General questions about grammar and mnemonics

Hello there! Here’s a little bit about me to better explain the issues I’m currently facing with the Japanese language.
Learning Japanese was a long dream of mine, but I always thought this goal was unreachable, so I didn’t even bother to start.Thanks to discovering WaniKani, however, I’ve started seeing a light at the end of a tunnel. Learning Hiragana and Katakana was a breeze and kanji/vocab seem to be manageable, at least at the moment, but I’m not sure how to get better at understanding grammar and proceed towards actual reading. What can you recommend me?

I’m also interested to know how non-native speakers of English handle mnemonics provided by WaniKani. Do you use what you get or do you make your own mnemonics in your mother tongue? At the moment it feels like I memorize more stuff thanks to 12 years of watching anime and reading visual novels, and I fear this source of knowledge might run dry at some point and make me struggle with the mnemonics.

Thank you for reading this and taking your time to help me.

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  • Grab a textbook like Genki or Japanese From Zero. In my opinion, it’s important to practice with exercises, especially early on.
  • Check out additional resources like Tae Kim to learn grammar from a second perspective.
  • Use Bunpro to SRS the grammar.
  • Start reading as soon as you’ve learned basic grammar (N5 and possibly a bit of N4). I’d recommend joining the absolute beginner or beginner book clubs so you can ask for help when you get stuck.


Out of curiosity, what is your native language?

I’m not an English native speaker. Before I can talk about WK mnemonics, I even have difficulties in understanding English. So I have no comments about WK mnemonics. What I can say is I mostly use WK mnemonics and I sometimes use my own mnemonics in my native language(s). But basically when I really know the kanji/vocab, I forgot about the mnemonics, I just know. I really second Sean’s suggestion above. It’s well written. Exposure helps.

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My native language is Russian. Apart from alphabet and some basic rules I’ve learned English by consuming different kinds of entertainment media and reading online. I’m still not very confident in my ability to express myself correctly, but I’m experiencing no issues otherwise. Unfortunately, it seems like the same method isn’t going to work with Japanese.

As for vocab, I usually remember it by pronunciation. What I mean by that is that there are hundreds of words I already know thanks my previous exposure to anime and visual novels, so if I know the meaning of a kanji I can recall how it sounds, but obviously not always.

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Thank you very much, I’ll check out these resources.

Interesting! I usually remember vocab by pronunciation, too, especially some vocabs that I have been exposed by Japanese Drama I watched. But when Japanese Homonyms strike me, and I rely on reading mostly (than what WK taught me in Kanji using mnemonics), I got confused, then I relearn these kanji side by side, really notice their differences where they place radicals/kanji differently.

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