Non-Aggressive Ideas to Improve New Kana Vocab

So, it seems like everyone is either aggressively for or against the new kana vocab additions. I think that are useful, but that there are a few things that could improve them. The point of this forum is to think of improvements, not to complain. I’ve seen some people talk about making the vocab optional so that people can pick whether they use the Wanikani platform to learn just kanji, or also other vocabulary. I personally think that it would be a great improvement to add audio to the kana only vocabulary, the way there is audio on the vocabulary readings, so that we can learn pronunciations as well as the meanings. Does anyone have any other thoughts on improvements?

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The reason why people get bothered by kana vocab is due to the fact that they are here to learn kanji and if their reviews are clogged with day one kana for no reason at all, ofcourse it’s going to get reactions.

The reason why I was so against them was due to the fact that they don’t fit. All of them so far are words that are learned within the first few weeks of learning and WK isn’t the tool for that, way too early. And if you are taking your studies seriously you’ll use another SRS for vocab anyway.

The improvements would be kanji and kana seperate. Some sort of “beginner course” or something, another button that has the kana words and other stuff in it to make it easier for beginners to ease into it. Because lets be honest, if the kana words catch you off guard, chances are that you are probably way too early for WK.

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Kana vocab non-alignment pact: I’m not really for or against it
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Non-aggression pacts have worked so well in modern history, amirite

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I was worried we were running out of threads about the recent changes

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I feel that it’s a little out of the scope of the original WaniKani. Not WaniKani’s specialty, app-wise, structure-wise, level-wise.

Anyway, ideas

  • Optional
  • Not too few vocabularies
  • Categorical
  • Not basic grammar, nor nuanced expressions. Or more particularly, vocabularies with simple and clear meanings.
  • Suspend at any time, that is, remove from reviews
  • Can unlock regardless of level. Otherwise, no level.

But first of all, not too few vocabularies should come with optional.

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People have asked for kana vocab for years. People complain that tofugu does not listen to their base. This is actually a time when they did listen to what their customers asked for, albeit very slowly. They finally gave what many people asked for then get barmbarded with complaints.

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Yes, fair play that they implemented a requested change but the gripe here is how they implemented it, i.e by making it mandatory for everyone. They could’ve given the kana vocab to the people who wanted it and left out for those who didn’t want it, simply by tada: making them optional. This way they could’ve made the WK user experience better for those who want them but without making it worse for those who don’t.

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OP asks for non-aggressive ideas and my pal over here goes bold-italics to suggest.

I’m on the aggressive pro-kana team so I’m gonna keep quiet and listen to the reasonable people discuss this one here <3

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I wasn’t aggressive, i just used bold and cursive to make my suggestion just stand out from the rest of the post.

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(If they’re not already?) Make them “Anki mode.”

I only use Smouldering Durtles these days and have meanings on Anki mode because I don’t need to practice typing English… So the kana vocab don’t bother me as much as they would on vanilla site.

Make the lessons a placement test, so you can burn a vocab right from the get-go of you already know it.

Honestly, making them optional seems like a no brainer… On by default with some buried option to turn them off. I was going to second audio too, it seems they already have it! Maybe I was flying past them too fast to notice.

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But doesn’t kana itself already cover the pronunciation? Or do you have specific cases in mind where it’s not clear?

Yes, the selection of words should in general prioritize words which are difficult to learn out of context, like adverbs and onomatopoeia. WaniKani already extensively makes use of mnemonics so this would be a good use of this teaching format. Teaching extremely simple words like こんばんは which are almost self-explanatory doesn’t make sense.

This is an example of a strawman argument. Yes, people asked for kana-only vocab for years. People even gave examples of the vocab they’re having trouble with. WaniKani team announced they’re rolling out kana-only vocab, giving examples of onomatopoeia and adverbs. Said they have carefully selected several thousands of such words. Instead, we got absolute beginner level vocab as the first batch. See the difference?

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What is wrong with starting with beginner vocabulary? If we go with your arguement, WK shoud get rid of beginner kanji such as 一 or 人 since they are very basic.

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It genuinely feels like you’re missing the point. Simple kanji are useful for N reasons, including providing building blocks for more complex kanji.

EDIT: To be fair, as annoyed as I might come across, I would just really like to hear good arguments for keeping kana-only vocab as is and why it’s a good fit for WaniKani.

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Simple vocabulary are useful for N reasons as well. There are many of us that are truly absolute beginners. There are very few words I knew before starting WK. To be completely honest, I didn’t even know はい or いえ. Even こんにちは helped reinforce the correct spelling and pronunciation. Before starting here I would have guessed it was こにちわ. To be fair, I did learn it in Genki but I started that after I started WK. I am actually just now starting to read some so even the most basic words do help.

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Hmm those are good points. Do you feel the mnemonics for very simple words are useful, though? Or are you able to memorize the meanings and readings of the simple kana words by just kind of looking at them?

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The mnemonics do help but I do end up understanding and not needing them faster than most kanji. I am guessing that if they ever add more complex kana vocabulary then they will start to be more helpful. The same with kanji. Mnemonics for most of the first levels was good for the beginning but I quickly did not need to rely on them to understand the meaning. For many of the kanji I am learning now I tend to need the mnemonics for longer.

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to me the main difference is that even the simple looking beginner kanji can be quite tricky with the reading - making an SRS more useful.

however, i do agree - if you’re gonna implement kana-only vocabs of course start with beginner vocabs. i’m sure when i started out i would’ve loved having those in wanikani.

i also like what someone else wrote in this thread about not including grammar words/structures here (e.g. suru or ko-so-a-do), because i feel if i learnt them through the (current) wanikani system they’d be doing me a disservice. i mainly compare it to how bunpro does it - that being also via SRS but importantly in context and of course more structured around learning the grammar as grammar not as vocabulary.

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Some words aren’t pronounced in a super obvious way. (Well, at least not obvious to me.) Like すこし being pronounced sko-shi, or 千円 have a a bit of a drop off in the middle: SEn-EN. It’s also nice to hear where the accent is. I mean, there are courses that focus more on pronunciation, but if we are learning kana anyway, it’s nice to have the pronunciation in the same place.

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