Are radicals really any use?

I didn’t say it could be better, this post was pretty much asking other people’s experience of the radicals here. The response has been fantastic, including some replies that convince me radicals can be useful even for me, so I’m really glad I made it. :slight_smile:


WK is inconsistent all the time so this is a losing battle :grinning:

I can’t tell if this was meant seriously or not tbh but just in case, yeah, it does happen to be useful to know one meaning for a kanji even if a different meaning gets used on store signs. Lots of kanji have more than one important meaning.

My point was never that WK’s handling of this is perfect. Maybe it truly is a better idea to have the “book” meaning on the radical. I don’t even care about that. By having “real” on the radical instead of “book”, how much does this affect? You learn the “real” meaning a few days earlier than you would have, and you learn the “book” meaning a few days later than you would have. By a week or two later you should know both meanings either way as long as you are doing the learning “properly” (whatever that means), so it quickly stops mattering.

I just want to encourage taking that sort of perspective in general: Learning a less-important/common meaning of something before a more-important/common meaning of it isn’t something that needs to be avoided like the plague, since in the end you’re gonna want to know both anyway and you have to learn them both. It happens all the time in immersed/“in-the-wild” language learning anyway: the first time you see a vocab word happens to be a time it’s being used with like the 4th most common meaning. At the time it feels too difficult to learn 4 meanings for the same word and you just naturally remember the one that you actually have context for. Then when you later you come across it again and find that the less-common meaning you learned doesn’t make much sense in a new context, then you learn more. I feel it’s good to get comfortable with the idea that this will just happen sometimes and that there are better things to worry about.

In the end I just like to direct complaints away from things that are less worth caring about. One can only complain about so many things at a time after all, might as well not waste that energy too much :slight_smile:


Thanks for the response. :slight_smile: Makes perfect sense.

Thanks yeah I think it will be of limited use for some of the harder to remember ones- my only real concern is if they are forced on you too much here after the initial stage. But I’m sticking around to find out for sure. :slight_smile:

Yeah it’s annoying but I have already started and will definitely be making full use of the synonym option. :slight_smile: Takes a bit more effort at first especially since the first run through you don’t seem to have the option of adding one anywhere. But worth it for my sanity in the long run.

May I introduce you to

I probably complain about WK half as much after discovering and installing this script :slight_smile:

Personally I don’t see why we should have to add the real meaning options as synonyms. This is what annoyed me right away, typing in いち for 一 and then desperately trying ichi and then one and nothing being accepted. Forcing to learn unrelated meanings is irrelevant to learning the actual kanji which is what we are here to learn. For some of us at least. It’s just a personal opinion. But I think a fair observation.

Thanks I’ll check that out. :slight_smile:

WK have said that adding any meanings to radicals that belong to kanji with the same shape is something they plan to do in the currently-in-progress-but-with-no-ETA radical overhaul. These will be invisible to the user, but still accepted as correct.

So, they agree with you. It just hasn’t been implemented yet.

It doesn’t matter which words are associated with the radicals, they are a means to an end- a way to help us learn more kanji and the words they make up. I have no problem with their making up words for the radicals, even when they actually have a meaning elsewhere (kanji or kana) but the option NOT to have to learn their meaning should be there if we already know one that exists in Japanese. We already know one (or more) so why add another random word to our learning?

Oh man I thought I’d only need to use the synonyms for radicals. WaniKani only accepts one answer for kanji when there are several correct answers also? Wow, I definitely need this script. That will drive me insane typing correct answers in and having them fail every time.

If you ever think they don’t have a meaning that represents a commonly understood meaning of a kanji, they will add it if you send them an email. Radicals are meant to have one name because they are used for mnemonics. I don’t know how you got to the understanding you expressed in this post.

They aren’t, however, going to add every single possible way of phrasing an idea. They’ll put a couple, but when English has dozens of words for the same concept, they’re just going to choose one or two.

Yeah the point you’re arguing there is separate from the one I was making, and I agree with you here. If you already know a valid meaning for a radical and WK doesn’t have it as an answer, you should definitely add it as a synonym and just use that (and look forward to when the system is improved so that you don’t have to add it manually yourself).

My argument there was focused on the case where, before seeing the item here, you don’t already know it, and the meaning that WK offers you is a valid one but not the most common. Since I was responding to a particular person’s comment, I think it was somewhat detached from your main issue. You don’t have to force yourself to learn completely made-up meanings for stuff if you don’t want them for their potential mnemonic value.

You should test WK to level 3 before jumping to conclusions at ever possible turn :wink: [At least unlock a kanji first to see how it is acutally like.]

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I got the idea from having to add ‘destiny’ to the ‘fate’ kanji. If that is just an odd one out that’s a relief. Thanks for putting me straight. :slight_smile:

Just going by an example given here but definitely giving this a good go as I said.

Fate covers the “concept” that destiny is a synonym of. I don’t regard that as WaniKani missing one of the meanings of 命. However, they didn’t include the “life” meaning, and so I have it as a user synonym.

“Life” is an oversight on their part, imo, “destiny” is not, because “fate” is there.

Just wanted to say that WK accepts any of the multiple correct answers that often exist :slight_smile:

Fate is still correct. I understand the program has limitations and being prepared for them will make my experience using it less frustrating.

Thank you. That is great to know. I’m sure there will be omissions but it’s a relief to know it won’t be the norm.