How important is it to understand on'yomi/kun'yomi differences?

Is it really that hard for people to know which one is which? I feel like its almost automatic, given that by level 20 you’ve pretty much seen every onyomi reading.

I would call that knowing which is which. I would expect for you to be able to tell me how 満ちる and 満点 are read and thus what 満’s 音訓 are.

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Did. Did you actually read the original post??? Because I’m not sure you read the original post.
They aren’t saying “Why should i learn on’yomi readings?”, they’re asking about if it’s really necessary to know that those readings are on’yomi or kun’yomi. Your analogy doesn’t make sense.

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I guess 満ちる takes the kun because of the hiragana and 満点 takes the on, since they’re two Kanji together. Is that it? :thinking:

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Correct, but have you not learned those words yet? I was expecting you to know the actual reading. I picked something from 25 on purpose XD

YOURE RUINING MY DEMONSTRATION :scream::scream::scream::scream:


Oh yeah, sorry! XD I know the reading of 満点 (まんてん), since WK teaches you. I haven’t learned 満ちる yet… Checked it just now and apparently WK doesn’t teach this word nor any other with the reading み :face_with_monocle:


What the actual fuck…I could have sworn I learned 満ちる on here. Hmm, my fault. But just focusing on the まん part, you were able to deduce that that is the onyomi reading. Consequently you would be able to know 満月 probably uses まん too before you ever actually learned the word.

By my definition I would call that “knowing the onyomi reading”

EDIT: What the heck koichi. I thought we were supposed to have vocab teach us other readings. Where dem 満 kunyomis at boi.


Well. WK also teaches that one, so it’s easy :joy: But yeah, I got it right when I was doing the lesson. I always guess the readings before seeing them. It’s extra reinforcement.

I pretty much only guess wrong in situations like 河童 (かっ) but then, those readings are so weird that it’s relatively easy to memorize

It helps to know that all verbs use the KUN reading, “foreign verbs” are formed with する. So verbs and things derived from verbs like 受付 or 着替え are also clear.

** There are some “exceptions” with a modified -suru (〜する) → -zuru (〜ずる) → -jiru (〜じる), so 禁じる or 存じる are actually using the usual pattern of UN reading+する.

You could really up your forum search skills, however :wink:

Well yeah, but thats why I said this :stuck_out_tongue:

I was just worried because it sounded like, say in this case, he would know that 満 could be read as み or まん but wouldnt know if 満月 would be まんげつ or みげつ. That would be bad. Like in your case, you should be able to guess the jukugo words before you actually see them.

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I think, in a way, the different answers on this thread should give you a pretty clear answer: it can be useful for some people, but is in no way necessary. No matter how many people make the argument that they think learning on / kun is ‘as important as learning your abc’, so long as there are some people who are doing okay without that knowledge, it proves that it’s not necessary.

I’m by no means an expert in Japanese, but I’m doing okay. I have no idea what the on / kun are for even one kanji. I have never tried to learn and don’t intend to. However, so long as I know what the potential readings are, I can guess which one to use in most new words with a very high hit rate.


Another reason for not really paying attention to on’yomi vs kun’yomi is that sometimes even compound word don’t use the on’yomi, but the kun’yomi.

Great examples are 水色 (みずいろ) vs 白色 (はくしょく). The former uses the kun’yomi for both words and the latter the on’yomi, which makes it near impossible to guess which reading to use without just knowing the words by themselves.

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You do start to get a feel for those too though, that something like 受付 isn’t じゅふ or 取引 isn’t しゅいん. Certain kanji are just more likely to represent their kunyomi verbs than others are.

For what it’s worth, not every possible reading is always used. For example, they won’t allow me to put せい for 井. I also imagine さめ isn’t a valid choice for 雨

Right. In any of my posts, “reading” is sort of prefaced with an invisible “useful/common”. When i refer to 音訓, Im just talking about the ones that are actually worth learning with the kanji.

Frankly I’m annoyed 麗しい isn’t on here because I had to look it up while playing my エロノベル

What エロノベル? Asking for a friend

For the most part that is true; as a general rule if it feels more like two words back to back as opposed to a compound word you use kun’yomi. You also really do get a feeling of what what to use when just by encountering more and more words. However, sometimes that simply doesn’t work out as in the aforementioned case of the two colors. I don’t how anyone would be able to solve through intuition 水色 (みずいろ) vs 白色 (はくしょく). That is why it is important to double check quickly using an online dictionary like rikaikun rather than purely relying on intuition alone for new words.

That being said, studying which reading is which feels rather fruitless since you should be relying more on this feeling rather than just plain memorizing on’yomi vs kun’yomi. See it enough in enough words, and you should develop that sense. And, while imperfect, is better than just falling too heavily on whether it’s on’yomi or kun’yomi.

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It is a secret that I will take to my grave.

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I used to go by 北千住駅 fairly often and now I go by 西日暮里駅 everyday. So I hear it 北 and 西 quite often at least haha.

The Nobel prize for perverts.

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