So I’ve been using WaniKani a couple weeks now. I wanted to give it a bit of a test run before making a post like this, so that I wasn’t just speculating about its effectiveness. I have a bit of an issue with the mnemonics strategy that I’d really like people’s thoughts on.
First off, I can’t deny that it works. Really well. Even though I find myself cringing at most of them, it’s that emotional response that helps me remember. My problem with it is just that… I don’t want to be learning kanji through English. I want to be able to look at a kanji and know what it means and what sound(s) it represents…the same way any English word just ‘looks’ a certain way to me. It’s intuitive; I don’t have to think about it. This is obviously something that happens over a long period of time and practice, but I feel like the mnemonics strategy hinders that, not helps it.
Like right now, every time I see 川, I don’t immediately think ‘river’ - I remember something about cows which makes me think of ‘kawa’ which I then remember means ‘river’. Sure, it happens quickly, sometimes instantaneously, but that’s not the point: I don’t want 川 to remind me of cows, I want it to remind me of a goddamn river. Won’t my brain have to ‘unlearn’ the cow association to make that happen?
I hope I’m making sense; it’s sort of hard to explain. I’d love to know what people think.
(Also, can’t decide if this should go under the ‘WaniKani’ or ‘general campfire’ category, but let me know if I picked the wrong one)