How do you tell the difference between "A Success" and "Area" which have the same sounds?

They both have the “あたり” pronunciation

How do you distinguish between night and knight? Context.


oh ok. so they have the same confusing problem with english. got it.

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bow – a long wooden stick with horse hair that is used to play certain string instruments such as the violin
bow – to bend forward at the waist in respect (e.g. “bow down”)
bow – the front of the ship (e.g. “bow and stern”)
bow – a kind of tied ribbon (e.g. bow on a present, a bowtie)
bow – to bend outward at the sides (e.g. a “bow-legged” cowboy)
Bow – a district in London
bow—a weapon to shoot projectiles with (e.g. a bow and arrow)

All languages have this problem, Japanese has less sounds than English so it’s very noticeable; but they both obviously have it.

Context is the only way to determine meaning.


In this case, they have different pitch accents


And we reached the problem, that why japanese can’t replace the kanjis with hiraganas only. Believe me, there were several attempts of japanese government trying to use only hiragana and katakana, but they have a tons of homonyms much more than english so ignoring the kanjis is impossible. They can’t get rid of them.


Homophones exist in every language though.

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There’s that same problem in a lot of languages. Very few have perfectly distinct sounds for every word. They tend to overlap.

You’ve been confused by night and knight before?

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It was dark when I left the castle and I was taken by the (k)night.


Sure, it’s possible to contrive confusing sentences, but I think generally speaking he’s worried about getting confused in everyday conversations, which people generally try to avoid or quickly clear up if they do it unintentionally.

Not sure if you’re trolling.

You’ve had that happen where someone was taking about nighttime, but you thought they were talking about knights, or vice versa? There aren’t many knight-related conversations in my life, so maybe you lead an exciting renaissance fair life.

No, I did not come up with the knight/night example…

You’re such a romantic!

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WaniKani taught me “area” before it taught me “success”. I was wondering why that game machine was called “area”. :grinning:

This is from the WK Mnemonics Visualization Gallery!

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