WaniKani + Anki Core2k6k?

Is it overkills to do both WaniKani and the anki core2k6k?
Would focusing on wanikani and creating my own anki deck through immersion be a better option?
Also do many words overlap with wanikani and Core2k6K?


Depends who you ask. I’d say it largely depends on two things:

  1. How far along in your grammar study are you? If not very far along, the time it’ll take to create cards is probably better spent in grammar.
  2. How much time do you actually have available? If not a lot, your time is probably better spent doing other things in life. Many people claim making decks on your own is better than pre-made ones. No one seems to be able to really quantify the difference in effectiveness between a pre-made deck and a custom-made one.

My personal take:
I’m not going to waste time making my own cards until I have nothing else to do. There as many high quality resources out there and I’d rather send some money on them than spend time (which I consider far more valuable) on making cards I don’t even know will be that much more effective.

An example of a pre-made deck that seem to be considered the successor to xk decks: Tango.

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I’m at the beginning of my japanese language learning journey but for other languages I’ve had decent success by using pre-made deck + a personal one where I’d just jot down specific words I happen to want to learn at a given moment even if they’re less common.

A common situation is that I will read a book that contains specific vocabulary regarding some specific topic and I won’t encounter that in a generic deck (or not early enough).

One big caveat though: frequency-based decks (which the core decks appear to be) are always a bit crap. It’s quantity over quality. I think that’s fine if you’re intermediate and looking to patch holes in your vocab, but for beginners I strongly recommend a curated deck instead.

Frequency-based decks will always be a bit crap because they amalgamate a lot of sources, often newspapers and literature (and potentially things like wikipedia) which end up representative of nothing at all. You’ll have specific technical terms in the middle of generic day-to-day vocab. I really don’t recommend then for a beginner (again, mainly from my experience in other languages, I tried similar decks early on for Russian and Portuguese and ended up dropping them in favour of curated ones).

I’m currently going through this one: JLPT Tango N5 MIA Omega Deck - AnkiWeb (even though I don’t actually use Tango directly) and find it pretty enjoyable so far. I do think it makes for a decent companion to WK, but I’m only ~200 cards in so I’ll reserve my judgement.

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I think this is why Tango is recommended instead of others.

You cooooooooooould burn yourself out, but if you slow down on wanikani (5, maaaaaybe 10 lessons a day) and then 15-20 new cards with the Core Deck, you might do well.

I recommend this combo for beginners but with some moderation tweaks on the WK side given if you are just starting out its good to take your time and not rush things.

After almost three months I’m nearing the end of Tango N5 (~100 cards left with 7 new cards/day) and it’s fine, but I would recommend JLAB’s deck over it as a companion for WaniKani.

JLAB focuses on grammar and understanding Japanese in context with sound bites from Japanese shows and anime. It doesn’t attempt to teach kanji at all (by default the cards are even in roumaji, although fortunately it’s configurable). It roughly follows the Tae Kim grammar guide that’s freely available online.

I think it’s a great way to get some real-world use cases for the words and kanji you learn on WK while slowly improving your grammar.

Tango N5 is pretty good mind you, but it’s very Kanji-heavy (so unless you start using it at WK level 20+, you’re going to have to memorize a lot of additional kanji or skip/edit many cards) and the examples are extremely textbookish (“I’m going to see the sakura”, “I’m a foreign student”, “Alice is smart”, “Kim eats bananas” etc…) which makes it less fun than JLAB’s content even if, like me, you’re not a big anime fan.

Overall I found Tango a lot more redundant and “conflicting” with WK because it teaches a lot of similar things in a different order, while JLAB complements it better by focusing on grammar and understanding real spoken Japanese sentences.

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WaniKani is great for learning to read words based on the kanji in them, but there are a lot of common words in Japanese that are kana-only, especially katakana words and onomatopoeia. Learning Core 2k / 6k would fill in these gaps.

You could filter out the words that are common to both to get rid of redundancy, or keep them since WK tends to heavily kanjify words to emphasize their etymology, whereas Core shows things as you’re more likely to encounter them in the wild. Being able to recognize both “可愛い” and “かわいい” is a good thing.

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