Can we have options to throw vocabs away?

To be honest, many of the patterns I discerned exactly from long lists of verbs in their various conjugations I kept as a Google Doc :stuck_out_tongue: .

Here’s a couple of threads from our forums here: 1, 2, 3, 4

Yup, makes sense! J->J seems like the optimal solution. I use J->E and a bit of psychological trickery by pronouncing the word in Japanese as I type the answer to the Anki card in English. That way I pull the emotional connection I have with the word in English and associate it with the sound in Japanese.

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Jim Breen’s site has a page that lists a bunch of transitive/intransitive pairs grouped by pattern.


Frequency in English says nothing about frequency in Japanese


The solution is letting your brain figure out when to use what by actually using the language. The problem here is english basically not having the concept. Aside from raise/rise I can hardly come up with a pair of transitive/intransitive verbs in english. It’s not a 100% correlation situation. When talking about a relation between A and B, different languages will put different things in the foreground. For example enlish will have “A likes B” as opposed to french “B plait A” (the spelling might be off). In enlglish it’s about A liking B, where as in french it’s about B kind of “pleasing” A. And if you omit the context, and just translate “plaire” into english, you end up with a situation like you have with a lot of vocab on wanikani. Should you translate it as “to like” or as “to be liked/likable”? I’m pretty sure that context will sort things out for you, once you actually come across that word in the wild. May not be the best example, but I couldn’t come up with a better one.

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Awesome; thank you both! I’m trying to figure out the best way to study these. Maybe a temporary Anki deck. I dunno. I’ll think of something.


You could add a synonym with the reading for each word. I’ve done that with words and kanji that I just know conceptually from other studies, for much the same reasons you have. It would be romaji, but at least it breaks the English crutch. No idea how to add picture associations, though.

Yeah, I knew it was one of those, but I like my version just as well. Thanks for the correction.


For words that I have trouble with here, I look them up in Jisho and add every meaning as a synonym. That’s been my most effective leech-breaking strategy so far!

I have two Anki vocab decks on top of WaniKani: one goes vocab → Jisho definition; the other that I’m trying out is anime cards. I’m trying to use the former for words that appear frequently in Japanese dictionary definitions (that along with WaniKani gives me a good foundation) and the latter for words where I can understand Japanese definitions now.

It feels like this will become an optimal setup over time. I can picture the more tangible words and I have an English backup for the more intangible words. The only downside is that it requires better organizational skills than I’ve ever been capable of!

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I 100 % hate the fact that you can t discard vocabulary - It should be there…
I will also pinpoint the fact that a lot of the vocabulary is USELESS or used in a very formal way. My japanese girlfriend always laugh when i use certain words from wanikani.

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Absolutely. I just couldn’t resist making a comment since it was in reference to “close enough” learning of vocab. :wink:

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I wish I could do that, but my Japanese is just not good enough to go J->J only, pictures or not. I do use pictures on my cards, though. First, because looking up a suitable image helps me remember the word. But also because it often means I don’t have to look at anything else. I still need the English as a back up, but it’s secondary to the image.

There might be other uses to words than in conversation. Possibly. Or maybe not, maybe it’s true that they have literally no use in the language. Funny that they exist.


Yeah we don’t use that word in English except in formal contexts, such as when giving a presentation.

It’s not even on the list of 20,000 most common English words.

It’s funny that you learned it. :wink:


The trouble with basing commonality on a list of 20,000 words is that the average English-speaking adult’s (passive, admittedly) vocabulary is more like 40,000 words. Case in point: “alligator” is not on the list (though “crab” is, at 11,896th place). Therefore, we don’t use “alligator” in English except in formal contexts. WaniKani will henceforth be known only as Kani.

(“Crocodile” just scrapes in at 19,614th place, mind, so there’s a possible out.)

Also, “I can pinpoint the exact moment when [something] happened” is not extremely uncommon, I wouldn’t think.

Fun fact: “Australia” (702nd place) is more common than “England” (1171st place) - though one does idly wonder if “Britain” down in 3306th place has enough counts to make up the difference if added together, plus “united” and “kingdom” are both in the top thousand.

Edit: Wait, “UK” is in 291st place. Bah.


hoist with their own petard eh :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:


Omg you’re absolutely right. Let me email them to change the name of the service.

I can’t believe I wasted so much time learning 鰐 when it’s so uncommon. :wink::joy:

Although, on the plus side, Seattle is ranked 2,336th so I guess シアトル市 can stay.

But seriously, it’s interesting how using even a large corpus can have surprising results. “Information” at 49 looks really weird surrounded by mostly articles and prepositions.


I think that 20,000 also gets trotted out because that’s more or less then requirement for English C2 on the CEFR. I’m always curious what the actual adult average is like, most research I’ve seen shows that the 50th percentile result for vocabulary size is something in the 30,000 range. I hazard that the vocabulary of the average language learning enthusiast English speaker is going to be higher, in general.


I never thought I’d see people on the forums asking for less content on WK. I, for one, enjoy seeing new content added. They don’t add new things all that often, so when they do it’s usually to fill in the gaps.

WK is opinionated. If you have different opinions, use something else instead.

You’re stating your opinion as fact and leave no room for discussion, so the only response anyone can make to this is that if you really do find learning new words this burdensome, then maybe language learning isn’t for you.


i’ve been thinking about vocabulary sizes and such recently, and had a bit of a google about japanese vocabulary sizes. because the 6000 or so words we learn on WK might seem like a lot at first glance (and learning 6000 words in a bit over a year is a huge achievement), it really isn’t all that much.

i didn’t pay much attention to sources and such, because estimating people’s vocabulary is a tricky business anyway, and i really only wanted a ballpark figure. for japanese high-schoolers, it’s somewhere in the 20’000 range. for grown-ups with college degrees, more like 40’000 words. of course these are averages and very approximate, but it gives us something to compare WK’s 6000 words to.

i think this really relativizes the discussion in this thread. people are arguing over individual items out of 6000, when really WK should be just the beginning in our task of acquiring a well-rounded vocabulary.

admittedly my goal has been turning towards literacy lately; to be able to pick up any book and read it. that probably requires a larger vocabulary than casual conversation. but i would argue that for people aiming towards casual conversation WK has a suboptimal vocabulary selection anyway, as it misses out on a lot of common short words, and ignores all the loanwords written in katakana.

ps. similar goes for kanji, japanese adults recognize/can read an average of 3000-4000 kanji (computers have been increasing kanji literacy!). WK certainly gives a solid foundation, but it’s not going to be the end of learning kanji by a long stretch.

pps. “ballpark”, that’s got to be some kind of sportsball term. perhaps even baseball? i’ve got no clue, i’m utterly disinterested in baseball. quick google ahh, it’s a baseball stadium. but baseball terms are so irrelevant to english… :wink: