Conversational Vocab vs Written Vocab

I think it would be beneficial if it was clearly shown which words are conversational and which words are used in writing. I’d even go as far to say formality should also be shown. Even if there was just a symbol on the “card” itself that indicated written vs casual, or formal vs informal.

For example, 昨年 and 去年 both mean “last year” but the former is used in writing and is more formal whilst the latter is used in day-to-day conversation. Quite frequently, I use words that I learned on Wani Kani only to find out that they aren’t used in casual speech, but rather written speech.


That might possibly be a good idea for a userscript, but in the end, vanilla WaniKani isn’t here to teach you conversational skills, or even vocab - it’s a kanji-learning website.



True, and I agree. Unfortunately, that is out of my scope of knowledge!

This is true! But seeing as Wanikani does use vocab as a way to teach kanji readings, I do think it would be useful if they gave a little bit more context around the words we do learn here :slight_smile:

I’ve got a long way to go yet, but so far I haven’t seen that much useful information in the “Meaning Explanation” part – usually just silly sentences that sometimes help to remember the given translation… An extra sentence or even just tags to indicate things like casual/polite/formal/humble/whatever would be :sparkles:


Shinmeikai usually has explanations on whether a word is a fancier/older or more recent/Chinese origin/everyday word, etc., instead of just the defintion! For example, if you ever see the word 癒す (which i hear a lot in anime), Shinmeikai says its a poetic expression for 病気・苦痛などをなおす. Monolingual dictionary is the way! :hugs:

Yes, don’t treat Wanikani as a playbook for colloquial vocabulary, it’s solely meant to help you read Japanese, not speak it. Because of this, I don’t think this formality ranking system is necessary because the program doesn’t have conversational training in mind, it’s kanji recognition. To learn which words are best for casual conversation, consider hearing native speakers in, for example, That Japanese Man Yuta’s street interviews, or consuming grounded Japanese media (e.g. NOT Shonen Jump and Ken Shimura skits).

I’m only level 16 as of writing this, but I have noticed many other newcomers studying Wanikani as a lone resource for learning Japanese, and observing that that is perhaps not the best idea. I’ve seen several threads that go like “I just used X word introduced in level 9 to my Japanese girlfriend/teacher/drug dealer, and they told me no one uses that”, and I think that’s a good sign that WK can’t do it all.


It would also be extremely helpful if they marked words that are usually written in Kana. I think I’ve seen this only once - don’t remember what the word is.


丈―だけ reading, probably.

No. It was Vocabulary 先ず under Meaning Explanation

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Ah, okay! I remember learning だけ from WK as well a couple years ago… Maybe they removed it since.

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I’ve been able to bother my Japanese friends/coworkers and ask them about stuff like this. Of course, it’s nice to know the nuance of the vocabulary you learn. However, if you’re not at an advanced level of fluency in the language, I think the most important part is being able to express yourself. Sometimes I sound stupid saying something, but the other person gets what I’m trying to say. And that’s better than stopping the conversation entirely if I were to worry about how the vocabulary is used. Personally, that’s just what I think, but yeah it’d be nice to know.

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