Where to go from here

Hello! I’ve been doing WaniKani for about 6 months now (slow learner so I’m almost level 7) but my ultimate goal is to read & speak Japanese. I’ve tried a bit of tae Kim’s guide, but besides that I’ve done only WaniKani. What I would like to know, is what is a great place to learn how to identify sentences (I don’t understand where one word starts and one stops without “,”) and where to build up learning sentences so I can start speaking Japanese. I’ve read the resources page, but I guess I’m not sure where I’m actually supposed to go from here so I don’t understand which resource I need next.

TL:DR - basically only using WaniKani, I would like to read & speak Japanese, need specifics on which direction // learning site I need next.

Side note, I love WaniKani, and I know that you’re supposed to do other Japanese studies on top of it, but I keep getting told “you’ve been studying for a long time and can’t speak anything” which I get is my fault but I’m conflicted and don’t know where to learn sentences (proper so I don’t sound like a fool) :confused:

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I’d advice getting a textbook

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I’ve been using a combination of Japanese Level Up and Bunpro for grammar. Then just immersing myself in native materials.

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Any text books in mind? I assume this is for identifying how to understand a sentence

What exactly do you get out of both of those? Is grammar the way to go when it comes to speaking Japanese? :o

Speaking, reading, listening, etc. You’re never going to understand very much if you don’t know any grammar. It would be like expecting to know English but all you ever did is learn isolated words.

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Bunpro focuses on grammar and some example sentences.

Japanese Level Up based on the SRS-immersion idea (AJATT / Mass Immersion Approach) where you gain experience with Japanese by using a LOT of flashcards combined with immersion.

You can Google them to get a better idea of it than I can explain here.

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Try the Duolingo app - or online. It teaches grammer and you hear the sentences spoken, which is helpful for listening practice

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Just be aware that Duolingo will never get you past a survival level of Japanese.

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That makes sense, basically I never really know what my next step is, and when I see Japanese text, while I can identify kanji, I don’t know how to identify the words :sob:

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That’s what grammar studies help. Identifying particles, etc. is vital to be able to parse sentences correctly.

If you want free stuff Tae Kim, Imabi or Wasabi Grammar guides are all pretty decent starting points:


https://www.imabi.net/

Or if you prefer things like videos there’s Japanese Ammo with Misa which can at least get you through most if not all N5 grammar:

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Genki is a popular start. It teaches you enough grammar, vocab, and kanji, to enable you to read simple texts.

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Another resource I’ve found pretty helpful is the Pimsleur audio lessons. You go about picking up grammar as you build more and more complex sentences and ideas, but more importantly it gives you practice actually verbally saying the Japanese words out loud.

Really any resource that is well put together and uses the delayed reinforcement technique that Wanikani uses (which Pimsleur also does) will be useful.

Only two downsides are that it’s pretty expensive, and the early vocab is pretty targeted at “white male businessman”. Once you get past the early stuff though it’s really quite good.

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I’ll try those out tomorrow when I wake up! Thanks so much!

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I’ve heard of that from the “additional resources” page, is it worth the hype? :o

I keep getting told “you’ve been studying for a long time and can’t speak anything”

I think this is something you just have to get comfortable with. I get this a lot too, after studying pretty hard for almost 2 years. But I explain that I’m trying to get good at reading first, then use my reading ability to work on listening, and finally work on speaking after I can understand spoken Japanese fairly well.

It would be a fool’s errand to try to get to speaking before I can understand the Japanese I hear – you need lots of input in order to make good output.

need specifics on which direction // learning site I need next.

Lots of people have mentioned grammar textbook-type resources and that’s important. But also join the absolute beginner book club here and start reading. Reading motivates and reinforces your grammar studies, and it’s fun! I asked a lot of silly questions to the book club while I read my first book, so don’t be afraid to ask for help parsing sentences that you can’t crack – the people here are a great resource. :slight_smile:

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Oh really? I’ve actually not read the additional resources page. But yes, it’s certainly an effective tool, and for me they’re slowly starting to overlap. For instance I’ve been using 多分 as maybe in Pimsluer for a while but it only just showed up here. The opposite happened this morning my audio lesson taught me colleague; 会社の人 and I knew business already from here making that somewhat longer spoken word much easier to remember. That makes for great verbal & grammar practice on what I learn here.

The delayed reinforcement that both sources use though is what’s really key, and that you keep at it daily.

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Genki is a really good start, Bunpro is also great to use on top of that. I often forget that i even know how to say something in Japanese, so Bunpro really helps with grammar recall.

I also really love the Human Japanese app. Feel like it explains grammar points in a really unique/conversational way that’s really easy to understand.

(Japanese Ammo with Misa youtube channel is also a good resource)

I think learning more grammar will help you be able to tell where sentences start and end. I’m only at jlpt 4 and I feel like that’s not an issue at this point, so it probably won’t be a struggle for too long.

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That’s why should be also listening a lot. I think it’s pretty difficult to directly translate reading into listening. It’s also the opposite way Japanese learn their own language. Listening is the best way to get your thoughts into thinking into Japanese and I think reading just can’t accomplish it the same.

I disagree that it’s somehow “foolish” to try to speak if you’re not perfect yet and that kind of thinking will hold you back. You can only get better at speaking by speaking as it’s a pretty different skill. That said I don’t think there’s any pressure to start listening and speaking if you don’t want to.

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My only question for you then is how far and how fast you’d like to go with Japanese. To learn language effectively, there are two ways:

  • be an experienced self-learner. It does not matter what language you learned previously, the logic is almost the same. Selecting textbooks and combining resources on your own belongs here too.
  • use someone’s guidance. Courses, private tutoring, whatever - the selection is made for you.

The only thing that I’ve regretted a lot with regards to my Japanese studies was poor foundation. My language still crumbles here and there coz I did not understand sth properly at the very beginning. And having passed N2 I can’t just restart it all from zero.

So in case you still prefer the self-learning mode, I’d recommend to use course textbooks like Genki or Minna no Nihongo or Marugoto (I heard they offered some sort of interactive platform recently). They will help you to build the basics for your language and cover all the main competencies.

To go a bit further, a general thing like Add1 from Fluent in 3 months might be good. Principles of this group is to teach you how to learn a language of your choice, how to select resources, how to balance between all sides of language proficiency (I mean, you learn kanji and you will study grammar - but what about such thing as Japanese phonetics and pronunciation, since you’d like to speak it?). They assign you to a group of people learning the same language, together with smb experienced to guide you where needed - and you then explore the language in a more conscious way.
I did not join Add1 in particular - there is another similar community in my country that I’m staying with for a few years already and their results are quite good.

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