Is there a rationale for not excepting "えん" for 縁 as a vocab word?

I’ve wondered this for a while, and it’s been sitting in my reviews at lower levels because of this, so I thought I’d finally ask.

I know えん is technically an onymoi reading, but in practice it’s used for a stand-alone vocabulary reading regularly–ex. 縁がない and related phrases. In outside reading, I’ve actually seen it show up far more often with its えん usage than as ふち. Is there a practical reason for not accepting both? If I go on auto-pilot, I always type the former, just because I’m more used to encountering it that way.

Thank you for any responses!

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Wanikani’s rational is: “we just picked that one because we had to pick one and you have to just memorize the fact that wanikani picked that one.” I’ve been complaining about this kind of thing with them for years and they always say, “Well Wanikani is internally consistent so you don’t actually just have to guess and anyway our system can’t handle two words with the same reading so we can’t do anything about it.” When I point out the obviously solutions (like adding more context, duh) they just give me a bunch of attitude.


Oh. Is it really just a matter of not being able to enable to different answers for the vocabulary prompts, then? Since you can enter synonyms on the English side, I imagined there would be a way to do it.

I get prompting one reading (and giving a shake for the other) on kanji-prompts, so it can ensure the user knows both between the kanji and vocab items, but for a vocab problem where it really does have two potential readings…

I guess it’s just that there’s no other way to train the user on ふち, but once you’re out of the level, you’re left with this odd vocab item hanging around that doesn’t accept its most common reading. (えん is also the first reading offered in most native dictionaries.)

But yeah; it would be nice to at least have some kind of context/reminder on the item so I don’t keep blowing it because of outside familiarity. WK is like 97 percent fantastic, but this is a weird case of punishing a user for being too familiar with an item’s practical usage, which I think should be avoided. I know it can be ふち! Just give me a reminder that that’s what the site is looking for so I can actually burn it (please).


Never seen them give attitude about it, but the few times I’ve seen it mentioned that was basically the reason.

Guessing it’s on a list of things they’d like to do at some point.

Not sure what you mean by that, isn’t えん just before ふち in 五十音 order?

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Some … some might say that’s the reason. Some also might say I stupidly assumed the order of definitions was based on usage. But we’ll never know.

(To clarify, I meant in online dictionaries, a la search for the kanji alone (“縁とは,” or example). Though they’re also probably just listing results in 五十音 order and I just hadn’t noticed. In retrospect I was just being dumb.)


This actually brings up an important dictionary question! I had always assumed that dictionary entries with multiple definitions went in order of most-to-least common usage. Are kanji dictionaries ordered by 五十音順 instead? Does anyone have a kanji dictionary on hand to confirm?

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It definitely differs by dictionary. I didn’t know what dictionary iansacks was referring to, so I asked.

Some dictionaries do order meanings within a single word by most common to least common, and others order meanings within a single word chronologically (there are ones that go original > modern and ones that do the opposite as well).

But note that I said “meanings within a single word.” えん and ふち are not the same word, and thus will have separate entries in their respective parts of a dictionary.

As for kanji dictionaries, I’m not sure you would even see a meaning entry for えん itself. Here is the entry in kanjipedia

The first listed meaning is ふち, and then the meaning that really is most applicable to the word えん comes in at number 3, where it’s defined as ゆかり or つながり.

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Am I misunderstanding something here?

What does same reading mean? There are lots of words with the same kana…

And WK does have words with the same kanji but multiple readings. For example, it has the ぜんでら and ぜんじ readings for 禅寺, and both さける and よける for 避ける.

Is this different from ふち and えん for 縁? :confused:


The issue is that ふち and えん do not share the English meanings that would be associated. If you see 縁 where it means “edge” then you cannot read it as えん.

Strictly speaking, よける and さける are not interchangeable readings either, but their English glosses overlap enough that I guess they find it acceptable.

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Ah, OK I see. That makes more sense, thanks.

It’s a bit frustrating sometimes how WK can’t really test you on these kinds of things, but I used to figure it won’t teach you 100% of Japanese anyway, and what it does teach you is a whole lot, even if you have to learn a bunch of stuff on your own later.

But I can see the frustration when you see the word and correctly pronounce it えん only to be marked wrong… I guess a screen shake would be more appropriate here.


Maybe because you need to back off on non-problems, specially since you love flexing some imaginary superiority

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I’m not up to this level as yet so I haven’t seen this kanji. However, jisho lists them both as N3 but lists the ふち reading as a “common word” while the えん reading is not. That seems to contradict what some are saying in this thread that it’s the reverse. There seems to be at least 4 more vocabulary readings as well.

Yeah; I was just being a big dumb earlier but not thinking about the fact that it was listing results for/as two separate words (which would of course be in 五十音 order), rather than separate results for one word.

Ask a simple question, get a weird personal fight in the comments.

I suppose I also didn’t think about its connection to the English definition WK prompts for the item, which actually would be pretty good justification for the current setup. I can take that being on me.


It’s similar situation as with 額 (がく) - frame, and 額 (ひたい) - forehead. WK only has and accepts first one.


Ah you’re right! Took me ages to learn the ひたい reading :frowning:

Same with つの for 角… (I eventually came up with the mnemonic that the answer to how many horns an animal has is “two, no?” :slight_smile: )

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All of these are also true, and the only reason I didn’t think of them was that I probably hit the other vocab attached to them in reading after clearing he respective WK levels.

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I don’t suppose you need a 5 month-later response now but I thought they passed up a great mnemonic with a ふち mama who lives on the edge.



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