of bulk needed to make the neural associations “stick” in the way the op is talking about. But hey if you can keep that up for 4-5 hours a day more power to you.

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I feel the same way. Everyone always puts so much emphasis of never watching with English subtitles because it’s useless, but personally I’ve found it super helpful to become familiar with the language. I’ve learned a lot of those little phrases that people use all the time just from hearing them said so often, and when I learn new words or grammar points from my studies I will then start to hear them while watching anime and they will be reinforced.

And you make a really good point about how it’s so much more leisurely, I’m getting that reinforcement without having to put in a lot of extra effort. I also will use things like Satori reader or Animelon to actually study from media, but there’s only so much of that you can do in a day without getting burnt out, especially when you’re lower level and there’s still so much that you just won’t understand at all.


english subs aren’t bad. if they help you get the foot in the door, then there’s no problem. everything has it’s time and place, and you’ll learn from english subs up until you reach a high intermediate level.
even if you don’t gain much anymore, english subbed anime on the net are easier to find than raws or japanese subbed… if we’re talking about free streaming sites. don’t know about paid services.


Bunpro. To me connectors are grammar particles, so I am learning those. The really nice thing about the updated Bunpro is for each lesson there are something like 10 simple sample sentences, with voice samples, which can even be slowed slightly for easier comprehension. I would love if Wanikani would do likewise.

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