Does anyone else feel like they don’t have time for grammar because of WaniKani?

I just reached level 40 and I feel like given the constant influx of new kanji and vocab to learn on WaniKani I simply don’t have time for grammar. I tried BunPro for a bit but quickly fell off as I constantly feel like I’m “catching up” on WaniKani and prioritize that. I study on my commute to and from the office (about 45 mins each) and then usually another 30-40 mins before bed.

That being said, I feel like I’m missing out on being able to do reading to review burnt Kanji because I don’t know grammar basically at all (beyond VERY basics).

Just curious to hear how others balance the two. I’m sure the answer is probably just study MORE which I totally get but… I don’t know—I have other hobbies too haha

13 Likes

Stop doing lessons for a while (or do just a minimum, 5 per day maybe) and use the time you save to study grammar. Do your reviews though.

At level 40, you know more than enough kanji for beginner materials. So start reading and start studying grammar until your grammar level catches up with your kanji/Wanikani level. But don’t stop your reviews! As you do less lessons, you’ll get less reviews, and more time for grammar.

The Genki I book plus the Genki I deck on Bunpro is a good place to start.

19 Likes

I spend about an hour and half of my day of studying Japanese right now and WaniKani is only maybe 30 minutes of that at most. That time consists of doing on average of 12.5 lessons with an average of 100 reviews per day.

The rest of time is studying grammar and practicing my Japanese. Kanji isn’t very useful on its own and doing grammar and general practice just further reinforces what you are learning. I actually took 2ish years off from WK and just focused on learning the language. Has made WK easier and allowed me to dive into a reading stuff not long after I started again.

12 Likes

I stopped at 39 spend 3 -4 months on grammer like textbooks and such for jlpt n3. And now I’m only focusing on wanikani to reach level 60 and be done with it and start immersing.
Any review program is very time consuming .I also dropped bunpro due to your same reasons.
If you pick up genki now. You could go through it very fast.

12 Likes

I would recommend finding the grammar method you like (BunPro, Genki, etc) first.

Then split time so you’re doing all your reviews on wk still, studying grammar for a solid chunk of time, and you can use any leftover time for wk lessons. Maybe do a 30 minute chunk of grammar during the home stretch of commute and lessons in the morning after you’ve done morning reviews? Tokini Andy has free youtube videos on the Genki chapters, which can be split into minutes relatively easily.

I would continue this until you’ve done the equivalent of N5 or preferably N4. Then you start to balance wk with grammar with :sparkles: immersion :sparkles:

What I did was I read through/practiced all of Genki 1 and 2. And I’ve looked at a few N3 grammar points. But I’m prioritizing reading over grammar for now, because I already have a solid enough foundation that I can just look up new things.

13 Likes

It’s definitely a balance. Until level 18 I was doing WK as fast as possible (all lessons as they unlock, 7 days per level). Then I started Genki and reading, I had already enough kanji under my belt to accept slowing down Wanikani (still 12 lessons per day, around 14 days per level). Around level 40 Wanikani was getting painful because the chances of encountering words in the wild were thinner and by that time my grammar was solid so I wanted less time on reviews and more time reading + grammar. So I’ve slowed down even more and I am doing only 6 lessons a day since then (around 20 days per level). Wouldn’t change a thing if I had to redo it all over again :slight_smile:

Now, about Genki :slight_smile: This textbook is so popular that many people have made great tools to go along it. Those tools are so great, that I ended up using them and not really opening the actual book anymore. (So basically you can skip the step where you buy the book and use the resources for free).

The way to do Genki, without buying Genki, is as follow.

For each lesson, first watch the video of TokiniAndy on youtube go through it:

Then do the exercises for the lesson on this website:

Then next lesson :slight_smile:

13 Likes

You don’t necessarily have to study more, just allocate your time differently. Someone once said that srs should take up no more than 25% of your study time, and I couldn’t agree more. Please believe me when I say that actually engaging with the language via reading, listening, or speaking with people, is so much more fun than doing flashcards on a screen. Once you can read books, watch your favorite show, or interact with people in Japanese, Wanikani and every other srs program becomes a tedious chore.

With your daily schedule, you could do Wanikani, reading, and listening during your commute, then textbook/grammar work before bed. Even with low level grammar, you can read Tadoku graded readers, and watch Comprehensible Japanese on YouTube, or listen to Nihongo con Teppei for beginners.

11 Likes

[tl;dr pls slow down WK in favour of closing grammar gaps and more immersion :balloon:]

my 2 cents:
I finished WK lvl 60 within 400ish days in 2022 and was in a similar situation where I knew almost no grammar and did next to no immersion due to spending most of my time on WK reviews. Unsurprisingly, my knowledge of the language apart from kanji was pretty slim, and even when it came to kanji I struggled recognising them in the wild when written in different fonts etc.

I then took a year out to focus on Korean and restarted my journey this year from scratch - reset WK to 0, immediately started on Genki I & II + Bunpro as well as kaniwani (which really helps me solidify what I learn on WK), and set time aside to read and listen from the get-go. As you may have guessed, a lot of the kanji and vocab beyond beginner/lower intermediate stuff that I had learned during my initial level 60 journey hadn’t stuck due to lack of usage/immersion.

Within 5 months now I have surpassed where my Japanese was at in 2022 by miles - I’ve already moved on to Tobira with ease, read, watch shows like Terrace House with jsubs and listen to an intermediate podcast (Yuyu) daily. I plan on going up to WK level 40 at a slower pace and will then probably do the leftover 20 levels fairly slowly/as the need arises (similar to @Akashelia!).

I can’t stress enough how important it is to balance your kanji and vocab learning with grammar and immersion - don’t end up like me, resetting to 0 :sweat_smile: fighting! :muscle:

13 Likes

Personally I wouldn’t spend more than 1 hour a day on WK. Commuting is great for listening to podcasts / audio books and reading.

You don’t have to learn grammar in order to read, you can pick it up as you go along, although you might need to start with easy material.

3 Likes

Yes I put it on vacation for about two months before JLPT exam to focus on grammar learning and reviews. Time to go back now…

2 Likes

Wanikani gamification can really make you forget your real goals and make Wanikani the goal instead of an aid. Question is - what is your goal? There must be some reason behind letting Wanikani take over your free time, I assume. So that is usually the first step, reminding yourself what was your goal in the first place and then shifting your focus towards the skills that you’re lacking so you could achieve it.

Like others said before me at level 40 you might want to cut on lessons for awhile maybe just 5 a day, or even just do reviews for a period of time if the discrepancy between your kanji knowledge and your ability to actually read is where you stated it is, and find a resource that would deliver the goods in a way that won’t put you in an srs hell, just fill in the gaps where it comes to understanding grammar.
You can find a lot of resources in this section of the forum The Ultimate Additional Japanese Resources List!.
The magic happens when you find the combination of resources that make Wanikani leave the driver seat, as it should, for this to happen you need to spend some time trying out several options and see what clicks.

6 Likes

Well, figuring how to distribute the study time between WaniKani, Grammar, Reading and Listening – is a challenge in itself, but my approach is: just do what you feel like doing, as long as it’s related to studying trunky_rolling

4 Likes