Should I start worrying about kana only vocabulary now?


As you might infer from my WK level, I am quite new to japanese studies. Currently I divide my time between kanji (here) and grammar (Genki, BunPro and the occasional video), as well as trying to read a little bit when I can, which is one of the reasons I started thinking about kana.
I know eventually I should start reading up on kana only vocabulary, since I’m pretty much doing nothing about it, and already set up some decks on kitsun for that purpose, but I started getting a little bit overwhelmed with the amount of stuff I had to memorize, so I pushed it back a bit.

In your opinion, should I just push through and add it to my routine already? How soon have you started studying kana only vocab (or when do you plan to)?

Thank you for your time.

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It’s pain in the bootarino, I know, but when I joined Absolute Beginner Book club, those words had me. So… How about just studying like 2 new words a day? Better than nothing:). I am now trying to come up with mnemonics for kana words too.

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Personally, I wouldn’t worry about it for now. Hopefully you’ll learn some common kana only words from Genki, but other than that I’d recommend against doing too much at once. Last thing you want is to get overwhelmed. Whenever you decide to start reading, if unknown kana words turns out to be what’s holding you back the most, that would be the time to start studying it specifically. But frankly, with how easy it is to look up kana only words in a dictionary, it probably won’t be the thing holding you back the most.


Thanks for the tip. I guess I’m a little lost on exactly how important it is, from a “you need to dedicate time to this” perspective. It’s something that is often picked up organically through reading and looking up words after you know the basics?

Kana only words can be picked up organically, just like anything else. With infinite time and patience it would certainly be worth studying. But since you mentioned getting overwhelmed, my point was simply that you should prioritize what to study. Those priorities can and should change over time, but for now I think learning kanji, kanji-based words, and grammar is plenty.

And just to be clear, you should expect to need a dictionary when reading for a very long time. There are so many words in the language that there’s really no way around it. Of course, you’ll need a dictionary less and less as you learn more words, both through SRS and organically. But regardless of whether/when you study kana only words, dictionary use is inevitable. (Reading is still a ton of fun though, even if you do need a dictionary!)


I pick up kana only words naturally as I go along.


I also find learning kana only words from flashcards incredibly confusing without context because of how similar they can be :sweat_smile: So what I do is create flashcards for them including example sentences I picked up during immersion. In the beginning I only did that for those words I’d trip over repeatedly instead of every single one to keep the amount of words I’m learning at once reasonable.

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Thanks everyone for the help. I figure I’ll start studying kana vocab again at a slower pace, at least until I get used to multiple SRS.

And oh, yeah, I have no illusions about reading. I’m sure I’ll be using a dictionary for a very, very long time. It’s okay, though!