At what level of eloquence does finishing WK put you (for Japanese)?

A question that lingered in my mind some time now. I mean, I also learned quite a few English words as well but obviously, it could be an entirely different deal in Japanese.

I know that you “only” learn around ~6000 word with WK and a substantial part of being eloquent is about knowing multiple ways to say what you want to say. However, knowing “smart” words is the other part. Would I talk like/be able to listen to a Japanese child, an average adult or a linguistic University professor (idk, I kinda doubt that)?

The complexity of the concepts of words like conjugation forms/活用形 could be a good way to indicate some form of fluency in speech but on the other hand I’m really not sure how “dumbed down” these words in Japanese are as I have almost no knowledge of that.

I realize it’s relative and ultimately more about opinion rather than fact but I’m interested in what you guys have to say.

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Your level of reading fluency will be increased a whole bunch, but this is still very much dependent on practice with reading, learning grammar and vocabulary from other sources. Those vocab will be easier to learn with a good basis in kanji, which WK provides.

For other areas of Japanese, you will be able to recall some WK words in writing and speaking, but again this recall skill depends a lot on the practice you put into speaking and writing.

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All the vocabulary in the world won’t help if you don’t know the basics in grammar, but I’m assuming you’re aware of this much.

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Finishing WK and nothing else would not make you particularly proficient in Japanese. It would give you a solid foundation upon which to build proficiency though. When you try to read, you will not have to spend as much time figuring out what kanji you are looking at, something that makes looking up words a real pain.

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If by eloquence you mean ability to express your thoughts then… I don’t think there’s much correlation between wk level and your eloquence.

What often happens is even if you’re able to recall wk vocab it’s often not used in conversation and people will look at you with a puzzled expression. Or it’s not used in that context. But in most cases you won’t be able to recall a word from WK.

But finishing wk lets you not think about kanji when reading (for the most part).

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While your reading should be greatly improved from WK, speaking and listening are different skill sets. You’re far enough to start practicing those things by now.

Look up some interesting Japanese podcasts or just go on YT and find something you like. Listening is about experience more than anything I find. You just have to do it a lot to get you to a point where you can relax while listening to Japanese, much like you do with your own language. The sooner you start that process, the better imo.

There are ways to practice conversation as well. Perhaps you can find a language cafe where people meet up to practice speaking languages? That depends on where you live of course. There are online ways to practice speaking as well (like HelloTalk), but I’m no expert on those.

In any case, good luck with your studies! ^>^

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Echo what other people say and add:

A lot of people have experiences of using vocabulary learnt on WK and being told by native speakers: “We don’t say that, we say X instead.”

So I think it’s worthwhile remembering the vocab we learn here isn’t designed to be used all the time but to teach the kanji. As a general rule it’s best to go with common words rather than words that make you seem smart or eloquent.

This is a good rule for every language. The simpler the language we use, the more people we can communicate with, the better we are understood. That is what real eloquence is rather than using fancy words.

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Children have roughly 10k vocabulary. Young adults, 20k; older adults, maybe 30k.

So you’ll be approximately on the level of a young child who isn’t very bright, but with some adult words mixed in that a young child probably wouldn’t know.

WK is primarily a kanji teaching tool, meant to jumpstart you into reading. It does give you a good chunk of vocabulary, but there are a lot of common Japanese words that aren’t written in kanji that it won’t teach you; you’ll need to learn those separately. It’s also not great at teaching you how and when to use that vocabulary.

That’s just your vocabulary. How’s your grammar? Pronunciation? Are you able to speak in “real time”, or do you have to pause when speaking to remember words and compose sentences? If those aren’t up to par, you’ll probably never sound eloquent. For that matter, how much Japanese have you heard or read? Are you familiar with common phrases? Do you know the nuance of each word, or are you likely to end up saying the equivalent of “I love the odor of roses”? Even if you stick to writing, if you’re not familiar with native Japanese, you probably won’t sound like one; you’ll have that weird “second language” vibe.

Consider that a typical Japanese teenager might have read hundreds of books (if you include children’s books, not just novels)… as well as signs, packaging labels and instructions, video games and so on. And they’ve listened to thousands of hours of Japanese speech, not to mention producing it themselves for years. Just because you’re not a child and you already know your native language doesn’t mean you can cheat your way around getting that kind of experience if you’re chasing fluency.

My experience has been that with WK, vocabulary becomes “passive knowledge”. It is incredibly hard to recall and actively use it, because you only learn Japanese -> English and not English -> Japanese.

But when you come across it, be it reading or listening, you’ll recognize and understand it. So I’d say WK helps you far more with comprehension than with creating on your own. However if you read a certain vocab often enough you’ll be able to remember and create sentences with it on your own.

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With WK in alone, you’ll be at the level of eloquence where you can point at a cat and say 猫 (assuming you can remember 猫 in that situation, at that point in time) :no_mouth:

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Because Wanikani only teaches you individual words, I don’t think it’s very useful for learning how to speak or write japanese. I do think it makes getting the gist of things easier, though. Recognizing vocab pieces or kanjis can be enough to get the bare bones of what someone else is trying to convey. But if you want to actually talk to Japanese people, I’d definitely use other tools alongside Wanikani. Good luck!

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Whaaat?! Did they ban Fortnite in Japan? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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Finishing a couple shonen manga might push you to about a hundred.

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これはペンです。

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XS5LK

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オモレッツづフロマシュ。

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