I’m doing Genki really, really slowly. Specifically because I try to memorize/get down most of the vocab for each chapter before I start doing the chapter, so I’ll have the vocab under my belt to do the exercises so they make sense. What am I doing wrong? Am I supposed to be doing the chapter without knowing the vocab, and just guessing what everything means based on context/pictures? How can i speed up? I’ve been doing Genki for over a year and a half, and I’m only on chapter 10 of Genki 1. For details, I’m a self-studier (at home), I work full time so I don’t have hours every day to dedicate to practice, and I’m using Memrise to use SRS to memorize my vocab, as well as Wanikani for kanji and more vocab. What am I missing here? I know getting to fluency is a slow process, but at this rate, it’ll take me like 10-15 years at least. Or, is Genki just not suitable for independent learners? If so, is there a better grammar resource for independent learners? Sorry if these are simple questions, I’m frustrated and I’d like to actually be able to read real content, even children’s books, instead of just spinning my wheels.
Don’t feel like you have to memorize everything in the book, and you’ll be able to go through it a bit faster
You can try and memorize vocab before doing a lesson, but you definitely don’t have to have “mastered” that vocab before reading anything!
For example you could decide to try drilling the vocab for a lesson one week, then start that chapter the next week. Set a time frame for going through the chapter (eg. 1-2 weeks should be fine if you can study a bit every day after work), and use the vocab list like a dictionary when you need it.
(I think there’s a study group on discord if I’m not mistaken, which you might find helpful)
Don’t feel like you need to have 100% mastered every grammar point either - jump into beginner reading resources as soon as you feel comfortable (that depends on you, but many people struggle less after Genki 1). Keep going with Genki 2 (or another book if you want to change) and keep reading level-appropriate materials.
Reading extensively will help reinforce grammar and vocab, and you can always refer back to your textbook when you need to.
There’s a great thread in the forums about getting started reading, you don’t have to wait to be fluent!
I also highly recommend joining the book clubs - it’s nice to read along with others. The Doggy Detectives club just started recently and is quite active (beginners and also some more advanced learners).
But even if a club has finished the book you wanted to read, you can still use the vocab sheets, search for answers to your questions, and ask new ones if no one else already asked - people still reply to those threads.
Is there a pre-made Genki deck, or are you having to make your own cards? If the latter, you could save a lot of time by using the pre-made Genki decks in Kitsun. The cards have English-to-reading, kanji-to-reading, and audio-to-meaning.
Otherwise, I agree with skymaiden that you shouldn’t be trying to master the vocab before doing each chapter - a better way to build vocab is through repeated exposure in different contexts (a.k.a. reading native material), so I’d aim for 2-3 weeks per chapter so that you get exposed to all the basic grammar, then aim to join one of the book clubs with beginner materials.
It is nice to know some of the words going into a chapter, but you should let the context of the grammar exercises help you cement the words. It is hard to drill words without context. In my school the general rule is, learn the words during the chapter. By the time the chapter ends, most of the words should be known, and they show up on the lesson opening quiz from the next lesson after you finish.
Here is a great video from polyglot Steve Kaufmann, who summarizes my thoughts on the subject. Don’t mind the clickbaity title.
You don’t need to try to master everything in the first pass. A lot of the stuff you can’t even understand unless you get further in your studies. They way I used textbooks, I just read through them and didn’t do any exercises because I despise them. Just try to get a overall view of the grammar and then maybe came back to it for clarification when I encountered those in the wild.
Amen to that. I still have a lot of basic grammar points that I keep forgetting, but that doesn’t mean I’m not making any progress.
I agree, great video. Thanks for posting.