Complaining about the kana additions is a bit like level 2 people complaining that it's going too slow

I get it, I also knew every single kana addition already and it’s not particularly interesting to me. Similarly, I also knew the first around 5 to 10 levels of kanji already. Every week there is a post of some very new person that asks whether it’s possible to skip the first levels or make N5 kanji optional or something like this. The answers are usually along the lines of i) it will be overwhelming soon, ii) it’s good to repeat even basic words, iii) learning Japanese is a journey, if you are in for the hurry, maybe it’s a skewed approach. But I guess most of all, WK’s intention is to be this integrated approach that teaches you a massive amount of Japanese if you finish it. It’s not really a customizable experience but a guarantee for their method.

I feel the recent complaints and requests to skip or remove the kana is a bit similar. Sure, most people already know あそこ but a beginner might not. Everyone has to walk through simple kanji like 土 and for the most part accepts that. I think similar about the kana addition. Take your time, it’s really not that much of a hassle. Think of the people who joined in Level 1 and were annoyed to learn basic kanji.

Lastly, just a small calculation:
There are 60 kana words added. There are 8 stages in SRS. If the words are as easy as people complain about, it takes maybe 10 seconds to type out a word. 10 seconds x 8 stages x 60 words is around 1.3 hours. All I’m saying is that compared to the multi-year endeavour WaniKani is for people, let alone Japanese fluency, I think it doesn’t really matter whether there is a few kana words springled in or not.

To the folks who want to make kana optional: would you also make lower level kanji optional? Or any kanji?

50 Likes

Exactly my thoughts. I totally agree with this and really can’t relate with those expressing extreme discomfort with the additions and especially “losing focus”.

17 Likes

Is it?

When did it change? I was sold a focused kanji learning system with supporting vocab to reinforce the kanji.

That’s the gripe people have.

40 Likes

It would be interesting if Level 1 vocabularies can include Kanji a little above Level 1. Or, some Level 40 vocabularies include Kanji not in WaniKani at all.

Well, that’s the fault of not being customizable.

2 Likes

Yes. But that’s a different topic.

Some of the posts are from more advanced learners and not absolute beginners.

Was this intention explained/clarified at any point? Aside from not being customizable, as it stands now, WaniKani’s design is really poorly suited to being an all-around resource. It established itself as a very good kanji teaching tool, but there are other way better resources for teaching vocab/grammar/etc.

15 Likes

Checking the wayback machine, sometime in mid-to-late 2019 is when marketing was including vocab as a secondary selling point. (Phrasing this as specifically as possible as no snapshots exist prior to this date and the wayback machine seems to only load the modern landing page past 2016, so I can’t say if it started around this time, or was going for a bit before that)

7 Likes

If anything, the one thing I would like to change is actually have us answer the reading for it.

It may just be me, but despite the level I’ve gotten to, I haven’t gone out of my way yet to interact much with japanese outside of watching anime (with english subs too), but my grasp on katakana is so much weaker that these would be a decent refresher on it.

Edit: I’m stupid and hit the reply on @Iinchou post by accident. Always mix up the reply buttons for a specific post and the topic one.

4 Likes

Well i mean… Wouldnt WK be more useful if advanced people could use it too? I wouldnt have used WK if i knew more than handful of kanji.

But it is a bit more complicated since unlike kana, kanji (and radicals) build up on each other, but i cant see how allowing to skip known kanji would be bad.

11 Likes

The argument about “losing focus” is frankly so bizarre. I definitely can’t relate at all with it either. I mean to each their own, but if it is so discomforting they should perhaps look elsewhere and use a different service. Or keep complaining if it eases their deep discomfort, whatever rock their boat…

3 Likes

I’m a bit of an exception I guess because I started WK after passing the N2. I joined because I still don’t know a lot of vocabulary and always have to guess from context. So I already know many kanji and words here but so far each level had enough new items (or readings/meaning distinctions I was unsure about) to keep me interested.
When the kana-only words were added I was slightly annoyed at first because I knew every single one of them already. I still think these are a good addtion and would actually like more of them, more advanced ones like different conjugations, animal/plant names and onomatopoeia.

6 Likes

It’s great that you’re feeling this particular change, but as a purple lifetimer, you’ll be in the same boat if they ever come up with another change that messes with your own personal preferences after years of comfort.

16 Likes

Hahah no worries :slight_smile: .

These aren’t really comparable. The whole basis of the WK system its to learn radicals and mnemonics that build up to being able to read more and more complex kanji, which is why we can’t skip the lower levels. I don’t necessarily agree with not having a way to get through all the kanji readings a person might already knew, but I accepted this as it was the basis of the system. The kanji vocab helps reinforce this system and helps us see the readings in action/context. The ability to purely focus on kanji is helpful in a language that can be overwhelming to learn at times. This is the system I and many people bought into.

Once you know kana, you know kana and can read any words you come across. It is not really systematic and just adds memorization bloat to the already bloated vocab for some of us. Again, most people aren’t saying it’s useless to study kana vocab, just that WK is not where they study that vocab. Many use other SRS apps. For instance, I build my own decks based on words I encounter in everyday conversation, research I am doing, and generally things I am interested in. Relearning kana I already know within WK takes away time from my other studies. Right now it is not so bad, but it does and will add up (Not to mention that personally it is not valuable to me if kana-only/vocab cards don’t also have a way in the tool to reverse the sides so I can focus on production and actually speaking Japanese).

While we can all disagree with the usefulness of adding kana only vocab in WK (which is why an opt-in/out would be best), you’re (a) misrepresenting people’s complaints and frustrations and (b) not making a fair or accurate comparison.

This post also feels a bit like rage-bait after there have been so many other threads and much fervor regarding this topic. But I do respond in good faith in hopes you can understand the perspective of others. Everyone has different goals with WK and you are not the main character of life, so people will think differently than you. Heck, they use a tool you use differently than you. Just feels silly to keep rehashing the same points in the forums when there’s already been so much feedback :rofl:

32 Likes

because those vocabulary words have kanji in them so that you can learn to read kanji…

6 Likes

I’m not arguing for either side here, I’m just stating that since at least September 30th, 2019, the WaniKani marketing team put a larger focus on vocab. While at the time all of it was kanji related, it does not specifically state that. I am just looking at the semantics of the whole thing, rather than changes in vision, site function, etc.

5 Likes

Level 2 people are complaining about a house that’s already built without having invested in it yet (3 free levels)

Kana words people are complaining about the house suddenly growing an unwanted corridor between the living room and the fridge long after having already invested in it

Summary page people are complaining about the sudden disappearance of the lightbulb socket that allowed them to socket in a lightbulb to avoid hitting their toes on the doorframe at night, also long after having invested in it

… or some other fun analogy, lol

19 Likes

That is fair and I can see what you’re trying to say, but this doesn’t come down to just the semantics of one sentence without much context from 2019. WK has and continues to market itself as mainly a kanji learning tool with a unique mnemonic system based in SRS. Additionally, if you look at the sign-up page now, the emphasis of that entire page is on people using it to learn kanji: statements from users about how kanji was their weak point and an explanation of the radical/mnemonic system. Plus it has a reputation for over a decade for primarily being a kanji learning tool, so it also has a word of mouth element that must be considered. I knew about WK for a long time before using it to really start getting my kanji in order. So I think you have to consider all of that when you consider why people start using WK.

Regardless of what the site says, I am an anthropologist and what we like to say is that sometimes what is said is less interesting than what people actually do. What many - if not most - people do is use WK for kanji.

15 Likes

Off topic, but I am also sitting here admiring your level 60 badge so much respect :star_struck:

1 Like

The reason I dislike the kana additions (aside from the fact they are kind of a joke) is that wanikani was 50 levels when I started. Right around when I reached level 50 they added 10 more levels. After that they periodically added some new kanji and vocab. I’ve been hoping they would add new levels for people who are lifetime members or people who want to keep studying. But instead I got extremely low level kana words.

15 Likes

I am going to be completely honest and say that the vocab marketing was about half my decision to sign up for WaniKani.

And I completely agree with this, it’s why wording is so important to check over on contracts as what the writer writes and the reader reads could mean totally different things internally, but when actually held up only the one thing that matters is the words themself.

Edit: somehow the reply just… didnt

3 Likes