I understand that the vocabulary for “person” is purple and the radical for “person” is blue but when I’m reading Japanese outside of Wanikani I wouldn’t have those colors to help me differentiate between the two.
When reading how would I know when to read “person” as じん versus ひと?
It depends on the context of the sentence?
I’m sure others will chyme in with better explanations but when 人 is on its own its ひと but when its combined with other kanji it can be either にん or じん
You’ll get used to it as you move up levels
You’ll never see 人 as じん when it’s standalone. if you see just 人 it’s always ひと. As for what reading it is when the kanji is part of another word, you’ll just have to memorize the words one by one and recognize them as such.
日本人、 商人、 悪人、 人々、 村人 、 愛人、 恋人
As you can see, when it’s in the last kanji of the word the ひ in ひと becomes び. That’s called rendaku (reference: https://www.tofugu.com/japanese/rendaku/)
ひと you’ll usually see it when alone, as a single word. じん｜にん usually when attached to something else. Both refering to people or things related to people.
Now think of it as people and “anthro-” (as anthropology) in english: they both mean the same just usually one is alone and the other is usually attached to other words related to people .
See… japanese is similar to romance languages too, but they put some weird characters to unify those loose words, now you just have to learn those.
Thanks everyone I found your feedback most helpful!
If you’re still interested in learning more about this specific case, I advise you to watch this very well made video by @Leebo
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