Though I guess I’ll find hard to wait that much without knowing the basic structure of sentences
This is the mail, I guess many recieved the same one.
How You'll Learn Japanese in 2018
あけおめ、Ncastaneda！I hope 2018 is a good one for you.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not really into the whole New Years resolution thing. But, we humans love nothing more than to attach meaning to patterns (or in today’s case, the breaking and restarting of a pattern known as “the year”). And, since you’re still level 7, I hope that by the end of 2018 you can have another 20 or 30 levels under your belt (and maybe even reach the end of WaniKani?).
But, what does that even mean? How would you change if you got to level 40, 50, or even 60 by the end of the year? What would you be able to do? How do you get there? And what can you do alongside WaniKani to advance your Japanese as a whole?
I’m going to answer all of those questions, using WaniKani levels as a base. Just do your reviews and follow this framework. If you do, you could be at an advanced level of Japanese by year’s end.
Okay, let’s learn how to do this.
(WaniKani) Level 10:
I tend to recommend that people reach at least Level 10 (preferably level 20) before picking up a Japanese textbook. That way, in terms of kanji and vocabulary, you’ll be able to read pretty much everything in any beginner textbook you use. Then you can focus on the grammar instead of looking up the meanings of every other word and kanji. Having to context switch so many times makes it a) so hard to learn grammar, and b) very demoralizing. Students I’ve talked to who do the kanji/vocab first method tend to have a much more positive experience, develop at a faster pace (in the medium and long term), and are way less likely to quit from frustration.
On WaniKani, Level 10 means you know around 89% of the kanji that Japanese second graders know, as well as ~99% of the JLPT N5 kanji and ~75% of the JLPT N4 kanji.
If you’re moving at a moderately-fast speed, getting to Level 10 in three months is quite doable.
Ideally, this is where you pick up your first Japanese textbook. And actually, because of your kanji and vocabulary knowledge, it’s going to matter less which textbook you end up choosing. Without the distraction and difficulty that not knowing kanji/vocabulary creates, you should find that learning grammar is quite a bit easier! Don’t let up on your WaniKani studies, but between Levels 20 and 30 see if you can get all the way through a beginner level textbook of Japanese so you can start intermediate level grammar on Level 30.
By Level 20, you will actually be able to read ~75% of the kanji that appears in Japanese news websites! Not all kanji are created equal, after all. The kanji you’re learning in the early levels are the kanji you’re going to see the most of.
Once again, moving at a moderately-fast you can finish levels 10-20 in about three months.
You’re halfway there. At this point, you’ve finished your beginner’s Japanese textbook. And, you’ve learned a lot of kanji/vocabulary. You know ~89% of the JLPT N3 kanji. You can read ~86.5% of the kanji in Japanese Wikipedia articles. And, at least when it comes to kanji, you’re finishing up with Japanese fourth grade. It took those dumb kids four years to get here, but you can do it just this year, if you want to.
Between Levels 30-40, you should pick up an intermediate level textbook and try to work all the way through it. Once again, you’re going to know almost all of the kanji already because of your WaniKani level. Go ahead and focus in on the grammar.
I think you’ve figured out the pattern by now. You can get these levels done in about three months.
Okay, now you’re getting pretty good at Japanese. At this point, textbooks aren’t going to help you a lot. It’s just you, the open road, and some reference books to help you out. You need to go out and find materials for yourself, and see a lot of Japanese. Your goal is to find things that you already know 80%, then teach yourself that last 20%. Repeat. Over and over again.
One way to do this is to study with Japanese sentences. In this article we make some suggestions on where you can get sentences as well as how to go about this study method. One of those sentence resources, the 4,500 Sentences ebook, is currently 75% off in the Tofugu Store for New Years, fyi. Just like WaniKani, you need to figure out how to make this kind of study part of your daily ritual. If you do, you’ll notice your Japanese doing a sudden level up (it will feel this way, anyways) every three months or so.
When you reach Level 40, you will know around 83% of the JLPT N2 kanji, around 87% of the kanji found in a Japanese novel, and you will be near the end of your sixth grade school year in Japan.
If you started at Level 1 at the beginning of this year, it’s possible for you to end up here, even not at the fastest-ffastest pace. If you started at a later level, or you’re moving at a fast speed, there’s more for you to do before 2018 is over!
At this point, you’re going to be quite proficient in Japanese. You will be able to read 98% of the kanji found on Japanese news sites and 96% of the kanji found on Japanese Twitter, and know a bit more than half the kanji required for JLPT N1, the highest JLPT level! Getting N1 or N2 is often a requirement for working or going to school in Japan.
In terms of your other reading studies, keep studying with sentences on a daily basis. As you get better, your definition for “knowing 80% of the sentence on your first read” will include more and more difficult sentences, though it shouldn’t feel more difficult to you. You still know 80%.
As sentences become easier, consider integrating articles, books, manga, news, etc., into your studies. Same rule applies, though. You should be able to understand about 80% of anything you use on your first read through. Otherwise, it’s too far above your level, and using another resource that matches the 80% rule will be more efficient for your overall speed.
For someone who puts in a lot of effort this year, reaching Level 50 is not impossible. It’s a good goal for those of you who are feeling extra ambitious.
You’re at about a Japanese 9th grader’s level in terms of kanji now. The best thing you can do for your Japanese is to read. Like, a lot more. Good news, though. You should be able to read 99.21% of the kanji found in Japanese novels. That last 0.79% actually contains a lot of kanji, but at this point you should be really good at learning kanji, right? You don’t need ol’ WaniKani anymore.
Speaking of which, go ahead and keep doing your WaniKani reviews so you can burn those last items, but it’s really time for you to spread your wings and I push you out of the next, whoops. Get out of here. Go read.
If you’re working towards JLPT N1, you’re about 79% of the way there in terms of kanji. But it’s a tough test, so I hope you’ve been reading your fair share of Japanese books, articles, etc. Those are going to give your brain a sort of statistical framework it can work from. Your brain will identify patterns and connections. But, it needs you to input an insane amount of data. Reading will do this, and much more. Although we haven’t talked about it much, reading is a necessary part of advancing your speaking and listening abilities to and beyond fluency, too.
If you’re serious about getting this done in 2018, WaniKani Lifetime Memberships are currently $100 off for the new year. Depending on your speed and level, this may be a good deal for you. Plus, you never know how life will get in the way. Anyways, I’m so excited to see what you can accomplish in 2018. Let me know how you did in 2017, too. We’ll work hard and get there, little by little, every day.