Subject Page / Lessons Makeover & New Context Feature!

Wow, I literally JUST looked up 生 because I was having trouble with it, saw this new feature, and came over to check what was up! This is great!

I’m new to WK (on LVL4) and it’s great to see that WK has such great support from everyone and gets continuous quality dev updates! I found that even the extended shake animations were recent, just before I joined, and it’s such a great feature. I appreciate the content overhaul to improve the mnemonics too :open_mouth:. I was very skeptical of mnemonics because I thought it was ridiculous but now I can’t wait to hit LVL60. :smiley:


When you say it’s going live on selected vocab only, is it focused on earlier levels or just words that the WK team are fans of, like crab and alligator? :high_touch:

In our first launch of this feature, we focused on some of the vocabulary we have that are composed on only one kanji. The reason for this is to help you differentiate the kanji subject from the vocabulary itself. We will probably be adding to more of these single-kanji vocabulary, but also we plan to add to all types of vocabulary starting with the earlier levels.


just noticed the update :eyes:

I’m always thankful that you keep bringing improvements to WaniKani but this time I would like to ask you to rollback the lesson changes, or at least give us an option to merge Reading and Context tabs again in one.

I usually study the reading, then read the Content sentences and check again if my reading is correct. Sometimes I even forgot mid-sentence and I check the reading again. Until this update I could do that in the same tab, but now I have to go back and forth so the vocabulary lesson study is a bit more inefficient for me.

So please, give us the option to merge both tabs again during lessons.


I like it! I use these sentences to practice “sight reading” aloud. In particular, it helps to see the various ways a word might be used, as it’s easy to use a word by definition, but it turns out to be a misuse.

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Hey all, we iterated on this new feature and there are a couple updates I want to share with you!

  1. We added “Word Type” back to the Meaning slide in Lessons. Some users pointed out that having the word type/part of speech listed helps them understand the meaning of the word better as they are learning it, and we agreed that this makes perfect sense! So it’s added back to that slide :slight_smile:

  2. Common Word Combinations have made their way into Lessons! Note that we changed the header from “Word Type” to “Patterns of Use.” This is because as we add common word combos to more and more vocab, we realized that this would make more sense across the board (that’s right, more common word combos on their way too!)

  3. Context sentences are moved to their own slide for vocab that have common word combos.

Stay tuned for more updates! We’re hard at work making WaniKani more robust and effective for you! Cheers :v:t3:


Oh sweet, thank you for the recent update Cam!

I’m someone who loves learning through patterns, so seeing more of the common word combinations contextually makes me feel like I’ll be able to tackle vocabulary and grammar down even better as time progresses. :durtle_noice:

Looking forward to slamming through my lessons now… ruh roh.


@WaniMekani thank Cam

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I think the new context features are very cool, and I look forward to seeing them make their way into new words!

I’m a little bummed that the Word Type pane got taken out of the Context screen - for a while it was showing up under both Context and Meaning, which was ideal for me since I could glance at it on the Meaning tab and then think about how the word might be used in its other forms on the Context tab (also because I like to enter all my new words into Excel so I can more easily search them and use them to write practice sentences later, and that order matched the column order in my Excel sheet, lol). But I understand if it’s inconvenient for the majority of users.

Is there an easy way to remove this entire section and turn lessons back into a 3 slide window?

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No, there is not. If we get enough feedback from users that they don’t like this feature perhaps we will consider a way for it to be turned on/off, but as of now the update is for everyone. Can you explain further why you would want to turn it off?

Chido padrino

While I’m not the person who brought this up initially, I would like to add my point of view.

I would like to turn off the fourth page in the lessons because it is one more click that I need to perform for each lesson. (It takes time and it puts more strain on my wrists.)
And, in all honesty, I learned early on in my WK journey that the example sentences are either full of difficult words or have some sort of silly twist, both of which is not something I find very helpful when starting out with foreign language acquisition (via a foreign language btw), so I simply don’t look at the sentences at all. :woman_shrugging:

I would also be happy if you could further reduce the number of clicks by integrating the breakdown page into the readings and/or meanings page in the same way as you do in the reviews pages (where the breakdowns appear in the lower left corner). I find this much more intuitive because it gives me access to the information right where I need it (i.e. while thinking about a reading or a meaning).

And last not least (while I’m at it :wink: ) when I look at a vocab or kanji in the lessons, my first instinct is to think about the reading because that’s the most natural (and the most immersive) thing for me to do when I see a word - read it :slight_smile: So if I look at the word, trying to guess its reading, and if I then step through the panels in the given order, I am immediately pulled out of my thought process because I need to first learn the meaning and dive deeply into its mnemonic. Only then can I occupy myself with wondering about the reading and whether I guessed correctly or what its difficulties are. This interruption makes me a bit sad each time, and I also noticed that in cases where I’m really engaged with thinking about the reading, I tend to barely gloss over the meaning, which is often enough for the initial quiz but not enough to still know stuff after 4 hours…
Ideally I would like to go to the reading page, then back to the meaning, then to the next item. But more often than not I’m too lazy and just think that it will work out some way or another even if I don’t go back. So I’m wondering why WK intentionally set up this disruptive workflow? (Or am I the only person that starts to think about readings when reading a word or kanji? :thinking:)

(PS I know that there is a script that is supposed to rearrange the lesson pages, but it doesn’t work correctly on my computer. And I would really prefer WK to have a good workflow instead of being required to depend on a script tbh…)


i do tend to go for reading first, meaning second. but then i tend to go back and forth between the various panels quite a bit while doing lessons.

personally i much prefer having the lessons spread over several panels. i’ve tried doing lessons on tsurukame, where they have everything on a single page, and they don’t stick. i think that having to switch between panels tells my brain that it has to concentrate on all of these things…

The person below you has explained more than enough of my points.

I would like to ask why this feature was introduced in the first place.

Its an extra press of the return key for each lesson to skip over content i cant use.
I cant understand the sentences anyway. so they are useless.
Quite often they feel memey, which has no place in serious learning.

It doesnt make sense to have an entire long sentence with grammar and everything when all im trying is learning a single word.
“Grass is green” is the limit of complicated an example sentence should be.
The word thats relevant completely disappears between the rest of the Kanji.

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Even if the grammar in the sentences is above your current ability to read, it’s still useful to see how these words might be applied in real situations where someone might use them. You can read the translation to get an idea of the usage of the word even if you can’t read the Japanese. WK teaches words in isolation, but that’s not how language is actually used, and if you’re only learning words in isolation, without any context or ability to string them together, you’re probably going to forget them. Why are you using WK if you don’t ultimately have a goal of learning to read Japanese?

As far as the sentences feeling “memey,” I actually really appreciate the humor, because it often makes things easier to remember. Plus, people use Japanese to say silly or ridiculous things all the time! If you want your language learning to be completely serious, you’d probably have better luck taking a business focused course. But we’re all here for different reasons, and for some of us, the silly stuff has more utility in our everyday lives than the serious stuff!

Just as an example, I’ve gotten more use from learning the word 金玉 than I have from many other “serious” words that I’ve learned here, because knowing that word has allowed me to understand no less than two different puns that otherwise would’ve been completely lost on me! My main motivation for learning Japanese is so that I can follow Japanese wrestling. Wrestling is often extremely ridiculous, “memey,” crass, and really silly. Words frequently get applied in unconventional circumstances. Even if you’re using WaniKani for “serious” learning, the same isn’t true of everyone using the program.

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Thank you to everyone who took time to write out your feedback and thoughts! I can’t make any promises about when/what will change, but we are working to revamp the lessons and make them more effective for everyone. They will continue to change and improve, including how example sentences are utilized. So just hang tight! One piece of feedback I got here (that I deeply agree with) is the ability for users to turn on/off certain features. I’m all about learner autonomy! Hopefully that is something we will be able to introduce in the future.


I gave up trying to read the example sentences early on in my WK journey because I usually couldn’t understand any of them due to using kanji/vocabulary I hadn’t encountered yet. Even now that I probably could read some of them, I’ve gotten into the habit of completely ignoring them.

One thing that would be nice is if every example sentence is tagged with the WaniKani level by which you learn all the vocab and kanji needed to read the sentence (maybe excepting certain very common kana only words). Then, you could mark sentences we can read in the ui with a tag like “you should be able to read this!” or something. (And maybe you could try adding some more sentences to the platform that have a lower associated level.)

Marking sentences that the user should be able to read would motivate me to actually read those sentences.

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I think the example sentences would start being useful to me if they had furigana for kanji/vocab I haven’t learned yet, as well as translations of said vocab as a tooltip on hover over. Unless that’s added I don’t see myself trying to use the example sentences until I have enough kanji-/vocab-/grammar-knowledge to understand them. Also, in response to @Vulkandrache, I personally think there is a place for memes in serious learning. If I could actually read the sentence and understand the Japanese then it would be helpful for the setnences to be memorable rather than bland, which I’m guessing is the intention.

Not going to pitch other apps here but I would like to point out there are many sentence trainers available for Japanese, and in lieu of a speaking partner or good reading habits, they really help.