Custom mnemonics

Hi all! I’ve recently restarted, going over everything now that the old mnemonics are getting the boot

My suggestion is the ability to use custom mnemonics from the start, and perhaps if you mark a radical or kanji with a custom name, it mark any kanji or vocab that contain it to alert you that its mnemonic mightn’t help you given the constituent parts you have your own meaning for

Over my time using WK I have developed my own mnemonics for several things, because I often struggle with the ones WK gives. This is for several things, like the reading not matching mnemonic given in my accent (a good example I’ve come across early on here being 左, where WK uses ‘saw’ for さ, while saw in my dialect of English sounds like そう; I have this problem fairly often actually because my dialect has vowel length distinctions or completely different vowel qualities which often go completely ignored by WK’s mnemonics)

It would be really handy if while doing lessons, you could see a new radical or a new kanji and add some synonyms then and there: all too often I can tell when a mnemonic isn’t going to work for me and I come up with my own, but then I have to go find the kanji again and edit them after the fact, which is a bit of a pain


Yeah I kinda wish you could add synonyms during lessons as well.


While you can’t add synonyms from the start (though isn’t there a script that actually allows you to do this when I think about it? :thinking:) you certainly can add your own mnemonics during lessons. I used the notes function all the time. :woman_shrugging:

Edit: Aha, here it is @alo


I’ve also been using my own mnemonics since I started back in 2017. What I’ve discovered is on some kanji the reading has changed since then.

I had some trouble with 石 where the on’yomi used to be いし so the mnemonic I wrote “I SEE a leaf growing out of a STONE” no longer made sense with the new reading せき.

But then I eventually got to the kun’yomi reading which is いし, so swings and roundabouts I suppose lol

EDIT: Just made a similar mistake regarding dialect! The mnemonic for 角 “cock (かく) your head to the side” when read in my English accent ended up with me writing こく and getting confused as to why the answer was wrong. :sweat_smile:

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Just a quick clarification for you: the on’yomi of 石 didn’t “used to be いし,” the on’yomi of 石 is and has always been せき (edit: one of them is, anyway). What changed was that Wanikani changed the reading of 石 they were looking for in the kanji review from kun’yomi to on’yomi.

A common misconception about Wanikani is that the “kanji reading” is the on’yomi reading, and the “vocabulary reading” is the kun’yomi reading. This is not the case. It’s actually that the “kanji reading” is whichever reading of the kanji the Wanikani devs decide is more useful to learn first (usually the on’yomi, but not always), and the “vocabulary reading” of words that consist of only one kanji is whichever reading of that kanji is used in that word (usually the kun’yomi, but not always).

For more information, try reading this.


Ohh! Thank you, good to know!

I replace all mnemonics using ‘cock’ for かく to ‘cackle’. It honestly helps a lot with differentiating between the two. :slightly_smiling_face:


Jumping on a slightly old thread, but this one most closely matches a problem I might start having which I want to nip in the bud early on!

Being from the south of England some of the early mnemonics don’t match my accent when speaking so I am struggling to match them with the hiragana. One mentioned above like かくcan be cackle instead, but what do people use for さ? I would guess this sound comes up time and again so would be good to get a decent mnemonic established in my mind for this, but the wanikani mnemonic uses “saw” which I don’t pronounce that way.

たま also just came up for ball with “Tom” as a mnemonic which unfortunately is not how I would pronounce Tom. How do people manage this, do you tend to stick with the wanikani ones to point you in the right direction and just remember the different vowel sounds or make up your own mnemonics that matches your accent/language?

Yeah, never seen anyone pronounce Tom as たま, if it bothers you, something like tomahawk? Tamagochi? Those tend to be round, and たまご means egg.

In cases like that I just ignore the mnemonic :joy:. No, seriously, I once got a leech because I was trying to rely on the existing mnemonic.

Fun fact: たまごっち is just たまご(egg) and ウオッチ(watch) smooshed together.

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