Memorising/remembering vocabs

Hi!
So I’ve been learning Japanese for quite a long time now and I’ve always realized that it’s really hard for me to memorize Japanese vocabs, without the Kanji, just Hiragana. Of course, here on Wanikani I learn the Kanji and the vocabs combined, but using HelloTalk everyday I want to expand my knowledge of words.
So…
Do you perhaps have any advices how vocab can stick in my head? Maybe methods which worked for you well?
I appreciate every comment 🙋

I try reading children’s books. They are written almost entirely in kana.

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Hi,

Writing your own sentences and doing your best to use new words in context is very effective. Sometimes spending a little extra time with a troublesome word in a good dictionary can help. Jisho does a nice job of providing additional detail. Jishonari looks very promising as well though I haven’t used it much personally.

There are some interesting methods people use where they will actually records themselves speaking new words and/or reciting sentences. People mainly do this to practice pronunciation but I believe this is a very effective technique for memory reinforcement as well.

If it makes you feel any better my wife is a native Japanese speaker and even she admits it can be a little confusing at times when dealing with only Hiragana. As difficult as Kanji is to learn, the deeper you reinforce it, it actually does a lot to create associations with words and their meanings. More and more when I see a word I don’t know or can’t remember I can take an educated guess at it’s meaning and reading if I know the at least some of the Kanji used.

In other words, Kanji is good.

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I also found this extremely hard… I tried a bunch of methods, and nothing really worked. The one I found that works best for me is using Anki on my phone. I downloaded the Ultimate JLPT N5 Vocabulary Deck and just keeps working through it every time I have a couple of minutes to kill. I’ve done 1650 reviews this far, and still have over 600 words I haven’t seen yet. A lot of the words shows up in WaniKani as well, which is really helpful.

The thing with the Anki deck is that I don’t really use any great method for it. I just keep doing reviews. Eventually most of the words stick. I make sure to mark every word I’m not sure of as a failure, to make sure it shows up again soon.

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At the moment I’m using Torii Torii - SRS learning application for vocabulary which is an SRS like wanikani. I try to do the reviews based first on the audio, rather than looking at the kanji/kana, to make the vocab stick in my head better.

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Forgot to mention Anki. Anki is good. I have one recommendation to add to @kwarnberg though, creating your own cards is beneficial. The downloadable decks are great, but I would recommend creating your own, adding words as you encounter them. It’s worked well for me over the years.

Relentless repetition is your friend.

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I still have trouble with this, but I would say listening is the simplest solution to this problem. Vocab you hear out loud sticks in your head better anyway, there’s no kanji to help you, and you don’t have to stare at a string of hiragana in a kid’s book/game :wink:

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Yeah, your own decks are also important. I have a couple of “my vocab - verbs”, my vocab - adjectives", etc as well. I’ve also found that I prefer to have hiragana on the front and kanji and translation on the back. I need to learn the word, not the kanji (that’s what I use WK for). I can be nice to recognise the kanji as well, but don’t focus on it when learning vocabulary.

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I really don’t know how to tackle reading. I want to start reading stuff since I feel my understanding has grown enough for it but I can’t really find something apropiate for my level.

I read NHK NEWS WEB Easy everyday. I think It helps me a lot, and I get the feeling that the more I read, the more I am able to understand! you have to know some grammar, though. Some articles are harder, some are easier…but it worth it, at least in a begginer level.

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Have you tried these?

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I think as long as you understand how clauses modify nouns (because you can’t read any real-world Japanese without that), and learn some colloquial contractions first, throw yourself at whatever is interesting. Look stuff up. If you can’t understand something after looking it up, skip it. You’ll be able to get it one day.
The more basic stuff will cement in your head and you’ll start picking up new things.

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