German to English to Japanese

Is there anyone out there who has the same problem as me? :slight_smile:

I sometimes get some really hard radicals which i first need to look up and then translate it to german so i understand what it means :slight_smile: Is english your mother language or did you also study english as a second one. How do you deal with it?


It is not my mother tongue, but it is my first language since I was born in the US.

A couple of times I encountered things I didn’t know, I just had to search it up though. Generally I never considered radicals as that important, if I ever got it wrong, I’d just use a userscript to mark it correct, since I’d be reminded of what it is when I learn the associated kanji. Though I’m not sure if the way I went about it is comparable to your situation.


Well for me sometimes i need to learn the english word first to do the next step. So i am not sure how other people handle it. If i have a hard time with a kanji i try to find it out with the radicals. So that’s why i not sure if thats the right way. But ey nice to get to know some new english word which i didnt know before :stuck_out_tongue:

English is not my mother tongue either. And I sometimes get frustrated with vocabulary or Kanji names that I don’t remember in English but I do understand what it means in Japanese :woman_facepalming:t2:. It’s rather annoying and contributes to an increased amount of leeches…


You could add the equivalent in your preferred language as a synonym.


This is what I do as well. I’m being more generous with it as I go actually. Mostly since some meanings can be made much shorter than the full sentences sometimes required by WK in English. If I can type less, I prefer that.

But, it’s mostly so that if I feel like I might struggle to remember a particular English word, add a synonym in my own language as a fail safe. Nothing is more sad than failing items in Master or Enlightened, just because your English suddenly fails you. ^^;

It becomes more important in the last 15 or so levels as well, as some terms are just highly specific. There are legalese, flower and plant names, as well as anatomical terminology etc, that you might have a good idea what it’s called in your mother tongue, but yeah, not as good in English.

And while it’s possible to learn those things short term, there is just no guarantee you’ll remember the English 2-3 months during that burn review. :sweat_smile:


Neither should one be forced to really :(. Radicals are useful as building blocks for kanji, but once one knows their approximate usage and meaning, grinding that one specific gloss for each is a little counter-productive I feel.

English is not my mother tongue and I do often mix up German and Japanese.

One thing I used to do was adding like 5 synonyms to each gloss to make sure I get at least one right :joy:.


WK does seem to have an obsession with sometimes using English glosses for radicals or Kanji that are rather specific and uncommon words when there exist near-synonyms that are much more common and probably match the corresponding Kanji (for radicals it doesn’t matter) just as well.

I suspect this is because they want to differentiate the Kanji better from each other, but I’m not sure it’s useful to associate them with the arbitrary way the English language chooses to divide up its vocabulary, instead of general concepts.

I am also not a native speaker of English. I do occasionally encounter a word on WK that I didn’t know (I think the most recent one being “eddy”), but more often I see words that I have seen before and do understand but probably would never use in my active vocabulary (e.g. “consign”).


As a native speaker I’ve had my fair share of words that I had to google. Particularly some of the baseball terms and knowing the difference between military terms (like lieutenant vs lieutenant colonel vs colonel etc).


Only that my native language isn’t written well in alphabets.

Anyway, not natively using American English, is yet another reason to use Anki mode or Double Check.

Yomichan also works in Wanikani quiz, but I instead use a script to display monolingual definitions. Not that I care that it needs to be JJ, but it is an iron grid for right or wrong.

I use Double Check with strictly no typo (No Cigar) because I like typing.

Anyway, I have Wordweb to translate English words.

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I did have to look up quite a lot of the English vocabulary, as well. ( I am looking at you “boisterous”). But I just tell myself that it is not a problem, but an opportunity to improve my English at the same time as I’m learning Japanese.

The more serious problem occurs when I try to actively recall a japanese word. I literally can’t go German → Japanese, because my brain is now weirdly hard-wired with an English-Japanese association. :crazy_face:


I have do Finnish to English to Japanese, but I try to understand japanese words from context when studying if english seems diffucult or unintuitive.

This is also the reason why I don’t try to memo English meaning almost at all just a rough “feeling of the word”, I mark roughly right answer as correct directly and only require typing answers for japanese readings. Wanikani isn’t supposed to be Spelling bee competition anyway, and you can modify it as you see fit with scripts and apps.


The real fun begins when you learn a word and you don´t know the english one so you google it and haven´t heard the word in your native language either. Then you can learn a word in three languages at once.
My (passive) english vocabulary is quite big, so on the rare occasions that I have to look up a word I just learn two words.
In addition to synonyms you might also want to use the notes on every item to write your own mnemonics if english isn´t as intuitive for you. Since you can pull from two languages and german is phonetically much closer to japanese than english that might help with some readings especially.
And to be honest, some of the mnemonics for readings are a big stretch, but you´ll get used to it.


Just today I learned “sedge”, but turns out, I didn’t even know what that was in German, so… :man_shrugging:


Ohh you are level 57 :slight_smile: Soo you will have finished all the lessons.

Level 58 actually. There’s a bug with the forum software that it somehow doesn’t keep track of the level properly unless you log out and back in.

But yeah, the end is in sight… and I’m becoming impatient. :sweat_smile:

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Omg you’re so right :joy:

As a non-native English speaker, one thing I often struggle with is the subtle difference between two very common words. Things like that:

A large part of my errors in WK stem from the use of an English word I thought was interchangeable with the answer.


As a main Swissgerman speaker i just struggle to write the Kanji and Vocabulary right xD. But hey with time comes practice and soon we will advance further :slight_smile: .

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I am also a native German speaker who has decided to use English to study Japanese.
My main reason was that the amount of resources is vastly greater in English (like Wanikani), and that my self-evaluation of my English skills is very high.

I have been able to get by pretty well, although there were a few English meanings that I had never heard of, so those were difficult to remember. Some examples:

  • barb
  • yonder

Additionally, sometimes an English meaning that makes sense to me is not actually the right word in English for that situation, so it’s marked wrong.

I help myself with user-defined synonyms. I don’t use German words for the synonyms, but alternative English meanings that make sense to me (for example, I renamed barb radical to crowbar and adjusted the mnemonics for kanji that use barb radical, or I add a custom meaning where English normally wouldn’t use that phrase, but it makes sense to me).

Sometimes I create a custom mnemonic for myself that uses a German word because it’s easier.

  • 意 (idea) with reading い → “[I]dee” (doesn’t work in English because of the different pronunciation)
  • using “Kacke” (shit) for kanji with the reading “かけ”.