Speaking & Grammar

Is WaniKani good for learning conversation and speaking or mostly for vocabulary, reading, and kanji?
I’m deciding if I should do a subscription or not, I want to focus more on speaking but learn vocabulary along the way.

Thank you!

(also, grammar)

The vocabulary of WK, since it is intended to teach you how to read kanji, is skewed toward, of course, words written in kanji. This includes a larger percentage of Sino-Japanese words than appear in everyday conversation. You will sound strange if you try to use some of them in conversation (something people typically find out the hard way).

(For instance, 友人 is taught earlier than 友達, because the kanji included are simpler, but 友人 is a more formal word than 友達)

WK has been indispensable to me in improving my reading ability.

It has not had a substantial impact on my speaking ability.

It won’t teach you any grammar.


Okay, thank you! :slight_smile:

Be sure to check out the Ultimate Additional Japanese Resource List to find places to study for your desired goals. I’m going to be checking out Bunpro for grammar (paid), LingoDeer for vocabulary and speaking (plus it has grammar notes), and I currently use DuoLingo. I’ve also been told Imabi is a top resource for all things grammar.

That said, kanji seems essential for any type of Japanese communication, as no matter what you read, there always seems to be a mountain of kanji. So, I think kanji should go hand in hand with any studying. It wouldn’t make sense, for example, to have a perfect understanding of English grammar yet not be able to write anything.

I’m fairly confident I’ll personally be subscribing to WK once I get to three, as it seems to be one important part of a multi-part puzzle for becoming proficient in Japanese, and I wouldn’t want to skip over it.

Thank you too!

Yeah, I’m going to Japan in a couple of months and I wanted to have a little background in Japanese. I was also interested in learning basic conversation, not so much perfect speaking and pronunciation, but just able to say simple things!

I think it’s a worthy goal, but a few months study of kanji isn’t going to have you reading signs or anything. Maybe simple symbols like entrance, exit, mens room, etc, but in that case most of it is going to have english translations anyway.

Which is not to say don’t do it! After all, it’s fun, and you might go back. But having been there many times now, if I had to cram from zero I would prioritize:

  • Learning katakana until it’s reflexive. So, so many shop signs and stuff like that are written in katakana, you can sound it out. Way more than you think.
  • Familiarizing myself with the train and subway routes. Figure out where I’m staying, what stations are close, and then find where I’m likely to want to go. I mean, it’s not hard-hard, but you don’t want to face the Tokyo subway map or JR East train line map for the first time when you’re in a hurry and can’t even figure out where you are now. Check out This guy (pdf) (tip: use hyperdia to figure out what trains to take and where to switch)
  • Maybe with the left over time, some ‘conversational phrases’ type videos. You’re not realistically going to have an intelligible conversation with someone in japanese after two months, but if you make an effort to say something, they really appreciate it and respond to you much more warmly.

I think WaniKani is a more long-term strategy. But nothing prevents you from doing both!

I’ve learned katakana and hiragana, and I’ve just made the next step in learning Japanese either kanji, grammar, vocabulary, or speaking.
Phone technology these days will make it easy for the train/subway routes so I’m not too worried!
But yeah, looking to study conversational Japanese within 3-4 months just to have a bit of basic/conversational knowledge by the time I hit Japan!

Trying to see if subscribing for the vocabulary helps when I put them in sentences/grammar or it’s more of for my own benefit, like using these words in their pronunciation as components of a full sentence.

Thank you!

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