Genki 2nd / 3rd edition vocabulary differences / choosing a non-WK vocabulary SRS

As the title suggests, I need some advice regarding the vocabulary of Genki 1/2.

The most important question would be how big the difference between Genki 1/2 2nd edition and Genki 1/2 3rd edition is when it comes to vocabulary. Are we talking about 20 vocabs which have been changed / replaced? 40? 200? I know that most people are probably working using “their” edition without caring about the differences, but perhaps we have some teachers on here who know some details? The “official” PDF overview of the changes is very vague in this regard (“we replaced x, y and z as well as quite a bit of other stuff”).

The reason why I am asking this question is because I am searching for a futureproof way to learn non-WK vocabulary, and ideally it would allow me to learn textbook vocabulary as well as, later on, stuff like 10k lists (to restrict the number of SRS to two). Should not be too hard, right? Well, the thing is that a lot of resources still do not support the 3rd edition or have other flaws:

  • Anki: Has good 3rd edition decks and everything else one could ever possibly need, but its crappy default settings, the awkward syncing and ease hell are really off-putting.
  • Quizlet: Has the official 3rd edition decks, but apparently they disabled their SRS a while ago. So I did not even bother to look up community resources.
  • Official Genki app: Does not provide an SRS nor resources other than Genki (obviously).
  • Bunpro: Has a 3rd edition deck, but for some reason some vocabulary is missing and they have no sound at all. Not even generated one, which should not be that hard to provide? I think actually listening to the vocabulary is really important.
  • Kitsun: Has an excellent 10k deck (as well as some other interesting stuff), but the community-provided (also quite nice) Genki deck is only for the 2nd edition.
  • renshuu: Has lessons for the 3rd edition, but the interface is slow, cluttered and confusing, so it is not really fun to work with.
  • Kanshudo: Has quite a bit of interesting stuff, but the provided Genki material is for the 2nd edition. The interface is also not exactly nice to work with, but at least it is fast.
  • jpdb.io: Does not allow to actually type in the answers and only provides Genki material for the 2nd edition. To be fair, it would probably be really easy to just add the vocabulary to a custom deck, but I still want to type the answers.
  • KameSame: This one is actually a viable option, as it offers various decks (like 10k) and one can just copy and paste vocabulary to learn it. I considered doing exactly this for the Genki 1/2 vocabulary, but apart from the fact that not all of the vocabulary can be found, this method is also really crude (since everything becomes one big blob, i. e. there is no differentiation between lessons, 10k etc.).

So, it is surprisingly hard to find an SRS which has some usability, basic features (like audio) and up-to-date material for one of the most popular textbooks (released in 2020), not even if one is willing to spend money. If the difference between the editions is negligible I might still go with Kitsun, just to settle this.

How are you guys doing non-WK vocabulary? I assume quite a few people on here use みんなの日本語 or Genki, so you should have the same problems?

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I just found https://torii-srs.com/ from another member.

All audio, and example sentences. Idk if this is what you’re looking for exactly, but it has top 10K words like that…

Its part of my big three now. Kame same, wani kani, and now torii.

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My suggestion is that you should pick your SRS based on:

  • does it have the features you want?
  • is it easy to add new words ad-hoc?
  • if you plan to mostly be reading electronically rather than in paper, can you set it up to have a low-friction way to highlight and add words as you’re reading?
  • if pre-made decks are important to you (eg for individual manga/books/etc), is there a wide selection matching your tastes?

And don’t worry so much about:

  • does it have a pre-made deck for the exact version of the textbook you have
  • is the initial one-time configuration and setup painful

Basically, optimise for the long term, not the short term. The Genki books have about 500 vocab words each, and almost all of those are going to be very common words you’re going to find worth knowing early. Some of them will be less common words that are in there because a lesson was on a particular topic (like 推薦状 “letter of recommendation, reference”), but you can always skip those for the moment. There’s going to be big overlap between any beginner textbook vocabulary set. It seems unlikely to me that it’s going to matter much whether you start with the 2nd ed deck or the 3rd ed, or even with a Minna no Nihongo deck or a core1k. You want a system where it’s easy to add individual words you encounter, and if you have that then adding a few new-in-3rd-ed words shouldn’t be a big problem.

(Personally I am using both Anki and jpdb.)

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I used Minna no Nihongo and not Genki as my beginner’s textbook, but I use Anki for everything non-WK and am super happy with it. I found pre-made decks for Minna no Nihongo 1 & 2, and now that I’ve moved on to the intermediate level, I’ve been able to download pre-made Tobira Anki decks off of the official Tobira website. The MNN decks that I found needed a bit of work to fix and enhance them (I found an extension that lets me easily add audio, for example), but the beauty of Anki is that you can customize it to do just about everything.

I’ve also been using Anki to learn vocabulary that I’ve mined from native media with the help of Yomichan, and it has worked excellently for that as well. The process for adding most words is very easy and painless, though I do go through a little more trouble for onomatopoeia and kanji, which I have special cards for that require me to input the information manually. But I love how Anki lets me structure my cards however I want them to be structured, so I have the freedom to find a different structure for tackling those items that is more effective than the way my normal vocab cards are set up.

Basically, I think out of all of the options you gave, Anki is probably the most futureproof, because you can seamlessly transition from beginner to intermediate to advanced, and it can be adapted to your needs for each phase without requiring you to switch tools.

Anki definitely has a steep learning curve at the start, and it has plenty of quirks that are frustrating to deal with, but I think it’s really worth learning how to work with it because I don’t think there is any other SRS that is as flexible as Anki, and which pairs with so many other tools. Plus, it has been around for ages and is far more stable as an option than the newer apps, which might not stick around forever.

If you’re turned off by the default Anki look, it’s totally worth adding some simple CSS styling to your decks so that your cards look more visually appealing. I see the ugliness of the UI get commented on a lot here, but honestly that’s a totally fixable problem.

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@Appleslicer93
Thanks for the tip! Seems like quite a few people like Torii, but sadly they neither provide a web nor an iOS version, so as an avid iOS user who almost never uses an actual PC / Mac there is no way to use it. :frowning:

@pm215
Now those are some really good points. I guess I was way too focused on finding the perfect Genki support system instead of a long term SRS. Thanks for the new perspective! Thinking about these questions it seems like there is really only one option for me (Anki). Which ironically even has some great Genki decks available. I guess I will just have to put up with the initial setup and learn its quirks.

@fallynleaf
Thanks for sharing your experiences! Yes, I guess Anki is quite preferable simply because one will definitely never have to change the SRS (e. g. because there is no advanced material available or edge cases can not be covered). I also like that the stuff I create is really mine, as opposed to systems like Kitsun, which do not even have export functionality. And it is free (especially not subscription based).

Actually I wonder why people dislike the Anki UI, though. :slight_smile: In my opinion it is really clean and simple, at least considering how feature-packed it is. But then again I actually like(d) the Windows 98 look. :older_man: I also think is is really interesting how the mobile (iOS) version does basically everything the desktop version does, while still being usable.

My problems with Anki are that some parts seam rather frail (like the manual syncing, with delta syncs and complete syncs depending on the changes…) and the default settings seem to be really bad, requiring fiddling right from the get-go (i. e. when you have no clue what you are doing). Both should be fixable, but I guess the developers prioritize backwards compatibility. I am also not too sure about the ease system, but I guess all of this stuff is more or less targeted at power users.

Anyway, thanks for your replies! Anki it is.

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FWIW I’ve never messed with the anki settings and haven’t found the defaults to be a problem.

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Regarding the vocabulary, the publisher has a comprehensive list of 2e→3e changes for both volumes.

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The only setting I changed for Anki is „New Interval“ - I changed it to 0,40.

I really like the synching, it feels quite reliable. If there‘s a complete synch, the app (on either device) asks you if you want to upload or download. You just have to make sure you synched all remaining small synchs beforehand, and then upload on one device, and download on the other. But those synchs don’t happen often once you have your decks set up. And Anki saves backups with every synch, in case you mess something up.

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That’s definitely the most important setting to change. Without it’s just miserable in the long term. I think adding longer learning steps is another big help to avoid ease hell.

@opx I wrote about my settings here if you are interested. Tell me about your Anki setup - #18 by morteASD

Be aware that these probably work better for a intermediate setup, since I’m only reviewing once a day, and the second step is quite long (you can experiment with 3d). But if you are doing a lot of other things than SRS, that shouldn’t be a problem. Going strong for three years adding about 15 cards on average a day, and it doesn’t take a big chunk of my JP time.

Yeah the mobile version is great and the desktop one is a lot smoother now with updates and qt6. I think it’s just a bandwagon thing now to hate on it. Once you have everything setup you only need like two buttons anyway :D. I do mainly reviews on my phone and just press either the right side or left side of the screen to answer.

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Ankidroid is pretty good too if you’re on that platform. (I leave adding cards to the desktop version, but mobile has enough editing UI that it’s easy to tweak/add notes during a review session.)

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I put my Anki interval as 1m 10m 1h, that is 1 10 60. But it was a while since I decided to dive into Anki once again, for JP => EN. (Actually, back side is irrelevant; and I also put in hyperlinks.) Also, I might as well stop doing Anki or SRS altogether, some time in the future.

I gradually increase New and Review after each sessions; and do Anki multiple times per day. (Or not at all on some days.)

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Interesting - this is exactly what I was searching for! I guess this document is only available in Japanese and linked somewhere from the (Japanese) Genki resources page? Because all I was able to find was this not toooo useful summary: http://genki.japantimes.co.jp/wp-content/uploads/GENKI3rd_en_1908.pdf Should have figured that it would make sense to search for Japanese content…

Anyway, seems like there have been quite a few changes, actually way more than I assumed. Thanks!

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Regarding my comments about the Anki default settings: I encountered this first when I tried to learn using the (actually quite good) Genki 3rd edition decks:

Genki 1 3rd edition: Genki 1 3rd edition with sound files - AnkiWeb
Genki 2 3rd edition: Genki 2 3rd edition with sound files - AnkiWeb
Styling and manual answer input by yours truly: GitHub - opx-gh/anki-genki-3rd-edition-kana-input: Modified card templates for the Genki 1 3rd edition (https://ankiweb.net/shared/info/1742947823) and Genki 2 3rd edition (https://ankiweb.net/shared/info/969261095) Anki decks, which allow for the input of Hiragana / Katakana.

The problem with these decks is apparently that the author used subdecks instead of (nested) tags. Because of this, Anki would pick random vocabulary from all of the subdecks, which (in this case) is not exactly useful.

So, after searching around for a bit, I realized I had to turn on the Anki V3 scheduler, which fixes this problem by default (because it will go through the decks sequentially). Naturally, I searched whether there are other settings which really should be changed and stumbled upon quite a few resources which had nothing good to say about the defaults. :slight_smile: Like:

And, together with the fact that understanding how Anki handles your answers and how the Anki concepts (of notes, cards, fields, templates) work together is not exactly easy this got frustrating enough for me to quit. :sweat_smile: But I guess in the long run there is no better solution.

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Yeah, I think it took me 3 tries through various years to really manage to stick to Anki. The learning curve is definitely there, but once you figure it out and tune it to your liking, you don’t want to use anything else :smile:. I think I got really into tuning stuff and analysing what works for me at some point. Definitely no reason not to use V3 scheduler, it improves a lot of things (I also use subdecks). Haven’t had that problem you are describing, though. Probably since I go usually through only one or two decks at a time, and I have different setting groups for some.

Oh, here’s another video that I like to explain things :wink: Guide to Anki Intervals and Learning Steps - YouTube

Better to not take everything as canon what people are saying, but make your own conclusions and decide what works for you! Good luck :slight_smile:

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If I could go back and do it again, I’d do a core deck instead of doing the genki vocab in SRS.

Sure, it make the genki exercises easier, but learning the most common words is much more valuable if you ask me.

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