Why are there so few posts in Japanese on WaniKani?

@WovenSapling just mentioned that there’s basically only 1 active thread in the Japanese Only (Advanced) category. My first reaction was that it was surprising for a website that is dedicated to learning the Japanese language, but then I decided it actually makes sense.

I’m sure there are a variety of reasons, but I have 3 main ideas.

  1. WaniKani is not dedicated to learning Japanese “language”, but Japanese “kanji”. You don’t have to practice speaking (or, uh, typing) complete sentences to learn kanji. So there may be a significant number of users here who don’t actually have any interest in 2-way communication.

  2. A lot of people may be interested in speaking Japanese but either don’t have the skills or the confidence (yet) to take part in conversations.

  3. WaniKani users are a pretty scholarly bunch. A lot of people might be thinking that even if they are capable of having conversations, they are going to be making a lot of mistakes. It stands to reason that typing messages in incorrect Japanese and reading other peoples’ messages written in incorrect Japanese…might not be the best way to improve.

What do you all think?

P.S. Despite the risk of developing bad habits, I still like the idea of trying to use Japanese anyway, simply because it’s fun! So if anyone wants to create their own new topic in one of the Japanese Only categories, 頑張りましょう😆

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It would be nice if there were more threads in Japanese.

The main problem for me is that I actually don’t have much to talk about, even in English. The second thing is that it’s not good for reading practice since there may be mistakes. I spend my time reading and listening to native material instead.

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Whenever I see a Japanese thrad on a forum it starts by 一緒に日本語を勉強しましょう。and everyon after repeats the same sentence essentially due to the fact that

“A lot of people may be interested in speaking Japanese but either don’t have the skills”

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I think this is definitely the case.

Yes, quite a few people have talked about not wanting to make mistakes in front of native speakers.

I think that is definitely the thought process, but how many people expect to miraculously speak/type Japanese perfectly the first time they try is very odd, especially given that no other average learners of other languages seem to have this idea.

Anyhow, production with feedback is best and practice is necessary.

Hell yeah!

You’re always welcome in the sentence a day thread.

I considered asking get to know you questions in the sentence a day thread, but there wasn’t really demand for it, despite this being a commonly sited problem.

I recommend joining HelloTalk or some similar language exchange system and just answering questions/comments in Japanese that you find. I think most people on those apps want to talk more with English speakers, so they’re friendly in a certain way.

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It used to be more lavish, but somehow staff stopped being hyperactive?

Personally, I think it is more about being expressive and understandable, than being correct and proper. Having your sentences / grammar corrected isn’t so bad, though.

Being mute or incomprehensible, even as a traveller, isn’t a nice feeling.

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It’s #3 for me, but it could be good for practicing output, even if I wouldn’t always trust the input to be correct… Similar to speaking with your classmates in a Japanese class, the focus might not be so much on correctness, but trying to get practice with fellow learners.

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How about # 4 People don’t necessarily have the energy to do production training regularly.

I’m defo in that group. It’s easy to put on an anime or read for a while. Making conversation is just much more mentally taxing. On a good day, sure, but when tired after work, I’m just not up for it I find all too often. I can do listening practice and relax at the same time. Coming up with something meaningful to write in Japanese, demands much more attention and energy overall.

Tbh, on days when I’m exhausted, just chatting on here in my second language English can be quite enough. :sweat_smile:

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I know what you mean. In my Spanish classes, it was always “How do you get better at speaking? By speaking!”

I’m of two minds about it. The more I learn about language acquisition, the more I believe that comprehensible input (especially native media) is the true key….but my intuition still tells me to practice production.

Excellent idea! I like iTalki.
I don’t expect iTalki to provide kanji practice, so I suppose there’s no reason to expect WaniKani to offer conversation practice.

That’s a good point. People have different strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes. I think for me, conversations can be less tiring, since you’re usually reading just a paragraph or two, then taking a break to write, and so on. I struggle with pure listening because it’s my weakest skill, and I struggle with reading full pages or long articles because I get bored.

But certainly a lot of people would agree with you!

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Actually, for me, comprehension is at risk for reading, and for Anime, compre is zero. (Currently talking about ジョジョ.)

For production, no matter HelloTalk or HiNative, it is just slow and taxing. Though, as with anything, it improved with repetition, but not really indefinitely, but rather, S-curve until the plateau.

I don’t know how much input is required, but perhaps a lot. But production with appropriate feedback is required too.

Doing something regularly is not only about energy, but also adapting, even before developing the habit, I guess. Still, I can’t really tell anyone, nor myself, to adapt.

Also, about chatting, it is hard to keep regular friends, even in my native language. Only thing that keep me long enough is interest (or rather, obsession).

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because this page is not for learning japanese is for learning words and kanji lectures.

I’m not sure it’d be different if WaniKani were about another aspect of the language. It seems like a not insignificant portion of people learning Japanese are doing so in order to consume content in Japanese, so output may just not be a high priority for some.

On points 2 and 3, I’d say you’re probably right. I would argue that, especially in communicating with other learners, where the field is more even, one shouldn’t feel so much pressure to not make mistakes, but I know it’s not that simple. Although, simply making the mistakes doesn’t really help you improve unless you also realize and correct them somehow, which is where it helps to have someone to point them out to you. In a conversation with other learners, reliable and accurate corrections might be hard to come by.

This also touches on a thought that I had. It may be that more advanced learners have already found other ways to get writing and/or speaking practice—posting on HelloTalk, doing language exchanges, talking with friends, etc.—and don’t have any particular need or interest in using the WaniKani threads for it.

The lack of activity may, itself, even be a factor. “If no one ever posts in this section, what’s the point?”, right?

私もそう思いますけど、「これ、どう言えばいいのか」と考える時間をかけすぎて、まだあまり使いません。I spend enough time looking up words or grammar points and example sentences that use them, running my sentences through DeepL to check that it at least probably says about what I intend, and then through 文法ーCHECK to hopefully catch any glaring grammar mistakes, and back and forth as I make corrections, that it takes a long time to write even a few sentences. I guess a lot of this comes down to a lack of skill and experience with the language, and would certainly improve with more practice, but it does make it difficult to devote the time to get that practice. When posting on forums, etc. I’m also prone to frequently change my mind about what I want to say or how I want to say it, which takes “I’ll just reply to this thread quick.” to “How did I just spend an hour on that!?” more often than I’d like, which carries into my Japanese too, so… That’s a (highly personal) factor as well.

I think both are necessary. Comprehensible input seems to be the true key to improving understanding in terms of passive recognition most comfortably but, if you’ve ever had the experience where you can see a word here on WK or read/hear it in the wild and instantly know what it means, but then you reach for a word to express that concept while producing Japanese and you completely blank on it, you probably get the sense that that’s not enough on its own. You need to practice recalling the language you’ve been exposed to and putting those pieces together to express what you want to say, too. That’s the impression I get, anyway.

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Part of it too, especially the more 2 languages differ sound wise is that to speak, you’ll need to physically practice making the sounds you haven’t before to get them right.

Native material/media is definitely important. Are you mostly looking into native language or non native language acquisition? I find it interesting how kids aren’t expected to have perfect language from the beginning and it varies from culture to culture whether their mistakes are even corrected or not. Not that non native speakers typically learn like native speakers, but just interesting stuff.

Not to get things out of order, but have you considered that production, like listening and reading, will also get easier with practice? Maybe instead of trying to write a certain amount, you could try producing some Japanese for just 5-10 min daily for maybe a month or so and seeing where that gets you and if it’s easier to write? If you need a prompt (because it doesn’t need to be meaningful unless you meant comprehensible with that?), then you could start with your day. What parts of your routine did you follow? After that, if you still have time, what did you do differently from normal? After that, what do you have plans to do in the near future? What about your goals for your daily life farther in the future? Just ways to expand on the original question and make it so you use different vocab/grammar.

The more JoJo I consume, the more I notice that Araki often uses made up words lol. I’ve found WK very useful for getting their meaning though. Grammar’s another bear though.

This is why I don’t post very much in the sentence a day thread anymore. I can have conversations and get corrected on HelloTalk, plus I can make every post about JoJo and people don’t get annoyed but will reach out to me to talk more about it! It’s a nice way to talk about a niche(ish) interest without having to worry about whatever etiquette rules govern Twitter and other native speaker spaces.

I edited the first post of the thread to recommend people try out similar websites/apps too :slight_smile:

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Talking about,

Which do you think is the best, or outside the list? I don’t care about senseless talking, anyway.

Should be okay as long as I oversee how Japanese people understand things, and it includes 訛り (where dictionaries might fail).

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If the conversations would have been vocal, I would agree with you. the threashold isn’t very big. But sitting down and to write something, is a bit different. For one, now we’re talking production and using kanji. Talking is just about using Japaense. So, the amount of focus required is bigger for text communication overall, I’d say. :thinking:

I’m considing going back to the language cafe where I live. Before Corona they had a couple of days per week when you could meet people to talk Japanese with, which was fun. But, things happened and I haven’t been checking if they’re still doing it. I hope so, as that was a fun way to practice production, imo. :slight_smile:

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Your three main ideas cover it for the most part, but yeah I think a lot of people here just suck at japanese and theres not a point to suck at japanese talking to other people who suck at japanese in japanese. If people wanna talk in japanese I imagine they’re doing it with japanese people. Or at least they probably should be.

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Yep, I think all three reasons, and especially #2 and #3 are probably the main reasons, but #1 is important too.

The forums seem to have enough other helpful content. But yeah, the main goal here is time management over the kanji 漢字 part of the learning process.

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In my case it is definitely number 3 reason. I don´t mind making mistakes with a native who can correct my japanese. But what about language learners ? I mean, even if some here are good, it might not be the case of the majority here. So many of us will make mistakes and learn new mistakes so I don´t recommend speaking japanese among us, unless there is someone of a native level that can correct our mistakes regularly and make our sentences more natural.

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Perhaps more people would post in that section if there was a native Japanese WaniKani staff member who regularly posted in that section and gave corrections.

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There is the Japanese Sentence a Day thread, for instance and people do write there often, more than 1 sentence a day. I think it is good practice even if one sucks at Japanese, because someone can jump in and help.

At least to me it felt useful, even when my sentences are cringe-worthy or don’t sound natural enough :stuck_out_tongue:

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Yeah, I can’t speak for others but if there was a japanese person who gave harsh corrections, I would post all I could on there.

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