Tips for recognising WaniKani words in real life?

I’m finding words I know from WaniKani difficult to pick up in conversation in real life.

What do you do to recognise these? Obviously practicing them in person helps, but any techniques around taking words from the small screen to real life?


Watching tv shows, movies, etc or listening to podcasts helps me notice new words. Unlike real life, with media I can pause it, rewind, turn on subtitles, etc, so I feel like it helps prepare me for speaking.

Perhaps it’s a little rude, but I also try to eavesdrop whenever I can. :innocent: It’s helped me with different accents/types of speaking. I know that usually messes me up–if someone has a thicker accent or speaks super quickly it’s hard for me to follow along.

This isn’t speaking-specific, but I try to read whatever I can when I’m on the train, walking, etc. I don’t always have time to read books/manga, but I’ve found that I notice so many WK kanji on ads alone. I feel like it helps me with conversation because I’ve seen the kanji “in the wild,” so I have a little more context attached to that word now. I’m more likely to use/understand a new word once I’ve encountered it naturally.


step 1: have a real life

i’ve never made it past there but if you do tell me how it goes


I second this, reading and listening are super important for noticing the words in real life/outside of WaniKani. I started watching Bleach when I was on level 5/6 (?) and now that I’m on level 11, I almost always hear a word I learnt on WaniKani in every dialogue in the series - just thinking about how much I’ll understand when I progress keeps me motivated ^^ (I recognised 実力 (じつりょく) yesterday).
When I’m reading and I don’t recognise a word although I learnt it, I feel the humiliation which makes the word stick a lot better, haha.
Building sentences also helps a lot because you need at least a verb for that, then you can add a noun, an adverb… just try building sentences with new words/grammar patterns you learn.


Step 2: ??
Step 3: Profit!


Sounds like you need listening practice. And yes, it’s difficult without it! Several options:

NHK Easy News is a good one for both reading and listening. Has the full text and can read the article aloud.

Or a book/CD combo like Shadowing: Let’s Speak Japanese is also quite good. IMO pace of conversation is typical of real world Japanese.

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You could also have 24h japanese news (Youtube) running in the background.
(not sure how good/effective this is, only recently found it)

they repeat the news stories after a while, which may help to get repeated listenings to the same words, though i found i have to turn it off after a few repetitions because it gets annoying.

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