About English kanji translations/definitions

Why are kanjis sometimes defined differently in English (verb vs gerund vs noun, …) and does it matter?
I’ll give some examples (I put the definitions from WaniKani between round brackets):

見 (see): would seeing be correct too?
閲 (inspection): would inspect be correct? would inspecting be correct?
閲覧 (browsing): what about browse?

Be careful, because Japanese and English grammar are different. In Japanese, a verb will have some sort of ending to show its verb-ness. If you see a standalone kanji “in the wild,” in Japanese text, it is almost certainly not a verb.


Thanks. I’m aware of the difference, but what i meant by verb is the form without “to” (like: see, hear, …), I just don’t know the term for it.

Right, but what I’m saying is that “kanji without ending” is not grammatically equivalent to “infinitive without ‘to’.” So no, “inspect” or “inspecting” would not be correct for 閲.

(No, I don’t know why they accept “see” for 見. I agree that it’s inconsistent.)


If you’re just talking about kanji as concepts (e.g. WaniKani kanji reviews), I don’t think the tense in English translation matters. As far as I’m concerned, “inspect” conveys the concept equally as well as “inspection”, so I don’t see why it shouldn’t count.


It’s pretty much what I’m talking about. I mentioned the kanji for inspection 閲 in my OP, but here is a different kanji, that has “inspect” as definition:
My understanding now is that definitions/forms like “see” and “seeing” are the same, but I’m not 100% sure about inspection vs inspect.

Since kanji themselves don’t have parts of speech, I think it’s fine to consider “inspection” and “inspect” the same in that context. Of course, once you’re talking about actual words the part of speech matters.


Well, neither is 行 a verb “in the wild”, but WK glosses it as “go”. (There is apparently a vocabulary item that consists of only this Kanji, but it has a completely different meaning and reading.)

Kanji aren’t words, they are building blocks of words (although some words do only consist of one Kanji). At best, they convey general meanings (sometimes not even that), but definitely not grammatical functions.


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