Efficient grammar methods while using Wanikani

Hi everyone!

I´ve seen lots of posts regarding this topic, but I´d like to contribute to the discussion with my own personal inquiries. I´m currently level 5 on Wanikani, and although I know Tofugu recommends not starting with grammar until approximately sometime between levels 10-20, I thought it would be useful to start studying some basic grammar simultaneously with my kanji studies, just not to potentially impoverish my reading ability (which is my main goal). I´m using Tae Kim´s Guide as well as the Basic Japanese Grammar Dictionary as textbooks.

However, I´m starting to wonder if it would be more efficient to stop studying grammar (now that I´ve got a beginner knowledge) and, at some point between levels 10-20, re-study Tae Kim and start using Bunpro, just not to study too much grammar without equivalent kanji-vocab knowledge. Or should I continue/finish with Tae Kim and once I reach an intermediate-advanced level of kanji-vocab re-study and review everything both in Tae Kim and in Bunpro? Is it really a waste of time spending so much time on grammar without level equivalent kanji-vocab or will it help me to gain speed when achieving the latter? And, in addition to this, do you think Bunpro, Tae Kim and the Dictionary are enough resources or should I consider buying Genki or a similar conventional textbook?

Many thanks in advance!

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Are you making sure to use all the additional readings that Bunpro provides? Because Tae Kim is really not going to get you much past N5 (I believe it has a smattering of some N4 and N3 but it’s not comprehensive). If you want something free I would probably suggest supplementing with something like Imabi especially once you finish Tae Kim because you’ll still require a lot more grammar study beyond that point. It covers a ton of grammar and even goes into classical Japanese and it has lots of examples, but it can be dense. Other resources like Maggie Sensei can also be good if you want more examples and exposure for grammar points you study in Bunpro.

If you prefer a textbook, then you should go that route.

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read through tae kim now. why wait. there is zero advantage to waiting.

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I am finding the Cure Dolly youtube videos much more helpful than both Bunpo and Tae Kim, and it’s not difficult to fit one of them in every few days as well as WK, so your grammar slowly progresses with your vocabulary.

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And to add to this, if you do find you like to learn via videos, Japanese Ammo with Misa is also nice especially because you learn things with a native speaker perspective.

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In my experience, level 14 is a good time to start if you started to learn Japanese with WK alone, having a larger vocabulary really does help and gives you a bigger confidence boost when you don’t have to search words in example sentences and start learning the grammar right away, but that’s just my perspective, the best advice is to continue studying grammar if you’re having fun and making progress.

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Welcome!

It sounds like your main goal in learning Japanese is to be able to read, in which case, like @Leunam said, you should really just start now (or whenever you feel is comfortable for you.) It really seems to me that you’re getting caught up in finding the most “efficient,” or best, method, when the best way is to really just start learning grammar and figure out what works best for you from there. You can’t read without grammar, so I don’t really see any advantage to waiting. You don’t have to have a substantial vocabulary to learn grammar, and I don’t think “equivalent kanji-vocab knowledge” is a thing? How do you define what’s equivalent? Kanji and grammar are not really connected in this sense.

I’m really confused about why you think you should re-study Tae Kim, and why you think you should wait until re-studying Tae Kim to use Bunpro. The point of Bunpro is that it reinforces grammar points with an SRS system so that you don’t have to re-study textbooks (unless you’re trying to get a more nuanced understanding of a grammar point).

Personally, I think the best way to reinforce grammar is to read, which is what you want to do anyways, so… If you constantly see grammar in native content, you’ll be able to pick it up faster than cramming from a textbook imo.

Hope this helped!

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Just to add to this.

You have to be vigilant about the difference between reviewing your notes and rehashing them.

I think it’s fine to go over your notes that you’ve made during your grammar studies or even return to a discrete section in a book you’ve been studying. But going back over the entire source is a big no-no and will not get you anywhere.

There comes a point when you’ll stop making progress. That’s where BunPro and reading comes in. You read a chapter in your preferred textbook or source and make notes. Plug it into BunPro and do the additional reading and then move forward. There comes a time when you have to get past N5, get past N4, get past N3, etc. and you won’t do that by picking up grammar then going back over it.

So, do your Tae Kim or whatever in conjunction with BunPro then once you’ve finished that move on to a more advanced source and don’t look back other than to review your notes or unless you REALLY REALLY need to.

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Many thanks for your reply! I didn´t know either of Imabi or Maggie Sensei, so I´ll definitely go check them. I still haven´t started with Bunpro, though. My idea was to registrate once I´d finished with Tae Kim and in that way make the most out of my subscription, but maybe it´s useless to wait?

Anyway, many thanks again for your feedback! Really appreciate it!

Many thanks for your reply!

You´re totally right about how Bunpro helps to reinforce things via SRS so as not to re-study textbooks or other resources. My main concern was that maybe signing up for Bunpro without having finished Tae Kim would not make the most out of my subscription, but maybe it´s useless to wait, considering Bunpro goes all over Tae Kim knowledge with SRS.

Anyway, many thanks again for your feedback! Really appreciate it!

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I really appreciate all your feedback! Sorry for not replying everyone individually. The site has recommended me to write a common message so as not to post too many small messages that could slow down the discussion. I understand then that it´s useless to wait to finish Tae Kim to start with Bunpro, since the latter reinforces with SRS everything covered in the former. And regarding kana words, which Wanikani doesn´t cover, has anybody tried Torii?

Many thanks everyone! I´m really grateful for all your advice!

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I’ve used Torii, but I’m not using it right now. I think it’s a pretty good software, I just decided that I didn’t want to learn the 10K lol. Just off the top of my head:

Pros:

  • free
  • based upon the Wanikani SRS system
  • has a space to input your own mnemonics
  • has a Wanikani path that sorts the vocabulary by kanji in the order that you learn them in Wanikani
  • has EN --> JP and JP --> EN review cards
  • each word has many example sentences

Cons:

  • interface can be slow due to it being a (Javascript?) program and not a website & it doesn’t have the best search function
  • the Wanikani path puts all the vocab words with a specific kanji somewhat together, so, for example, you’ll be totally inundated with a ton of words that use 下 and that can get kinda confusing
  • the example sentences are sometimes inaccurate

(Also if you don’t want to make many posts to reply to people, you can highlight the part you want to reply to and hit the quote button to do it all in one post rather than many.)

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Cheers! Really appreciate all your feedback!

I’m pretty negative with Tae Kim’s guide, as I have found errors in almost every article I’ve read if it. The は vs が one is terrible, it claims てやる can’t be used with people (very false), it claims Japanese isn’t SOV, and it gives ないとならない despite it being stylistically awkward at best an ungrammatical at worst. Note I have read only 5 articles from the guide. This is all from literally 5 articles.

I generally recommend Wasabi for simmering similar which isn’t so error prone.

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I think this is a good framework to start with:

Biggest issue a lot of people run into is failing to practice and reinforce grammar in context. Sentence decks / grammar flashcards are ok, but sometimes they don’t really hit the spot for more complexed / nuanced grammar points.

Note: I think for grammar, it’s more important to focus on effectiveness instead of efficiency. The most effective method will be the most efficient method in the long run.

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Many thanks! I´ll also take into account what you say about Tae Kim.

Awesome! Many thanks for your feedback and recommendations!

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I did all of Genki 1 and some of Genki 2 on my own before starting classes or using wanikani - I really liked them. I learnt the vocab for each chapter using the memrise courses, and seeing it over and over again as you do the chapters really helped to get it to stick.
If I was starting again, I would use wanikani alongside Genki, and not worry too much about remembering the kanji taught in Genki. If you decide to use Genki, definitely get the workbook! It goes well with bunpro too.

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Regarding what @Claerwen says, do you guys think its really necessary for a self-learner to use Genki, Minna no Nihongo and other analogous conventional textbooks? I know some people love them, but I´m quite reluctant to use them if I´m honest.

There’s no need for a textbook, as long as you have some other way of structuring your learning. Personally I actively avoid them since there are several good sources for grammar on the internet, and I find bunpro + immersion more efficient (also, I hate textbooks).

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I mean, I do love textbooks - but if you wouldn’t enjoy one, don’t use it. Genki in particular is pretty expensive too, so if it doesn’t appeal, look into youtube and Bunpro (great for reinforcement).

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