Maneuvering the app

I’m thoroughly frustrated with this gizmo! I have no clue what the differences are between kanji reading and meaning, and the name of the kanji is in English!!! I mean, c’mon! We’re studying Japanese. Also, even when the kanji is clearly a 7, I try to type “seven” but it rejects me, typing automatically in hiragana. So I type chishi, but it marks me wrong, and when I look at the notes, they say “seven.” In English, again!!! What the hell? I typed “seven,” it didn’t accept it, converting it to hiragana, and then the answer is “seven.” How are you supposed to learn?

Are you using the website or an app? Because the apps are all provided by third-parties.

I was confused about meaning versus reading for the first week or two, but it became second nature after that. Meaning requires the english word, reading requires the japanese word which WK has specified presented in ひらがな.

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it’s shichi

Eventually you’ll see the difference, but here’s an article explaining it. Having the name in english is necessary, otherwise how would you know the meaning of the word? Can’t use japanese, since you are learning that, and nothing else would make sense.

There are 2 kinds of questions, reading questions, they have a black background and meaning questions with a white background. This gets easier over time as well.


I think they just meant the service in general when they said app.


Truthfully, it’s possible to write Kanji meanings in Japanese, but that usually composes of vocabularies using the said Kanji. English makes it short and convenient to type. Think of English as a proxy to type. (And the same can be said for vocabularies, where English isn’t always inambiguous.)

Wanikani is in some levels, strict about predefined English to type.

Otherwise, difference between meaning and reading is the color and the prompting text.

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The kanji reading for 熊 is くま or ゆう. Reading means how can this kanji be read? How is it pronounced? It varies on context, that’s why it has 2 readings. Sometimes even more.

Kanji meaning, is what does this kanji represent? This specific kanji means “Bear”

Do you want the meaning to be くま? How would you understand it then? We are all learning it because we don’t know Japanese, so of course we need to know what it means in English.

The kanji for seven is 七. It can be read as なな or しち. You wrote chishi which is ちし. You wrote it backwards, it’s a simple mistake, but that’s why you are marked wrong. The reason why it converts to hiragana is because it is asking for the reading. The reading is how it’s written in hiragana. When it asks for the meaning, that means you type “Seven”, the english word.

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Nah, the meaning is くま科の食肉獣の総称。例、ヒグマ・ホッキョクグマ(=シロクマ)・ツキノワグマ。 (Though that seems a little recursive…)

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True recursion would be if the meaning was くまの熊, forever creating an endless chain of bears.

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Also, the reason why it shuffles what question to give you is to prevent you from mindlessly guessing the answer or reading the answer and typing it in without actually trying to remember it.

Spacing the same question out in a session kind of works like its own mini-SRS, since if you can’t remember the answer after 4 reviews, you won’t remember it after 4 hours.

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Shirasagi, welcome to WaniKani. There is indeed a learning curve to the app but don’t give up. You’re just out of the starting gate!

First, WK reviews and practice sessions are very precise about judging answers. Sure, maybe it seems to you that しち is ‘close enough’ to ちし but… it isn’t, so you’ll be marked incorrect.

Of course, there is an English translation (often, more than one) provided for each kanji and, later, the vocabulary. There are also “English” syllables used to help us learn hiragana and katakana. I suggest that when you’re entering an answer in a review, look at your screen to see how WK is interpreting the characters that you type. When you see alphabetic characters, you’ll know it’s looking for the English translation. When you see hiragana you’ll know it’s looking for the Japanese in hiragana.

Learning Japanese is very very challenging. You must learn hiragana and (later, thankfully) katakana, kanji (each of which often have two Japanese translations for each, the on’yomi and the kun’yomi) , and vocabulary. Wooo, it’s tough! The good news (that I’ve found now at lofty Level 8) is that WK builds on what we learned in earlier levels, which makes some of the new vocabulary a little easier to understand and learn.

I don’t want to come off as brown-nosing but WK is incredibly well done in my opinion and I’ve tried others. Yes, it doesn’t include conversational Japanese: speaking and hearing… yet, I hope. In the meantime I’m working with a tutor on iTalki which is surprisingly less expensive than I would have thought, and having fun with that.

Another thing: I suggest adding BishBashBosh to your apps to use. It connects into WK via an API value that is unique to you, so it quizzes you on new things you’re learning, mistakes that you’ve made, etc. Figuring out the whole API thing is a bit confusing, I’ll give you that. But there are forum posts for this.

Stay with it and continue posting here for advice and coaching!

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