It's really cool to understand words you haven't seen yet that use kanji you already know, as well as pronounce words you don't understand

I’m only level 11, but this has been happening a lot for me recently.
I was talking to a friend the other day, and he said something along the lines of


I haven’t seen 低下 before, but I understood the general meaning from the context and from knowing what the two kanji meant. I even knew how to pronounce it!

I was reading an article on the differences between Redux and MobX (programming stuff), when, for some reason, I decided to look up an article about it in Japanese to see what it looked like. Much to my surprise, I was already familiar with a lot of the words. The coolest thing, however, was seeing a word I hadn’t seen before and being able to guess the meaning exactly, before looking it up to confirm.
At level 10 or so we learn 開発. I came across 開発者 on the page and just about jumped with glee when I was able to guess the meaning.

On a semi-similar note, when I saw the word 共通点, I wasn’t able to determine what it meant (though once I looked it up it makes sense), but I was able to pronounce the word, which makes looking it up so much easier than searching by components. Haha.

I guess I’m just gushing that I love this web app. What an awesome tool for studying Japanese.


I’m still a newbie… but have bumped into one or two of these myself - only when learning new vocabulary in WaniKani though…

I was amazed when I learned 白人 as I had learned each of the kanji separately… I was able to guess the meaning and the reading… (though, as usual, I wasn’t entirely sure if it was にん or じん). I found it very amusing and told some of my friends - who were polite enough to feign interest in my story :smiley:

I also guessed 平日 which came up recently, and loved it!

I really enjoy when this happens. I’m definitely looking forward to it occurring more often.


I’m not that much further ahead of you. xD You’ll be where I am in probably a month and a half. I’ve slowed down a lot and seem to be averaging more like 10-12 days per level now instead of speeding through it. It’s a lot less overwhelming this way.

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I love this when it happens! I get it with spoken Japanese as well now. It has become one of the most satisfying things about learning for me.

I look through my paper dictionary for kanji that I know, then I guess at the meaning and pronunciation.


にん is typically the go-to for 人 when the word is concerning the number of people, or the role of a person. じん is what gets used for nationalities, like [any nation]じん.

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So would you say じん is used more for things that describe a person? For example 老人

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Something like that, yeah.
There’s no hard and fast rule, but it’s something you’ll get a feel for over time.


Many thanks - I am starting to feel patterns for it.

I was expecting 主人 to use the にん reading… and also for 他人 to use the じん reading…

I recall seeing at least one article which explores this at length. But I was very tired, and it was 1am as I was reading it on my smartphone in bed… so I don’t recall much of it. Perhaps it’s time for me to find more articles about this!

… have I hijacked this thread and taken it off-topic… is that a no-no in WaniKani forums? :thinking:

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:smile: I am learning to slow down… there is no rush after all. I’m learning that it’s OK to not do all my lessons at once when a big batch comes through. In fact, I’ve noticed if I do complete them all at once (like a batch of 50+), I struggle to remember them all.

I wholeheartedly support ‘less overwhelming’ :+1: So far my WaniKani journey has been enjoyable, and I’d like to keep it that way.

I am travelling to 日本 in 十一月 :smile: so I am hoping to be able to recognise a lot more written Japanese. I travelled there in 2016年 and was able to recognise the katakana… I had a very fun time trying to read all the katakana I could find. So… this is the only “rush” and it’s not a super important one.

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If you keep up with it, you’ll be able to get around entirely by yourself without any help by the time November rolls around! :+1:

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same!! these type of things make me so happy. It’s so much easier this way… my teacher used to teach them only by N5, etc level and learning them whole and it was a lot harder

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Congratulations! I’ve had a few experiences of this myself and it makes all the pain worth it. : )

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