Homographs?

I hope this is the right place to post this question. It’s about a specific word, but there will probably be more cases like it.

On level 4 there’s this vocabulary: 早々. The meaning is “As Soon As, Just After, Immediately After, Quickly, Early”, and it has two readings.

When I look it up on renshuu, it seems to show that the meaning depends on the reading:

はやばや (adverb) early, quickly, promptly

そうそう (adverb)

  1. as soon as…, just after…, immediately after…
  2. hurriedly, in haste, quickly, promptly, early

So, when used as “as soon as, immediately after”, is そうそう the only reading? Does wanikani have any way of showing this?

And what about the collocation examples? Is there any way of knowing which reading I should use in each word combination?

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I had this same question not long ago and found an answer on the Japanese stack exchange which itself sources 例文.jp.

While it’s not an exact match by any means, it seems to be quite reminiscent of fast vs quickly in English. Notably, fast and quickly are quite similar, but have distinct definitions and uses.

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Another striking exemple is 何人
なんにん is how many people (possible reply 三人)
なんなにじん is which nationality (possible reply 中国人)

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Thanks for bringing this up! I’ll report back to the team and let you know what they say.

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Small correction: this is read なにじん

The „as soon as, immediately after“ meaning for そうそう is often used as a suffix. My dictionary lists examples like 入社早々, 開始早々, 新年早々.
Also, the other meaning for そうそう „quickly, promptly“ is often used in the form of そうそうに (仕事を早々に切り上げる), while はやばや (with the same meaning) is more likely to be followed by と (早々と投票を済ます).

A hint from my 明鏡 dictionary explains this quite clearly:

「早々と」は「はやばや」と読む。「新年早々・着任早々」など名詞に付く場合や「早々に」 「早々から」 「早々の」などは「そうそう」と読む。

You can see the difference in meaning quite clearly in the examples I think. The 新年早々 etc only make sense with the „immediately after“ meaning.

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Oops, thanks for the correction

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