Level 60 (well kind of) post and my (admittedly overly critical) opinion on WaniKani

I think Vocab could stop at enlightened or master, or just take less space in WK. It’s a good critique of the site, though I’m not sure how it’d be changed

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I’m still at an early level and have really appreciated the vocab so far. I don’t really mind the time that vocab takes. If it’s easy vocab anyways, then it isn’t really an issue and the SRS will naturally push it further out just like everything else. If the vocab is harder than that and I can’t clear it, then clearly it’s something that warrants more review time, which the SRS will naturally account for. If there’s any issues with the way vocab is presented by WaniKani, I think the SRS takes care of it just fine. I have the time to take a couple more seconds answering easy vocab.

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You make good points of course, I wasn’t trying to say that WK is all bad. I just wanted to focus on the bad to keep the post short and on point. As I mentioned in an early post I totally agree that something like WK is essential to understand how kanji are made up and how they can relate with each other to make up words. I’m arguing that there’s a certain “X time spent on Japanese” after reviewing vocabs becomes counterproductive.

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It takes very little time time to make a card on Anki with the right add-ons (literally a matter of seconds, just copy paste the vocab). Then again it takes time to learn how to set up Anki this way, so I totally understand what you are trying to say. I guess it’s a matter of how important that “anki knowledge” is to you.

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I’m reading よつばと! and posting translation attempts in my study log, like this, to practice my grammar understanding and get feedback.

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Not that I encourage it, but if you’d like that functionality here’s a script that lets you know which SRS level the item is currently on. Knowing that, you can decide to push the item further towards burn. You’d still have to do the reviews with this method, though.

I definitely agree with the choice of “I already know this” option. I know people could definitely abuse it if they get the word right after 2 opportunities when at the 3rd opportunity they would not know it, but I began using WK after already having studied JPN for about 2-4 years, living there 2 years. I started WK at N3 level. Getting through (and still getting through!!) the first 10-20 levels was an absolute slog cuz I already know these kanji and vocab, and it feels like a huge waste of time. I’d much rather the option to hit “auto burn this kanji/vocab” and only SRS the ones I don’t know well enough. I’d def be level 20~ something by now.

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Vocabulary and Kanji should not have the same SRS intervals. This is something I definitely agree with. I’d also add: even for just vocabulary, not every item deserves the same intervals. Words with a completely irregular reading are much more difficult to learn, yet Wanikani wants you to spend time on every item equally. It also doesn’t offer the option to suspend items you already know, which inevitably happens a lot for everyone who takes learning Japanese seriously and uses Wanikani only to supply their grammar studies. In addition to this, many of Wanikani’s vocabulary choices are rather questionable.

Still I believe the vocabulary reviews are more helpful than it seems. Learning each Kanji’s meaning and one of its readings is not going to make you literate in Japanese. You’re not going to be much more capable reading Japanese than Chinese if you don’t know how the vocabulary are written. On top of that, the vocabulary also serves to really cement your Kanji knowledge. A Kanji that you’d only see 10 times, you’ll see 10 more times per vocabulary it appears in.

Wanikani doesn’t only teach you Kanji, it also teaches you to read. It may be inefficient in treating every item equally, but it’s still one of the most efficient, most complete, most comfortable and most effective ways to obtain literacy in Japanese, and for that it is absolutely worth the money in my opinion. Not to mention the amazing community hustling along with you, sharing experiences, tips and resources.

I may only be 20% done, but I’d still recommend it to anyone learning Japanese despite its flaws.

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It seems that learning styles might be significant in how useful WK is. Also prior knowledge and your other interests. I view WK as a framework that builds a basic knowledge of kanji that can then support other areas of study.
I have no interest in sport but appreciate that learning these words are important to understand how kanji are developed.
It is also about enjoying the journey.
I totally feel I get value for money.

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That is correct. I regularly forget words I’ve seen many times before when I’m reading, and look them up and go “oh, right.” There is a reason people will put new words into an SRS as they are reading.

As for this, you have a fair point. But I still think that it doesn’t justify reviewing every vocab for months and months. I’m sure readings will be picked up eventually the more you read, and more importantly, listen to the language, since you’ll associate the sound of a word (the reading) to the concept of the word, rather than associating the kanji to the word.

I thin you really overestimate the time spent reviewing for a word, in addition to how well you retain it after just a few times. Obviously you also need to experience the language, but for uncommon words, its difficult to pick them up just by watching/listening/reading.

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I wonder how hard it would be to write a script based on these that could automatically filter out Vocabulary entries once they reach Enlightened or Master

Let me try to tell something more here about this topic ( I say try because I don’t use to participate of the forum, so I don’t know how to use many of the resources, like quoting the text I want to reply).
1: I didn’t like the reviews at the first levels because most of the words I already know, so I didn’t have much patience. But when the words started to get different, I have really enjoyed it. And when the new kanjis really started coming (from level 10 or so beyond, because I have already been studying for two years before wanikani) I saw many kanjis are very similar and it is easy to make confusion with them. So sometimes some word goes into my memory because I heard in a song, or something like that, and I remember the meaning or pronunciation of the kanji becacuse of the word. “Oh, like in that word”, something like that. And as the time passed, I realized that even the words I knew would aquire a new sense or feeling to me as I would grow up in the vocab. It was like going deeper in the meaning, analyizing and understanding the differences and all. The suru verbs, I like them, because aren’t all words you can use with suru, so it’s nice to know. I also like and have a lot of trouble with the passive and active verbs (it is a nightmare, but I understand it is valid).

  1. What I feel today about the words: I forget them. I get confused with similar words, and sometimes they have really different means, like 紀元前 and 紀元後. Well, they have oposite meaning, and that is absolutely easy to read, yet, my brain just changes when I am making the reviews fast kkk. Or 辞書 and 辞典. And sometimes, like in 世辞 and 世記, I get the wrong pronunciation, so I say (seiji) for the first because the second is read (seiki). So I think that part of fluency is exactly knowing things by heart, because you dont want to look in a dictionary everytime you want to say or you hear something. The reviews help us to remember those trick words, and once you know them, the reviews will get spaced and ok, you wont worry more about that word. If you fail, it is because it is still tricky. Of course we can guess the meaning of the word by looking at it, but I want to talk japanese, write in japanese, read easily in japanese, not just being guessing things.
  2. I tried some reading, but the job of trying to read line by line with lots of words I dont know and needed to search in a dictionary really made me tired. And just memorize words wouldnt make sense for me either, because I like to know were they came from. I learned english just reading and listening, but it didn’t work with japanese. So I gave the readings a time, now I think is time to give another try. But I really loved how the vocab in wanikani has widen my horizons absolutely. And I love when I recognize the words and kanjis in the realword (as I did with a toy box some days ago). I wouldn’t remember the words if I didn’t review them over and over.
  3. It is important for us to know what each brain has it`s own way to work and sometimes a resource may not be usefull for us, but it if for others. Or even, it can work in some time of our life and not work in other time.
  4. I am still going (in some minutes) to level 19, so I do recognize the perspectives can be really different. I understand that when you get to level 60 you probably already know japanese and are tired of the reviews kkkk.
  5. Last, but not least, I already gave up of others payed resources because thought they weren’t working for me. So if one day I eventually think that wanikani isn’t working for me, I surely will stop paying before I reach the level 60 kkkk.
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What part of OP’s post makes you think they failed to reach their goals? They repeatedly stressed that they find the SRS steps excessive and that they are learning vocab with less time devoted. I’m slightly skeptical of how much ease they make it sound like they have with less intuitive words, but regardless, potential critiques can be discussed without slinging hypothetical insults about someone’s ability.

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What’s the point of learning kanji if not for vocabulary. the whole point of kanji learning is fast vocabulary acquisition. wanikani contains 5000 most common vocab. It takes a long time but it’s worth it in order to have 90%+ reading comprehension. Obviously, for comforting reading, you need around 10-12k+ but that’s not the main goal of wanikani.
If you just speed up through kanji you get nothing- you just learned alphabetic letters and in order to acquire vocabulary you still gonna spend the same amount of time on learning new words as if you would doing levels ups properly ( with vocabulary)

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Guys, OP isn’t saying to skip every single vocab, but that there should be less time spent on it on site (Either by less items or by less SRS intervals), and those issues made them skip, not because they think vocab is useless (otherwise they wouldn’t go out of their way to learn it in another way lol)

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Let me clarify one thing:
OP said he wanted to reach level 60 but he couldn’t, right?
That is a way of saying he failed to reach level 60 (in the amount of time he was planing to) right?

So there is no offense in saying he did not reach his goal aka he failed, right?

So it seems he thinks it is not his fault that he did not reach his goals.
And looking for someone who is responsible.
So if it is not his fault it can only be the fault of someone else and the only other parties involved in the OP are “the script” and “WaniKani”.

I am a bit surprised on how a simple repetition of a statement the OP made by himself can be accounted for as an offense to be honest.

Well the whole entry of it is an explanation of why he writes a level 60 post being on level 56 and later he describes he can’t reach level 60 in a reasonabel amount of time?

That’s pretty much a failed goal, no? I am not saying that I think HE is a failure btw, so relax please.

That is very much not the point of this post at all; it’s a one sentence explanation of how a script breaking led to their intended level 60 post coming a few levels early, since that’s visible to people. For all the misreadings being flung at the OP; it’s clear their goal is to learn Japanese, not to be level 60 on a service they have mixed feelings about.

My point is, when you take a pretty enormous, mostly even-handed post about detailed thoughts on this and react with “wow I guess you’re mad you didn’t make it” that is both absolutely pointless as a contribution and basically just baiting someone.

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Well I will from now on refrain from doing such evil.

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I always got the vibe that the vocab given by wanikani is to help reinforce the Kanji you just learned, almost as a way to double(or more) dip on any given kanji to help make sure it sticks in your head. If you want an actual list of most common vocab, there’s Torii, Kitsun and Anki to help with that. It’s probably beneficial to do it in tandem with WK

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