Hi guys I started my Japanese (and WaniKani journey) about a year ago now, but have been on a hiatus for the last three months as I’ve been living in a monastery. Having a look at some of the levels on WaniKani I’ve covered (I got up to lvl 21), my recall is decent but I’ve definitely forgotten a lot of stuff. I also have some burned items from the first few levels that I’ve definitely forgotten.
While at the monastery, I actually met some Japanese nuns and tried to have a few conversations with them, which ended up going pretty badly. It made me realise that I had been focusing my Japanese studies purely on reading (through WaniKani and also my study of Genki I, which I got roughly 3/4 of the way through). But my main goal is actually speaking and listening!
So I seem to have three options:
- Start WaniKani up again at lvl 21
- Reset WaniKani to lvl 0
- Stop with WaniKani for a little while, and focus on practising speaking and listening skills for the next few months with the vocab and grammar I already have
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!!
This is where im at after a few months break.
It takes time to go through it like that so it really depends how stressed high review numbers make you. Resetting would take much longer to get back from so unless you really think you need a reset i would advice against it.
I actually suspended my account, so I’ll have the same number of reviews as when I finished three months ago
Even better then, i also used vacation but didnt manage to get it on untill it was a little too late.
But sure retention will have suffered slightly anyway but the spacing out would make it a lot more manageable.
thanks for your help! I think my main fear is having forgotten loads of stuff, but I guess the purpose of the srs is to deal with that and keep giving me reviews until I remember the forgotten words
I can’t give solid advice on whether you should reset or not, keep in mind that WK doesn’t let you speed through it even if it’s stuff you already know. Maybe it would be better to just go over each kanji/vocab in each level once or twice as a refresher before commiting to something like a reset.
When it comes to speaking and listening then you should certainly look into other learning materials, WK only teaches you Kanji/vocab not really how to form or interpret sentences. This is still VERY important since no matter what grammar you learn you will struggle to communicate without a strong vocab base, but it is just one part of a language.
If your goal is to speak then I would reccomend you do KaniWani along side WK, it’s a tool that pulls vocab from WK but makes you write it in JP purely based on the ENG counterpart. This helps to train your recall of vocabulary without reliance on seeing Kanji or hearing it.
You can also try Busu and see if it works for you, it has a more conversation based approach to teaching JP, obviously the convos are a little stiff as with most resources like that (at least at the beginning) but it should help teach you grammar and how to form sentences. I can’t fully testify for this tool since I’m still on early levels there too but so far I’m happy with it. You can also buy a tutor session with an actual person on there from time to time which could be good if you want to test your JP, though I haven’t done that yet.
Doing a lesson or two of Duolingo daily can also help a bit, as much a people like to shit on it the syntehsized voices are very clear and easy to understand which is quite good as a starting point to help you pick out bits and pieces in senteces, you can also “inspect” each part of a sentence. I also found that any vocab I would encounter there would later better sink in when I ran into it on WK. Though it depends on how good your JP is right now, Duo is definetly a beginner tool. Also if you do use it you should focus on just getting everything at lvl 1 first instead of going for lvl 5s.
I guess you probably already know that but I should add that whatever tool you’re gonna use it’s super important to actually speak out loud everything you read and actually understand what each part of the sentence is and does. If you see something and you don’t know why it’s there then you should put in the effort to find out.
Lastly in addition to “artificial resources” such as WK, Busu or Duo it’s important to do some immersion with actual Japanese media so that you get a better sense of how the language is spoken/used in real scenarios, which always differ to tought ones.
EDIT: Fixing typos because I didn’t proof read before posting and my dyslexia got spoiled with modern autocorrect on most sites.
Just butting in as a complete newbie…
If your goal is speaking and listening… then option 3, 100%.
Re-start WaniKani at level 0 whenever you feel like you are able to hold an actual conversation, whenever that may be It could be in a few months, it could be in a few years. You’ll probably be able to get to your previous level 21 pretty smoothly, without the “annoyance” of feeling you don’t quite have a grasp of everything contained within level 21 like maybe you do now.
Wow - thank you for such a detailed response! Your advice is super helpful - I think I’ll go for option 1, but review each level a few times to refresh my memory, and also start to incorporate some more resources (like kaniwani etc.) into my japanese journey. Thank you!
You’re welcome. Here is another tip that I recalled while taking a shower:
When you go about your daily life, in your head try to name things and actions you do in Japanese. This can start from simple things such as thinking [Ki][木] when you look at a tree or [Hiku][引く] when you pull something. As you learn more vocab and grammar you can start to chain them together in your head.
You should be thinking the JP before the ENG or JP alone.
The purpose of this exercise is to train your self to have a Japanase thought process. It will also help train your recall and help identify words you can’t remember and need to revise.
You want to build an association with the concept of things and a Japanese descriptor so that you can recall it without having to recall the English. You want to be able to formulate thoughts ins JP the same way you do in ENG, when you can do that speaking will become much easier.
When you speak in ENG you usually construct the sentence as you speak, you don’t think it all up first and then say it (except for situations that demand you think before you speak). Your thoughts and speach are simultaneous. The goal is to get rid of the extra step of constructing a sentence in ENG and then constructing it again from ENG to JP and if you can construct your thoughts in JP naturally you will be able to do so with sentences.
It should also help with understanding JP to some degree since once a concept is locked in your head with a JP descriptor you will no longer look for the ENG one.
i’m a noob but in my experience kamesame works way better that kaniwani. some unsung hero told me about that in the forums and i left kaniwani after trying it, maybe you’ll like it as much as i do
I can’t say what you should do, but I can say this:
If I were more interested in speaking and listening and were only tangentially interested in reading and writing, I would reset to zero and do WK slowly. 2 week levels. Maybe even 1 month levels.
If I weren’t interested in anything but speaking and listening, I wouldn’t bother with WK at all.
In all cases, I’d dedicate my time to italki and similar options with professional teachers.
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