Absolute Beginner - Reading v Meaning


Just reading the Guide to WaniKani and came across the Meaning v Reading section. For ‘Substitute’ they provide the Kanji for the Meaning and then the Reading it highlights ‘Dye’ in a sentence with the Hiragana(I think)

Is the reading how you sound out the pronunciation of the Kanji? And in this example is ‘Dye’ the sound of the Hiragana provided?

Many thanks


Well it is, but incidentally. The highlighted keywords used in the mnemonics are generally just used to help you remember the reading. They aren’t intended to be (and very often won’t be) accurate pronunciations.

Have you learned all your hiragana yet? I recommend making sure you know how to read them, as well as how they sound, before starting to learn kanji.


Hi Sean

Thanks very much for the quick reply!

I’m a little confused. The reading is just another word to help assist remember the original word (but the reading help word is spelt in Hiragana?)

On the guide it starts the Reading is the Pronunciation of the Kanji/Vocabulary word

I’m going to use the Tofugu detailed guide and hence will learn all Hiragana before starting WaniKani but was just reading through the Guide and this part confused me

Thanks for your help!!


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The reading mnemonic is just an English word that coincidentally sounds like the Japanese reading. It’s there to help you remember the reading.

If they just say “remember that the reading is dai” then… Well… You might remember that, but it has no context to you as a beginner. It’s just a sound. But “dye” is a word you know and can more easily remember, and that helps you get to the reading of dai, when you try to recall it.

But the reading mnemonic usually isn’t related to the meaning.


Ah ok so the reading is an English word sounding equivalent to the Japenese reading (pronunciation of the Kanji) that helps when trying to remember how to say it

E.g Dye in English sounds like Substitute in Kanji?

Thanks for your help - I get a little caught up in understanding of programs before I begin them - lol


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Roughly, yes. It’s usually not exactly equivalent. And sometimes it’s actually quite different, because sometimes there just are no English words that sound exactly like the pronunciation in Japanese. But it’s a word that can jog your memory by being in the ballpark of the Japanese reading.


I wouldn’t even go as far as saying the English word is an accurate representation of the pronunciation in Japanese. In the case of Dye for dai (だい) it is, but lol, they make some stretches with word choices :slight_smile:

I wouldn’t get too set in stone w/ the mnemonics provided, but just figure out what helps you remember it.

One of the easiest things about Japanese is how the language is pronounced. It is very consistent. There are tones, but it’s nothing I think you need to worry about till way later, if ever. The sounds are almost always the same. There are small exceptions like だい isn’t da EEE, but い almost always works like that.

How comfortable are you with hiragana? You shouldn’t really need an English word to remember how to say it if you know how to spell the word in hiragana. The English word is just trying to give you some memory of how to spell it. Again, the mnemonics given are usually not very helpful to me. I would try making your own stories or whatever helps you… or… just get it wrong over and over again like I do until you can’t forget it :smile:

Makes sense - thanks James

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No problem.

BTW the (newish) forum design makes it confusing, but “James Craburn” isn’t my actual name. It was given to me by the admins, and the details aren’t that important haha. Just “Leebo” is fine.


You could always remove it if you wanted, by picking a different title. Just mentioning since this is the second time this happened in just a few days. :sweat_smile:


My bad - I’ll stick to the bolded names from now on!

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What would you call me?


“Lord Craburn” is also acceptable.


Sorry to hijack the thread but I just got it why someone tagged you in another thread where I was complaining about reaching 89% in a level and asking for a table flipping emoji! You’ll always be a table flipping lady to me…


Remember the persons, like me, reading these posts are just starting Japanese. We typically have ‘learned’ hiragana, but it is not ingrained and I am constantly reviewing. I still confuse ‘i’ with ‘ri’ as they look very similar to a beginner. Also the dakuten pronunciations are difficult and knowing them for reading for a beginner is difficult. When questions are asked, don’t just say read hiragana better, but really try to help us.

I think I gave a perfectly reasonable and helpful response. Also, this post was from 9 months ago, so I don’t see why you felt the need to criticize my response this long after I posted.


Maybe it’s because of the weird search and confusing forum timestamps? (I was dragging up old topics too when I first joined :sweat_smile:)


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