達 = scooter + ...happiness?

Hi all, just a little heads-up, before you end up learning something wrong, like I did.

According to Wanikani, the pluralizer 達 (LEVEL 18) is composed by the radicals “scooter” plus the radical “happiness” 幸.

I believe this is just wrong. In other words, if you trust Wanikani, you will end up learning a wrong Kanji. Compared to 達, the radical 幸 (happiness) is missing a horizontal line at the bottom!

A better radical composition/mnemonic would be that 達 is composed by scooter + 土 (or dirt, in Wanikani) + 羊 (sheep). Dirt goes on top of sheep.

Unfortunately, I noticed Wanikani’s “mistake” (edit: or deliberate choice) after learning the kanji, so I might have I a tendency to confuse it in the future…

At least, I hope my post will help other people to notice the missing line at the bottom and learn 達 correctly.

Thank you for your attention.

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Yeah, WaniKani can sometimes be a bit… charitable when it comes to how it matches up kanji components with its list of radicals. The main reason for this is probably that WaniKani’s main aim is to teach recognition of kanji over reproduction. Which is to say, reading rather than writing.

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Hi Belthazar,
Thank you for your reply!

You are correct, and I am aware that Wanikani prioritises reading/recognition, but still… Uhm, let’s just say then, that I hope my post will be (just a little bit) helpful for that subset of Wanikani users who are also practicing writing or who plan to learn how to write kanji in the future. :wink:

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This happens with like, every other kanji it feels like.

僕 is not leader plus business. 鏡 is not gold plus stand plus see, etc.

At the same time, if you were to look up 情 or 快 in a kanji dictionary, you would need to check in the section for radicals that have 4 strokes. Because they will be listed under 心 most of the time. Even though that element has 3 strokes in those kanji.

Most fonts aren’t acceptable for learning writing anyway. If you try to write 食 exactly how looks on a Kanji Kentei exam, you’ll be marked wrong. The bottom left side element can’t jut out to the left like that. You need another resource if you want to learn writing.

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Hi Leebo, thank you for taking the time to reply.

  • About those examples you posted (僕, 鏡), yep, I found the use of radicals from wanikani a little confusing and misleading in those instances, but just my opinion. Other resources break them into (again, in my opinion) more logical divisions.

  • I didn’t know that the “soul” radical came from heart. That’s cool, I learnt something. Thanks! =)

  • As for your last point, I am not sure what you mean. I have checked 以 on three different resources (in one case handwritten by a Japanese hand) and it looks close enough… (see screenshot) Screenshot 2020-11-23 151217|460x500 .
    But maybe I am not understanding what you mean, in which case I apologize. Apart from that, I totally agree that wanikani is not an effective tool for learning to write, that’s why I also use other resources, but I still have in mind Wanikani’s radical structure when I draw them, because that’s how I Iearn them in the first place.
    And yet I realized after a month that I was writing 鏡 wrong. But It’s just me I guess. =)

Yeah… just got up from a nap and wasn’t thinking straight. I edited it. That one is fine, but it’s two strokes. I meant something like the bottom left of 食 jutting out to the left like that.

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As @Belthazar mentioned, they are prioritizing the mnemonics for recognition. I think they are fairly clear in the FAQ and other materials that that’s their goal. There isn’t another kanji that actually really does have “eye” on top of “legs” that you will mistake for 鏡.

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Nor is there a kanji like 達 with only two horizontal strokes underneath a la 幸.

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And of course, it’s fine to dislike that about WaniKani. Not trying to suggest otherwise.

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Absolutely true.

At the same time, sound+legs and dirt+sheep seem to me about as simple, but accurate. I don’t think prioritizing reading and providing accurate breakdowns (when possible) are two things in conflict.
And of course, it’s my opinion. I don’t mean to say I am right and you are wrong.

Except they are, I don’t see why anyone would care what the kanji kentei wants, except for you know, people who want to take that specific exam.

I figured it was implied, that if you don’t care if people think you have font handwriting it doesn’t really matter.

If you want to learn to write in a way that Japanese people will recognize as normal handwriting, most fonts aren’t acceptable. If you don’t care, then you don’t care. Same goes for anything in Japanese. If you don’t care that your word choices are considered strange, you don’t have to care. If you don’t care if your pronunciation is different from standard Japanese, you don’t have to care.

The Kanken thing was just an example of where it goes beyond “looks like a font” to “would get marked wrong.” The standards of the Kanji Kentei are a representation of how people are taught in school.

Considering the OP of this thread apparently cares about writing… yeah… I guess you’re on a different page with them.

From the book “The Key to Kanji” by Noriko Kurosawa Williams.

[The top 土 was a variant of a person, and 羊 “sheep” an animal that gives birth easily. Together with the bottom 辶 “to go forward” the term indicated “thing go smoothly”. Because people do things together, it also was used to mean “people”. The kanji 達 means “to reach, to attain”. The kanji is also used as a plural suffix for people in the kun-reading.]

Hope this helps. I personally prefer learning from the actual historical context of Kanjis, rather than made-up stories, but this might just be me.

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It’s a wonderful explanation from a cultural POV, it makes sense visually, and it becomes much easier to remember.
I will look into that book.
Thank you! =)

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