When will reading feel normal?

I have a question for my lvl 25+ friends that used wanikani as their primary learning tool:

At what level did the structure of Japanese sentences start to flow and make sense on a subconscious level. I’m level 7 and when I try to read sentences that contain known Kanji they feel really weird. a few examples are; sentences leaving out the “I”, and finding the “is” and “are” at the end of the sentence, and what seems like a lack of tense. Don’t get me wrong I eventually figure it out but the end result seems weird and foreign. Basically I’m asking when it will start to feel normal to have the end result (personal translation) of a sentence be “book of sister of friend, read, go lets, question”. (shall we go and read a book belonging to my sisters friend?)

I’m sure everyone will be slightly different so in order to limit the responses I’d like to hear from people that mainly used Wanikani and self taught themselves the grammar from reading manga and google.

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WK teaches no grammar, well, not directly anyway, so the issues you’re referring to, where sentences are difficult to parse, will remain even if you get to level 60.

WK will just allow you to, more often than not, be able to say aloud the sentences you weren’t able to parse as you read them.


In addition to what Leebo said, the answer is going to be highly influenced by what you are reading. Graded readers started to feel natural to me even around the 10ish level even when they had words I had never encountered before because I knew most of the grammar and due to context clues I could usually guess unknown words.


Leebo, what was your favorite grammar learning method or site when you were just starting out?

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Thanks, i’ll look into “graded readers” perhaps i’ll pick some up on Amazon.

I took classes at a physical language school, once or twice a week for about 18 months at the start of my Japanese learning.

So yeah, I realize I’m not the kind of person you were asking for, so I’m not speaking from experience.

It was probably another year and a half after I stopped going to that school before I joined WK. The school wasn’t really designed to go beyond about N4 level in group classes.

EDIT: I’m not sure there are actually that many people who could answer based on using just WK for Japanese learning that far into the progress of the site.

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It’s no problem at all, your answer helped a lot. The only reason i’m trying to stick exclusively with WK is because all the internet time in my day is already accounted for. At the moment I cant let in another site or program. However, I do have some reading time in the evening so I’m trying to learn the grammar as I go using basic manga (no internet in the evening). Its just frustrating with only my dictionary to guide me.

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If you can’t afford another program due to financial reasons, you can study grammar from free resources like Tae Kim’s Grammar Guide and Misa Sensei’s youtube courses.


If you have acces to a printer, Tae Kim has a large PDF that you could print out and use without internet: http://www.guidetojapanese.org/grammar_guide.pdf
Or he also sells his information in physical book form: https://www.amazon.com/Guide-Japanese-Grammar-approach-learning/dp/1495238962


I recommend purchasing a textbook to use offline for learning grammar at night. Genki 1 is popular but has the drawback of needing an imaginary partner. There are other books around…check the grammar resources thread for more info… I will add a link when I am able.
Edit: quote=“Shiawase, post:1, topic:16859”]
Physical textbooks:
These are available from Amazon, the links are to the official sites.

You will see Genki and Minna no Nihongo as the most prominent recommendation. These textbooks are commonly used in classroom situations. As a community, we usually recommend the online textbooks to self learners, learning Japanese on their own accord.



I have been using the following sites-methods:


  • WaniKani


  • Minna no Nihongo: physical books, focusing on the English one not the Japanese-practice one.

  • Bunpro.jp: it works like WaniKani but with grammar

  • Tae Kim: although I found his explanations either too high-level or too detailed, it was very complicated for me to use by itself. I switched to a 3 tier approach with Minna, Bunpro and Tae and it has been working a bit better so far.


On the Tofugu podcast there was a manga translator (scanilator) who claimed to have learned Japanese through the process of reading and translating manga. I find this hard to believe, but it might be possible? I haven’t met anyone personally who’s learned grammar just through reading manga and doing Wanikani.

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There’s always enigmas. A friend of mine learned Japanese through watching anime then solidified it by translating and subbing anime (tons of research for specifics). He knew and still knows almost 0 kanji or kanas, it’s frustrating when I look at him sometimes in jealousy. He also used to stream DotA to a Japanese audience so it’s really just different methods of learning (oh it’s only conversational he can’t read anything so I guess this doesn’t pertain to your question). I’d stick with others suggestions of Tae Kim and Misa for free resources online.


Although I’ve learned a lot of grammar otherwise, when I read through volume 1 of 「ご注文うさぎですか?」, I looked up every bit of grammar I didn’t know, and I learned a massive amount of grammar from doing so. Currently, that’s my main method of learning new grammar, by encountering something I don’t know in manga and looking it up and learning it. Simply learning grammar in a vacuum, it just doesn’t stick for me.


I did follow some standard methods in the beginning, when I was at N3 level and lower, like TextFugu, Japanese From Zero 1, Tae Kim, and some random JLPT book I can’t remember right now once a week in class, I can say that for the last two - three years I’ve mostly been learning through reading as well.


I suggest LingoDeer+BunPro for grammar. Lingodeer is great for learning and bunpro is great for remembering.

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I think I mostly only learned N5 through normal study : 0

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Reading manga in Japanese everyday has been the most helpful for me and I also do some translation work.

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I second “A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar”. It has sooooooooooo much stuff in it and it’s laid out in an extremely useful manner. Just keep in mind that it doesn’t have your typical lessons and is literally just a dictionary for grammar. Still one of the best books you can get.


The same way you learnt your first language, we just tend to forget… just keep reading. The more often you see words, structure, and concepts, the easier it gets. It’s going to be slow reading for a while, but when you see words that are ingrained in your head, you breeze past them. Reading isn’t natural until it is.