Is WaniKani on its own any good?

Don’t get me wrong, I still love it, and think it is really helpful. Though I only started a month ago, and got subsription literally hours ago.

And still, I keep noticing there are a ton of threads about WaniKani being not as effective on its own, and people using different websites, and programs to diversify their learning process. Besides, I’ve read a couple of topics of level 60 legends (like how did you do that?! that’s absolutly insane) who gave some tips and advices for newcomers like myself, which included another pile of resources I’ve heard for the first time.

With that being said, could you please:

  1. give an opinion on the usage of another resources along with WaniKani
  2. share some good resources with me and others

Also, I shoud say that my ultimate goal is learning Japanese to a certain extent, as for many people here on the platform, I suppose. So, as much information (not limited to learning kanji) as possible is appreciated.

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Wanikani on its own is the best way to learn kanji in my opinion. The important thing to know here is that kanji on its own is not enough for fluency. At the same time, having all the other necessary skills for language acquisition and not knowing kanji is not a good option either…

I think of kanji like this: knowing kanji will enable me to read and make it significantly easier to learn vocab (and some grammar too!). Kanji is an enabler. If WK does it best, then WK is a good enabler in being able to learn Japanese in a smoother way :slight_smile:

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You might want to browse this thread.

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There’s some excellent resources threads around, so I def recommend check those out!

That being said, everyone’s learning journey is going to be different, but there’s roughly the same components needed in order to learn the language.

Scripts (Hiragana, Katakana, Kanji)
Vocabulary
Grammar
Reading/Listening skills

WK helps you learn Kanji, as well as some vocabulary that uses kanji, so it doesn’t teach you all the vocabulary you need to know, as a lot of it is written in kana only.

So that means you have to find a way to learn additional vocabulary. I personally uses Anki decks for that, but there’s other options available. If you use a particular textbook, it can be useful to have a deck for that as well, if that’s the option you want to go with.

Grammar teaches you how to use the language and how it works, it’s a really important component, so you should find a good grammar resource right away. Personally, I love textbooks ( I’ve used Genki and Japanese for Busy People), but there’s other options if that’s not what you’re into.

Reading/Listening/Watching Japanese content and exposing yourself to the language is a really good way of training your brain to recognize the language and reinforce the vocab/grammar points you’ve learned. As a beginner, it’s really frustrating at first when you barely understand anything, but it’s a necessary part of the process!

You can find some good beginner friendly books to get started. Personally, my first books were Shirokuma Cafe. They were easy to read, but weren’t for babies either and featured everyday situations for the most part. You can find a list of book recommendations per level somewhere in the forums tho.

Basically, just look around at what is available and figure out what works best for you. Not all tools and resources are gonna work for you personally, so it’s okay to try something and then change for something else.

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Like @jprspereira pointed out. WK is great for learning kanji. But just being able to read won’t make you fluid in Japanese. Thus the need for external resources that cover the other areas of the language.

Something many miss practicing is listening. This one takes time and patience more than anything; you just have to expose yourself to spoken Japanese in all forms you can. :headphones:

You might find some good resources here: :slight_smile:

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I’m personally using WaniKani along with Attain Corp’s courses on Udemy. Right now I’m using Attain’s N5 course, and a lot of the kanji they teach at the N5 level crosses over with the N5 portion of WaniKani (first 10 levels, IIRC), so it helps immensely in drilling those kanji into my mind. Plus Attain also covers some vocabulary you may not encounter in WK along with grammar rules, which WK doesn’t cover (as far as I’ve seen). Each segment in the Attain course also contains a conversation that you will watch multiple times, with the goal being able to listen to the conversation and understand it without subtitles by the end of that segment. You can usually get the Attain courses for $10-15 if you’re patient and wait for a sale…they come up fairly often.

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Wanikani is and has always been advertised as a way to learn KANJI. That’s it. You’re expected to already know hiragana and katakana to be able to use it, so that’s three things off a very long checklist.

Grammar, including but not limited to particles, verbs and conjugation, adjectives and conjugation, adverbs, etc. Wanikani teaches you a lot of verbs as part of vocab but you’ll need to be able to conjugate them.

I supplement Wanikani with Genki and Japanese from Zero as well as an app called Bunpo which I find sufficient for studying on the go.

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You cannot learn Japanese from WaniKani alone of course; that much is true. Nevertheless I believe the ‘diversification’ that you’ve been hearing about are people saying that they’ve been using resources for grammar along side WaniKani. This makes complete sense, as WaniKani (aside from those basic example sentences it has when learning new vocabulary) does not teach any grammar whatsoever.

Here are some of my all time favourite grammar learning sources:
1. Tae Kim’s Grammar Guide – How I learnt all my grammar after struggling with Genki for half a year.
2. Maggie Sensei – Has some articles related to more specific grammar point.
3. Imabi – Not so helpful for learning, but amazing for revision.
4. Tofugu’s Grammar Articles – I assume you already know this one. It’s not as useful as the others I’ve mentioned when going fully into hardcore studying, but they’re fun and can have some useful little tips in them.

Here are some I’ve heard great things about but haven’t tried or don’t like:
1. NihongoNoMori – I prefer written content so I haven’t really tried it; heard it’s amazing though!
2. Cure Dolly – Far too creepy for me to find useful; I’m sorry.
3. Bunpro – I haven’t personally used it, but once again I’ve heard great things about it!

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In my opinion, yes, it’s good, great even. The thing is though I would not recommend you only use WaniKani as a study resource. Over time I’ve forgotten many words and kanji that I had previously learned here because I wasn’t actively reading and reinforcing what I was taught. Doing that is an essential part of studying and without there’s not much point in even using this at all I think. It’s great for getting started and teaching you the fundamentals of most kanji, but you can’t just leave it alone and expect yourself to remember everything without anything else.

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The people who created WK did not design it to be used alone…

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WaniKani alone has helped my reading comprehension by leaps and bounds!
When I started I knew the normal basics, so have a bit of basic grammar (but only the very basic) a bit of common vocab and so on. But all very basic.

Just by WaniKani alone, as well as simply trying to read stuff with WaniKani peaople (so still count it as part of WaniKani, even though it is a side thing) I’ve gone from just reading it to get used to reading, barely catching the drift, to read and comprehend SO much more!
I’m still horrible at taking the time to look up words (meh, just keep reading =P ) and need to go out and actually learn proper grammar, but by WaniKani and immersion alone I’ve gone a LONG way!
Sure, I still have a long way to go, much to learn, but dang if it haven’t gotten me to a point where I feel it is starting to “click”, catch new words through the context, understand a good bit of grammar through exposure. Learning it should be easier now, when I do take the time.

I will be using proper books for grammar, since it isn’t included in WK. I have both Genki, Japanese From Zero, for Busy People, The Manga Way (I… collect them… but they are collecting dust… ^^; )

But can you go a long way with just WaniKani? Yes, very long! Not all the way, but a looong way!

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In short, no. You will need to reinforce your memory by reading kanji. WK is a good starting point, though.

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People are pretty adamant that it was not intended to be used alone and should not be used alone, but my opinion is that there are worse ways to spend your time.

Now, I agree that someone who knows NOTHING about Japanese would be wasting their time. (By that I mean someone who doesn’t understand what hiragana / katakana / kanji are, can’t read any of them, and doesn’t know the most basic points of sentence construction, particles, ko/so/a/do words, etc.).

AND I also have to agree that people using diverse resources to tackle more than just kanji lessons will make more progress toward learning Japanese.

But there’s a lot of middle ground between those two poles (starting from 0, and trying to be fluent ASAP). I think some of the responses here tend to overstate the need to use other resources all the time. Not everyone has infinite time or mental energy to devote to learning Japanese, and not everyone’s goal is to become perfectly fluent any time soon. (Of course, if that is their goal, then the responses that you NEED to diversify are correct). Otherwise, I think some of the responses here tend to overstate the need to cover as much different ground as possible.

If you know hiragana / katakana, and you have a basic but decent grammar base (to where you could parse most sentences using a grammar reference, even if you can’t create the sentences on your own), then learning kanji is actually going to be a huge help to your comprehension of native material, your ability to communicate online, AND your ability to learn more grammar in the future.

In addition, for people who don’t have a lot of time, Wanikani is the easiest way to spend the time you do have, because it’s all prepared for you–you have lessons, you have reviews, it feels like a game, and you aren’t just reading through a chapter in a textbook hoping you retain some stuff after doing an example or two.

So, depending on your goal… I am not so bearish on the prospects of people who fall into the habit of only having time for WK most days. Edited to add a shorter recap that I think captures my thoughts better: If you only have time for one thing most days, using just WK when you already know a little bit of grammar does more good for you than I think people give it credit here (not just in this thread, I mean).

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The main issue here, I think, is that there’s no one resource alone that you can use to achieve fluency. Having said that, Wanikani “unlocks” one of the hardest parts of learning Japanese (the Kanji) as well as providing a lot of vocab that you can put to use. If you were adamant about only using one studying resource, Wanikani is a pretty decent choice in that regard.

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I personally don’t like that resource much, but just because I really dislike video lessons. I don’t get what makes it creepy, though, People are fine with animated shows, this is just like an animated show but with the voice being non-human too.

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If you rush burning L60 and never use another resource, then no, it’s no good on its own. You’d be able to comprehend sufficiently primitive sentences, such as those on traffic signs, perhaps, but in practice, you wouldn’t understand pretty much a single spoken sentence. There are, at the very least, two more resources you need: one to reinforce the vocabulary and, even more importantly, one to learn and practice grammar, because that’s where the language gets awfully tricky awfully quickly. Using WK alone gives you a fatal false sense of knowledge and confidence because what WK teaches is but a tiny fraction of what one must learn.

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