Fluency from wanikani

This is probably mostly aimed at the higher levels here [or ones that have reset].

Based solely on what you’ve learnt from wanikani, how ‘fluent’ would you say you are?

As in, how confident would you be, starting reading/listening to people, based on what you’ve learnt from your lessons on wanikani?

I’m comfortable reading pretty much anything I come across thanks to WK :slightly_smiling_face:

But as far as other skills, including listening, those need to be trained elsewhere =) you can get some audio practice here, which can be helpful for recognition when you come across the words you learn here in the wild, but there’s still a lot of additional listening practice you’d need to get to a point of fluency ^^ not to mention grammar as well!

So WK enables you to become Japanese literate, and using that you can then use your knowledge to be more confident in developing your other areas of Japanese study :+1:


I think I’m in somewhat of a grey area because I am half Japanese yet I didn’t learn as a child. That being said, my mom pretty much ONLY speaks to me in Japanese but if there are any other halfies out there, you can probably agree with me in that you don’t have full on intellectual convos with your moms so I’m like … KINDA fluent in listening.

As for wanikani, I’m only lvl 7 after a couple of months and I can already see myself going “ohhhh so that’s what that means”. In a way, I feel it’s unlocking my inherent fluency. I’m still absolute shit with talking … aside from having native-level pronunciation, when speaking, gramattically I probably sound somewhere close to a 3rd grader (but a 3rd grader who’s smarter than the other 3rd graders if that makes sense).

It’s a really strange place to be in because beginner stuff doesn’t really help me at all and intermediate stuff is very often too hard. The bottom line, though, is that I find that it’s definitely helping with becoming more “fluent”. i would definitely suggest to start doing a LOT of listening practice though.


To further elaborate on this:

Without proper grammar studies, you still can’t understand that much even as a level 60. But having the knowledge of 2000+ Kanji and quite some vocabulary is a tremendous help though.

I’m a level 60 and I’ve been slacking with my grammar studies quite a bit, I might be able to “read” pretty much everything, but I definitely won’t actually understand everything, at all :stuck_out_tongue:


Very good summary of what WK gives you.

Just to add that WK is the best tool to learn kanji in my opinion. But fluency is much more than being able to know the readings of kanji words.


I think the idea is knowing the vocab and kanji from wanikani will make your grammar studies much easier. So when your reading your textbook or other grammar resource you can focus on the grammar itself and not have to worry as much about learning vocab and grammar at the same time.
Like many others have said before, wanikani is just one puzzle piece to learning Japanese, to be fluent you will need lots of different pieces and put connect them all together.


Reading becomes much easier. When I was at lvl 30 I had very little grammar knowledge and I could still pick up the general meaning of an NHK easy news article solely thanks to wanikani but If you want to understand spoken Japanese you have to go elsewhere. At lvl 30 I still couldn’t understand very basic spoken Japanese cause I only focused on WaniKani.

WaniKani + grammar study + separate vocab study (Anki)
This is what has made it possible to read manga rather comfortably now.


Exactly this!!

I’m new here, but I think that wanikani is only useful for vocabulary, nothing more than that since it only offers that. You will have to study from other sources to learn the grammar and to train your listening comprehension and reading.

The vocabulary taught is good but a lot of important, basic vocabulary is not included in WaniKani so other resources are needed as well for sure.

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And kanji, maybe?? :stuck_out_tongue: hehe


Of course, Kanji hahaha. I’m using Rosetta Stone and Duolingo to learn japanese, the combination of these three learning sources is being very productive. I’m also waiting for my Kengi vol. 1 to arrive by mail.

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Agreed. Especially because for most other foreign languages you can learn how to read in a matter of hours. Kanji is just the very first step really.

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When I think of fluency, I think expressing thoughts in my own words, primarily through speaking. WK really does nothing for that in the short term, but does help enable consumption of native material. Someone looking for quick fluency should probably spend the majority of their study time with a speaking partner and avoid SRS death spirals sucking up all their time.

If by fluent you mean fluent in failure, I’d say I have risen above native level (and mortal level).


That’s why I also use Rocket Languages Japanese! I can get speaking, listening, grammar, and writing there.

I think the main reason that people might take issue with the idea of vocab being the focus of WK, is that WK doesn’t teach you how to use any words you learn here.

There are a bunch of words in Japanese that you can translate as “to give” and WK teaches you most of them, but there is nothing on the site about how to use them, and it is notoriously difficult for people to wrap their heads around.

As such, the I think the best way to frame it is that WK teaches how to read kanji, and anything beyond that is gravy.


Mm that’s a tough one because obviously WK didnt teach me grammar and it’s kind of hard to exclude grammar from my level of fluency.

I mean, I would say it really won’t make you very fluent at all on it’s own. You can recognize words and say individual words, but comprehending full sentences or forming them will be no easy task.

This may sound pretty disappointing, but that’s not using your WK knowledge to it’s full potential. Learning grammar and extra common words that use those kanji you already learned (which will be a lot easier than trying to learn them without knowing the kanji) will put you much further ahead.


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