Vocab nahh

Haha, I don’t why but, when I focused on kanji only I was on fire, maybe this is what I like about Wani Kani. The competitive self-study challenges me to level up every week, but now I focus on vocab I totally lost it. I think I will just focus on Kanji only, probably later somewhere through Wani Kani or other methods I catch up with vocab.
What do you guys think?

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If you do not know how to read kanji within the context of specific words, then you do not know how to read kanji. Sorry, it’s as easy as that. Kanji don’t exist in an empty void. If you don’t learn vocab alongside kanji, the kanji will be more or less useless to you.


I think learning kanji for months or years out of context is a complete waste of time. :man_shrugging:


I think since the vocab lessons are included in WaniKani in order to reinforce the kanji readings, you’re going to miss out on that benefit.


That’s it, I’m gonna tell koichi


Plus, you’re not basically gonna learn any kunyomi readings if you skip vocab


I see this two different ways:

Considering that Japanese children learn lots of vocab before they ever learn their first Kanji, one could say that having partner vocab for each kanji is really good for retention. This is my personal belief and experience as well. It’s great to be able to see words in the wild and immediately know what they mean because I’ve learned related vocabulary.

On the other hand, a lot of people just do RTK (and have been successful). WK is essentially a more expensive, slower version of RTK if you’re going to just use it for kanji and skip the vocab. Why spend a year doing WK if you can do RTK in a few months?


When looking at vocab from a standpoint of “what words do I need to know to do things in japanese”, using WK on its own already puts your vocab ability far behind your kanji ability. As others have mentioned, you’re also not going to “know” the kanji as well since you’ll only know the reading provided in the kanji lesson.

Kanji is not something to be conquered and I think a lot of people make the mistake of thinking so when they start out. Vocab is the thing to be conquered and kanji just happen to be a component of many words. The primary goal is always vocab and the secondary goal should be how can I go about kanji to arrive at that goal quicker.

So in short…Learning only kanji on here is a terrible idea.

Pretty much this. If you’re gonna put vocab aside, RTK is better suited to that than WK.

Overall though it seems OP is wanting to delay vocab for the wrong reasons. If you’re delaying vocab because you’re not good at it, you’re only going to make the problem worse. WK gives you vocab after the kanji is fresh in your mind. If you go back after you’re done learning the kanji, you’re going to be trying to tap into older information that hasn’t been reinforced as much. So really it sounds like you’re running into what is by far the biggest obstacle when it comes to learning japanese imo (Vocab) and saying that you’ll just save it for later. If thats the case I would strongly suggest avoiding that mentality.


I think this is a very good comment, I think a lot of beginners don’t realise that “just” knowing kanji is essentially useless when it comes to reading. Could maybe be compared to knowing the letters of the alphabet, but not knowing how to sound out any words. With the vocab giving you the kanji in context, you will actually be able to read.


All I know is, I do get a kick out of recognising kanji when I see them on a tv programme or something. But I get more of a kick out of recognising words that people are saying. And I’m not really deliberately learning many of those from outside WK at the moment. So you need vocab readings alongside knowing kanji readings to hear what people say.

I guess it depends why you want to learn Japanese. But if it’s to read it or listen to it (and not just to get to level60 in WK) then why not kill two birds with one stone and learn the vocab now, alongside the kanji? Probably saves effort in the long run. And I have definitely found that learning both at the same time, each cements the other.

(If you’ve got to level 28… does that mean you have a backlog of 1000s of vocab lessons due to a reorder script, or do you just mean you feel you are getting low percentages guessing the vocab you’ve learnt?)

don’t give up though!

Vocab yahh! Just to echo everyone else. If your goal is to learn how to speak/read/write Japanese, you should learn kanji and corresponding vocabulary at the same time. Put some grammar into the mix and voila, Japanese. If your goal is to recognize around 2000 logographs then just learn the Kanji, but you won’t be able to do much with it.

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Ask practically any native Chinese speaker how they learnt hanzi (aka kanji) in school, and they’ll tell you it was with real words they could use. Ask any Chinese speaker why/when/how they forget hanzi, and they’ll tell you it’s when they stop needing to use those words, and sometimes even just because they stop writing those words even though they remember the sounds. Source: I’m a Chinese speaker, and I started as a toddler. I’m pretty sure it’s the same for Japanese people, especially when you consider those street interviews where Japanese people end up showing that they’ve forgotten certain kanji because they haven’t needed them since they left high school. Being able to use the kanji you know meaningfully (i.e. having vocabulary) is essential for overall retention. It’s OK if you find learning kanji more interesting, but for each kanji you know, you should have at least one way of using it meaningfully. It will disappear from your memory very quickly otherwise.

If you don’t believe me and my experience, then check Reddit for stories of people who used RTK instead of WaniKani and finished learning lists of kanji very fast, and then seemingly stopped studying a while for whatever reason. Without meaningful usage, they noticed that they rapidly dropped from the 2000 kanji or so they had learnt to only, say, 1300, and then sometimes to even fewer. They vaguely knew they had seen some of them before, but they couldn’t remember much. That’s just not worth it. What was all the hard work for?


I agree! I personally find that I have an easier time remembering kanji (especially those pesky ON readings) if I know a word that uses them. Sometimes I wonder if going vocab (in kana) → kanji → radicals would be easier.

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Don’t worry!
Maybe there is another way you can learn the vocab.
I know that the vocab used in wanikani is used to reinforce the kanji learned.
Maybe you just need better vocabulary that’s more relevant to you.

I personally use anki for reviewing vocabulary I learn outside wanikani.

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Really?? Oh that’s good. Maybe some of the words are too advanced for me right now. I do like it when I’m reading and I find kanji and vocab that wanikani has taught me. Feels pretty good. I have lots of levels left so I’m excited.

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oops 2/3 are in 20k, my frequency list is not idea tho, it’s based on 128 light novels but yeah

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How’d you make the list?

With my script that nobody used

Nah, I mean if I’m being real with you your statement about vocab more relevant to the individual was pretty accurate. The words you learn on WK are certainly all words that natives know and you’ll learn eventually if you have goals of being really good at the language, but definitely not always the most relevant to your current usage of the language.

If you’re reading/watching a school slice of life, 放課後 is going to show up a million times and be very relevant to you, but wanikani be like ey wanna learn 輸入?

Usually it has a lot less to do about how “advanced” a word is and more about what contexts you’re coming across. Since WK covers a wide variety of words, there are bound to be words you don’t really care about for the time being.

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I think that Genki 1 offers a good core for:
~ Reading
~ Listening
~ Writing
~ Speaking

Next to that, I use Wani Kani for vocab and kanji but not really a place where I can reinforce.
For listening, I have Nihongo toppei podcast on a basic level

So currently what I’m lacking is engaging reading content, writing is less important for me, and probably speaking is something I can do a lot when I go to Japan.