How is that answer incorrect? Or have I lost my marbles

The WK’s correct reading for the word ビー玉 is びーだま.
But I thought that all readings are supposed to be written in hiragana. Then why びいだま is an incorrect answer?
I feel like I’m missing something crucial here and that this is actually a really dumb question :confused:

I’m sorry but I’m fairly new to WK //and Japanese itself//. I’ll be level 4 in a few days but honestly I don’t know if I should buy a subscription?
Even though the first 3 levels are supposed to be slow, I already have a hard time remembering stuff and I’m constantly mistaking one kanji for another. Sometimes I can’t even recall readings for numbers. And don’t get me started on all those kanji containing 刀 radical. :scream:

I would love to be able to speak in Japanese but I feel like I’m just too stupid to learn a new language :disappointed:
As far as I know it only gets worse and there are more and more similar-looking kanji later on. How do you guys handle that?

Alright this post kinda turned into a rant but the question remains - how do I know if I have a chance at WK? Especially since I’m not a native English speaker :no_mouth:
And what about that god-forsaken「ー」in「ビー玉」?

//please help a poor soul I’m struggling//


You just need to include a “-” in there

So you’d type it like “bi-dama” (which shows as びーだま)

WaniKani doesn’t want the extra い in there, just a regular dash :slightly_smiling_face:


It’s supposed to be written in katakana, but WK will let you input in hiragana, still ビイ玉 wouldn’t be valid so you need to use the slash. Katakana reading can be typed in hiragana (in WK), but you need to input a slash for long vowels.


ビーだま is the only correct answer.
びーだま is accepted only out of convenience.
びいだま is wrong since it does not use the correct character.

As a non-native English speaker I would say that WK is definitely worth it. Regardless of how fast you progress through the levels it’s better than every other service for kanji.


Actually, it’s only like that at the beginning. You get better at learning the more you learn :stuck_out_tongue:
At some point your brain gets accustomed to it and knows what to expect, what to look for in a kanji, and everything becomes easier.


I also want to throw out there that it’s not dumb to ask if you couldn’t work it out. :blush:

You see that dash symbol in a lot of “import” words - words written in katakana.


This can be confusing to anyone that hasn’t learned Katakana. At first glance, you may mistakenly assume this is supposed to be the 一 symbol (ground, one, いち) and WK doesn’t dis-spell this assumption. It’s also confusing because part of the word is a “borrowed” word (written in katakana) and half is a native word (written in hiragana/kanji).

Katakana, because it is used to appropriate foreign words into Japanese, added a few verbal tricks to better mimic phonemes that aren’t natural to Japanese language. The 一 symbol in katakana means “hold this sound one additional beat.” In comparison, hiragana didn’t have a way to do this since double vowels merge to create a new sound, or are punctuated slightly when spoken.

So in short, “bead (ビー)” was a word appropriated from western culture and therefore uses katakana linguistics, so that 一 is a katakana symbol and not a kanji


Afaik「ー」is used to lenghten the vowel sound so I thought that its equivalent in hiragana (in this case) would be「い」
In the answer びーだま there’s simultaneously hiragana and katakana, and that’s what confuses me the most.

I religiously have read all the FAQs so the actual input wasn’t an issue, it’s just that I couldn’t understand why the reading was written in both hiragana and katana but @Kumirei cleared that one :hearts:

It makes a lot of sense now that I think about it. WK wouldn’t be able to tell if I knew how to write the word if I didn’t use「-」in the answer because びいだま would convert to ビイだま and then to ビイ玉 (which would be totally incorrect vocab word).

And yes if I buy a subscription I’ll probably be one of the slower users (because I forget the English meanings for words).
By the way I wonder how many non-natives use WK :thinking:

I hope that you’re right because that would be awesome.
Currently I can’t believe that I can be good at studying kanji :upside_down_face:

Well, sorry I made such a fuss and thank you all >////<


My anxiety is always through the roof :persevere:
It took me an hour to actually write this topic, so thank you for the reassurance <3

Thank you for the contribution! I already love this community :relaxed:
And actually I did know about the dash because I learnt katakana already. It’s just that I’m still not entirely familiar with how WK expects me to write various readings, and this particular word was on a whole new level of absolutely confusing.


I second that if you haven’t learned a language before it can be hard. But you’ll get better at it! It might just take a while for your brain to adapt to new changes and activity. Learning a language takes up A LOT of brain power. :slight_smile: But it’s also really beneficial and you’ll be SO SO proud of yourself if you’ll stick with it and start seeing your progress. Even slow progress is progress. Especially true with language learning. And you’re definitely not stupid!


I think I’ll stick around and wait for that ‘I’m proud of myself’ moment. I mean I’ve already spent a week here and I’m still alive so I might as well see what happens after a month worth of studying. Thank you for being here and thank you for all the encouragement, @Nedeli さん. It means a lot to me //as cliché as it sounds// :hearts:


Because you’re a new user, I’ll just point out to you, that once you learn a kanji or vocabulary, you are able to input synonyms of your own. That way, if you can’t remember the English word (and sometimes even I as a native English speaker can’t remember the precise word WK uses for its translations), you can enter a word in your native language as a synonym. You can also add your own mnemonics if you don’t find the pre-written ones useful. Since about level 10, I always make up my own mnemonics for every single kanji.

As to your original question, you’ve already got the right answers from everyone above, but I’ll add one thing: Your feeling that びいだま sounds the same as ビー玉 is correct. They are pronounced the same. It’s just that katakana words use that dash symbol rather than a second letter. Sometimes a certain word in Japanese is written in both katakana and hiragana. ラーメン comes to mind. You’ll often see it as らーめん. Google shows 29,300,000 entries for the katakana version, 11,600,000 entries for the hiragana version, and interestingly, 1,180,000 entries for らあめん (but around 7,000 for ラアメン because that’s just wrong). So yes, Japanese is confusing as hell, with lots of little quirks, but for the purposes of Wanikani, just give them what they ask for. (and if you type hiragana with the caps-lock key on in Wanikani, it’ll appear as katakana.)


I think there are a loooot of us. Swede here :snowman_with_snow:

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I think that びいだま should be accepted as a reading for ビー玉 as well. I accept that ビーだま is the only actually correct answer, but if you’re going to accept a hiragana equivalent out of convenience I see no reason to accept びーだま but not びいだま since they’re representing equivalent sounds. In my mind びいだま would be more correct than びーだま anyway, since the former is the standard way to lengthen a sound in hiragana which I assume was the OP’s thought process. I see the Japanese do this as well, when they want to render a katakana word in hiragana for stylistic effect or whatever they often change ー to the equivalent lengthened vowel, for instance I’ve seen ゲーム written as both げえむ and げーむ.



Just wanted to comment, OP, that for a non-native speaker, your english is AMAZING. :+1:

Also, as you’ve said, you’re still alive, so keep at it! がんばれ!


You can add synonyms to your vocabulary words - type the meanings in your own language if that’s easier for you to remember!

However, for some reason you are unable to do this in the LESSON, but you can do it on the item page after the lesson. You can also do it during the quizzes (when you review your items), however when you do it that way, you will have to answer it again.

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That’s a good idea! That way I can simply do reviews in my own language :smirk:

And those are some interesting statistics. I guess that since Japanese is a living language, it’s constantly being adjusted according to people’s needs? For example for the stylistic purposes as @rhet mentioned.

Hi there C:
You’re almost my neighbour (there’s a sea between us)

Yes, that’s what I was thinking (about the equivalent sounds). That’s why I was puzzled with the「びーだま」reading. I thought I didn’t understand something and I was wrong.

Perhaps we should just ask in the feedback forum if「びいだま」could be added as an acceptable answer? I’m not familiar with the procedures tho.
On the other hand, we can write katakana characters with space bar so maybe there’s no need to complicate things…

If we met face-to-face I probably wouldn’t be able to say a word. :sweat_smile:
And honestly, it takes forever to write anything, so I’m relieved my posts are understandable. :hearts:

So that’s why I didn’t see this feature - because it’s not available in lessons. Since I was always rushing through the reviews I didn’t see that option.
Until now I was just adding notes to the ‘meaning’ section with a translation :I
Kudos to you <3


There’s a script which enables it for lessons


Wow, you’re a boss!
immediately searches through the forums
Is it this one?


Yep yep. I think it’s only before the quiz though, not during it

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