Wishing the Sample/Usage Sentences were Simpler


#1

Hope this isn’t taken as a petty complaint, because I really am enjoying WK and have made a ton of real progress here. But, am I the only one who finds the usage sentences unnecessarily convoluted and impractical? There is an element of attempted humour in them that is getting tiresome as I would much rather read a few boring old standard textbook sentences than one mammoth one about Koichi’s father running off to join the circus or something.

I find this to be a real drawback, as seeing the kanji in a simple level-appropriate sentence is a great way of internalizing the word and expanding one’s verbal fluency. Yes humour is important and good, but I feel the site prioritized whacky/zany examples over applicable and educational ones. There are just so many useful sentences that are required of daily life in Japan, why doesn’t the site feature more of them?

If anyone knows of a good online resource where I might find practical sentences featuring the kanji in context I would appreciate hearing about it. Thank you in advance!


#2

You can have a look at The Wisdom (English-Japanese) “ウィズダム英和・和英辞典”, available for iOS, it is a learner’s dictionary for Japanese people so the explanations are Japanese, but there are tons of straight-forward example sentences for many usages both in English and Japanese. I find it very helpful.

The sentences in WK are just an add-on, there are better, specialized resources out there.

[Don’t know if it is available everywhere, the company is MONOKAKIDO Co. Ltd., they have many apps.]


#3

I do not agree, that example sentences are just add on.Of course, everybody knows, what “car” or “apple” is, but there are lots of “more esoteric” vocabs. And example sentences can really help there.

For example - 大きく: “in a big way”

Maybe it is because I am not native english speaker, but I would not be able to figure this one out with just two meanings.


#4

They’re making more sentences. They just added tons to levels 1-10 a few months ago.

It takes time.

But generally speaking I don’t really feel that the sentences are bad at what they are intended for, which is disambiguation when things could be interpreted in multiple ways. WK isn’t trying to teach you how to use the words and all their possible nuances, that would be way too big of a task, so you’re never going to get that level of vocab assistance here. The main point of vocab words here it to reinforce how to read the kanji or teach new readings that weren’t in the kanji lesson.


#5

That’s the adverbial form of “big”. “Bigly”, in other words. :grin:

Nah, part of that is just down to how imprecise English can be. Some words can function as completely different things depending on how they’re pronounced. Like “read”, or “tear”.


#6

I’m not saying that sentences are unnecessary, but that in WH they don’t replace actual vocabulary resources where at least an attempt is made to cover all usages.

Add-on means it is not the main point of WK, but rather show partially how it might be used (sometimes with a figurative meaning or one “not in the list” is used).

From WK I get a rough feeling what the word might mean, but I wouldn’t be confident to use it in a sentence … WK is not a dictionary, and they will not succeed to turn it into one with three sentences each.


#7

Do we actually know this is what they’re intended for, though? I just ask because the majority of vocab probably doesn’t need disambiguation so adding example sentences for everything would seem a very inefficient thing to do. Plus, there are some example sentences that fail even in that rather modest goal.

To be honest, I don’t really know what they’re there for. I mean it’s better to have them than not, but they seem like a missed (wasted?) opportunity.


#8

I don’t know the intent but I think it’s one of their most important services by far, at least for me. I only read example sentences when I’m unsure what kind of context the word is being used in. Unfortunately, I feel like a fair percentage of the time the example sentence still doesn’t quite clear it up for me.

(Although, for me ambiguous context is a lot more common with kanji than vocab, and kanji understandably don’t have example sentences.)


#9

totally agree, i wish the were simpler too, especially as a lot of people joining haven’t learnt a lot of japanese yet. I heard they were replacing some but I not sure how that it going, presume that will be a massive job. As i could never understand them in lower levels, I have ended up in the habit of skipping them completely which is a shame.

Bunpro has great sentences and teaches grammar at the same time. Other than than, satori reader?


#10

It seems like loads of people do this, but I don’t really understand - I almost exclusively use the English of the example sentences anyway, because I completely agree with @somewanikani that their most important function for me is to disambiguate between similar words.

Bunpro obviously has to have great sentences, because that’s the only way to test grammar, but the example sentences in WK just seem like a bonus to me.


#11

I do think the OP has a point - like @Hamigakiko I also keep neglecting to look at the examples, because I never got in the habit of it due to the initial complexity.

I also wish the readings were included (not as furigana but below in kana like iKnow does) so I could test myself now that I know enough kanji.


#12

I also use mostly the English of these sentences. Seeing different ways the words can be used is super helpful. Like, when I learned 生む, my first thought was “I will use this verb basically never.” But when reading the example sentences (“His remark produced problems.” and “Please do not post things that could give rise to misunderstandings.”), it became an awesome verb to know.

If the sentence seems strange or funny, just ask yourself how the word you’re currently learning is being used, then move on once you’ve extracted that tidbit.


#13

I agree with this, specially for the early levels, never paid much attention to sample sentences because they were always much over what I could read at that time, I think they were a bit useless/burdensome to me until late Death/early Hell, always ended up googletranslating them or stuff like that.

Maybe they can add different levels of sentence complexity before Death?


#14

It is strange that you had this feeling.
In don’t know if it is an intended pattern but in my opinion, the first sentence is often really simple and straightforward, using hiragana instead of unknown kanji. The second one is often still readable but the understanding is a bit more challenging. And I admit that often I cannot read / grasp the meaning of the last sentence.

In my opinion, it is quite a nice difficulty curve, as the last sentences may be useful when reviewing the vocab at a more advanced level.


#15

In a few levels, you’ll see the number of example sentences drop to 1.

It’s a mixed bag whether the sentences end up being simple or not. I’m willing to stick unknown words into the dictionary, but I’m less likely to when the sentence is complex.


#16

I honestly just learned that there are example sentences…am I doing this wrong? :rofl:

@ondra

I don’t blame you for being confused on that one, since “in a big way,” to my personal experience, isn’t a common term. The times I do hear it, it’s almost always negative, such as, “He really screwed that up in a big way.” “Largely” (as “bigly” has a very different definition that hasn’t been used for centuries) would be the more common term I experience personally. “His decision was largely influenced by those words.”


#17

As someone who reads and tries to understand the example sentences, some of them seem very poorly chosen if not downright wrong or deliberately confusing.

The example sentence for 全て is:
全て上手く行きました。
It all went smoothly.

Oh great, I can read 上手(じょうず), not sure about this く, but this Wanikani really helps!

But no, this is a different reading from the one wanikani has taught、 it;s read as うまくいく and shouldn’t really be written with Kanji anyway.

Absolutely these other reading are important and do need to be learned, but introducing them in an example sentence for another word, with no furigana to make this other reading clear, seems a very poor way of giving us an example sentence.

example for 茶色

★に入るばんごうを、茶色にぬります。
Please color the number that best matches the ★ with brown.

Is that really the correct translation for that sentence?


#18

Yes, I agree. Some of the example sentences are pretty funny and the English translation helps me to understand how the word is used. The Japanese grammar is often well above my current level and there are many kanji in the example sentences that I haven’t yet encountered in Wanikani. It can be a little demoralising when you think you are doing well!