This post is about the web application called WaniKani that uses the Spaced Repetition (SRS) technique in order to learn Japanese. This is the second article of a two part series, where I go through some plugins and mobile apps that will help with your learning. You can check the first article here.
Some Issues with the vanilla learning with WK
WK is somehow strict on evaluating your answers. Small typos in English are forgiven many times but not typos in Japanese. This is all good, but sometimes it is easy to commit a genuine mistake when answering the reviews. Some typos can be frustrating as they can cost you some time.
Imagine that you have a kanji on SRS level 3, almost about to level up (after waiting 3 days). If you make an honest mistake, like a typo, you will have to wait 3 more days just to review this kanji and level up.
In these situations the normal web application cannot help you. Fortunately there is a plugin available for the browser that allows you to ignore the answer (this is available on the Android and iOS apps).
In fact there are many other plug-ins that can add to your learning experience with WK.
Plug-ins for the Web Browser
In order to add some functionality to the already well built WK site, you can install plugins in your browser. For this you need to install a user script manager in your browser, which will allow you to run user created scripts, and download and install scripts for WK (I personally use Tampermonkey). A quick Google search will show how to install a plugin manager in your favorite browser.
Once you have a script manager like Tampermonkey, you just need to install a couple of scripts. Recently many of the scripts depend on the Wanikani Open Framework, so you will have to install this as well. You can find the instructions here.
There are a lot of scripts for WK. You can find the complete lists in the links below:
Below is a list of some of my favorite plugins:
- WaniKani Override: It adds a button the review page that allow you to cancel your answer. Use this responsibly for genuine mistakes, otherwise all you are doing is cheating yourself. The SRS is a powerful tool that helps you, if you cheat you will not be able to reap the fruits of your studies.
Wanikani Review SRS/Level Indicator: This plugin adds an indicator in your reviews page to let you know the current SRS level you are at. I tend to be extra careful with high SRS items.
WaniKani Improve: This adds several small improvements to the review page, like showing information about the last item. One, which I like, is when you get the correct answer it moves to the next item, without the need to press enter/next.
- Ultimate Timeline
Kanji stroke order: If you are not into writing Kanji just skip this one. I like writing kanji by hand, so this plugin is handy as it connects to jisho.org and retrieved the an image with the stroke order of the Kanji you are studying. This shows up in the reviews panel as well as when you check a specific Kanji in the Kanji panel.
Wanikani SFW If you use WaniKani in your work and want to get stealthy or simply are not a fan of the bright colors and get rid of them, you may like this plugin. For this one I found out that it is nice to disable the WanikaniReview SRS/Level indicator plugin since it is quite colorful. More information on this plugin on this forum page
Below are some sites that you can use to complement the functionality of WK.
- WaniKani Statistics: Provides you with statistics related to your WaniKani progress. For example, it shows you your current and previous level completion speed, estimates JLPT and Joyo levels according to WaniKani levels and displays other projections. You just have to submit your API key, that you get from your WaniKani account page.
WaniConjugation: Conjugation of verbs and adjectives from WaniKani.
Jisho.org: Not related to WaniKani but a powerful Japanese dictionary that helps with the study.
I have been using WK both on Android and iOS. These applications are developed by third party developers and use the WK's API for accessing the WK site.
The apps are excellent and give you all the functionality of the site and much more. Both of them include the plugins/user scripts to add extra functionality so, you don't have to install anything, you just need to enable the scripts in the Settings menu. My favorite ones, the "override" plugin and the "WaniKani improve" are part of the plugins you can use.
*Android: WaniKani by İhsan Işık * Link: https://goo.gl/7YWFA6
For the Android app the "override" plugin called "Ignore button" is enabled by default. You have to activate the other in the Settings menu.
For the "Ignore button" plugin, when you make a mistake, just tap on the "X" on the left hand of the red button. The button will turn to yellow, meaning that the answer was ignored. See the following image for reference:
iOS: Mobile AlliCrab By Chris Laverty
I tried the app called WaniKani, but it didn't work well, so I installed [Mobile AlliCrab] (https://itunes.apple.com/jp/app/mobile-allicrab-for-wanikani/id1031055291?l=en&mt=8), which turned out to be excellent.
Similar to the Android app, to enable the plugins/scripts just go to Settings.
The "override" plugin adds a red button in the review window. When you make a mistake and tap the button, your answer will be ignored and the item will show up again at some point.
WaniKani, uses the SRS technique and gamification to teach Japanese Kanji and vocabulary.
You can improve your learning experience in the site by using plugins/user scripts made by the WK community which use the APIs prepared by the WK team.
If you are using a browser you need to install a script manager and manually install the plugins. The mobile apps already include the plugins/scripts and all you need to do is to activate them in the Settings menu.