Early Vocabulary: Easy, or Easy to Forget?

I think it’s far too early to worry about it, especially if you’re new to learning Japanese in general. Grasping the concept of on’yomi versus kun’yomi is a bit of a struggle at the start but it’ll eventually be second nature (promise!) and you’ll find new and exciting things to struggle with on your learning journey. Do your best!


Hey don’t worry too much about it!
I only recently got through the early levels myself, you have no idea how long it took me to remember the different meanings and readings for 上がる, 上げる, 下がる and 下げる.
I think a lot of people go through the same problems when taking new vocab lessons, and it’s totally normal, even if you mess up the first 10 reviews for a word, you’ll get it eventually. Trust me :crazy_face:

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How long have you studied japanese for?

Ah, so you’re not yet acquainted to japanese. In this case, yes it is normal that you’ll forget readings and such.

If you’re new to the language, it’s very easy to forget readings as you described. Your brain isn’t used to hearing or processing such sounds, so it has to rapidly adapt to a large amount of new information. Once you’ve learned more words and become more familiar with the language and its sounds, kanji and vocab readings will start to sound more natural to you.

went exactly through this 2 days ago, keep trying and it’ll stick

Do more studying outside of Wanikani. Most (not all) of the words and characters in the early levels are very common and should appear frequently in textbooks and native material. The extra exposure should help you retain more.


In addition to the advice that everyone else has already offered, I just wanted to add that memory is a skill like any other, the more you practice it, the better you’ll get at it. So, perseverance is key with WaniKani. I truly believe anyone can learn Japanese, if only they stick to it and apply a routine.

Also, the only progress that matters here is your own. Everyone progresses at different speeds and it’s not a race. By simply trying your best and working at your own pace, you can be proud of what you have learned. Your achievements are your own. Not everyone on WK powers through, and some users spend 2 weeks to a month or more on a given level. Everyone’s pace is different.

Anyway, I hope this alleviated your concerns somewhat. :smiley:


No worries. Although I don’t remember how many percent I got when I was at level 1, sometimes I got just 33% nowadays, but other times I got 100%, and in average 80 - 100%. Could be 60 - 80% as well. Before I joined WaniKani I thought my memory was weak. Doing reviews at WaniKani everyday proved that my memory is not weak at all.

What @Shadkat had said above was so true!

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Getting something wrong doesn’t mean you’re wrong, it just means it’s time to study it again. These aren’t tests to measure how well you’re learning, just a way to tell when it’s time to learn something again. Keep going and you will either die or learn Japanese.

You’re not alone. Keep at it!

You’ll get used to readings and meanings with time. Don’t get discouraged, no one gets them the first time, and if they say they do, they are lying to you :stuck_out_tongue:

It gets better with time. It’s like your brain gets trained to focus on certain shapes and sounds. They are overwhelming at first. They become second nature after a while.

The most important thing is don’t get discouraged. It’s a long process and it’s normal to get frustrated at time. Just remember: we all were there. When you are struggling with a word and you keep mistaking it, remember that everyone of us has their own nemesis. You’ll get it with time. Is it going to be a week? A month? Six months? Doesn’t matter, and it’s absolutely normal. Just keep going, keep studying, every day. Good luck :slight_smile:

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To whatever you apply this question, the answer is always the same: there is no amount :stuck_out_tongue: not even a suggested one :stuck_out_tongue:

As for studying grammar, just pick up genki and go through it. Genki starts really basic and it’s quite easy to follow, and it explains the vocabulary while you go through. If you feel overwhelmed, just slow down, if you feel like it’s a breeze, try something more :stuck_out_tongue:

Try to find your own balance, the most important thing is to stay motivated. Try to do what sparks your interest. Try to not get stuck only with wanikani.

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You may enjoy using an app such as https://www.lingodeer.com as a way to supplement your WK lessons. I know it’s much easier to remember vocab when I see it in sentences and Lingodeer is a friendly, easy way to practice reading sentences.

I don’t think anyone here has asked so I’ll ask it even though it may be a dumb question. Do you know your hiragana / katakana? If so, how long have you been studying that? They will prove to be pretty important and will definitely help you if you haven’t already learned them.

Bottom line is we all have issues with different things and that’s what we’re all here for! Just take it one step at a time, make plenty of mistakes and don’t give up!

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I thought the vocabulary in the beginning was pretty challenging. It took some time to get used to on’yomi versus kun’yomi readings and knowing which to use when, and it felt like the first several levels had more exceptions than usual (hello, day/thing counters). Once you start building up more kanji though, more and more vocabulary will be jugoku words that use readings you probably already know.

On top of that, if you’re not familiar with Japanese grammar it takes a while to get a handle on certain ideas that make learning vocabulary easier, like (kanji)する just being “to do (kanji)” or -さ at the end of at least some measurements being the measurement itself (大 being big vs 大きさ being size, or 長 being long vs. 長さ being length). You’ll start seeing some patterns and things get easier as you go.

(Disclaimer: I haven’t studied all that much grammar/vocab myself and am likely making some mistakes, somebody more knowledgeable will likely correct this :smiley:)

Don’t worry! I think everyone is slow when first starting to learn a new language, because it’s so different!
When I was first learning Japanese, it took me a month to memorize 100 basic words, which I can now learn in about 4 days :slight_smile: You’ll speed up once your brain gets used to it.

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