How many meanings?

So I was doing my vocab lessons just now and the first item is 当たる. The meanings, well, here is a small list of them:

As it says in the explanation, how many meanings can have this vocab?

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Alternatively, 12:


I think the problem is that the actual meaning of the word is broad, not vague but broad, and simultaneously it has no English counterpart whatsoever. So the multitude of use cases it applies to get listed in J-E sources as alternate meanings, because in English those cases are each expressed in very different ways. As you encounter this and other 当 words more often, you’ll get a better grasp on it’s meaning.

It’s like how the English word “make” has 25 definitions listed by Merriam Webster, but it’s more like 4 literal meanings being applied in abstract ways to produce dozens of slightly different implications. Some of those “slightly different” uses however, may seem very different and arbitrary if your native language only expresses them through different verbs. (Also let’s just ignore the 7 additional intransitive definitions and 4 noun definitions and consider those different words.)


I feel like the meanings in the original Japanese are usually pretty straightforward, it’s just that English has so many ways of saying things that it gets split into a frickin’ dozen English meanings. It just makes things more complicated. I wish there were a resource that only taught how it’s used in Japanese, and you’d be left to your own devices to figure out what some other English equivalents might be.


that would then be a monolingual japanese dictionary :slight_smile:

they’re still a bit too advanced for me, but the advantege of them seems obvious


But sometimes it can be fun spending half an hour looking up 50 words so you can understand the definitions of the words that are used in the definitions of the words that are used in the definitions of the words that are used in the definition of the word you want to know the meaning of.


I’ll tell you what’s fun, trying to disambiguate words that WaniKani teaches. For instance they’ll teach 対談 and 相談, and no matter how many times I go through the SRS system… I mess them up (since they share similar meanings, and discussion/conversation seems the same to me). Then I go on HiNative and ask what’s the difference, and they say 対談 is more a discussion among equals and 相談 is more asking for advice from someone.

The fact that WK doesn’t really explain this is a detriment to me remembering or being able to tell the difference between these. I’ve since deleted my user synonyms, but that’s my own action… that’s not WK making anything clear.

I like WK, there’s no other source I’m using for my kanji/vocab, but I can’t say that it’s perfect or doesn’t have its faults. It could explain things better, if it cared to.


If you think that’s bad, かける has over 30 counting the different kanji you can use:


Yup, exactly.

That’s basically what the N5 to N1 grammar points cover. For example, あたる and かける are covered in N3.

I use WK as my only source too, but in order to figure out actual usage you either have to keep reading more or get to the point where you can read a J-J dictionary.

Otherwise, you’d need a separate source to study vocab.


I came across 懸ける while reading a manga chapter earlier today, and my heart sank a bit to find it’s the usual かける. Thankfully a quick web search for “掛ける 懸ける 違い” saved the day for me.


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