Reading Your Own Learned Words

Is there a way to create sentences of the words you’ve learned on WaniKani? I’m on level 13 and I struggle to recall some words that are even “enlightened” now because I don’t know how to read enough Japanese to read contextualized things. Therefore, I end up not ever seeing (or thinking about) these words until they show up in the SRS. It’s simply not enough for me to retain knowledge. I need to see them in action. It would be perfect if I could somehow take all Mastered words and have a program juggle them up into sentences or even just basic combinations. It’s important that 90% of these sentences contain things I already know. Is this something that’s already out there? Or possible? I need to read, but when 75% or more of an article or book is something I haven’t learned that’s just impossible.

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You aren’t expected to be able to read without having to look up words for a looong time, and certainly not by only learning words through wanikani. So I recommend just doing exactly that, for webpages, install something like yomichan or whatever the currently loved rewrite is, since that will allow you to look up words on the fly, and for books, just having a dictionary open on the side is very helpful. For a dictionary, most people go with Jisho, but I also recommend Jotoba as an up and coming option.

How quickly you will be able to pick up a book and read it reasonably well depends on how early you start wading through books. At this point I recommend trying to join your first book club, the Absolute Beginner’s Book Club is having it’s next book start in a month or so, but you can also join the currently running book, or any of the earlier ones.

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I just found this and this was precisely what I was looking for!

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Well you can’t just “juggle words into sentences”.

The most realistic implementation of this is just having a database of sentences and it checks which ones you know most of the words for. That wouldn’t have English translations though probably and wouldn’t have context.

Its certainly not impossible. There’s stuff you can read at pretty much any level so long as you know hiragana. You just have to be prepared to struggle.

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I think a good use of your time could be joining one of the book clubs. Print out the community spread sheet/vocab list for each chapter and tuck them into your book for quick look up as you go. If grammar is what’s stopping you from doing that, then perhaps focus on that for a while rather than trying to incorporate a way to study words you’re already studying even more. A lot of people fall into a bad feedback loop of studying studying studying and never thinking they know enough to start immersion. Try not to let that happen or you’ll burn out.

I had this problem for a while too, and it didn’t really go away until I actually bit the bullet and started doing it anyway. The good news is that surprisingly, every work actually has a surprisingly small set of “common” vocabulary, so once you have gotten over that initial hump it’s actually much easier than you would think.

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