Should I prioritize Vocabulary or Grammar?

This is the final nail I need. I learned that explaining my goal should help map out what is best so I shall explain lol.

My goal is to speak Japanese in my YouTube videos as another form of entertainment. I also want to branch out to whole new friend groups and most importantly, I want to one day teach my friends and others how to speak.

I have quite a bit of passive vocabulary waiting to be used. I have just about Genki I grammar knocked out and currently going through Genki II.

In a nutshell, should I use my time sparingly? Cause at the moment I balance the two out.

In a nutshell, should grammar be the focus to help


When you try to read or listen to Japanese, which of the two gets in the way?

Do you understand the individual words but not the meaning of the sentence or do you regularly misinterpret how they relate to one another? → study grammar, vocab is not the bottleneck

Do you understand how words relate to another and can you identify the function of different clauses/words, but you don’t know what the words mean? → study vocab, your grammar is fine

Re-evaluate this regularly as you go along. If it’s both, I’d say with Genki I grammar under your belt, learn the most common 1000 words or so. From that point on you’ll notice grammar starts getting in the way more than vocab does, in so far as you can’t just look it up quickly or use Yomichan to help you out. And from that point on, see the above.

And related to vocab, don’t be afraid to rely on Yomichan and dictionaries. Words are easy to look up, grammar decidedly less so - unless you already have enough of a baseline to identify what’s even a grammar point to search for in the first place. If the amount of words you need to look up is manageable, grammar might help you out more than vocab, until you get to that sort of baseline where you notice identifying the structure of most sentences is easy enough and you can pinpoint the grammatical things you don’t know yet in most others, so you can search for the grammar points too.

At that point you’re probably also at a level where it makes sense to learn new vocab by sentence mining and/or just practicing, because you’ve got the most basic vocab down and what’s most useful next is gonna be shaped by what you tend to consume a lot more than what’s most common in Japanese overall.