Husband and fault

Why does fault use the husband and slide radicals instead of simply using the fault radical? I understand that fault is introduced later but it really makes things confusing this way.

I used to always confuse these and now having taken the time to check a little closer I finally understand why!


There’s supposedly an overhaul of radicals coming to fix this stuff, but no one knows when.

I’ve seen it suggested before that sometimes these radical combinations make for better mnemonics. I don’t think that’s true in cases where the radical exists and is introduced later. But also some radicals have been changed over time, so maybe that caused inconsistencies.


Because in the radical lesson you would have to explain why 失 is supposed to mean “fault” in a memorable way otherwise.

I get that, but would that be any harder than explaining the husband radical?

Because WaniKani turns Kanji’s into Radiclals in order to “compress” them for easier viewing/recollection. Later you’ll learn Kanji’s that would have half a dozen or more WK-Radicals, those would be quite difficult to memorize, so they’re turning previously learned Kanji’s into Radicals in order to make later Kanji learning easier.

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You could have it both ways, but there are quite a lot of kanji that are reused as radicals later.

It’s easier to say “you know this already” instead of trying to “see the fault” in 失. There is some background on the “radical method” that the radicals should be concrete objects that can act instead of abstract concepts. You should “physically see” what the radical represents. So a husband and slide is better at first, and when you know a kanji well enough you can switch to the more abstract meaning.

WK is not really emphasising this, but I think they try to use this. 夫 is actually a pictograph of a man 人 with some knot hairstyle that only married men were using in ancient China, when you know that it’s easier to actually “see” in 扶 a husband helping with his hand.

They should add the kanji that inspired a radical to the lists of “kanji that use this radical”, though.


Fault is a good example of a kanji that was taught before the radical. I would prefer it to be the other way around.

I notice that the eat radical is taught before the eat kanji. that makes sense.

It is difficult to assume that a kanji has been learnt (i.e. guru’ed) because we only have to guru 90% of kanji in a level to progress to the next level. I think that’s why they make a radical out of something that is already a kanji.

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I think this is one of those things that seems surprising the first time you notice it, but soon becomes a non-issue. Certainly in the late twenties / thirties the vast majority of the radicals I’m “learning” are just kanji I already know.

They only ever use radicals in the mnemonics, so they “teach” you radicals based on kanji before using them. It either gives me some super easy items or more consolidation of kanji I was never great at.


Fault: 失
Husband: 夫
End: 未
There is a story behind this.
Dash in fault is misplaced to husband so the end is here.

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I get thrown by these too.
mnice mnemonic!

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