Post-Level 6 Review

So, I thought it might be useful to put out some thoughts I have about WK. I just got promoted to level 7, and thought level 6 would be a good place as it’s 1/10 of the way through. I know lessons vary in size, but close enough.

A bit about me. I come to WaniKani after having (years ago) completed RTK and a bit of introductory Japanese, but have forgotten the vast majority. Still it means I ‘get’ a lot of the meanings quickly since it’s more about re-learning. Readings, on the other hand, are much harder, though I do get some of them from having learned some vocab by rote long ago. I almost didn’t do WK because of this, wondering if it would be worth it, since mostly I just wanted to restore my kanji knowlege and get a bit more on the side, but as I didn’t want to go back to Anki, I tried this and (mostly) really like it. I am mainly interested in comprehension/consumption rather than production, which also colors my views (see below).

Anyway, I’ve been able to make rapid progress due to prior knowledge, but often it seems not rapid enough. I know WK’s view on speeding up, so I’m living with it, but right now it feels very “Feast or Famine” to me. I either have lots of reviews (just got 90% of radicals or kanji on whatever level) or practically nothing for a day or two. Since I keep up with lessons (this will change, I know), and have limited free time, I hate these dead spaces where I could be learning new material.

I spread out vocab lessons to even it out a bit, but I don’t want to do so for radicals and kanji because that just delays adding more lessons. I would love to have my reviews a bit more consistent. I’m hoping as I get into the deeper portions, the number of reviews will increase to the point where this isn’t an issue, but we’ll see. I wonder if the ‘first two levels, double time’ could be extended a few more levels for advanced learners? Or maybe just adding a flag that can be set on a kanji/vocab that indicates “I already know this” which will cause it to jump two levels rather than 1 each review, but drops you 2x the levels if you get it wrong and resets the flag? That would maybe not discourage intermediate learners who don’t want to slog through the already known stuff to get to new stuff from trying WK.

The things I have trouble with are all reading based (no surprise).
Long/short vowels are a common nuisance, especially おお vs. おう. Reading variations are also a problem. For both of them, I have tried using different mnemonics for the different readings. For example, for 月, I use a month calendar for げつ and a Cheshire Cat for がつ. Similar for rendaku situations where needed, though I find I am getting a feel for where it is so it’s not a big deal

Where crosstalk is a serious problem when it comes to single kanji (no kana) words. Inevitably, as my speed improves my fingers start typing before I register the background color. With the kanji, WK says it’s looking for a different reading. With vocab, it’s just wrong. It would be great if WK was consistent and let you try again in those cases, too. Alternatively, if WK could delay words like that so that the two readings aren’t being learned so close together so they don’t step on each other so much. Slowing down does not seem like a good option, since fast recall is incredibly important for language learning.

But with those quibbles out of the way, I’m really enjoying WK so far. With a few minor tweaks, it could be even better. So if anyone has any suggestions for overcoming the issues I’ve mentioned above, I’d love to hear them.



I can’t really speak to your suggestions for people with some previous knowledge, as I started from absolute zero, but this:

A huge part of me agrees that this was an incredibly frustrating part of learning the vocab readings when I was starting out, and I really wanted that feature too (年 and 生 were the bane of my existence for longer than I care to admit for this exact reason). But, as I’ve gotten more comfortable with the system, I’m starting to appreciate it a lot more.

The fact is, when you encounter those single kanji vocab words in the wild, your immediate instinct should be the vocab reading. When I get them marked wrong for using another reading, its just WaniKani’s way of training me and my dumb brain to internalize that vocab reading… And, once I get to the point of really, truly knowing the word, I find that I go straight to that (vocab) reading first when I get the pink kanji questions (which is actually a good thing, as I see it)—but on those I do get to try again, so no harm done :smile: Though, if WaniKani would accept all valid readings for the kanji questions, that could be a feature that I wouldn’t mind having…

If it frustrates you too much, I guess you could try a userscript to let you ignore those cases, or at least retry them, when your brain jumps ahead a bit, but I think you’d be doing yourself a huge disservice in the long run. I don’t recommend using this as a solution… (Please don’t use this as a solution…)


This reads like the beginning of another study log


I’ve hacked around with one of the existing userscripts so my reviews are always all the radicals first, then all the pink kanjis, then purple vocab. It sort of evolved to become that and it’s not very clean so I wouldn’t want to share it as it is, but maybe something better exists to do the same thing. If not maybe I can find time to make a nicer version.

Such a thing does exist! [Userscript]: Reorder Ultimate 2 [newest] (<- should allow reorder of both lessons and reviews)

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I totally agree with you that the first thing you think of should be the vocab reading. That is the goal. But in that case, that should be the first thing you learn. Since kanji come before vocab, there’s the disconnect. Some kanji on WK use kun’yomi readings already, though, so I’m not sure why these don’t and let you learn the on’yomi readings in vocab where they’re appropriate. Seems like using the on’yomi is an unnecessary roadblock to learning.

I do use a wrong answer correction script, but I don’t let myself use it for reading issues, for the reason you mention. Since my goal is primarily comprehension, if I can understand it in speech and writing, I don’t care (much) about being able to produce it exactly in kana.

Btw, I haven’t been able to find an answer to this. Is there a method to the WK kanji use of on/kun’yomi? I tried to google it, but only get all the arguments of people complaining that Japanese is hard (duh). I didn’t see anything in the FAQ explaining, but I could have missed it.

That wasn’t the intent of this post, but it might turn into one later. Thanks for the pointer to those logs. Worth looking into later, if I go that route.

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Hello and welcome on WK! :slight_smile:

I will try to address some of your points and give you some hopefully helpful elements there.

This true for radicals but not for kanji. The determining factor is the speed at which you guru 90% of your kanji. Usually, you do not have this amount of kanji unlocked with the first kanji batch, you first need to guru your radicals and then guru some associated kanji plus those from the first kanji batch.

Theoretically, you could learn no kanji before you guru all your radicals, and only then learn your first + second batch kanji all at once without affecting your levelling speed (except for “short” levels where the first batch includes more than 90% of the level’s kanji already). So yeah, you can spread your first batch kanji over the time required to guru your radicals, if you want to spread the lessons to a higher extent.

I will simply give you here a short history of WK… :older_man:
At the beginning, WK used to mark the “undesired” reading of a kanji as wrong whatever the type of quizz. So if you were taught the on’yomi with a kanji, answering the kanji quizz with the kun’yomi was considered as a mistake. Then a user argued that the other reading was also a valid reading of the kanji, so this should not be wrong, technically. And it was accepted by the WK designers that introduced this “shaking effect” prompting you to enter the reading learnt with the kanji. Nevertheless, for the vocab quizz, reading is usually not ambiguous. If found isolated in a sentence, 水 can only be read みず and nothing else. The reading すい of this vocab is considered plain wrong.

So in that sense, WK is not inconsistent, it is just that some leniency has been introduced because kanji has plenty of valid readings but a word has (except when specified otherwise) only one reading.

This rule does not work at 100%, but most of the time, おお appears in kun’yomi readings whereas おう comes in on’yomi.

Don’t worry, we were all there! :slight_smile: Eventually, you will get used to it and notice the difference instinctively, just like for issues such as typing the reading instead of the meaning or the contrary. The developers mixed all that (readings, meanings, kanji, vocab) to force the user the keep focused during long batches of review and go through some kind of “automated zombie mode” (you can read more on this in the FAQ).

I hope my reply was not too long and somehow useful to you. Keep up the good job! おつかれさまですね!

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Someone can correct me if I’m wrong here, but my sense is that WK teaches the on’yomi first if (1) you are likely to encounter the kanji as part of common jukugo words and (2) it generally takes that reading in those words. The exceptions where WK teaches the kun’yomi first seem to be the cases where a lot of the jukugo words take the kun’yomi reading for whatever weird reason, or it’s just not seen that often with the on’yomi reading.

Could the order of learning the readings be switched? Maybe? Possibly yes…not because of the single kanji vocab per se, but because the okurigana words are also important and take that reading. I’ve generally felt like learning the on’yomi first has worked fine for me (one of them has to be taught first, I guess?). A substantial proportion of WK’s vocab does seem to be on’yomi jukugo words, so learning that reading first seems to fit in that system. As I said before, I do wish that both readings could be accepted for the kanji (not just allowed to retry), so I definitely can see where some of your frustration is coming from.

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That’s a good point. The first set of kanji can be spread out, though the ones unlocked after radicals are done need to be hit immediately, if you want speed. TBH, I don’t care about speed for speed’s sake. I just want to be kept busy. In these early levels, speed is my best bet, but once I get higher, I’m sure the review pile on will keep me more than adequately busy… :pensive:

Thanks for all the tips and the history. Sometimes, it’s easier to accept something that’s annoying you if you at least know how it ended up that way. :smirk:

You could check out KaniWani or KameSame if you’re finding yourself with too much free time and wanting to learn more. Those websites are basically reverse wanikani, where they give you the english and you have to input the Japanese. You could also start working on grammar, you can never start too early in my opinion, and there are lots of great grammar resources out there both paid and free. You could even practice writing if that’s something that matters to you.

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