I can't remember 貝 , no matter what!

The radical 貝 is shellfish, but the vocabulary word 貝 is shell. I always get them backwards!!! I feel like l will be studying 貝 for the rest of my life. :slight_smile: I don’t even want to order it next time I see it on a menu, it’s driving me that crazy. :exploding_head:

Do any of you have the same problems with some kanji that just don’t seem to ever stick?

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If you’re just stuck on the fact that the radicals only have 1 name by default (because they are there for mnemonics, not necessarily to teach you everything possible about that shape), you could just add synonyms.


Ah, yeah I also struggle with the radicals that look like they should be a vocab word, but aren’t (part of why I restarted after I hadn’t used wanikani in over six months). Maybe for this one, think of it like this. Vocab words can be used with a lot of different words, and therefore need to be broad! So shell is very broad. Could mean fish, could mean just a shell, could mean shell of a person. It’s super flexible.

The radicals, however, look the same no matter what (as far as I’ve seen anyway). Even if they’re squished with other radicals, you can still see the exact shape. So, they have to be specific. Therefore, it’s shellfish, a specific kind of shell!

Hopefully that helps at least a little ^^;

In this instance, “shellfish” is already a synonym.

(And considering the meaning mnemonic is “The kanji and the word are exactly the same. That means they share meanings as well.”, it’s a little odd that “shellfish” is not the primary definition.)


Shellfish is the primary meaning for 貝 as a radical, so did you mean the radical has a hidden shell synonym? Since radicals have no visible synonyms by default.

No, I was referring to the vocab word.

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未 has tripped me up since I encountered it for the first time, and I’m level 11 now. I was confusing it with another similar radical in the mix known as “husband”, though they are actually different characters so I don’t have much of an excuse. Sometimes when it comes to kanji and radicals, I literally force myself to remember the readings according to the blue and pink backgrounds. I know that sounds dumb but it really helped me. Don’t give up! You’ll burn them someday!

I get a little tripped up with radicals that have similar “names” or mnemonics assigned to them. For instance I just got the radical for grains and keep mixing it up with wheat.
Or when a name for a radical seems more suited for a different radical (why oh why isn’t 丁 the radical for umbrella instead of 乚 ???)

Okay, but that’s why I recommended adding synonyms to the radical.


I agree with the posters above, just change the name of radicals (by adding synonyms). It doesn’t really matter, as the radicals mostly just have made-up names for the mnemonics, anyways.


But as several people have said, you can type ‘shellfish’ for both and get them right?? In fact I learnt them both as ‘shellfish’ and had totally forgotten the first meaning given is shell… your post surprised me :slight_smile:

I often use one of the given synonyms, because I often find one option makes more sense to me and sticks better (and I figure I’ll stick with it until I catch them in the wild and might have to expand my brain a bit).

So you could just learn them both as shellfish for now to avoid aggravation?!

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When I joined, the 貝 radical was “clam”, so that’s how I still call it… Luckily, “clam” is also a synonym for the kanji 貝

P. S.

I first read it as

The radical 貝 is selfish


i mean, Jisho gives “shellfish” as the first definition of 貝 as a noun, and as the name of the kanji, so i just read it as shellfish, with a small mental note that it might also mean just the shell ^^

there are however many other items i struggle with. 上げる–上がる, 下げる–下がる, and i’ve finally been able to differentiate 出す and 出る thanks to 思い出.

we call items one struggles with leeches. and i think pretty much everybody has a few items they really fight with. there’s even userscripts for helping to study one’s leeches! (but i don’t have any installed yet, so can’t recommend any, sorry).

they can be infuriating, but if you stick with it, you’ll get them figured out too! ^^


I didn’t really struggle with 上げる–上がる, 下げる–下がる too much. Probably because the mnemonic I came up with is so stupid.

Starting with 上がる I was so concerned with trying to remember the あ part so my brain was like あがる sounds like Agadoo! Then anytime I saw it I would sing あがる る る push pineapple, shake the tree…

Which then became “RISE pineapple up the tree”
Well…the pineapple will only rise up the tree if there is someone 上げる it.

Then to remember 下がる I thought “The song is over now. I’m SAD because the pineapples are FALLING.”
We need someone 下げる the trees before the pineapples make a mess!

For some reason…it works for me! The weirdness of my brain I suppose! :sweat_smile:


So played a bit of Pokemon before starting WK, you see 上がる and 下がる nearly every fight when an opponents stats increase or decrease. Then once you know those two, the げる words almost explain themselves.

That was my experience, anyway!

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i have no problem with the meaning of them. rise and raise. lower and go down. but which of the pair is which???!!! :sweat_smile:

i have problems with pairs of things anyway. to figure out left and right i often have to mentally place myself on a specific mountain (where i originally learned left and right during a family hike), and face south, and then i know that the valley of village1 is left, and the valley of village2 is right. it’s fairly ridiculous, but for me it’s the only reliable way to remember left and right. :smiley:

but my main point really was that we all have leeches, kanji and vocab we struggle to remember ^^

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Trust me, after you see them a few hundred times, you will know :wink:

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Probably because 丁 is the kanji for “street”, so calling it anything else as a radical would lead to confusion later.

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I remembered 上げる as “to raise” because it’s (for me at any rate, and I grew up in Maryland then in the western US with parents from Upstate NY and the Delaware Water Gap region of Pennsylvania, so your vowel sounds may differ a bit) the same vowel sound - げ and “ai” from raise are the same, so 上げる is “to raise.”

I have no memory of what I created for “to lower/go down”, which will be interesting when those come up for burning in the next couple of weeks…


How I learned 上げる–上がる, 下げる–下がる:
I believe 下がる was the first one wanikani taught, and with that one I added to the reading mnemonic (you know, the one about さing down the tree) that the が represented the tree falling down (see how it’s a bit tilted, and doesn’t quite look as vertical as げ?). Then, since が indicates the intransitive version for 下がる, I knew that が must also represent the intransitive version for 上がる, so that must be “to rise.”

I’ve also been working on a similar sort of pattern for す vs る endings for verbs, and while I’m not quite there yet, I think it’s helping.

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