Context sentence reading practice


Thanks, @seanblue!

Listen to him, not to me.

My updated suggestion:

  1. Use the Chrome browser with Wanikani, and install Yomichan and the Wanikani Hide Context Sentence Translation userscript.

  2. Always read your sample context sentences when doing your lessons.

  3. Hold down your shift key and hover your mouse over any kanji you can’t guess.

Much, much better than what I suggested earlier: Furigana instead of Romaji, better translations, fewer keystrokes (just one!). What’s not to love?

For posterity (but ignore almost everything below)

Like many, I want as much reading practice as I can get.

One good source for practice is the context sentences during lessons. I used to mostly ignore them during my lessons, but as I’ve progressed I’ve gotten to the point that they are easier to read. Now I make a point of trying to read them every time.

Often, though, the sentences contain other characters that I’ve not yet learned, so I struggle with the reading. I noticed that I often gave up on reading the sentence as soon as I hit some characters I couldn’t guess.

Simple tip #1

Install the Wanikani Hide Context Sentence Translation script.

This hides the meaning translation until you hover your mouse over the text. Simple, but it keeps me honest — it’s incredibly distracting to see the English translation before you’ve tried to read it yourself.

Tip #2

I noticed recently that Google Translate now includes romaji readings for Japanese text (I’m not sure when that feature arrived). It sometimes gets the pronunciation (and even the meaning) wrong, but it does a pretty amazing job overall. (There’s an old expression: “It’s not how well the dog sings …”)

I use a mac laptop with a keyboard app launcher called Alfred. There are several good alternatives on the mac platform (including spotlight which is built into OSX). I’m sure there are equivalents on Windows and Linux.

What follows is an example that is specific to my laptop and software, but I’m sure the idea can be tailored to any environment.

Today I learned the kanji for 環境 かんきょう. The sample context sentence was:


which translates as: “From an environmental perspective, bar soap is usually better than the liquid kind.”

I muddled through most of it but stumbled once I got to the bit about liquid soap, so I wanted to look up the pronunciation of just that bit without the rest of the sentence.

I first highlighted 液体石けん with my mouse, then hit the following keystrokes:

  1. ctrl-c (copy the highlighted characters)

  2. ctrl-space (my keystroke to launch Alfred)

  3. tr (the first two characters in the word “translate”)

  4. tab (autocomplete the word “translate” in the alfred launcher)

  5. ctrl-v (paste the kanji text I’d just copied)

That immediately launched Google Translate in a new tab in my browser for the selected kanji:

液体石けん えきたいせっけん means liquid soap. Cool!

All of that took WAY more effort to describe than to perform. In practice, it was a few seconds of almost unconscious effort. Trust me, this is a useful tip.

Let me know if you found this useful.

(By the way, I noticed if you enter the entire context sentence into Google Translate it gets the pronunciation for 方 wrong (かた instead of ほう) but otherwise it does a great job.)

You’re much better off looking up individual words using something like Yomichan than using Google Translate. It’s faster and much more likely to give you an accurate meaning.


Cool. First I’ve heard of Yomichan. Thanks!

Looks like I’ll be using Chrome with WK for a while…

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