Overwhelming GENKI Vocab! D:

I’m new to learning kanji on WaniKani and learning Japanese in general. I started slowly chipping away GENKI 1 last December, I’m on Chapter 10 right now, and I found that I could not remember all the vocab in the past chapters. I use Quizlet and recently discovered Anki. I have tried combining all the chapters into one deck, but it was super overwhelming. Then, I tried to go through each chapter one by one, but it just won’t stick! Is it because I am reviewing too much vocab at once? Please help!

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Hi! So, Togufu, the maker of Wanikani, highly recommends that you focus on Wanikani until you at least hit level 10 before moving onto a textbook. If you do that, once you go back to the textbook, you’ll know most of the stuff already within the textbook, and can solely focus on grammar, like you want to.

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You don’t have to take too much pressure that you should remember it all. Most of it is very basic vocab that you will encounter many times to cement it in your head. Ultimately you can’t hammer vocab and it’s usage down with a list. I’d just keep going forward in Genki if you are not completely lost.

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Welcome! Good work on already reaching chapter 10!

Don’t feel too bad about reviewing Japanese vocabulary. These don’t really stick right now since they have a completely different structure and sound compared to English. As you get further along WaniKani, you’ll naturally encounter more words and you’ll be able to remember other words easier by recognizing their kanji.

WaniKani also teaches you a fair amount of verbs (which are kinda important, just FYI), Nouns and adjectives that you use in exercises in the Genki textbook are usually limited to the vocab list of the specific chapter of that exercise, so you won’t really lose time looking them up.

In my personal experience, it’s usually better to either put off learning vocab until level 10-20 and focusing mostly on the grammar, or waiting on learning grammar until you know more vocabulary. Since you’re already this far in Genki 1, you shouldn’t have problems finishing the last chapters anyway. :slight_smile:

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Don’t worry about it. In the early stages, my opinion is that vocab is pretty whatever. Try to remember, flip back to the word lists when you need to (maybe place page tabs on all the pages with vocab lists to quickly flip back to, or write down chapter vocabulary in a notebook), but don’t worry about it when you forget them. Just flip back. Words become easier to remember the more words you know, the more sentences you see them in, and the more you hear them spoken. Use the textbook to focus on the grammar it is trying to teach you.

If you want to SRS some vocab, go ahead, but just pick out some of the most interesting stuff, and only a little at a time.

Also never get mad about forgetting numbers because numbers can go to hell, the only numbers worse than Japanese numbers are French numbers ; )

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I think the problem, at least for me, it is when you know kanji and you go back to beginning in learning japanese, it makes confusion when you know already the kanji but the text on the book is in hiragana, it is like a retrocess.

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Thank you for all the advice! I’ll try to learn as I go and focus more on reaching level 10-20. :blush:

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Definitely don’t panic about remembering all the vocab. I’m doing Minna No Nihongo and the vocab list is soooo much. I tried SRS-ing it probably 3 different times last time I took a stab at Japanese a couple years ago, but it wasn’t sticking much, and frankly, a lot wasn’t vocab that was particularly interesting to me (lots of words about workplaces that I didn’t care about).

Don’t feel bad about going back to the vocab lists often - it does actually start to stick a bit as it comes up in exercises repeatedly. It took probably 6-7 chapters for me to remember 写真 meant photograph, and I swear it came up in almost every chapter. You’ll pick it up in other contexts, and as it repeats in the textbook.

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What works for me with Minna no Nihongo is taking the chapters a little slower. I’ve been spending a week or so just focusing on learning the vocab for the chapter (for the vocab with unfamiliar kanji, I need a little extra practice to get them to stick, so I’ll learn them at a rate of a few words a day and learn how to write the kanji as well), and I don’t even add them to my Anki deck until I’ve done some preliminary studying for all of the vocab with new kanji (I have an easier time memorizing kana-only vocab). Then I add the chapter’s vocab to my Anki deck and spend a few more days running through the cards until I feel fairly confident that I know all of the vocab. By the time I actually read the MNN lesson, I don’t have to do any flipping back and forth between the translation and the text in order to understand the lesson, so I can just focus on deciphering the grammar. And seeing the new vocab in context helps cement their meaning (plus, they’ll come back through on Anki later to refresh my memory, as well as reoccurring in the textbook itself).

But I’m sure in the long run, there’s no real harm in looking stuff up and waiting to learn the vocab more naturally. If you don’t put in the time to learn the vocab early on, you’ll eventually put in the time later. But if you do want to be able to remember the new vocab as you read the chapters going forward, I’d recommend taking the book a little slower and devoting at least a week to just working on studying the new vocab before you dive into the chapter. I’ve found that it’s nice to have a change of pace, anyway, and have different tasks to do each day depending on where I’m at in the lesson.

Some days, this means my textbook study for the day is a deeper dive into 3-4 words with some kanji writing practice, some days it’s running through flashcards for 20-30 minutes as I work to familiarize myself with a few dozen new words, some days it’s reading the lesson text, some days it’s doing textbook exercises, some days it’s writing in a workbook, and some days it’s taking notes on new grammar points. Keeps things fresh and interesting!

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Are you doing all the exercises in the book (including the reading and writing section at the end of the book) and also the workbook exercises? It varies from person to person but I find easier to remember vocabulary that I actively use in writing or speaking.

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Yeah, I do the exercises in the book, and I do remember the vocabulary when doing them, but I forget some of them over maybe a week or so. So, I’ll try to come back to those exercises more often. Thank you for replying!

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Just here to say Welcome!
Enjoy Japanese. Don’t give up.

Once you do have everything memorized, Genki 1’s vocabulary will feel like old friends. You’ll see them a bunch. Cat, house, father, dad, etc.

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The Genki 1 study group in Second Life that I’m part of is going slowly at the tail-end of Chapter 11 (page 263 to be exact). There are only less than a handful of us at the moment and when I was absent last weekend, I think there was a newcomer who just learned hiragana joined us.

So I am not sure how Yoshi Sensei will balance out the lessons with that new person in the picture (or if they will continue coming next weekend onwards) but at least you have the upper hand from currently being in Chapter 10, if you’re interested and free to join us.

I also think the lessons are pacing very slowly towards the end of the chapter and before moving on to Genki 2 because one of our classmates are currently on maternal leave. So if you join us around this time, you’ll be able to ask anything you are confused about to our native Japanese teacher volunteer. I certainly have quite a lot of grammar and vocabulary to revise in Chapter 10 and before that…it’s the Intermediate wall that we’re approaching :grimacing:

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