Question from a french/non perfect english speaker about WaniKani

Hi ! Iam a very new user and happy to join this community, sorry if i’m late :slight_smile:

So i very recently (3 days ago) decided to learn japanese, and, after some research for ways to learn kanji who seems to be the dark beast of the japanese language i found WaniKani !

I started the lessons but i don’t know if WaniKani is the best good choice for a non-native English speaker as iam.
To be more precise i’d say that my english is average/not bad i can make my self clear and can speak without thinking (with a bad accent), e.g i’m pretty sure i made a tons of mistake in this post.
Also learning all those things in English as a French doesn’t feel good, i’m thinking that i will constantly mix things up or go slower.
For example : I didn’t know what “fins” meant before, that’s a word you never have to face :confused: so i had to learn a new english word to understand one of the first radicals !
Also to recover items i have to think in english in my head which is not a problem at all but feel strange and im not used to it.

I would really appreciate if i could get your feedback, for those who, like me, are not native English speakers and are WaniKani users. :smiley:
Even if you are not in the same situation, get any opinion is good to take !

Thanks for reading.


there are tons of non native speakers here on the forum. I’m french as well but i did all my higher education in english (and have lived in the US/UK for most my life) so i’m guessing doing WK in english is actually easier than it would be in french for me.

there’s a fun thread with all the english words people have learned through WK. loads of native speakers post in there so it’s not just non native that learn some english on here hehe!

i doubt there’s a anything better in french and i’m pretty sure the benefits of learning on a english platform outweigh the discomfort you’ll feel.

not to mention the amazing community here on the forum. just go for it! until level 25 - 30, the english will be fine for you. after that, you start encountering words that are not used a lot but it would be the same in french.


I’m french too o/

And I also had to search the meaning of “fins” :smiley:
I’m level 8 and I had to search the meaning of around 10 words I think, my english level is also pretty average.

I usually write the french word in the meaning notes.
I’m using anki mode to do my reviews so I don’t have to remember the english meaning. (if I see the english word, I recognize it, but I can’t always remember the word “actively”, but it’s okay to me, I’m here to learn japanese, not english)


It seems to me that you can benefit from this. You can increase your English vocabulary and at the same time you’re learning Japanese, but you might not remember information that clearly…

I am pretty sure that fins is a common word (At least if you go fishing) :stuck_out_tongue:

You can edit them out, I’ve pointed out some below. :slight_smile:

In both these places, an apostrophe was not needed.

But here,

you should have put one

There was no need for the apostrophes. :woman_shrugging:

That should have been in the past tense used


one of the first radicals

are not native English speakers

I think “a little” would have sounded better, some seems kind of weird…

for a non-native English speaker

And you should capitalize all of your single “I”. Though that may be a pain if you are on a tablet or phone…

There may be more, but that is all I could find. :wink:

I don’t mean to offend you by pointing out errors, I just want to help you. Still, I am sorry if you think I shouldn’t have done this.


Wow !! Already so much replies, you guys rock :open_mouth:

@saibaneko i see, it encourages me to continue on this site then :slight_smile: thanks for your time. I also bought the book “kanji et kana” but as i read on another post working on kanji somewhere else than wanikani doesn’t increase the speed learning curve, maybe it was a waste of money then, we’ll see in the future :smiley:

@naevyah Okay, i will take a look at this mode

@Catherine670 That’s completly true, increase my English vocabulary would be amazing too, i was worried that this would be too much to carry on my own. By the way i dont feel offended at all if i pointed the fact that there will be mistake is to warn you and i know that my grammar is really bad i just write the way i feel i learnt english through video games on school i barely listened that’s why i have a huge lack on this point. Btw i will edit those thank you :slight_smile:


I am also not a native speaker, not French tho :sweat_smile:

I wouldn’t worry about not knowing a few english words here and there. Since you can already speak some english it’ll be much easier for you to learn those new words. However, if an English word just won’t work for you, you can just add the French word as a user synonym to items if that helps.

If you’re worried about the mnemonics not working if you substitute the English word with a French word, don’t be! The mnemonics only use the meaning of the radicals for the meaning of Kanji and never really the specific pronounciation of the word, i.e. the mnenomics don’t rely on wordplays. When it comes to the pronounciation of kanji and vocab, they reuse the same word for the same sound, e.g. sheep for し, you’ll learn those quickly.

At last, you could see this as an opportunity to learn more English words as well :smiley:


I’m a native English speaker, so you may or may not find my opinion here valid, but I would suggest that it might be more beneficial to learn kanji in English. It would help improve your vocabulary in both languages simultaneously!

On the other hand, if you really feel as though your lack of English vocabulary is slowing you down, you could always find/make a French Anki deck.


I didn’t even bother reading your whole post. The first two paragraphs are already enough to know you’ll be fine. Welcome aboard!

The good news is that the first three levels are completely free. I’d say just try all three levels and see how it goes. :slight_smile:

German native speaker here, for those new English words that just really don’t want to stick you could always add the French word as a user synonym, that way you can type the French word during the reviews instead of the English one and it’ll still be marked as correct. Also, I’m using a script that lets me ignore wrong answers for those times when I’m thinking of the right concept/object in my mind but just can’t come up with the English word WK wants me to type. (This script is easy to abuse though :sweat_smile:)


I’m also a non-native english speaker and while I don’t have a problem with the meaning of the english words I often struggle to recall a certain english meaning instead of a german one when I have to type in my answers. So for words where it happens often or I know I might struggle with the english word I just add a synonym in my language. Sometimes it also helps me to understand the meaning of the Kanji or vocabulary better if the english word is ambiguous for me.

You could use a french-japanese dictionary and add a few synonyms. Maybe that’ll help you on your journey :slight_smile:

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Hello there Romance colleague!
Here is Italy! Welcome aboard!

Funny introducions aside I would like to say a few things to help you:

  1. You are not alone! Wanikani is full of different peoples… ask them for any kind of questions (related to Wanikani and Japanese obviously);

  2. English does it better! Let’s face it: nothing can compare to english when it comes to language education (I’m proud of my language (italian), but English is somewhat better).

  3. Enjoy every hurdle you get over! Learning a third language using your second language? It doubles the result!

  4. Use those “Add note +” in every flashcard you need to add a personal flavor!

  5. Have fun!

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Hey guys, you have largely convinced me to continue WaniKani until level 3 minimum.

Am starting to think that my stats really suck considering to be level 2 and this is supposed to be easy. I know its a bit early to already check stats but that the way I work, I suppose things will get worth so I try to anticipate if I have to change my way of doing things.


I guess I didn’t try as hard as I should to get those mnemotechnic in my head ?


Hi, french here ! I do sometimes have to look for the meaning of some words, but what’s funny is that learning new english words appears soo much easier than learning Japanese ones… And it is also pretty satisfying to learn new english words, on fait d’une pierre deux coups haha

(btw you bought a book after 3 days into learning japanese, that amazes me :open_mouth: I can’t say I’ve been studying for a long time but i still haven’t found any method to learn grammar :sweat_smile: )

also, I don’t really know the science of WK stats but I think they’re fine…

Salut :slight_smile:

Disclaimer : j’ai un niveau d’anglais que j’estime bon. Je travaille au quotidien avec des natifs et mon job m’oblige à avoir un haut niveau en business English.
Mon ressenti :

  • Certains kanji & vocabulaire vont utiliser des termes difficiciles à comprendre, ou avec des nuances qui peuvent être difficiles à saisir pour un non natif (exemple : différence entre speak et talk ? J’ai posé la question à une native anglaise qui n’a pas su me répondre).
    • ce nombre est assez faible (moins d’une centaine)
  • Concernant les mnémoniques, c’est une autre histoire. Certains son ne sont juste pas naturels pour nous et il est dur de faire le rapprochement.
    • peut être 20 ou 25% du contenu. Mon conseil : construire ses propres histoires mais surtout s’y tenir pour un type de son, car ils reviendront souvent.

Bref, ça se fait.

Merci beaucoup pour ton retour, effectivement en ce qui concerne les mnémotechnique, certains ne fit pas du tout.
Par exemple : “row boat” je vois pas où est le ryō x) j’ai donc inventé un histoire avec rio de janeiro, c’est loin d’être le seule. J’ai constaté que sinon ca rentre pas ou ca rajoute énormément de difficulté
Pour la nuance je vois, et comment tu y pallie ?

For grammar i haven’t start yet, way too weak in japanese to try anything but i don’t know if you know the youtuber : “cours de japonais”, i know he goes from scratch and he teach grammar :slight_smile:

And the book its just a way to motivate me and have a dictionnary. :wink:

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i have the same feeling as well,
but for me this is the best way that i can learn both english and japanese.
basically im indonesian native speaker and also fluenty in indonesia’s local language which called javanese. and i think english is a must right now so im happy with this way.

Well, I’m not a native English speaker myself, but I don’t have a problem using WaniKani.
Sometimes I do find a word I’ve never heard before (like, I’ve always thought that “Ford” is a car brand, but it turned out it can also mean “a shallow place in a river where it is possible to drive or walk across”). But that’s no problem, because English is important too, so this way I’m studying Japanese while keping practicing my English :sweat_smile:

Anyway, best of luck with your studies! :wave:

I’m a Brazilian Portuguese speaker, and sometimes I struggle to understand some mnemonics and meanings. I’ve been learning new words in English (yurt, leeway, cleat, etc), but there are some I wouldn’t like to learn in Japanese, like Hanshin.