Can we have options to throw vocabs away?

I’m not sure about throwing words out, but I do think there’s something to the discussion about transitive/intransitive verb pairings. I just missed 解ける a few minutes ago because I’m used to -eru verbs being transitive!

I don’t know what the solution would look like, and I doubt it would even fall within WaniKani’s scope. But memorizing tables or waiting to encounter each verb independently in an SRS both seem suboptimal. I don’t think consolidating two verbs into one note on WaniKani is the answer; that won’t teach which one to use when. And Bunpro’s transitive/intransitive verb note is more about memorizing what the words “intransitive” and “transitive” mean in English than producing the verbs themselves (no offense to Bunpro).

It reminds me of Russian perfective/imperfective verbs or Arabic plurals: there are so many different patterns in pairings that it feels like there’s no choice but to memorize one pair at a time. But that can’t possibly be the best way.

I have a lot of words like this too. It’s not certain, but the best thing you can do is hope you encounter one or the other while reading or listening to media in the target language. When I’ve seen the word “in the wild,” it sticks much better.

I agree it’s probably impossible to succinctly conceptualize the difference between transitive and intransitive verbs, because English doesn’t use them the same way and/or not as often. I also agree it’s likely not WaniKani’s responsibility to teach them. However, combining them into single word entries does make sense, because it does away with the silly “verb’ed” and “verb something”, and if one does grammar outside of WaniKani, specific usage becomes clearer.

There’s a small set of patterns for transitive/intransitive pairs and only a handful of exceptions. Also, I don’t think remembering phonetic verb endings in their plain form is a good idea, because one can very easily trip on phonetically similar pairs like 起こる (ichidan) and 怒る (godan) or 変える (ichidan) and 帰る (godan).

Yeah, some of WaniKani’s translations are trying to convey a concept more than directly translate the word/phrase. They’re accurate, but for these I often add synonyms in my own words :slight_smile: .

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If you happen to know of any resources that list these patterns, I’d be interested in seeing them. I was just thinking about making myself a Google Sheet of verb pairings today. If someone’s already done that, I’d be thrilled to save myself the work!

I think you’d be interested in this thread on the Bunpro forums. One of the more accomplished and successful regulars is experimenting with designing some sort of kanji learning system that indexes by kunyomi. It’s preliminary but I see a lot of potential!

Ever since I started changing my Anki vocab from English into J→J definitions with pictures, I’ve been way happier with them. I fought it tooth and nail at first but it allows me to circumvent having to think of the word in English. I wish that idea was compatible with WaniKani but I certainly understand why it wouldn’t be.

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That’s a very interesting point to make, and it has actually picked up my motivation at learning Japanese baseball terms ^^ thanks!

Event though, I too, lived in Japan and never had a conversation on baseball there. I wonder if you are more likely to get into a conversation on baseball with a Japanese person if they know you’re from the US…

hey, that’s almost kinda what i wrote!

that isn’t.

if the feature were implemented i wouldn’t ask for it to be removed. i was trying to showcase why wanikani maybe does what it does.

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To be honest, many of the patterns I discerned exactly from long lists of verbs in their various conjugations I kept as a Google Doc :stuck_out_tongue: .

Here’s a couple of threads from our forums here: 1, 2, 3, 4

Yup, makes sense! J->J seems like the optimal solution. I use J->E and a bit of psychological trickery by pronouncing the word in Japanese as I type the answer to the Anki card in English. That way I pull the emotional connection I have with the word in English and associate it with the sound in Japanese.

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Jim Breen’s site has a page that lists a bunch of transitive/intransitive pairs grouped by pattern.


Frequency in English says nothing about frequency in Japanese


The solution is letting your brain figure out when to use what by actually using the language. The problem here is english basically not having the concept. Aside from raise/rise I can hardly come up with a pair of transitive/intransitive verbs in english. It’s not a 100% correlation situation. When talking about a relation between A and B, different languages will put different things in the foreground. For example enlish will have “A likes B” as opposed to french “B plait A” (the spelling might be off). In enlglish it’s about A liking B, where as in french it’s about B kind of “pleasing” A. And if you omit the context, and just translate “plaire” into english, you end up with a situation like you have with a lot of vocab on wanikani. Should you translate it as “to like” or as “to be liked/likable”? I’m pretty sure that context will sort things out for you, once you actually come across that word in the wild. May not be the best example, but I couldn’t come up with a better one.

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Awesome; thank you both! I’m trying to figure out the best way to study these. Maybe a temporary Anki deck. I dunno. I’ll think of something.


You could add a synonym with the reading for each word. I’ve done that with words and kanji that I just know conceptually from other studies, for much the same reasons you have. It would be romaji, but at least it breaks the English crutch. No idea how to add picture associations, though.

Yeah, I knew it was one of those, but I like my version just as well. Thanks for the correction.


For words that I have trouble with here, I look them up in Jisho and add every meaning as a synonym. That’s been my most effective leech-breaking strategy so far!

I have two Anki vocab decks on top of WaniKani: one goes vocab → Jisho definition; the other that I’m trying out is anime cards. I’m trying to use the former for words that appear frequently in Japanese dictionary definitions (that along with WaniKani gives me a good foundation) and the latter for words where I can understand Japanese definitions now.

It feels like this will become an optimal setup over time. I can picture the more tangible words and I have an English backup for the more intangible words. The only downside is that it requires better organizational skills than I’ve ever been capable of!

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I 100 % hate the fact that you can t discard vocabulary - It should be there…
I will also pinpoint the fact that a lot of the vocabulary is USELESS or used in a very formal way. My japanese girlfriend always laugh when i use certain words from wanikani.

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Absolutely. I just couldn’t resist making a comment since it was in reference to “close enough” learning of vocab. :wink:

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I wish I could do that, but my Japanese is just not good enough to go J->J only, pictures or not. I do use pictures on my cards, though. First, because looking up a suitable image helps me remember the word. But also because it often means I don’t have to look at anything else. I still need the English as a back up, but it’s secondary to the image.

There might be other uses to words than in conversation. Possibly. Or maybe not, maybe it’s true that they have literally no use in the language. Funny that they exist.


Yeah we don’t use that word in English except in formal contexts, such as when giving a presentation.

It’s not even on the list of 20,000 most common English words.

It’s funny that you learned it. :wink:


The trouble with basing commonality on a list of 20,000 words is that the average English-speaking adult’s (passive, admittedly) vocabulary is more like 40,000 words. Case in point: “alligator” is not on the list (though “crab” is, at 11,896th place). Therefore, we don’t use “alligator” in English except in formal contexts. WaniKani will henceforth be known only as Kani.

(“Crocodile” just scrapes in at 19,614th place, mind, so there’s a possible out.)

Also, “I can pinpoint the exact moment when [something] happened” is not extremely uncommon, I wouldn’t think.

Fun fact: “Australia” (702nd place) is more common than “England” (1171st place) - though one does idly wonder if “Britain” down in 3306th place has enough counts to make up the difference if added together, plus “united” and “kingdom” are both in the top thousand.

Edit: Wait, “UK” is in 291st place. Bah.