役 doesn't mean "role"?

役 as a vocabulary item means “role”, and according to Jisho the kanji itself can also mean “role”. The user synonyms I have are from some old script that I think imported synonyms from Jisho. But WK doesn’t seem to accept it as an answer (I think it’s in the block list for some reason). Is there a reason for this, or is this a bug?

(Wasn’t sure whether or not to bother the Mods by tagging them just yet :laughing: )

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I agree, “role” should definitely be added to accepted meanings of this kanji.

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Yeah, as @plantron said, it’s quite an explicit meaning tied to the Kanji.

@Mods could you guys take a look at this?

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Hey,

Thanks for the heads up. This is part of an issue we are trying to fix where user synonyms clash with meanings we have added warnings on. If you remove the “role” synonym for now, you will get the grey shake we have implemented instead of it being marked as incorrect.

We’ll let you know once the issue has been fixed.

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Thanks for the quick response ^^ Good luck on the bug squashing!

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Oh, I didn’t know this was a thing. I’ll try to also keep track on what synonyms I’m adding going forward on my second run of WK. :eyes:

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Thank you very much @TofuguNico !

However, if I understand this correctly, wouldn’t that mean that the meaning “role” has a warning on? :thinking: Why should answering “role” give a grey shake? (Unless this is part of the issue you referred to, in which case ignore this! lol)

Yes. The bug is that if a word is on the “warning” list, adding it as a user synonym will cause it to be marked as wrong instead. (I call it the “I was planning to give you a pass on that one, but since you told me I have to accept it, now I’m not gonna” bug.)

Why it’s on the warning list, I have no idea.

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Kanji (vs. vocabulary) “meanings” are kinda ephemeral and weird.

Not sure if “role” is worthy of a shake, but, for what it’s worth, to me it feels like the essence of the character is better captured by (やく)()つ than by the various 熟語(じゅくご) like 役目(やくめ) that use the character.

There’s also the fact that the English word “role” often means part-in-a-play as well as assignment/function/responsibility/duty. The essence of the character is definitely about the latter.

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Although the kanji 役 could be interpreted as “role,” we have implemented a warning specifically for that meaning in order to differentiate it from the vocabulary 役. We also in the process wanted to emphasize the meanings of “service” and “duty.”

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I think that makes a lot of sense. Considering 役 is more along the lines of “role in a professional setting” and not just any “role”. However, “role” as a word might also have too broad of a meaning in English :frowning: .

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Since starting WK, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve asked myself: “Wait. Which meaning of word do they mean?”

I never realized before how imprecise English can be. I’ll never understand how linguists ever get anything done.

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The cynical answer is they don’t.

The more charitable one is that they (at least the good ones) clearly define their terms before using them.

It’s basically linguistics 101 that there is no single definition of “word” that everyone will agree with, as a word can be defined phonologically, morphologically, syntactically, … and these classifications don’t always coincide.

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What do you mean by a meaning being ephemeral?

Just my two cents to contribute to the discussion:
I’m not a linguist and English is my second language, so who am I to say anything? lol :laughing:
From the perspective of my native or my third language, a word having multiple meanings is nothing to be surprised about. “Role” in my mother tongue can either mean a task/duty/function or simply “paper”. Anyone can easily understand what it’s being referred to with context. So if WK used my native language instead of English, I would still come across situations where I could think “but which meaning of word do they mean?”

With that being said, multiple times I’ve come across statements of English being a particularly “shaky” language, although I’m not an expert on the matter to pinpoint exactly why that is so.

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I mean that the (vocabulary) word 役 as in 役に立つ has a definite meaning.

Ascribing meaning to the kanji itself (the glyph), though, is a much slippier concept.

The kanji can be used in many different compounds (熟語). Trying to ascribe one “meaning” to all of those uses is a tricky thing (even ignoring 当て字).

It’s kind of like talking about the meaning of the letter “h”, or, perhaps better, what “fac” means (in words like “factory” and “manufacture”).

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Or “fact” in fact and factorial.

Many kanji represent a concept, rather than a single entity, and while that concept can extend to multiple closely related meanings in Japanese, it’s futile to map it to a single meaning in English. It’s also highly impractical, because the goal of learning Japanese should be understanding Japanese in Japanese.

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Spanish speaker identified.

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I think Portuguese! :smile:

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Oh yeah, I should have considered that possibility given the two languages are so close. I just don’t know any Portuguese.

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hahahaha Good guess tho! Yes, in my case it’s Portuguese! :grin: