Confused over made up meanings for radicals with new formation

First of all I’d like to clarify that I initially loved wanikani for giving me a way to learn kanji and considered paying for it too. But now I’m disappointed.

I’m a person that does not have the kind of mind to rely that much on memory. I use patterns and logic in order to learn things. When you put a needless ammount of extra fake meanings to the same radical instead of making it a note that “this radical can look like this when used in a kanji” I get really confused.

The amount of threads I’ve seen on wanikani talking about this as if it doesn’t matter is absurd.
They take your money for this after level three. They literally take your money to lie to you.
I feel it’s missleadning.
There chould be an option to opt out of this, I don’t care if you can’t write a short story for it, I just want to learn the real radicals. Otherwise I get confused writing the kanji.

Every thread on this on wanikani’s forum speaks so well of it and how it doesn’t matter and how people are just complaining, but many threads outside of wanikani’s own forum agree that it’s ridiculous.

Stop the nonsense. Stop wasting my effort. Give me the truth.

EDIT: I’m still not agreeing with calling the radical for small “triceratops” just because it was shifted when used in a kanji, (to me personally that causes too much memory load) but I’ve read some good responses on this thread and I understand that some of them aren’t that bad and can be, both helpful to some, and harmless to others. And I respect that.

EDIT 2: I understand that my post may have been based on a lof of missconceptions I had about the learning systems, but my opinion in edit 1 remains true. Think what you will of this.

FINAL EDIT: I’ve decided to fix the last of the passive aggressive text in my post from when I initially missunderstood how it worked. I apologize to the wanikani admins for being rude in my blunder.


Ok. Cool story, bro.


No, they do not literally do that.

Go make an Anki deck from the Wikipedia article of kangxi radicals if you want.


Considering you have to pay to go past level three, yes, yes they literally do that.

They’re not lying to anyone, so they can’t be doing that.

Literally first line of the “Radical Names” page of the FAQ.


Care to tell me how 小 meaning small, when squished because it’s used in a kanji and looks like ⺌ is called triceratops on wanikani?

Or why 幺 which means childish, infantile, small, little according to wanikani means poop?

Have you found the meaning wanikani implies researching the radicals they use here anywhere?
Have you researched anything?

Makes sense :slightly_smiling_face:
We have it all figured out here in the WK community.


I have done some research.


None of this is helpful.

Only some though. :wink:


I think this is where I differ from your goal. I don’t much care about the radicals, other than them being ‘kanji split into parts’. I’m pretty much only interested in the kanji and vocab - it’s the vocab I’ll be using going forward, not the tiny parts inside the kanji.
I do wonder if the first levels are a little misleading in that respect - those levels have buckets of radicals to get you started (level 1 is like 30% radicals). Once you get to level 15 or so, there’s maybe 5% radicals left per level, at level 40 is more like 2%.

I’m also curious what you consider to be the ‘real radicals’. I’m not entirely sure there is an official list, which maybe explains why WK does take some liberties when it comes to ‘radical breakdown’ of a kanji.
edit just spotted a reference to Kangxi Radicals in Leebo’s link - but that’s a different way to go about it.


It’s very rare to see a topic like this where someone has thought deeply about what their system would be if they could remake WaniKani. The assumption usually seems to be that WaniKani just changed a bunch of names, so they’d look them up and change them back.

But not every part of every kanji is something that can be found in the list of “real radicals” so you’d have to start making things up eventually if you did it that way.

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Real radicals like in a post I stated above, like 小 that can also look like ⺌ should be called the same thing because they are the same thing. Learning that the radicals can look different is part of learning kanji.
And changing the name of 幺 was completely unnecessary imo.

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i think unhelpful answers are the natural reaction to unconstructive criticism.

because it kinda doesn’t matter what radicals are called and the WK team chose to implement - by their estimation - better to memorize meanings.

but i actually in part agree with your view and my way of working around this is to just add my own user synonyms with the ““real”” meaning according to jisho, because i don’t use mnemonics anyway. so, i’m here for the SRS and the forum mainly. there’s a few “made up” ones left but they don’t annoy me.

how this is construed as lying i don’t understand at all.


I did say how it’s kind of like lying. I made this very clear when I spoke of how I don’t work 100% on memory and having more things to remember instead of looking at how they change is the opposite of helpful to me.

And I don’t understand how you see my post as unconstructive, considering as I’m suggesting the ability to opt out of these and very clearly stating why.

Is doing the lesson one time and then adding a synonym of your choice really that painful? There is no official name list to go with anyway, so the fact that you can change the accepted input to anything you want should be more than suitable.


At the very least don’t force me to work in things that aren’t real or different meanings for things that clearly are the same radical.

You’re not forced to. You can name every radical “radical” if you want.


Did you forget how the page works? Can you at least leave the thread to people who genuinely care about the learning system?

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Why not add synonyms of the radical names you prefer to the radicals? It’s a super quick fix and would do exactly what you’re looking for, right?