Not sure where to focus

Hey all,

I feel like I’ve hit a rut (really? already?), which seems to be what’s done me in the previous few times I’ve tried studying Japanese. I feel like I’m not making any practical progress with Japanese.

Right now I’ve been focusing mostly on WK, and some Genki/Anki vocab decks. I’m dabbling a bit with the bunpo/duolingo apps in downtime at work/commute, but probably only about 10-15 minutes a day.

Maybe the level of sentences is too high that I’m trying to read, but any somewhat complicated sentence structure just throws me for a loop. And by complicated, I mean anything other than standard AはB, or the occasional different particle.

This may just be venting (sorry!), and I probably just need to keep trudging through, but maybe I should be focusing more on grammar to understand different sentence structures?


Sure, learning grammar is important. But I see that you’re already using BunPro and Duolingo so you’re on the correct path.

I don’t think dullingo is particularly helpful. I would recommend Lingodeer or The Japan Foundation Marugoto online classes as better ways of building skills.

Marugoto has some free online taught courses as well as self study. The content is good and I like how it is structured - much more explicit explanation and directed practice than Duolingo (something that an be said about LingoDeer as well)


I’d give it a while, the common wisdom here seems to be that starting grammar at around level 10 is a good idea, since you’ll probably know most of the really basic kanji you’ll encounter in beginner grammar practice. If you want to start earlier than level 10 (not a bad idea), I’d recommend LingoDeer, it’s kinda like Duolingo but more focused on Asian languages, while afaik Duolingo can be a pretty bad way to learn grammar because of how it’s structured and LingoDeer doesn’t have a psychotic murderer for a mascot.

It’s important to keep in mind that WK will start to pick up for you if it hasn’t already. That’s another reason why you may want to wait to really start grammar, so you don’t get blindsided by the massive uptick in reviews and lessons. By level 10 you’ll probably have a pretty solid routine down that will let you fit in time for grammar too.

If you don’t want to pay for Lingodeer (Pretty sure it’s only $20 for a lifetime membership), there’s plenty of great free grammar resources that you can find all over the forums.

As far as feeling like you aren’t making any practical progress, trust me when I say I totally get it. I’m a good way into WK (far enough at least that I’m not quitting at this point) and I still know next to nothing with grammar, because I’ve been focusing on WK too much and Lingodeer not enough. No matter what you decide for grammar, remember that languages are complicated and you may not feel like you make any “real” progress for a while, but just keep showing up and you’ll get there. The most important thing is to stay consistent with your studying. 10-15 minutes every day is so much better than an hour of cramming once a week, and you’ll eventually start to see results, trust me.


Personally I would continue using WaniKani very lightly and focus on grammar until you have JLPT N5 level grammar down at the very least. Wanikani has really great example sentences that range from easy to hard so I think you’ll get more out of it if you have a firmer grasp on grammar. (Make sure you don’t get too hung up on sentences you don’t understand though). There are a lot of great grammar resources out there, I used human japanese, tae kim is good, bunpro, genki, etc. I tried duolingo’s Japanese right when it came out ~2 years ago and it wasn’t very good but maybe it has improved since then.

Personally I focused soley on grammar/listening/speaking for a long time then kind of came back for studying kanji and some vocab more in depth, you shouldn’t go that extreme but having a good foundation makes everything much easier.

But honestly as long as you’re using any of these resources consistently I guarantee you’ll improve a lot more than you think :slight_smile:


Thanks all for the suggestions and motivation. I’ll keep plugging away and maybe ditch Duolingo. It’ll be tough to get past the crazy in me to lose my 40 day streak… but I’m sure I’ll get over it.

I’ll keep plugging away and maybe re-assess after another month or two.

Thanks again!


I had a little bit of grammar and some vocabulary before I started WK and it really helped me when I did kanji. For me, learning the kanji AFTER I knew some vocabulary made it easier. But you have to find what works best for you.


I didnt know wanikani has sentences included. How many and at what level do they start?

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They are the three sample sentences with every vocabulary word. They used to escape my notice too, but I have learned to pay more attention to them.


40 day streak and you feel like you’ve got nowhere - this is duolingo Japanese in a nutshell.

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Well… I meant if sentences are added in or as lessons and you ll have to review them also. I saw some examples there at early levels but I ignore them

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If you want to review them, you could just plunk ones that are at your level of understanding into an Anki deck as you study … they do not come up for review on Wanikani.

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I personally read them when I do my vocab lessons or when I get the word wrong in a review. It helps you remember the word better plus understand how it’s used in context which is useful for synonyms. Plus reading practice of course.

You don’t need to reread them every time is what I’m saying.

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So far I’ve finished Genki I & II and started Tobira and Shin Kanzen Master N3 and I still feel like I’m in the beginning stages of the language.

You mentioned that you were working with Genki, which is great, but you also mentioned that you didn’t feel like you were progressing, that’s probably because Genki doesn’t actually cover much (from 0 to 10 where 10 is fluent, Genki I & II will get you to about a 2 in my opinion).

With that being said, Genki is amazing and you should continue, learn, understand and do each exercise of every single chapter over an over until they are engraved in your head, because the purpose of Genki is not to progress fast (like Tobira/Shin Kanzen Master), but to create a nice and firm foundation so that you can progress in the future on more complex grammar structures.


Yeah Tobira is great once you get to ~N3 level

I’m using Tobira TO get to N3 level :sweat_smile: I think the book is meant to be a transition between N4 (after Genki) to N3.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ that might be better whatever works

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