Been thinking of quitting Bunpro Vocab

… and only using it to study grammar.

I go between listening to my Anki Core (9k or something?), and Bunpro Vocab, and I feel the benefits of Anki are far better.

  1. Native speaker. Bunpro uses a robot that pronounces so poorly I just turn my volume off now. The most useful part of the Anki flashcard is closing my eyes while the audio plays and just trying to listen/understand to the sentence. I feel like this part is so much more important than just reading it.

  2. The vocab flashcards can be extremely ambiguous with the missing word, and could have multiple answers that are correct or semi-correct. It’s extremely frustrating to see a flashcard asking me for “very”, when there are several Japanese words that would fit…

  3. It just generally feels clunky and inefficient for reasons I can’t describe.

Am I missing some unseen benefits here? Should I just keep pushing through? I’ll ignore my frustration if someone tells me some success story they’ve had with it…

I love the grammar section, as it has been recorded with a native speaker (although the emotions are a little lacking compared to the Core audio, as if they are reading from a script…) I have had some success with it and my verb conjugation has improved significantly…

What do you guys think?

Should I just keep pushing through?

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I think the overall vocab decks through bunpro are kinda lacking. they just give a vocab list basically, with not much else. I think for initially learning the words, bunpro is pretty bad. for seeing the words in use it is alright.
I will say the cloze system where you need to type it out, is pretty good. if you are so inclined, give that a go.

Other than that. Yeah I personally stopped doing vocab on here and use renshuu as my vocab site instead. Or if you live in japan just look at a sign in the train, read it to yourself for 15 minutes on the train, then forget it 2 minutes after you leave the train.

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I think I’m a pretty heavy vocab user on Bunpro. To your first point, yeah the auto-generated audio is lacking but that’s something they’ve identified. There is technology out there that can do better, I know of that from personal experience, so hopefully they manage to implement a better solution in the not-too-distant future. I do still use audio for listening practice, but I’m careful to make sure that I’m not mis-learning anything due to audio errors.

To the second point, I kinda feel like this is inevitable when you start having thousands of flashcards. I suppose an alternative would be to offer a “literal” translation as a hint or something that would guide you more clearly to the intended vocab word.

To your third point…eh, I actually don’t really follow you on that one. The whole reason I gave up anki to just do grammar and vocab on Bunpro was precisely because I feel like it’s a good interface.

For reference I have 3,649 vocab words in Bunpro. Don’t know where everyone else is at, but I don’t regret dropping Anki for this, even with current issues (audio).

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It sounds like what you’re really saying based on your feedback of the grammar as well is that you value audio very highly in any learning resource. That’s completely fine! Everyone finds value in different things, and finding what is valuable to you is a big part of finding resources that you ‘click’ with!

Actually we are in the process of swapping to Microsoft Azure TTS at the moment for all sentences, and while the reading style is still not super enthusiastic or lively, the pronunciation/correctness is nearly flawless. I was actually testing it last night and had some headphones on listening to our test batch of ~1000 sentences. In that 1000 there were maybe only 3 mispronunciations. You can expect this change in the very near future!

As for the value of Bunpro vocab in and of itself.

  • Sentences in context written by native speakers.
  • Intentional use of level appropriate grammar.
  • Slowly increasing complexity of example sentences for all words.

Even if you don’t end up using Bunpro for the SRS portion of your vocab study, I’d highly recommend reading the examples to go along with your studies via Anki, or even just to stealth practice your grammar while getting in some in-context reading practice! :blush:

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I agree with all of your points.
I personally use a mix of Mochi and Bunpro for Vocab at the moment.

Bunpro is really strong for those earlier JLPT Vocabs (those that have the Cloze-style questions/sentences).
There is something super nice about being able to quickly add a Vocab, know you’ve instantly got 6+ sample sentences with audio that have been checked by a native speaker.

I’m obviously a bit biased because I work at Bunpro, but I know how quickly the team is working on filling the gaps in the remaining Vocabs – we’re aiming on having sentences and audio for every Vocab, as well as filling in those ambiguities in answers that you mentioned.

I also have to shout out the community with helping suggesting fixes for translations, alternate-answers etc.

I’d say just keep checking back in with our updates, Vocab is constantly being worked on :v:

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First I would say ‘practice what you need’
Anki is great if your goal is listening or reading, as that is what you are specifically testing. reading or listening to a sentence and thinking ‘did I get it?’

Wanikani and cloze bunpro give you an english word and then you type it. If you want to type Japanese then this is a better fit.

You can do reading comprhension cards on bunpro but I prefer anki (specifically Jalup) for vocab.

Because

  1. Native, natural Audio. I know “Microsoft Guy” is a better voice actor then the English textbook CDs so this microsoft voice is probably great… but I trust a human professional over an AI anyday

  2. listening comprehension. The front side is {{Audio}}


    Bunpro has listening comprehension in cram, not in SRS. I like that in Anki listening are just reviews with all the others

  3. i+1 Bunpro sentences you can do out of order, which alot of people like. However, it means there will be vocab words in your example sentence that you don’t know yet. This is fine for cloze, but makes comprehension reviews more frustrating. In core or jalup you should know all of the words in the sentence.

  4. this kind of ‘did I get it’ reviews in anki the past 4 years resulted in fine vocab, and weak grammar.
    I would read the vocab (but not the grammar) in a sentence for example above I would go “wind blow sound hear?” must be “can you hear the wind?” without thinking about える or られる which I get wrong in bunpro all the time.

Which is why I bought a bunpro subscription for grammar.
I totally agree with point 2. I sometimes make my Japanese friends answer given the Japanese nuance hint, and it’s difficult for them too. “what do you want from me?”

For point 3. reading/listening is easier than typing. I can do reading/listening review 3 times as fast as cloze. I would prefer a reading vocab of 6,000 over a typing vocab of 2,000. Not everyone does. (Also, I find the link to here incredibly distracting … oops)

As far as ‘unseen benefits’, as long as you are studying vocab and reviewing vocab, you’ll be fine.
Which app doesn’t matter. There are dozens of vocab SRS, but bunpro is the only grammar SRS (that I know of…)

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You brought up a lot of good points. The only thing I wanted to mention was this part here, but I think I am actually in the minority here, so take this with a grain of salt.

I actually don’t think intonation matters much if the goal is listening comprehension or memorizing vocab. Pronunciation/word choice/naturalness of the structure of the sentence of course matters because you’re learning to ‘hear’ grammar and words in real life in a way that they would actually be used.

The reason I don’t think intonation matters is because when you’re memorizing a word, you’re usually nowhere near fluent enough for intonation to actually be something that you’ll actively pick up on. And there will never be a situation where you do not understand a sentence due to the intonation being correct or incorrect.

The only benefit that human audio has for actually learning vocab I think is in emphasis/emotion. Basically adding the human touch, and perhaps a bit of entertainment value to help with memorization. Once you’re actually fluent and have the spare time mentally to focus on intonation while chatting rather than working your butt off just to follow along with the conversation, it can be fixed very very quickly.

Once again. I am definitely the minority here. But I really feel like sometimes people are shooting themselves in the foot by not listening to anything but human audio. Listening as a skill itself can be achieved just as easily with AI.

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One thing I have learned about living in Japan is that people are quick to giggle when my intonation is off. There is no fear of offending me, which I am actually grateful for because it reminds me that I should listen more to how people talk.

I feel like we should be hitting as many birds as possible with the stones we throw here… I think we actually do learn intonation through listening, although it’s on more of a passive subconscious level. My 1 year old boy already strings together gibberish te-form words together with the same intonation my wife does. It’s incredible… (BlahblahblahTE… blahblahblah TE… Blahblahblah TE). Haha.

I don’t think you have much to worry about though … AI speech is improving so fast it will just be a matter of implementing it as it comes along for the ride…

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100% agree. I would be pretty confident in wagering that AI voice will be at the ‘just as good as’ level of people in 2 years absolute max.

I’m definitely not arguing that intonation isn’t important, or that we don’t learn it through listening, just that it’s a different skill that can be learned on its own without having anything to do with learning vocab, and requires a special type of concentration. Your little one is probably paying close attention to your wife’s facial expressions/emotions as well when he is picking up on intonation things. Kids are super switched on to language aquisition.

If you’re the type of person that shadows everything they hear, then intonation becomes more important for sure, but even then if you learn it wrong it can still be fixed easily.

Me too :sweat_smile:

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I was also thinking of quitting Bunpro vocab and switching to jpdb.
Jpdb also uses AI voice, but it is much better.

But… in the end I got lazy and decided to stick with bunpro for now. Quite a bit of effort to move everything over.

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Well, I said I was going to stay with Bunpro for vocab, but I decided to switch to JPDB for a couple of weeks to try it out.

Bunpro:

  • Good, human-made sentences
  • The Cloze type questions really help with retention (but take a long time to do)

JPDB:

  • Able to create your own custom deck
  • Huge amount of pre-build decks for novels, games, etc.
  • Huge amount of vocab words
  • The AI voice is better
  • i+1 example sentences

What really drew me to JPDB is the custom decks and the large amount of vocab.

I frequently listen to JP songs, but only know a fraction of the vocab.
What I can do is to just copy and paste the lyrics of the song into JPDB and have a custom vocab deck automatically made for me.
It’s very motivating to see an indicator that says, I’m XX% to knowing all the vocab for a song that I was listening to.

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I personally use Bunpro only for grammar, and use Yomitan + Anki integration for vocabulary. I don’t use any predefined vocab decks right now, because I feel that it is much more useful to organically grow vocabulary with whatever you actually consume. This way you learn words you actually encounter in real life

Bunpro is second to none when it comes to grammar, it is one of the first things I recommend to new learners and I have even talked about it at presentations about Japanese learning.

That being said, I don’t use it for vocab. It might get there one day, but I’m still heavily using Anki for vocab. For vocab I need visuals, examples from media, etymology, mnemonics, all the stuff that helps me retain it. I’m only able to achieve this not just with anki, but combining it with Migaku, Immerison Kit, and ChatGPT. But I have taken an awful lot of the words from Bunpro and put them in my flashcard decks.

The Bunrpo team has put a lot of hard work into the vocab section, that I do know. I’m just very specific when it comes to vocab and create the most extra flash cards them I’m sure most people have ever seen.

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I ended up dropping the vocab feature entirely and have just been grinding vocab through Kotoba.

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