Unlocking Vocabulary Lessons
Vocabulary will unlock when you’ve proven your knowledge of the kanji through Reviews. For example, unlocking the vocabulary word 左右 requires both the kanji 左 and 右 to be at “Guru” status. When a vocabulary word unlocks, it will appear in your Lessons queue. To do them, simply click on “Lessons” in the menu.
Just like radicals and kanji, a vocabulary Lesson takes you through a series of tabs that are designed to help you to memorize the key points of the item.
Vocabulary Kanji Composition
The first tab is the “Kanji Composition.” This shows you what kanji the word is made up of.
Take a look. In your own vocabulary Lessons, you should already know all of the kanji listed in the breakdown (otherwise, it wouldn’t have unlocked)!
The “Meaning” is the English translation of the vocabulary word.
Multiple valid meanings are listed here, with the main meaning at the top. A mnemonic helps you to memorize the meaning, so read it carefully. It will use your past knowledge of the kanji the vocabulary word is based off of.
The “Reading” tab will show you the accepted reading (i.e. how the word is read in Japanese) along with a mnemonic. This mnemonic will help you to remember how to read a vocabulary word, though there is also a good chance you’ll have already learned the reading from learning the kanji that make up this word.
In the cases where the reading is different from what you learned with the kanji, there will be a special mnemonic to help you.
The “Context” tab helps you understand how to put the word to use. Possible word types (also known as parts of speech) are given on the left, and on the right you’ll see context sentences.
While some sentences will be level appropriate for your reading ability, these sentences are meant for context, not necessarily study. You can use these sentences to figure out the meanings of ambiguous or similar words.
The Vocabulary Lesson Quiz
Upon completing a Lesson Set, you’ll be taken to the Lesson Quiz. Here you’ll be tested on what you just learned.
Like kanji, vocabulary have a meaning and reading side to them and you’ll need to answer both to complete the connected pair.
The meaning is the English meaning of the vocabulary word:
And the reading is the Japanese reading.
Learn how to tell the difference between meaning and reading reviews on our Meanings and Readings page.
Doing Your Vocabulary Reviews
When you complete a set of Lessons, those items will be sent to your Reviews queue. As with everything else, you should try to complete your Reviews as they are available. Although vocabulary items don’t contribute to you leveling up they are important for reinforcing your kanji knowledge and teaching you the other readings of a kanji.
Onboarding — Series
This series guides you through getting started on the WaniKani platform.