I have noticed that I find level 13 lessons and reviews significantly more difficult than any other lessons. The mnemonics just don’t click so well - they don’t seem super helpful and I kind of rely on them. Have others experienced this as well?
暗: If you yourself are a sun, and you stand next to another sun, no area around you will be dark
想: On this tree there is an eye inside a heart that was drawn trying to express some sort of concept.
標:You see a tree with a helicopter and a jackhammer tied to it. You look closer, because this is an odd sight, and realize that there is a sign here too. It’s telling you to beware of helicopters and jackhammers in this woods. It’s a poorly made signpost!
It could be me and my psychological state? But maybe this level is just more difficult than any of the previous ones. I blame the mnemonics.
I looked at the mnemonic for 都合, and noticed they started it with “This one makes no sense (sorry!)”. I do feel like these kinds of things are missed opportunities for them. They just kind of give up when the glosses they chose don’t align, instead of teaching more about the characters.
都 can also mean すべて, so the core of 都合 is すべてをあわせる or something like “match up everything.” That certainly jives more with convenience than any mnemonics that try to cram in the unrelated metropolis meaning.
I’m not that far in WaniKani, so I can’t give any specific advice, but I feel like a lot of kanji seem to make very little sense at face value, but by digging into the etymology more you can learn a lot about the word but also about the culture too. It’s probably my favorite part of studying Japanese, honestly.
Take 包丁 for instance: its (wrap) + (street) which makes little sense at face value, and the mnemonic tries it’s best with “Just imagine yourself using a kitchen knife to cut up the street so you can wrap it up and take it away.” which might work fine for some people. But if you look into how those characters were used in middle-Chinese, it had to do with street-food and gradually they became associated with their knives by the time the word came to Japan. I like https://gogen-yurai.jp/ though it’s all in Japanese. Knowing the history of a word is the best mnemonic IMO!
I found some of the concepts in the early teen levels to be more difficult. Before that, everything is pretty concrete and visual. But then they start introducing concepts like “hypothesis” and “assumption” and “admiration” and “anticipation” and all these kinda wishy-washy concepts that are hard to really visualize, even in English. There’s be a few of these patches for me so far, where it seems like the concepts themselves are harder, not just the mnemonics.
This. I think some levels just have items that are a bit harder to grasp/make yourself remember. And there’s the conceptual overlap of items that might be confusing at times as well (the various words and kanji for princess, territory, judge comes to mind).
You just have to stick to it and push on ahead. Allow yourself some slack about the items perhaps staying longer than before in apprentice and guru when you fail them. But, eventually they’ll also move up the SRS-levels with enough reviewing and exposure.
I personally don’t find WaniKani-style mnemonics particularly helpful in general (not sure why?). I’m not far enough along in my second go at WK yet to know if it applies specifically, but when I’m doing Anki on my own I tend to look something up if I’m having trouble with it. Like example sentences and stuff (Google Images, searching song lyrics, looking at articles or syosetu.com) until I can recognize it without thinking too much. Kinda associating it with whatever memorable things I can. Might be a way to circumvent when a level’s mnemonics don’t click for you.
For example, you could take 標識（ひょうしき）as a vocab of 標 that kinda means a similar thing, image search it, and go like “whoa that’s a lot of road signs”
Or searching 標イラスト gives you some lovely looking signposts
This can maybe help for concepts too if there’s an established visual language for them. Like, search だるいイラスト and it’s all people sighing or feeling heavy. Search 怠惰(たいだ)イラスト and it’s all people goofing off kinda lounging around in the same position
The WK provided mnemonics haven’t worked well for me since level 3 or so. One thing that really works well for me is if the reading has a homophone that I do firmly know or that has a sound that makes sense in English, I use that. For instance, you see し and だい a lot in readings. One of the meanings of “shi” is “death”, and “dai” sounds like “die”, so I use those wherever possible. The crabigator always hungers and losses are always expected.
Here’s one of my recent self-made mnemonics for 弟. I didn’t bother with the radicals for horns or stick or slide. The big radical here is bow.
My YOUNGER BROTHER tried to do a weird BOW with his arms and legs sticking out, but fell over and DAI’d.
It’s dumb as heck but I won’t forget it for a long time.
I reset my level a while ago (previously 26). I think with those ones, even when reading native material it kind of hits as “This that weird exception word.” In a weird way the fact it doesn’t make senses makes it stick more. Depending on your speed I wouldn’t fret too much if your also reading stuff on the side. But 都合 always does that to me.
For me the best mnemonics are the most bizarre ones.
I’m also on 13 right now and 都合 is a bitch. I just purposely fail it every time till I remember.
Also don’t give up. Every new level I’m like “how am I gonna remember this bs? That’s impossible”.
It’s ok, you will.
I have some lower level ones where the mnemoics refuse to stick, in those cases I try to find a character from media or some Anime/Game Character even if I have never seen/played that game. Just to connect a face to that reading or make him do something that leads to the meaning.
Which sounds like a roundabout way and even more difficult, the good thing is some of those faces might be reused.
I use Kodansha Kanji Learner’s Course for kanji meaning mnemonics. It’s an inexpensive book, the mnemonics are consistent throughout and almost all are excellent. I’ve seen some people on here say they primarily use WK, but supplement with KKLC mnemonics when the going gets tough. I’ll give you a couple of examples so you can judge yourself.
暗 in KKLC is easy if you already know KKLC’s version of 音 (a person stands on the sun to block the light but screams in pain = sound), so in 暗 the right-hand side reminds you of standing on the sun to block the light and the left-hand side sun reminds you that in that story what you care about is blocking the light = dark.
So for a more abstract one, 想, you would have to look up the entries for all subcomponents for it to make sense. 心 (heart/thoughts), 木 (tree) and 目 (eye), luckily the same or familiar concepts by now. Then you would have to read the mnemonic for 相 (minister, aspect) - picture a government minister observing the goings on behind a tree (eye behind tree), judging the overall appearance (aspect) behind the scenes. Once you’re familiar with that one, then 想 isn’t too bad, it represents the minister’s thoughts and conceptions as he observes. It’s still abstract, but is at least possible to remember.
The author took a lot of effort to create tangible mnemonics that can be visualised.
I don’t really care about mnemonic, and i don’t find the meaning of the kanji from mnemonic for me it confusing and sometimes not make a sense at all. I just try to remember every single meaning of the kanji. I think the vocab is more helpful for remembering the meaning of the kanji and vice versa
I use mnemonic for easier to recognize the kanji like
標 = signpost
票 = ballot
it very similar the difference is the tree mnemonic on the left side, but there is a kanji for tree too^^
I don’t understand why we need to do review for mnemonic until it burn. I think until guru is enough