Additional information on meanings (feedback)

Hi! I’m loving WaniKani so far and have learned so much in the 2-ish months I’ve been using it. I have in this time noticed that I’m sometimes confused as to the meaning of the english word you’re referring to for the kanji that you present. For instance, if the word 引き分け only said “tie” I wouldn’t know if it referred to the clothing apparel, there being a tie/draw or to tie something. While the problem isn’t present with this word as it also has the synonym “draw” added to it, there are enough other words where I have been confused.

As a UX designer myself, I understand that this is a corner case and you probably don’t want to clutter the lessons with too much information so that it remains easily digestable. But perhaps some well thought out text can be added to the “hint” box that is already there, or make sure there is example vocabulary that illustrates its meaning (which I believe you already do to some extent).

Anyway, it’s just something I’ve noticed with a few select words that I can’t remember from the top of my head. I don’t know if anyone else has noticed this, but if so and they know of words that have unclear meanings, we can compile some sort of list that could need just a tiny bit of clarification :slight_smile:

Thanks!

3 Likes

There are also example sentences, which should theoretically clear up this kind of ambiguity. Though those aren’t always the most approachable part of lessons…

6 Likes

Also the mnemonics for the meaning are also generally written in a way that kind of clear up confusion. (but not always)
For example, the mnemonic of 引き分け is :

When you pull something and separate it, you are making everything even. In a game, this would be a tie or a draw.

1 Like

I second this. If you’re a beginner like me who’s learning grammar, most sentences are useless. Plus, they require extra knowledge on Kanji and even more vocab I haven’t been taught.

1 Like

Usually you can tell from the translation what the meaning was if it was unclear. No Japanese required.

4 Likes

Yep, I always scanned the English translation when the meaning was ambiguous, even though I almost always skipped the Japanese.

2 Likes

Yeah, I don’t mean to ruin the fun by insulting the whimsicality of the example sentences, but they are really kind of useless if you’re new to learning Japanese The book that my school uses for learning kanji isn’t great and Wanikani has a better organization than that book, but one of the reasons the school chose it is the fact that the example sentences are simple and indicate how to use the vocabulary like 姉は病気で、私の代わりに行きます, meaning “My sister is sick, so I will go in her place” (You now understand how to use 代わり.) To me, it’s so much easier to remember the vocabulary and Wanikani words if you actually know how to use them, and I wish the Wanikani example sentences focused on these simpler structures instead of writing (really funny!) difficult example sentences.

So unfortunately, you’re just going to have to put the extra leg work into learning the proper usage and meanings of words, and that’s okay. Wanikani teaches you the kanji really, really, well. You’ll just have to supplement your learning with other stuff.

1 Like

Of course, and I’ll also clarify that I have nothing to say about not knowing enough gramma, but the sentences could use vocab we’ve learned only (I get that’d be almost impossible in the first levels) in order to finish taking it in.

They are not, for the exact reason Leebo and seanblue pointed out. Even if you just read the English under it, it tells you how the word is used disambiguates homophones, clarifies noun/verb ambiguity, etc. Always read the example sentences (translated to English).

At some point, it becomes a +1 challenge (instead of +1000 at first, I agree with you there) to read the Japanese, giving you a good reason to re-review the lower-level ones once you’re at a higher level.

They could, and in some cases that might help. I’ve noticed the first one of the set (when there is more than one) tends to be made with lower-level vocabulary. But it’s also important to sometimes let 'er rip with how the word is used in the wild, I think, instead of artificially wedging it into a ‘beginner’ sentence. That way you get a sense of not just what the word itself means, but how it’s used, in what context, formality level, etc.

1 Like

This, I think, comes out very well in WK example sentences!

WK has to assume you are using other sources for Japanese as well, so plenty more opportunity to learn words either before they appear on WK, or won’t learn here at all. Plenty of basic vocab in textbooks only show up late in WK. I ‘learned’ いす only on level 46, for example. Also this is a kanji teaching website, so they have already adjusted the some of the sentences to only show kanji you already learned.

I mostly focus on grammar in my studies, so apart from on here I hardly do any vocab study. If a word in an example sentence catches my eye I’ll look it up, but don’t expect myself to remember it. I often rely on the translations to get feel of the word as well.

I wouldn’t say that the example sentences are useless, as they do give indication on their meaning in most cases. Although in some examples they are definitely a bit out there as I feel they are relying on idioms which are unfamiliar to someone who is early on in learning. While knowledge of way of expressing certain things are very useful, I more often than not find myself ignoring sentences that don’t make immediate sense with how the vocab is used.

1 Like

I pretty much always look up each new kanji in Jisho to check for alternate meanings, compound usage, and example sentences. Often I’ll add some synonyms if there are a range of contradictory meanings. There’s a script that lets you add synonyms during lessons so you don’t have to remember to go back and do it later.

There is room for improvement.

An example with my current lesson:
WK: a “wound” is a wound, RTFM.

The kanji and the word are exactly the same. That means they share meanings as well.

Wiktionary:

Alternative forms

Noun

( hiragana きず , katakana キズ , rōmaji kizu )

  1. injury; cut; scar

  2. chip; scratch; blemish; stain

車 (くるま)の 傷 (きず) を消 (け)す

kuruma no kizu o kesu

to remove a scratch on a car

See also

Most of my lesson time is spent copy-pasting from WP to WK, some will say it helps to memorize :slight_smile:

1 Like

What else were you concerned it might be. Like… the past tense of “to wind”? I think the kanji lesson explains it.

I think it is insighful that 傷 can be an injury, of course, but also a material damage (eg: to a car).

ps: also, WK is teaching many synonyms (“duty”, etc) where it would help memorisation if the meanings could be better distiguished. Which is sometimes the case (“永久” vs “永遠”), sometimes not.

2 Likes

Ah, okay, so slightly different from the concern the OP had about similar words not being disambiguated.

agreed.

Summary

(10 character min)

.

Sorry for the nitpicking, but did you write that correctly? To me it seems to mean that she’s going in your place because she’s sick…

It seems to me it should be 私が(彼女の)代わりに行きます…

Am I confused here?

1 Like

You are not. That is a mistake on my part - - it was really late when I typed that. Thanks!

1 Like

I think that would be a good idea, and in some cases, WK does do that, I think it was 不足 where it specified that it meant physically insufficient, and not mentally.

Although with 社 said company and my first thought was something like “He kept me company”, but at least from reading the related vocabulary (and well, the hints and mnemonics), seems to be exclusively a business kind of company. It’s not hard to look it up, but yeah, could be clarified from the get go.

Then again I can see the difficulty in “predicting” where this might be an issue, probably best thing to do is to react to user feedback and see where the problem spots come up, but then again, most people probably don’t pay too much attention to that or think about giving feedback