As mentioned in my study log, I want to take as much out of my Genki 1 book as I can, with main focus on everything but Kanji (because WaniKani is probably the better solution for this). I looked up how others tackled the Genki books (not much here and on the web, but a couple of YouTubers had some ideas they shared), and I read the Introduction to get an idea of what the structure and intention of the book is. I also found a Json for the vocabulary, and counted them, and via wayback machine I could still access the Kanji table, which I used with the WaniKani Kanji Highlighter browser plugin to get a feel going over the Kanji, to see on which level they’d pop up on WaniKani.
My goal is to get as much as possible out of Genki, i.e. ideally I want to practice listening comprehension, reading, writing and speaking. I think the last one is probably the weakest; but to be able to speak, you’ll also need grammar and vocabulary, so it could at least aid a bit.
Please let me know any thoughts on this. Do you think my approach makes sense? What would you definately change and why? Did you do something similar already? What where your experiences?
- 12 Lessons, each having 2 sections:
- “Conversation & Grammar” (the front part)
- “Reading & Writing” (the back part).
“Conversation & Grammar” will consist of:
- 2 per lesson
- Transcripts (with Romanji for Lessons 1+2, and Furigana for all Kanji from Lesson 3)
- For Dialogue + all exercises
- with recordings!
- min: 43 words
- max: 63 words
- avg: 50 words per lesson
- Multiple grammar points per lesson; each has its own chapter
- min: 3 points
- max: 8 points
- avg: 6 points per lesson.
- Multiple exercises for each grammar point
- Review Exercise at the end, that includes all grammar points of the lesson
- Cultural notes: English text, sometimes with new vocab that is not used anywhere else in the book, does not have recordings and is not part of the vocab list
- Useful Expressions: New vocab / typical sentences that are not used anywhere else in the book, does not have recordings and is not part of the vocab list.
“Reading & Writing” will consist of:
- min: 14, max: 16; avg: 15 Kanji per lesson
- most important kun-yomi + on-yomi reading, plus suggestion which of these to learn
- different vocabulary compounds as example, plus suggestion which of these to learn
- Recognizing/Reconstructing/Combining Kanji exercises
- audio recording
- comprehension questions to anser
- putting everything (vocab, grammar, Kanji) into practice on a creative writing exercise
Besides this we have the work book, which has 1 page of exercises per grammar point, a trace sheet for writing Kanji and two Kanji exercises: A all Kana collection of sentences where you need to replace some of the Kana with the Kanji, and a collection of English sentences that you are to translate into Japanese (using of course Kanji and Kana).
- (maybe) WaniKani to look up Kanji I don’t yet know for the mnemonics.
- A SRS-System; I’ll dust of my Anki.
- Seth Clydesdale’s additional Genky Study Resources
Every lesson should take approximately one week - in this week I’ll work through the chapters in the way they are presented, but have them overlapped with vocab learning and the exercises, so that there is approximately one additional week. This will allow you to finish the book in 13 weeks, i.e. 3 months (plus whatever you need to remember and recall the last lessons) → JLPT N5 in less than half a year? Seems a bit too good to be true, lets see how it goes.
Given a lesson with X grammar points and the maximum of 60 vocabs and 15 Kanji, this is what the week would look like:
Day 1: Dialogue
Goal is to activate the brain, and try to make as much sense and connections before learning the vocab and grammar and/or translation. Also: train listening comprehension as well as reading. Therefore I’ll do the following:
- Listen to the dialogue (1-3 times) and try to make sense of what I hear → Listening comprehension
- What can I already understand (prior knowledge)
- What of the unknown can I deduce the meaning of, due to known vocab and grammar, voices, intonation, emotions?
- What could be the topic, what could be the grammar points?
- Listen and read the dialogue along (1-3 times) → Reading practice + pronunciation.
- Read the dialogue aloud (1-3 times) → Reading practice + pronunciation practice.
- Read the dialogue alongside the translation → deduce additional things like new grammar structures, unknown vocabs, etc. with the translation alongside.
Day 1 - 6: Vocabulary
Only after reading the Dialogue will I approach the Vocabulary list, and here the goal is to learn 10 new items a day. That should give us an average 5 days to work through the list of vocabulary. Vocabulary will go into Anki and ideally it will not be Word <–> Translation, but rather “Sentence with gap” + some visual cues. I follow the idea of Gabriel Wyner, to not use direct translations, and to make the flash cards as personal as possible. So I won’t be using any pre-made decks, but rather make them my own. It’s partly explained here (there used to be more in-depth articles, but I cannot find them anymore; Wyner now has his own company but developed this idea using Anki - and there are a lot of useful plugins and video tutorials on YouTube you can still follow, without needing to use [and pay for] his new software). Being creative with the card creation will already go a long way in remembering the word. And - really important - link the audio files to cards to always have them as well.
Day 1 - 7: Kanji?!
This one I am not totally sure of, yet. Genki provides Kanji, but without radicals to help you recognize and (de/re)construct them, without mnemonic and of course with all readings at once and a couple of vocabulary as well. I was toying with the idea of adding them into Anki as well, but am worried that slightly different meanings or focus on other readings could mess up my WaniKani progress. Another possibility would be to just focus on the writing. Going through what I already know with finishing Level 3 on WaniKani, there probably isn’t much to learn anyways: For lesson 3 (the first with Kanji) I know all 15 but 2. For lesson 4 it’s 2 out of 14, for lesson 4 and 6 it is both 4 out of 14 and 15. Only at lesson 6 the count rises (7 out of 15 unknown) and from 8 on-wards it is flipped - I know 2-4 out of 14-16 Kanji. Until then I might have caught up with WaniKani - I feel like 80% of the Kanji is covered by level 10 of WaniKani, and by level 15 it’s probably somewhere around 95%. Highest Kanji I could find is on level 35 on WaniKani.
If I did do Kanji or if I wouldn’t do WaniKani, I’d probably start learning 2-3 of them every day (make it fit the week so you get them ready when starting the reading/writing), with all readings and meanings that Genki suggest you should remember. I’d add them to Anki with stroke order, composition, mnemonics and images, rather than translations - and again: Make it personal.
Day 2 - X: Grammar
After the first day of dialogue follows grammar. One grammar point per day. Read the explanation, try to find the usage in the dialogue, read the example sentences. If not clear, research additional sources (e.g. Tae Kim’s Grammar Guide, Tofugu, etc.). Turn example sentences into Anki cards for SRS
Day 3 - X+1: Textbook exercises
Starting with day 3 I have my first grammar point “learned” and am able to use it in exercises - this is a SRS measurement, i.e. by delaying the usage from the time I read and hopefully memorized and internalized the concept with help of the explanation, the sentences and the creation of Anki cards (and reviews). So I start using it on the exercises and hopefully don’t need any help and do them all 100% 正しい。
And of course until X is not reached, I also do a new grammar point.
Day 4 - X+2: Seth Clydesdale’s exercises
Starting with day 4 I have my first grammar point “learned” and reviewed once with exercises. So this is the second review with additional exercises from Seth Clydesdale’s site which is a great addition for additional exercises.
Day X+1: Textbook Review exercises
After finishing all grammar points, this Review exercise should further test and strengthen our Grammar knowledge of the lesson.
Day X+1: Kanji + Reading Exercises
We have hopefully finished all vocab and kanji at this point. They mustn’t be perfect knowledge yet but we have some familiarity and can start the Kanji exercises as well as the reading exercise.
For the reading exercise: There is a audio recording available as well - however hearing it first probably defeats the purpose of having some reading practice. Therefore I’ll do the following instead:
- Read the text quietly. Make sure I understand everything. If I really have to, look things up.
- Read the text aloud, and record myself while doing it.
- Listen to the audio and compare it to my recording. Take note of any miss-pronounciations and practice them
Day X+2: Writing exercise → Should probably be Day 7 (on average)
Do the writing exercise.
Day 8 - 8+X: Next lesson → Workbook Exercises
With start of the next lesson, start doing the workbook exercises, one by one, from the previous week, as another SRS mechanism.
A typical session on a random day:
As you have already concluded, a typical day will consist of multiple parts - and I’ll probably start with them this order:
- All in Anki, for Grammar and Vocab
- Workbook exercises for last weeks items
- Seth Clydesdale’s exercises for the ere-yesterday’s items
- Textbook exercises for yesterdays items
- Review exercises at the end of a lesson
- Learning current Item:
- Could be Dialogue…
- … or grammar work
- … or reading exercise
- … or writing exercise
- and always 10 new vocabulary items (unless all items learned for current lesson - don’t skip ahead here!)
- and maybe 2 Kanji
- Preparing current items for spaced repetition:
- None for dialogue
- Example sentences utilizing grammar points
- Maybe Kanji
- (Sentences with) new vocabulary
- Maybe content form Culture Note
- Maybe content from Useful Expressions.
I am not yet sure of the time it’ll take each day. My estimation is that it’s probably an hour of intensive work with the book (both for reading + exercises + preparing stuff for Anki), and maybe some spare time to do Anki reviews - this doesn’t need to happen consecutively.
What to do with Kanji?
How to make useful cards with images and no translations for words like あの、いま、そうですか (just 3 examples of the first lesson).
Is there a good source to get example sentences for vocabulary? Could help with the creation of cards.
How to make useful cards containing the concepts of a grammar point in a sentence + picture without using the grammar explanation? Something like XはYです。noun1のnoun2, etc.?
Maybe is using both Anki and exercises as SRS tool redundant? Does it make sense to have the grammar concept pop up as Anki card on the review and then again as exercise? Maybe move the exercises further away?
What to do, if the exercises totally fail, i.e. I did not remember the rules, or misunderstood the grammar point?
My initial feeling was that textbook exercises are easier than workbook exercises. So I wanted the later for the weekly repetition. Then I added Seth Clydesdale’s exercises to the mix. I am not sure if they fit better in-between or if I should switch the order around and have those as the last exercise a week later… Any suggestions? Otherwise I’ll try and see…
Same for the Review exercise. This could also come one week later. Or after the reading/writing.
Kanji, Reading and Writing exercises could probably also be done on the same day? Writing might however take time, so maybe it’s better this way. Also, it can serve as another SRS mechanism - most writing exercises seem to shadow the reading exercise (i.e. “Read a diary entry” → “Write your own diary entry”). Having to recall this might be a good idea.