Listening training challenge

Udate: after just gettign a bit used to the listening practice (with the Self Study quiz), I find it much easier. I think it was just a brief shock as was the first time doing listening my brain didn’t know what to do - but after just a short while, I’m much better. Just leaving this update if anyone had the same experience

I just started the Self Study Quiz script so I can train listening training (audio → reading/meaning) and finding it very difficult. I feel like I’m starting at level 1. Many sound familiar, and I can guess a few here and there, but I can’t correctly guess the majority of them.

Has anyone else had this experience? I feel like WaniKani should build in listening training earlier on, like from day 1. Listening training is equally, if not more important than reading training.

I’m glad I thought of starting listening training now - as I feel for those who do reading training for a long time - then start listening training later, only to find out how difficult it is.

I think WaniKani should build listening training into the lessons and reviews - so have reading, meaning, and listening, or something like that.

I guess it’ll get easier over time but it is a challenge. I can’t get many simple words just as I’m not trained to hear them being said.

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I can’t speak for them, but I imagine it’s a matter of avoiding scope creep. There are many aspects of Japanese that could be helpful to learn, but WaniKani’s focus is teaching reading kanji, and they have expressed reluctance to expand this site to covering much more than that.


That makes sense. Perhaps they could say by around level 5 to start building in listening training. Maybe that would scare people off I don’t know. But it is a bit of a shock, at level 9, for me to get so many basic words wrong in the listening training. Feels like is using a totally different part of the brain (which I guess it is in a way).

Wanikani is a Kanji tool and to some extent a vocabulary tool (but not really) and should be treated as such.

The task is already enormous as it is.


The main issue for me is that there are a number of resources available for training listening, not the least of which is all the Japanese media available. But WK is probably one of the best beginner resources for learning reading IMO, and I’d prefer it stay that way and stick to that focus.


oh right, I forgot WaniKani isn’t a complete tool. Am grateful for the scripts and the community to have the supplementary self study quiz

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oh right, that’s true too. I guess I just should have started listening training a bit earlier as haven’t done any yet. And now that am starting it, is a bit of a shock at how bad I am at it. So will be settings aside the Japanese → eng, and eng → japanes, so I can finish the many listening reviews


It’s never too late. :slight_smile: And yeah, I was terrible at it the first time as well. What really helped me in using WK was to have the audio for each item autoplay. That way I could associate the sounds much better.


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Thank you @alo :slight_smile: It is fun indeed :slight_smile: Oh yes, I added the autoplay (which I thought would of prepared me more for the listening but it hasn’t much). But am looking forward to the listening challenges :slight_smile: Thank you


yeah, you really don’t need to know how to read, to learn how to comprehend spoken words. They’re separate skill-sets. And knowing how words sound, helps you learn kanji readings as well.

That being said, as someone that started with a main goal of listening comprehension and then later added learning reading, I find it very helpful to know kanji in that I can now “hear” better. I just have a better foundation for recognizing sounds as part of vocabulary → making it easier to guess correctly which words I’m hearing. Plus, I just know even more words than before. :slight_smile:

Basically, just find something you find interesting enough to hold your attention and then go for it - but with a lot of patience for yourself! Listening is a nebulous and initially difficult language skill. As you gain more and more experience, it should become easier for you though - and more fun!

Good luck!

listening cat


Maybe, a bit offtop, but if you want listening practice, I highly recommend


I agree strongly about the dangers of scope creep. WK works quite well for many of us as it is.

But I also viscerally understand (and applaud) the desire for more listening practice.

This is a rare occasion where my learning to read after years of speaking wasn’t a hindrance. I rarely find it difficult any more, but I struggled for years to distinguish spoken Japanese.

I think lots of listening helps one to correctly pronounce new words as well.

My advice is to seek quantity as well as quality. They are both important, but low-effort quantity is more valuable than people realize.

I highly recommend as much low-effort listening as possible, as often as possible. Let your sub-conscious work on the cadence, tones, and stresses of the language.

I was fortunate enough to live In Japan for many years, but that’s not feasible for everyone.

TV shows, anime, YouTube videos, whatever, all work well for passive listening, but ideally you want things you can enjoy and roughly understand without the dialog. Nature shows, cooking shows and the like are great for this. It really doesn’t matter what you listen to, but the more you do the more you’ll find yourself suddenly understanding pieces here and there.

The self study script is great for active listening.

Best of all for active listening, though, is conversation with live human beings. If you can find a Japanese native who would like to swap, say, a half-hour of English conversation for a half-hour of Japanese once a week or whatever, it will help more than anything I know.

This seems a common enough topic here. I know there are online services for this sort of thing (italki etc.) but I wonder if less formal “English-native seeking Japanese conversation” personals-section / lonely-hearts-club type of posts exist anywhere. There must be a similar forum to this one, but for Japanese people trying to learn English…

If you’re fortunate enough to live someplace with a Japanese community, then bulletin boards at a Japanese grocery store, or the classified section in free Japanese language newspapers are also a possibility. Karate/judo/aikido/kendo clubs, go clubs, or ikebana clubs might also be a possibility.

Like anything worthwhile, it gets easier with practice!


I appreciate all the really great advice! I’ll keep coming back to this thread as I advance to remember the advice. The site sounds really interesting for listening practice.

For now, I do the WaniKani (Japanese → English), KaniWani (English → Japanese), and now just adding the WaniKani script Self Study Quiz for listening reviews (audio → reading/meaning).

After getting better at the Self Study Quiz listening, I’ll include some of the more “real life” listening practice (like the ones mentioned above).

Thank you!

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