Low Level Learning (2)

Hi all, welcome back!
This is the second post (here’s the first) in what I hope will be an ongoing series, where I document my journey on WK on the 1st of every month until I finish it. So let’s get into January!

Leveling progress

So after a month of reviews and lessons, I’ve found myself about halfway through level 4. I’ve had a few moments already where some of the kanji just clicked and I went from mnemonics to “just knowing” what they meant, which was pretty great. I do feel like I’m going a bit slowly by WK standards, but by my own maths I’m still on pace for my own targets and honestly very happy with my progress so that’s nothing to worry about.
I also, for the first time, recognised a kanji in a show I was watching and just read it. It was an advert on a lamppost for “Prince Ramen”, with “prince” being in kanji. I was so surprised that I actually paused the show (Nichijou - highly recommended) and double checked it to make sure I was actually right - I just read a kanji out in the wild! It was such a great feeling to experience, even if I got the reading wrong with “shouji” instead of “ouji”.

What about Duolingo?

So my first post was predicated on my origin story as someone moving on from Duolingo, and I think it would be right to touch upon that again here, but I promise I’ll bring it up less in future posts of this series.
As of January 25, I reached a 365 day streak learning Japanese on Duolingo, and on the same day uninstalled the app from my phone.
The glacial pace and lack of real learning turned me off, and the bell only tolled louder when it was shown that Duolingo was laying off translation contractors and replacing them with AI earlier in January.
As a computer scientist, I felt nothing but disgust and disappointment at this news. Language is such a human topic - how could you ever rely on a large language model to teach it? I don’t have much more to say on the subject except that it only cemented Duolingo in my mind as dead to me. I doubt I’ll ever go back, and I’m very glad I found better ways to learn.

As a side note, I’ve found I feel much happier learning Japanese on WK. I’ve missed a few days here and there - those paying attention to the 0/0 Streak Challenge thread will be aware - and I haven’t really felt guilty about it, which is a really nice change of pace. By comparison, Duo felt pretty pushy about making sure you showed up every day. I know that’s part of the point, to keep you learning, but it became an obligation to increase the number rather than a joy to learn by the end of my time there. I was doing the shortest possible lessons I could find just to get the app off my back, and as such not really learning anything at all. I think we can all see why that might be bad!

How’s the first month been?

Well, I think fairly standard as far as first months on WK go. I started out thinking “wow, this is easy!”, and then the reviews started to slowly pile up. I’m at a fairly happy pace, but my accuracy is pretty terrible, to be honest. wkstats reports my meaning accuracy at 97% and reading at 87%, which I can’t really say I’m happy about, but it’s definitely way faster than what I was doing before and I’ve only got myself to blame for the low numbers. Regardless, I’m enjoying the system much more, and I’m excited for the next month. Apologies for the long post, and bring on February!