I'm starting to look for new sources of learning

The impulse to understand the reasons and how things truly work is very strong and understandable, but having done that many time I found time and time again that it’s just doesn’t help that much for memorization. It’s fun though!

Because 99% of the time when you delve into etymology you end up with either:

  • A big part of the kanji was used to represent the sound in ancient Chinese. Either the connection to Japanese is lost, tenuous, or is reflected in only one of the onyomi. It helps but WK is already good for that (see the script below).
  • The kanji has changed meaning at some point in its history (usually by sound loan) so the current shape is completely disconnected to the meaning
  • The kanji have been so distorted along the millennia that complete chunk have no meaning at all.
  • The kanji have been simplified from a traditional kanji and big chunk have been moved or changed
  • How speculative the whole thing is. It’s funny how many etymology website use a very authoritative tone to explain what part of a Kanji means what, except that they often don’t agree at all with each other.

That said, I think WK is one the best resource to have an idea how a Kanji is composed, thanks to the phono-semantic composition script.

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