Disambiguation and Synonyms


It’s very possible that somebody has already brought this up, but as I’m approaching level 9 I’m finding there are lots of vocab words and kanji presented at the same time that are translated with the same meaning. Now, I fully understand that WaniKani is not a one-stop-shop and that it’s primary function is to teach kanji, not Japanese per se but I feel like when you have two words or characters in the same lesson that have very similar meanings it would be far less confusing if the context was addressed.

For example, in level 8 there are two characters that mean ‘someone’ (or to be fair ‘someone’ and ‘somebody’) and two vocab pairings for ‘investigation’. It would be nice if the lesson had a small paragraph just to explain the nuance and use-case for one vs the other as I am sure they both have their place and utility in the language. Instead, it is not addressed at all and you’re left feeling like you’re experiencing déjà vu when 2-3 lessons later you encounter the same word with a different character pairing.

I also acknowledge that in the case of characters you can visit the character page and see examples of it in pairings and compare that to examples of pairings of the other character to get a bit more context, but would it really be that hard to just include that in the lesson?

Overall, I really love WK and I’m still very motivated to keep pushing through it but I feel like this is an improvement that should be considered for the future.

Yes, this is definitely an issue when relying solely on short English glosses. It seems they do have this for at least some words like 産む has the following in its meaning explanation:

You know another 産む as well (生む). This 産む is more sciency, but both are good to know.

or 混ぜる

The connotation for this word is you can’t distinguish the things you’re mixing, like combining paints, which become one mixed color that isn’t two separate colors anymore.

Would be nice if they did expand on this for other words and kanji.

I would also recommend this guide:

I’ve found it to be a good reference to try to disambiguate these synonyms. It breaks the synonyms down by a more nuanced meaning and gives you example compound words that use the kanji.


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