Readings that incorporate kanji as WK introduces them


#1

I am retired and expect to see WK through to the end. At that point, it seems, I will have a working vocabulary of some 5 or 6 thousand words and whatever kanji are used in writing those words. (I think it was Winston Churchill who claimed that whatever needed saying in English could be said with a vocabulary of that size [You certainly could not have expressed yourself as Churchill did.]) I suppose that at that point I should be able to read sample daily conversations and, possibly, high school-level readers. Has anyone in the WK community created a set of progressive readings to go along with the levels? Or, if there is a vocabulary set that WK is “shadowing,” are such readings/exercises available from other sources? I would be obliged if you would mention them. A great place to put a little Social Security money.


#2

Great question! I have not heard of such material that closely follows WK but I have read of various suggestions for reading material (from simple mange to NHK easy news app). Just wondering… are you currently studying Japanese apart from WK? I don’t think WK on its own will get you to the end point you are hoping for. I too hope to be able to read books or magazines after WK but I know grammar and idioms are really important and necessary imho. Are there certain types of reading material that interests you? Possibly that might be a good starting point as to what kind of grammar and vocabulary that would be necessary for you to learn.

ps. Churchill was probably just trying to give the rest of us hope (to speak like he did :smiley: )


#3

Doesn’t Satori Reader have a WK setting that allows you to only put furigana over kanji you haven’t studied on WK yet? That doesn’t fully solve it, since you can still have unknown vocab with known kanji, but it’s something.


#4

Thank you for that mention. I will follow it down. Years ago I spent a lot of time with the Heisig “Remembering the Kanji” and that had often given me an approximate useful reading. It is a great pleasure to write the characters and the kana, to draw “all the little pictures”. Decades ago, I would ride the subway in Kyoto with a child’s “magic slate” and practice characters. It was of great interest to other riders. There was an occasional “tsk, tsk,” and, very occasionally, a sound from someone that mean’t I should try more carefully.


#5

My introduction to Japanese was through the various older Vaccari books. I still go back to their “Brush Up Your Japanese” to retain a sense of grammar and to reawaken some of the more ordinary vocabulary. I use Japanese bibles in part because some of the texts are so easily known, and the Japanese can cast an unexpected addition to the meaning of the text. The furigana save endless time with the dictionaries and my Word Tank. What would be invaluable would be something like the old Word Tank that included furigana with the illustrating sentences, but I have never heard of such a thing. I will try to track down the NHK easy news app. Thank you for that mention.
My view is that Churchill saved the 20th century from the rats in the basement.


#6

For us youngsters, what is a “Word Tank”? Also, do you have a hard copy of a Japanese Bible or read it online? (I searched a bit online and couldn’t find quite what I was looking for…)


#7

Wow. That’s a name I haven’t heard in a long time (Vaccari). So would you say that you’ve studied Japanese off and on for a long period of time? If so, WK is great to recall and learn kanji again and if your goal is only to read Japanese then you are off to a good start. There is a book called Read Real Japanese (short stories by contemporary writers) that comes with a cd. The reading has furigana and the footnotes on the side. I think that trying to read subjects that interest you is the way to go because it keeps you motivated and interested for the long haul. Just my two cents… :)Bibles are good reading practice but keep in mind that some terminology and ways of expression can be slightly outdated.

damac4041
August 28 |

My introduction to Japanese was through the various older Vaccari books. I still go back to their “Brush Up Your Japanese” to retain a sense of grammar and to reawaken some of the more ordinary vocabulary. I use Japanese bibles in part because some of the texts are so easily known, and the Japanese can cast an unexpected addition to the meaning of the text. The furigana save endless time with the dictionaries and my Word Tank. What would be invaluable would be something like the old Word Tank that included furigana with the illustrating sentences, but I have never heard of such a thing. I will try to track down the NHK easy news app. Thank you for that mention.
My view is that Churchill saved the 20th century from the rats in the basement. Visit Topic or reply to this email to respond.
In Reply To

Buddycat2
August 28 |

Great question! I have not heard of such material that closely follows WK but I have read of various suggestions for reading material (from simple mange to NHK easy news app). Just wondering… are you currently studying Japanese apart from WK? I don’t think WK on its own will get you to the end poin… Visit Topic or reply to this email to respond. To unsubscribe from these emails, click here.


#8

Wordtank is a brand of an electronic dictionary that you can carry around.


#9

Thank you. That’s exactly what I would say and WK is doing exactly that. I will make it a point to find Read Real Japanese. This is just an observation and not some kind of a smart rejoinder to you: yes, there are issues of the currency of the language, but people, some of them the smartest ever, have been catching on to and defending those ideas for some two thousand years.


#10

WOoHoo! Does this mean that I’m no longer the oldest member of this site? Reading kanji has been pretty tough for my 51 year old eyeballs, and I was thinking if starting a new thread on that topic and suggestions on how to get by.

I don’t think there are any resources out there that specifically line up with Wani Kanji levels, but it is usually suggested to start trying to read as much as possible after level 20 or so. I personally didn’t have very good luck reading before that - too many unknown kanji made it not very worthwhile.

Also remember not to neglect grammar and all of the non-kanji vocabulary that is out there.

Good luck, and welcome!


#11

Sir:
I am so well past it that I don’t even remember acutely what it was like to be 51. These reflections from yourself and others help a person keep some balance about what to expect from themselves and to practice patience and persistence. You have so much time ahead of you yet. You will be so accomplished if you keep Japanese study as part of your life. Please do so.
I was thinking about Buddycat2’s allusion to readers/collections such as his “Read Real Japanese.” Consider this approach. In 1993 Sanshusha published “Living in Japan Made Easy,” a dual language collection of almost 90 half-page ruminations on bits of Japanese language, finding an apartment, shopping, using transportation, and what all [ISBN 4-384-01540-2]. Here is the provided English of a sentence (many of the characters have kana superscripts) from a few short paragraphs on greetings: “‘Okagesamade’ is often used among Japanese people. It expresses a characteristic Japanese feeling that they all exist by virtue of help from their neighbors and they use ‘sama’ to show respect.” You can gauge from this that the writing is literate, modestly complex, perhaps low intermediate in classification. The obstacle to reading at any level is the number of unknown kanji (I share the view that Japanese grammar is by-and-large simple and that it is generally possible to “diagram” a sentence into its elements of meaning if you have a grip on the kanji. There is a software program waiting to be written, I think, that could analyze a piece of writing graded as simple>intermediate>difficult>fierce, generate a list of required kanji and compounds, and basically guarantee a reader that if he knew those kanji he could, with diligence, sort out that selection. This presupposes, of course, a grip on verb constructions, how negation is used, so on. The kanji list itself could be sorted by commonness of use and related to frequency tables suitable for writing types–e.g. basic glossary for science fiction, Lee Child, Adolf Hitler–roll your own. Software that could analyze, say, a Hemingway short story or a selection from Buddycat’s Read Real Japanese into frequency/common use tables is certainly within reach of some innovator who wants to sell what might be a very profitable adjunct to people such as ourselves. Control the kanji list and the reader’s frustration and difficulty of access are controlled. Or so it seems to me.
I think the application of this to your observation that Level 20 is about where true reading starts is apparent. Thank you for your note.


#12

This may also help:


#13

After your note, I spent some time there. It’s hard not to be too extravagant. It’s as if someone had rubbed the magic lantern. I’m in your debt.


#14

A while ago, someone shared this site that does something like that: analyses 5000 words from a given text and classifies it into a easiness grade according to what kanji appear and with what frequency. I haven’t used it myself, but thought it was an interesting idea.

In addition to some books they have analysed, you can also (apparently) insert some text with at least 5000 characters and see the easiness of reading it (always considering only kanji).

http://readyourlevel.jamesknelson.com


#15

damac4041,

Please see the “Using My WaniKani Knowledge” section of the Wani Kani User’s Guide if you haven’t already. I’ve found these descriptions to be pretty accurate. I also think it’s a good idea to create a vocabulary list of your own in addition to using Wani Kani. This way, you can any words you come across in your readings. You can use any SRS system out there like Anki, Memrise, etc.

As far as diagramming sentences, I’ve had many similar thoughts. When I am wrestling with a long, convoluted Japanese sentence, I always look for the structural particles (が、は、を、に、と) and the like and treat the sentence as a collection of clauses held together by the particles.

Finally, thanks for mentioning both Ernest Hemmingway and Winston Churchill in the same thread. I think that is a first on these forums!


#16

One valuable site after another. I am grateful to this community for such help. There is the Principle of Minimum Effort: look for someone who has already developed the idea. It saves so much work. Thank you.


#17

You might find this site helpful: http://peterkinnaird.eu/kani/?#kanji You’ll need to give it your API key, which you can find here. It maps your unlocked WaniKani kanji onto the JLPT (the foreign language proficiency exams) and the Joyo (which I think is a list of what kanji Japanese kids are supposed to learn in each year of elementary school.)

Once you find a level that you think you can handle, you can go off and look for JLPT N5 readers or books written for 2nd graders or whatnot.


#18

Nice I will use that website


#19

I feel as if someone has just taught me a secret handshake. I escalate that to about level 4 in the Readers’ Essential Japanese Information table. Deep bow.


#20

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