Example Sentences: USE KANJI WE'VE LEARNED

Simpler grammar and simpler vocab may mean constrained writing for the sentence composers (WaniKani staff). And that would increase their job.

An easier way for them is just to write everything in N3/N2 level.

However, Kanji and furigana is not that hard to avoid.

I personally like the example sentences. I already see so many basic ass “Dick and Jane” style sentences all the time because I’m just starting out: “There are three chairs in the room,” “My shirt is red,” “I don’t like milk,” etc. Its so refreshing seeing more complicated, more organic, and yes, much sillier sentences even if I don’t understand a lick of em. It reminds me that there is so much more to the language than what I know now.

Also I have yet to read an example sentence in any of my grammar studies that makes me laugh harder than “If grandma had testicles, I’d call her grandpa.” So WK example sentences have that going for them :wink:


my mom is a cow or my mom is noon? wait, it’s definitely the first one

shame on u

Not even this?


I didn’t say my mom. Just mother. My mom is definitely human, Ive checked!

I would be loathe to have the site hold off on native-level or winding sentences until higher levels. You’re learning vocabulary to interact with a foreign language; parse what you can and be satisfied with picking up little bits of meaning or indication of usage. If you’re ever in the country as a learner, real situations are not going to hold back their grammar or complexity for you. Scrapping for bits of meaning or lessons is part of the task. In fact, I’d say a big part of language-learning is teaching yourself to get useful information out of partial understanding, even if you can’t completely parse the whole. And you can’t get much kinder than having a thorough English translation right alongside the text.

I personally love the example sentences, even when they’re inscrutable. Add easier ones, sure, but definitely keep these around.

(Also, if I wanted textbook-style examples, I’d use a textbook. But given that if you’re learning Japanese, you should have a textbook too, that problem already seems solved. This is not a grammar site; as a vocabulary site, it should offer examples that approach the complexity of situations within which you might see the words used in real life.)

Anyway, shoutout to the time Takeshi got groped on a train.

Poor Takeshi…yelled at for breaking the bonsai and then fondled on the train.

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I am using Duolingo in addition to Wanikani for sentences. The examples in Wanikani are just totally useless for learning. Really way too complicated. Duolingo is just perfect and I learn much faster.

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Useless for learning what? They’re meant to just show how the word works when there could be ambiguity in the English meaning (i.e. English words with multiple meanings, words that can be verbs or nouns, etc.).

If you mean they’re useless for learning grammar or something… well, they’re also useless for infinitely other things they’re not trying to achieve.

I am a not native English speaker (even though I use English every day since like 10 years, but not in English native countries). I find lots of the examples are way too complicated for a non native English speaker and it makes everything much more confusing. I understand that they give you real examples of usage, but there are different levels of English and I think lots of Wanikani users are not English native speakers and it would be easier to just give easier examples.
Example (for the word 人数):


There are a great number of people who disagree with my proposal that everyone in this country must wear the same pants.

If you don’t live in US or UK, and you are a non native English speaker, you will almost never use such a long sentence or anyway it would be easier than this.

I understand your point, but what I am trying to say is that Wanikani, in the end, is a learning platform and it should make it easy to learn what it is supposed to make you learn. Most of the “real life examples” given in Wanikani are useless for non English native speakers. IMHO, of course.

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You picked a word, 人数 in this case, that has 2 other, simpler example sentences to go with it. What’s the harm in having a more complex one there? I understand the complaint people have about levels 11+, which only have 1 example sentence currently, and those can be issues when the one sentence isn’t helpful, but adding sentences is something they’ve been working on, so it’s not a permanent thing.

But in any case, I don’t see how the length of that sentence affects the point I mentioned, which was that you can see how 人数 is used. It’s right there at the beginning, you don’t need to read almost anything else after that to see it.

And I guess I don’t mean to sound cruel, but this is a resource written by English speakers for an English speaking audience. It’s not a current priority to cater to other language speakers specifically.


I agree with @Leebo I’m not a native speaker, and the English is frustrating sometimes (a problem adressed in another thread), but it isn’t bad to the point of making WK unusable.

I don’t think they have the ressources to make WK multilingual. And even if they did, I’d rather have them add more kanjis than spend time and money on localization.

If you can’t understand something , there’s always google to get extra information (in your language if you want to).

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I am not talking about translation of Wanikani in other languages, of course. And I’ve never said it’s unusable (I’m a lifetime user, I paid for it because it’s a very cool tool to use). I am just saying that the examples could be more simple and it would just add more value to Wanikani.

I don’t mind the complex sentences either, but I’d sometimes like to have a greater variety of them.

Especially the mentioned 1 example level 11+ levels. Giving context for a word often involves more that just one particular usecase but I think it will improve once they add more.

Apart from that, I would not like them to simplify the examples because doing so limits the possible sentences and while interacting with real people, they don’t start talking to like they would talk to a toddler so you can understand it.

I would say grammar is the main problem here and using a word that comes from for example an academic environment paired with easy to understand, but totally inappropriate grammar would defeat the purpose of the example itself.

I don’t know whether UserScripts are your thing, but there is one which is called “WaniKani Example Sentences” that adds many sentences to each vocab word. Some of these sentences are really simple, some are more difficult. You can even switch between seeing all available sentences and seeing only those where you know all the kanji already. I think this nicely complements WaniKani’s crazy examples.

(You can find the script on GreasyFork, and you need to install some browser plugin for it to work in your browser. Google will help you there.)

Is this what you’re referring to?

If so, I would not recommend installing it. It says the sentences come from Tatoeba, so as far as I’m concerned they’re not worth your time. As many complaints as we get about the WK example sentences, at least we know where they come from. They’re written by native Japanese speakers and checked by the staff. The same can’t be said for anything on Tatoeba.

Hm, I see. Thanks for the insight!
(I checked the code of the script to see whether the sentences are coming from Tatoeba, but they are fetched from the script author’s own site, so did not realize…)

So I reverse my advice (but I’ll leave the post in the thread so that others can see this as well).

Much like EDICT, 95% of the “Free Apps” and other kinds of things out there will use Tatoeba.

People getting off-topic!

  1. The wise Kouichi himself recommends that it’s best to use WK first before diving deep into other resources, such as textbooks.

  2. The example sentences are important to understanding the use of the word in context.

We are missing a good learning opportunity! Sentences that have kanji not yet learned (e.g. level 30+ kanji in a level 20 sentence) yield less of a benefit to the average WK user.

Not asking for a bunch of additional sentences at different difficulty levels for every vocab word. Defeats the purpose of a streamlined kanji learning system!

Love WK, and would love to see sentences with kanji we’ve actually learned.


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