Hi I"ve been using wanikani for over a year now and I’m currently lv 18. I wanted to ask when is a good time to start reading untranslated manga or other works? Can you guys please suggest some easy to read texts? I mean I know about yotsubato but want something a bit more difficult than that. Also is my progress rate too slow?
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は コミーコのこと 知らなかった。いいサイートです。試して見る。
Your first priority above all else should be grammar. Something like Tae Kim will take you to around a completed n4 grammar (more or less). Mastering that much grammar is essential to reading anything and you wouldn’t be able to read a single sentence without going over it, regardless of how much kanji you know.
After familiarizing yourself with that grammar and acquired some basic vocab (more so to make the reading process quicker and more comfortable), start reading immediately. My first step was NHK Easy. Four reasons really:
- There short, and completing one article really does give you a sense of accomplishment that takes forever to get through visual novels, light novels, etc.
- They solidify the basic grammar which you should be very comfortable with before you start reading more advanced materials. Especially noun modifying verb phrases, particles, and other longer sentence difficulties.
- There really is no one holding your hand. Therefore if you can’t read a sentence, you flat out can’t know what is being said. (yeah there are communities that translate nhk easy like on reddit, but those are not guarantee and you have to do a little searching there). This forces your brain to really check and see if it understands the grammar and vocab elsewise you will not understand it. Enough pressure so that your brain starts working, but not enough that you feel bad if you miss something like in a novel.
- It is ridiculously easy to look up words using rikaichan or similar tools. The fact is NHK has a mixed variety of easy words and words you rarely hear elsewhere (like the 観光局- national tourist bureau). However, you can end up looking up those words quickly, and most of the times those are words specifically related to the topic at hand anyways so they are repeated in the article. This means that all that is really left is simple vocabulary meant for younger Japanese audiences.
You need to become comfortable with reading basic stuff and the sooner the better. Time makes one way more comfortable with the differences in grammar. Waiting until you know the kanji will just delay your reading further, when you could have just been reading i.e. practicing grammar. That way, you can start reading what you want immediately.
Now, any resource is fine, but the points I mentioned which support NHK Easy being a good reading source should be considered when picking something to read. The biggest takeaway is that you should be reading now so that when you do read the stuff you started learning Japanese for, you won’t be distracted from the story by the simple problems reading early will fix.