Despite my advanced WaniKani age, I’m not really an active regular despite the excellent topics and discussions. My WK Stats might not look like it, but I’ve been studying Japanese every day for a while, despite being only on level 49 here. Please don’t judge me based on that.
Therefore, I feel the need to make this post a little longer. Yet, here’s the TL;DR:
I’m doing research on what kind of features language learners want in a technology-backed reading-focused language learning service. There’s a survey with a $20 gift card giveaway to collect that data: https://calstatela.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_4HPnmHZ86JgvQJn
Before I address why I want to build this in the first place, I think it might be a good idea to introduce myself, as you might be thinking something along the line of “yet another anonymous guy who’s riding on the Crabigator’s tail, promises the world and does not deliver”.
As you can see on my LinkedIn profile, I’ve been working the majority of my professional life in Software Engineering and Development since January 2000. You can check out some of my open source contributions on my primary GitHub account. I took my first JLPT in December 2016 and passed the N3, before proceeding to get my Associate of Arts degree in Japanese within a year afterwards. I’m currently pursuing a BA in Negotiation, Conflict Resolution, and Peacebuilding as a Presidential Scholar at CSUDH and hope to continue my graduate studies in Japan to make the world a better place & .
For that, I obviously have to improve my Japanese language skills. Because you read a lot in Academia, and one of my Japanese professor encouraged me to read more native material, I was looking for a website, app, or other type of service that would assist me in reading more challenging pieces. I tried several available sites and apps, but the dumbed-down “Japanese” didn’t do it for me. Sure, for manga, after getting through N3 grammar, all you need is usually a dictionary, and sites like renshuu.org will be good enough (as a matter of fact, I’ve published the vocabulary for the first 57 chapters of Naruto there), but anything more challenging becomes very 面倒くさい very fast.
From the need for my own development as a Japanese language learner, trying to become literate, an idea for a website that assisted me in the learning process formed over time. I consulted with one of my Professors to talk through that idea, and after I received his overwhelmingly positive feedback, proceeded to build a prototype, that I then demoed to a prominent business figure at my University.
Long story short: Everyone I showed it to, liked it so far. But, these people are all my supporters. I would like more honest feedback from the masses of language learners that don’t have a personal connection with me (yet).
Taking a step back though, I would like to see if what I’m thinking of building out, is what people actually want, and if they’re willing to pay for certain features. My hope is that I’ll receive enough interest and can replace my full-time job with this service and get interesting cooperations with publishers that allow for more contemporary literature offerings.
The survey itself should take you much less time than reading through this post. There are only 9 questions, with the option to leave your email address (necessary for the $20 gift card giveaway), as well as the opportunity for leaving comments. For example, if you indicated that you want reading recommendations based on the words you already know, it would be a good idea to point out that you also would like a feature that lets you import your WaniKani vocabulary (even though I have that already planned).
So please let me know what you think. It’d be helpful for me if you’d take the survey.
Feel free to leave any comments at the end of the survey or let’s have a discussion here.
The internet is a big space, so if I’m totally missing a good product/service that has all the things that are indicated in the survey, then please tell me, so I can use it and I don’t have to build it myself.
My assumption is that since WaniKani is used for learning Kanji, a lot of us here are readers or want to read, but are having a hard time getting started. So let’s find out, what we want.