Exams done! How to use vocab books?

Heya guys!!

I finally finished uni!! and I am now looking to change my focus from kanji (I am 99% through N5 and 80% through N4 kanji), to vocab as my main priority, as I would like to start playing some video games like Valorant in Japanese!!

I bought a vocab book called Tango N5 1000! I was wondering how you guys go about learning from these kinda resources, as until now I have only ever used Wanikani!!

Thanks for any advice!!!

see ya!

I bought it because theres a premade Anki Deck with audio that people give if you show proof of purchase. Outside of that I haven’t used those books directly because it lacked any sort of method outside of “look at word, know word? CHECK. Don’t know word? Dont Check.” You could just make some physical flash cards but overall the book is more for reference than it is for any actual use.

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I’m seconding the Anki recommendation for vocab. That’s what I use outside of WK. If you can, definitely find a premade deck for your book to save yourself some work. If it doesn’t come with audio, the Forvo pronunciation downloader addon is fantastic.

As far as using Anki goes, just like with WK, you’ll want to make sure to pace yourself. Don’t add too many cards each day, and if you start feeling the strain from it, that’s a good time to stop adding new cards for a while and just do your reviews until things calm down a little.

You’ll probably get others coming into this thread to recommend Kitsun or other SRS, and if one of those works better for you than Anki, then that’s great, though I recommend at least giving Anki a shot first because it’s free, and you’ll probably have better luck finding a premade deck there. Anki is pretty heavily customizable if there are aspects of it that you aren’t satisfied with.

The great thing about Anki is that if you have any interest in mining your own words from native media at any point, you can use tools like Yomichan in conjunction with Anki to instantly create flash cards for you. So you can keep using Anki well into the intermediate and advanced stage after you’re done with premade decks.

You’re also probably going to run into loads of vocab with kanji that you haven’t learned yet, which may or may not be hard for you. I personally find it a lot harder to learn a word and then learn the kanji for it after the fact, but some people are the exact opposite.

Personally, I’m not really a big fan of learning words in a vacuum (I tolerate it with WK because I find the method plenty effective for teaching kanji). You might have better luck with it than me, or you might not. I prefer either prelearning vocab right before I encounter it in my reading (currently my textbook, though the exact same principle applies to reading native media through a website like koohi.cafe), or learning vocab from native media right after encountering it during my immersion (using the aforementioned Yomichan+Anki combo).

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Yeah that’s the problem I was feeling, great tool, but less of a new learning and more of a add-on

I see!! I shall definitely give it a shot!!! do you have any recommendations for textbooks? I am level 12 on WK so like my current japanese from zero book feels too basic, but advanced stuff is still out of reach

Theres a guy NukeMarine who gives out the AnkiDecks of these books with the Audio, so you can maybe contact him directly and get it that way.

He has YouTube/Twitter/Discord everything so its not hard to find him.

Here’s Tofugu’s list of beginner textbook recommendations if you’re looking for something else. The two most common ones are probably Genki and Minna no Nihongo. I’m using MNN myself, and I really like it, though it’s not the book for everyone. Depending on how confident you feel about your grammar knowledge, you could also try diving into easy native media and just learning vocab along the way.

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