High level thoughts
I’ve never been someone who is good at learning new languages - but I can do things consistently (I’ve done reviews 366 out of the past 367 days). WaniKani has been super great for me because, if I’m consistent, I can make real progress. I’m still shocked at both how amazing and how cheap this software is. Of course, it’s not all roses and happiness (learning is hard!) but I wanted to just share how the first year has gone for me and what has / hasn’t worked.
Note: I totally recognize that everyone has different learning styles and preferences. Please don’t take anything here as a slight against anyone or anything.
Things I’m grateful for in regards to WaniKani
- How clean and easy to use the site is. I feel like I immediately understood what I was supposed to do and where. I’m super color blind and often have issues with many sites and add-ons but I felt like everything was readable and welcoming here.
- The order that the Kanji progresses in. I know many people complain about early words not being useful - but I very much appreciated the simplicity of the radicals / kanji / vocab words at the start.
- The fact that I’m always making progress. Every day some word gets bumped up a level or I learn something new. I tried to learn how to draw last year and jeez this is so much better / easier to tell when I’m making progress and what I need to do to keep going forward. I know if I just log in a few times a day and do my reviews that I’ll keep moving ahead.
- The community that’s made such great add-ons and scripts. I don’t think I’d have felt as motivated or been as successful without things like (in no particular order):
** [Userscript] Wanikani Heatmap
** [iOS] Tsurukame - native app with offline lessons and reviews
** [Userscript] Wanikani Override ("ignore answer button")
** WaniKani Lesson Ordering II
** [Userscript] Self-Study Quiz
- The fact that there’s an API that allows for people to create such great add ons (and allowed for me to try and stick my foot in the door by making a thing for notifying me when I have new reviews or I level up: Get notifications (emails, text, Twitter, Slack, Discord, etc) whenever you have new reviews, lessons or you level up)
Things that are rough
- Most of the mnemonics don’t work for me. I find it difficult when so many words use the exact same ones. For example, the fact that so many words are related to "kou"ichi doesn’t end up helping me (to be clear I totally recognize that everyone has different learning styles).
- I can’t visualize things in my mind - which has made it especially tricky to try and remember words.
- Thinking I’ve learned a particular kanji or radical only for a new one to pop into existence that looks almost the same and now instead of knowing 1 word I now don’t know 2 words. This gets worse when there’s many that look the same (I swear one day I’ll remember 矢 vs 失 vs 夫)
- I’ve been trying a variety of grammar websites and books but I find that none are really “clicking” for me. Also makes me realize how little I know about English grammar ^^;; (like what the heck are adjectives). Makes me worried that I’ll never really be able to “get” this. (But hey at the rate I’m going maybe Eto Eto will be done by the time I finish).
- I’ve been finding I get less and less things right over time to the point that I felt like I needed to stop doing lessons to really focus on really learning words. It can be hard to stop making forward progress in lessons - but it’s not like I’m not “making progress”.
I know I’m going super slow compared to most people. Even though I’ve done reviews every day - I’ve only made it through 10 levels in the past year. That being said, at least I’m being consistent and continuing to make progress
Goals for the upcoming year / things to look forward to
- I’ve been slowing down recently but my goal for next year is to make it through another 10 levels in a year.
- I’m starting to be able to recognize words or phrases in things like Tweets or mangas or animes or whatnot and that’s really nifty. I’m looking forward to continuing to expand that and hoping that by the end of next year I’ll be able to understand a few entire phrases.
- I still find myself happy to jump in and do reviews. I don’t feel this dread or panic of like “URGH I gotta do these and I don’t want to” - and I think that’s pretty swell.
- I’d like to make more progress on grammar at least to some degree. Maybe not the same level of effort that I put into WaniKani but I want to make an effort to look at that at least once a week or so.
- After a full year of lurking, I decided to post here and already feel pretty pleased. I’d like to try and participate in more threads / discussions.
Anywho - that’s all for my thoughts for this year. Thanks to the people who made / continue to work on such a great website and all the amazing add-ons. I’m grateful for y’all and you’ve really helped me do something I didn’t think I’d ever be able to do <3.