Finding a "right" way to study English → Japanese

Now I’m just embarrassed that I posted this topic at all. But I learned from it, so that’s good, I guess.

Perhaps because I’m a teacher, I do want to stress that I’d never design anything assuming that it’d get me to fluency by itself. When it’s time for me to practice production, I fully intend to do lots of talking and writing! I’m just trying to think of ways I can strengthen that process the way WaniKani has strengthened my reading.

I don’t know of any, unfortunately. My verbal issues might be ADHD rather than dyspraxia. My dyspraxia usually manifests as difficulty with perceiving how far away objects are from me. Basically, I’m extremely clumsy.

My sister has dyslexia, but I don’t seem to have that. I’ve never had characters in any language switch places on me or anything. I do misread kanji a lot, but I think we all do that here!

Yeah, the mathematician in me has always struggled with translation not being an invertible function. I was hoping I could mitigate that, but I’m finally convinced that I was chasing a unicorn!

I’ve been making anime cards for a few months now. I fought them at first because the setup was a huge pain, but I have to admit they work well for when I know a concept but I can’t put words to it. And they’ve solved a problem on the other side of the coin for me as well: when I can put a word to them but I’m not thinking of the right definition of the word.

I’ve had a thought like that a lot: Bunpro would a much stronger resource if they randomized subjects, objects, verbs, and pronouns. From my own programming experience, though, I know that sort of thing is a lot more work retroactively than it would’ve been at the design stage. Personally, I’d be interested in helping in such an effort, but I don’t know enough to do it myself. Because I have the exact same problem: I subconsciously memorize sentences rather than things to say.


I think the solution you want is sentence mining. That would be the best way to capture context and nuance for your vocabulary and get better results on going both ways.

@MrInnerPeace had an intro to it on the 4th reply in this thread a few days ago:


Here Imma repost for you

I guess you already know about this. But I am also adding this for anyone viewing this topic in need. Not assuming the level or the path taken of anyone. There are probably thousands of people who have done thousands times more than me in this journey.

I dont think WK alone is enough for fluency. Even immersion is hard alone. I think sentence mining is the “true way” to acquire grammar. I mean if you want to study.

Here some ressources. You probably already know but I hope anyone who needs it see it


He said he’s been making anime cards for a few months so it sounds like he’s already mining.

He said he’s been making anime cards for a few months so it sounds like he’s already mining.

There is a difference between mining a word, and taking the whole sentence. Per OP’s question:

Here’s the first problem: speaking isn’t thinking of one specific word .
Japanese and English use words in multiple contexts that don’t always overlap .

As OP mentions, there are a dozen different ways to say the same thing, and studying kanji or vocab with no context does not lead to fluency very effectively.

OP’s struggles are because we are looking at words in isolation. Sentence mining, i.e. taking the whole sentence as a study aide, seems like the solution for OP’s problems.

This is how Duolingo works but no one likes it because it’s boring


I don’t think that’s the reason why no one likes it. :wink:

At least with Bunpro, they tell you what the grammar points are. With Duolingo you’re supposed to learn by…I dunno…osmosis or something.

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Everyone says this but they actually have pretty extensive grammar notes! However, they must not be easy enough to find as this is a common problem.

Someone collected them helpfully on one page here: Duolingo · Tips and Notes @

LingoDeer is still better for learning grammar IMO. Duo is great for practicing it however as you get way more time typing out full Japanese sentences (only 2 per lesson on LingoDeer).


I wouldn’t call Duo’s Japanese notes extensive by any means though

You did have to scroll past the entirety of N5 and N4 grammar to get there


That is really useful.* I think how easy the tips are to find depends on your platform. In my experience (on the iOS phone app) they are fairly easy to see, but don’t always cover everything that comes up. That said I quite like learning by figuring out. If you tell me something I’ll forget much sooner than if I work it out myself! - that isn’t everyone’s preferred style and doesn’t work for everything.

*Brief footnote: mind you, Duo updates its lesson structure quite frequently, so any list of tips might not match to the tree you are doing at any point in time!


I did, but I don’t think near exclusive N5/N4 grammar notes, particularly with how short notes are on Duo anyway, are extensive.

Okay, well, I guess that’s subjective – I think that taking someone from beginner to intermediate level is not bad.

In any case, my point was just that the “Duolingo doesn’t tell you what the grammar points are,” isn’t true anymore, they do have notes that explain what’s in the Japanese course these days.

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