How should one learn vocabulary?

Personally I would suggest focusing on grammar and only learning vocab to assist in that. Only after that would I bother with any vocab study but by then you should be reading and getting a lot of your vocab from there. Seeing a word in the wild a few times is worth so much more then grinding it through srs.


To an extent I think it depends on the person. Up front I will certainly agree that seeing a word in the wild a few times has a strong reinforcement effect, but I never would have recognized it w/out the srs grind to start. I hated doing grammar, because I hated looking up every single kanji. Now that I’m getting a marginal base of vocab to work with, I have to look up much less and grammar is becoming more enjoyable.


Yes. Kanji is an integral part of the language. Knowing the kanji from the beginning will save you a lot of trouble. If you learn only the phonetic part first and then try to get back to the kanji… well then you first of all have to learn the word twice and since you technically already know it, you might lack in motivation to relearn it again and end up half heartedly. Also the pictographic part of the kanji often is a bigger give away of what the word means, than the phonetic part, since a lot of kanji and words share the same phonetic coponents.


@VictorLino Okay, thanks for the advice !! I’m gonna keep on using wanikani; definitely seems to be helping me to remember things. What kind of vocabulary is solely kana, for example ? Oh yeah, I just downloaded Anki; not quite sure how it works yet, but it seems like it could be a good program heh. Thanks for the thoughts !!
@musera Hmm, mmkay. Thanks for the thoughts ~
@ennuideblase That’s true… Maybe I’ll try to go for a balance between the both. Thanks for the thoughts !!
@Hyva Oh h, I see. Okay, thanks for the advice !!

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Got to promote since you are asking while the beta is open for a few more days, a far better platform IMO than Anki (I think the trial is ~ 2 weeks after Dec 1st)


Oh, thanks for recommending that, looks like a nice program !! I’ll check it out ~

Seems we got the same question going on, @jprspereira said it best here:


Thanks for linking it @s1212z :grin:

@smallotter, if you go for Kitsun, I recommend paying more attention to the Katakana 4.5k and to the Genki Complete Vocabulary decks. The katakana vocabulary deck will help you reinforce the katakana (which is something a lot of learners struggle with since it’s not as used as hiragana) while quickly help you with boosting your vocab (since you know English and most katakana words come from ENG). The Genki deck on the other hand has a lot of beginner vocabulary and it’s perfect to use it together with the Genki books for your grammar studies :slight_smile:

Any questions that you might have, let us know :slight_smile: You can also post them on the Kitsun’s thread here on the forums:


Not sure I agree. Even Japanese first learn the words and then later the kanji. Sometimes the kanji are selected there just because they have the right sounds. Besides, there are a lot of common very useful words that have difficult kanji. If you try to learn them it will be frustrating, and just skipping them is a bad idea also. I would learn the kanji if you can, but when learning vocab focus on the vocab.


@s1212z Thanks for linking to that !!
@jprspereira Okay, thanks for the deck suggestions, they look like they’ll be helpful !! I’ll havta consider buying kitsun; maybe I’ll try it for a bit and then make a decision. Does seem much better than anki so far though.
@morteasd Thanks for the thoughts !


I guess some hard kanji might take a lot of focus from the fundamentals. But coming back fro kanji later realy seems like double the work to me.
But everyone needs to find their own way.

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There’s all the katakana words, and there are also words that can be written in kanji but rarelly are (a dictionary will usually warn about that), onomatopeia words, etc…

i used memrise back in the day. it’s free, that’s a big factor. wk alone costs enough already.

Everyone is definitely different, but one definite way is to actually speak with natives. There’s a very large discord server for English/Japanese language exchange, and everyone there is very helpful! (I would say this is the most natural way to learn the spoken/written language as a whole in combination with some grammar and WK)

Other than that, you can mine words from just about anywhere. One of my favorites is to pull up the English wikipedia page for something I’m personally interested in, and simply switch it to 日本語. It’s a gold mine. =)

Just want to add that Shiritori is another fun way. There’s a longstanding thread for that game right here on WK. ~Shiritori~
That’s something to hit up after reviews, definitely.

Here are examples showing the types @VictorLino listed:

katakana words

パン (bread):


words that can be written in kanji but rarely are



onomatopoeia (or mimetic) words




@VictorLino @OmukaiAndi @shinzm Thanks for the examples & suggestions !! Also thanks for the discord, I’ll havta check it out !! That’s a good idea with the wikipedia, oo h…

@ChristopherFritz Thanks for the examples !!


Reading through the second last post, it reminds me of this funny bugger of a word (a portmanteau) セステナブル and イナべーション oh my god that took too long to type

Thank you so much!

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