Is wanikani teaching me irrelevant words :(

I’m currently living in Japan and I was speaking with a Japanese friend of mine and I used 用いる in a sentence and he had no idea what I was talking about. I had to show him the written vocab word in order for him to recognize it, and after he saw it, he kind of laughed and said that nobody uses that word. Now I’m paranoid that I’m spending all of this time learning vocab that’s totally irrelevant to daily Japanese usage!!! Thots on my thots?


Wanikani is mostly aimed at reading words. The vocab 用いる is used plenty, but mostly in text and more formal speech, not in everyday conversation. Then you’d want 使う.


Yeah, 用いる is an essential vocab word that small Japanese children know. If you read a thesaurus in Japanese you’ll see it about 5 times per entry. You’re just noticing that different words are used in different situations.


Aside from what was mentioned, you shouldn’t use WaniKani as your sole source of vocabulary as vocab is used to reinforce the kanji readings. I suggest trying out an N5 tango anki deck for beginner level conversations.

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用いる does seem useful.
I’m not so sure about some geographical locations, especially 田代島. I’m not even sure it’s top cat island (青島 enters the chat).

(Though for useless words you can just learn pronunciation and enter “dunno” as user synonym)

Usually WaniKani maps a Japanese vocab to a single English word, which might be handy for memorizing, but Japanese doesn’t always map to English one-to-one.

As a result, WaniKani (and most Japanese->English dictionaries) often don’t sufficiently convey the nuance of the word and provide enough context for when to use it.

For instance, consider these words: 用いる, 使う, 使用する, 利用する, 採用する
These words have difference nuances/different situations for when you use them, but a JP->EN dictionary may just approximate them to “to use”.

Using a Japanese->Japanese dictionary can often help give a more nuanced definition, but might be useless for beginners who struggle to understand the definitions. I’d say the best thing to do is continue immersing in the language, and by hearing people use words over and over again, you’ll start to build up a mental model for the true meaning of the word instead of the English approximation.


無縁 means irrelevant and it’s in level 44

WaniKani / Vocabulary / 無縁


At the very least it teaches a reading for 代, so if you meet a 田代さん, you probably won’t call them でんだいさん by accident.


Yes. :slightly_smiling_face:

WaniKani’s vocab is, from what I understand, mostly geared towards cementing the readings and meanings of kanji, and occasionally teaching you something useful.

If you want useful vocabulary, something like Torii or a Core2k/6k Anki deck might be a better choice.

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