直 (jiki) - primary meaning

I am confused about this Kanji.

Wani Kani says the primary meaning is fix. The alternate meaning is direct.
Wiktionary says the meanings are soon, nearby, direct, sincere, simple, be on duty. Fix is nowhere.
It does give a meaning of “to fix” when you try to search 直すspecifically.

Checking with google translate, I see similar results although it adds a few more meanings. It does give a meaning of “to fix” when you try to translate 直すspecifically.

The browser plugin, Safarikai, also does not mention fix.

Looking at my book reference (A guide to remembering Japanese characters - Kenneth G. Henshall), I find that the primary meaning is direct. It does mention fix as a secondary meaning.

It is nitpicking, but seems like the primary meaning should be changed. I have seen this issue with some others as well. Can’t remember them now. Will take notes next time. Perhaps, a native Japanese speaker can let us know if the primary meaning is correct.

2 Likes

There’s really no set “primary meaning” for Kanji. It’s more or less subjective. There are a lot of cases where everyone would agree the far more common one is better as a primary reading, though.

In this case, I mean I guess both make sense to me. If I was calling the shots I would probably go with direct, but I guess I wouldn’t particularly have a problem with “fix” either. The most common word that uses the kanji by itself doesn’t seem like a bad way to determine primary meaning necessarily.

9 Likes

Yeah, my take on this is don’t worry too much about ‘kanji meanings’, they’re just there to (hopefully) help with what you really need to care about, which is vocabulary meanings. To read Japanese you’ll want to know 直す and 直接 and so on, and when you eventually do know all those you’ll naturally know that the kanji has a couple of different meaning clusters (but that knowledge is more trivia than useful, in the end).

6 Likes

BTW, my browser for some reason displays Chinese version of this kanji thoughout the whole thread -

obraz
obraz
etc.

Some problem with unicode system settings?

What’s even more funny, I have correct character displayed in the taskbar button
obraz, but inside the browser it’s all wrong, including the tab:
obraz

I had this issue on Android with rendering this particular kanji, because apparently 直 is the first kanji in the WK levels that looks different in Chinese or something like this… On Android I solved it using this advice:

https://www.reddit.com/r/LearnJapanese/s/9fAGHe96Fl

1 Like

What I’ve noticed is that the primary meaning for kanji on WK is more of a keyword that WK will be using in their mnemonics later. So it has less to do with the ~true~ ~meaning~ of the kanji and more to do with fitting in with the wk mnemonics. For example, the first vocabulary in wk that uses 直 is 正直, honest. The mnemonic:

So you can see they’re mostly using the ‘fix’ meaning for their mnemonics.

4 Likes

A good example of a kanji that doesn’t have a single meaning. Although I don’t really have a problem with this one, (なお)る “to be fixed” and (なお)す “to fix” are both common words that show up in many places. And all of the 直 vocab past level 6 to level 25 will be using the “fix” meaning.

Often times if there isn’t a clear meaning for a kanji, they’ll go with the verb meaning. It helps because for verb vocab specifically you won’t have any other context to go off of, so remembering the kanji meaning there is very helpful. That’s not to say that all the kanji meanings are great though, there are plenty of confusing ones where you really have to squint to match any of the vocab.

These are the moments you have to evaluate what’s most helpful for you to remember about a single kanji, these “meanings” don’t really exist outside of WK so you can write down whatever user synonym you want so long as it helps you remember the vocab.

2 Likes

I did notice that part with radicals. For example, 孝 is called teacher. This is based on one usage of it - 教 - teach. I did not think that they were doing this with Kanji itself since Kanji has a real meaning whereas the radical can take any meaning unless it is a “real” radical. But, as you say, they might be playing with the primary meaning of the kanji to be the one they will use most.

1 Like

These are the moments you have to evaluate what’s most helpful for you to remember about a single kanji, these “meanings” don’t really exist outside of WK so you can write down whatever user synonym you want so long as it helps you remember the vocab.

Perhaps you are referring to mnemonics and not meanings since all meanings exist outside of WK. Mnemonics don’t.

There are other characters like this that show up differently in google docs or wiktionary.

I have nothing to add other than this is one of my least favorite kanji. Gave me trouble on the first go around, giving me trouble on this one too. Honestly, this 正直 has to be the worst kanji pairing.

1 Like

Well yes dictionaries will list out there own meanings for kanji. But ultimately the kanji don’t actually mean anything, a kanji on it’s own means about as much as the english letter “t” means on it’s own. The kanji only actually mean something in the context of the vocabulary they are used in.

In english, you don’t assume all the words with a “t” in them have something to do with “tea”. But with kanji, most of the words containing 茶 for example do have something to do with tea, so we might say 茶 means “tea”. That’s not always going to be true. And it’s not even true about 茶 once you get to 滅茶苦茶.

It is very useful to think of kanji as having meanings but 1. The one word english translations used in WK are not universal. And 2. It is more realistic (and sometimes easier) to think of kanji as weird letters that dont mean anything but are often used in words that have something to do with each other.

1 Like

7 Likes

正直に、:wink: I’m happy that you’re saying this, because it took me a while to start getting 正直 right, and I was afraid that this is just the beginning of difficult words to come.

2 Likes