大 - The kanji that makes me cry - Can't remember たい vs だい readings

Does anyone have any tips for remembering when 大 reads as たい or だい? https://www.wanikani.com/kanji/大 lists ~20 words where 大 reads as たい, and ~30 that read as だい. I’m having serious trouble remembering which is which. I apparently “forget” what the reading after a week of not seeing it. The best I can do is knowing when it’s supposed to read as おお instead.

I’m sure there are other kanji that are this confusing. Any tips would be greatly appreciated! Thanks :smiley:

You could try adding your own mnemonics. Like for 大学: college was so tough I thought I was going to DIE (だい).

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From a quick search on jisho it looks like it’s never read たい when it’s at the end of the word. I can’t say that with 100% certainty, but that’s what I found.

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I guess at a mere level 7 I’ve not encountered 大 at the end of a word yet. It’s always at the beginning for the lower level vocab. It looks like I will be having it at the end in a couple of levels. Your advice will really help there!

I use a personal mnemonic to distinguish between the two. Basically, I link たい with a character called Tyrone (from Backyardigans lol).
And for だい you could go with something like die, like @Nightscotsman does.

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I think WK is what’s going to kill me :joy: Jokes aside, that’s the one word I don’t struggle with. I studied Japanese throughout high school, and that word is just burned into my memory. It’s been an interesting experience to randomly remember stuff from 15 years ago. I feel like by level 7 I’ve already covered more than what I did in school.

I’ve begun to come up with my own mnemonics as I get “better” at learning more words. Some of them just do not stick, sadly. Like pretty much anything “Ms Chou” related just slips out of my brain

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I was able to get the Ms Chou mnemonic to start sticking by picturing the comedian Margaret Cho. Having someone to visualize helped.

I was trying to start visualising Yubaba from Spirited Away for “bird”. She’s a horrifying character, just like Ms Chou is made out to be. Buuut, I forgot it the next day. I’ll have to keep trying

Looking at the kanji page, at the very least, it is the case on WaniKani.

In general, the たい reading has a “lighter” sound than だい to me, so I try to add that sort of feeling as another association with the word.

I’ve noticed, perhaps related, that if the second kanji doesn’t have rendaku/dakuten, the 大 reading is often たい, and vice versa. Basically in this case, rendaku likes rendaku (usually, not always). Barring words like 大好き or 大統領 or something, where the rest of the word can also function as its own word. Generally that means だい, assuming it’s one of the two.

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In Australia, we don’t have tater tots… I don’t know what they are… but they are referred to often in the mnemonics for the reading てい。
It doesn’t stick. In fact, it frustrates me. Had to rant.

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That’s a neat little tidbit as well. Thanks! I think I’ll end up having to review the kanji pages themselves to make sure I’ve got the reading memorised. I listened to a Tofugu podcast that kind of explained how rendaku was introduced, where early words didn’t have rendaku yet. It would be kind of nice to somehow learn how old a word is as well. I’ll have a dig around the net to see what I can find

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Haha I know what you mean! There have been plenty of examples that ruin my day as well, where I’ll actually remember the mnemonic, but it’s actually a character from the “a” column, but the mnemonic has an “e” instead, so I just get it wrong. I’m sure they try their best. There’s a lot of little stories to try and weave here

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YES! The ‘a’ vs ‘e’ sound… I think that too!!! I’m sure it’s bc of my Aussie way of pronouncing things that I ALWAYS mess this up bc they don’t sound like that when I say them. Lol.
But seriously, as you say, this is a fabulous program and if those are our main gripes we will get over it. WK has honestly been THE BEST thing for me being able to learn kanji…

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For sure! I try and spend 5-10 minutes with each new kanji to come up with my own mnemonic, involving finding a word that has the kanji in it, and is read the way WK wants from you when asking for its kanji reading. I often use references to pop culture / anime as well. Like 仕. I thought of Tsunade from Naruto. Like “She got to be the leader samurai by doing”. It really stuck with me. Others, like Rikky the Rock have just been so hilarious that I’ll remember it forever

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I do the same thing! Like りょう、りょう、りょう your BOTH 両。。。 Haha! Sometimes my own mnemonics are more powerful to me, others I got nothing! I think it’s fantastic that WK has given us the tools to do this!

I remember Ricky the Rock! Good times.

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One pattern is that it seems to always be だい when associated with 学.

That is just because it is the same word, 大学 university, though.

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