Mnemonics for 了 misleading to sound 'ro'


I find the mnemonics for 了 (finish) quite misleading, as it leads you to memorize ‘ro’ rather than “りょう”.

How does the fish lure maker test his newly finished lure out? The one he just finished? He gets in a row (りょう) boat and rows out into the sea.

I have search for duplicates, and found this 2012 thread, that did not really help:

I was wondering if the WK staff is reevaluating mnemonics from time to time, for example by selecting from the database of users’ mnemonics from one of available script?
It would be nice to have a “report this page” button during lessons and reviews.

Thanks & Regards

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They are

Not too sure about that

But anyway, the mnemonic is supposed to jog your memory, not actually be a 1:1 representation of the sound.

I guess my point is let’s say it was actually supposed to be ろ.

To me, “row” makes me think most of ろう, and then that would also be a wrong guess for the ろ reading. So, the English can give you a push in the right direction but you always have to have something else to get you over the finish line.


I think it helped me get in the right direction, but mnemonics are not the only way to remember the readings even though they sure help, especially early on. Once you get a few more vocab with 了 in them, it gets much easier to remember.

Yeah, the reading mnemonics are frequently there just to give the idea of the reading, rather than the actual sound of the reading. Like the time he uses the jo staff weapon as a mnemonic for the reading じょ, even though the jo staff weapon is an actual Japanese weapon that’s pronounced じょう.

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As someone right there with you, I completely agree. Right now I’m doing an okay enough job at juggling the correct rocks in my head, but it is a bit annoying.

I have discovered it’s a lot easier to say the reading out loud in Japanese as much as possible, and just substitute it into the mnemonic, instead of just trying to remember it fully. As in, repeat it and be very accurate with each pronunciation, so that it sounds different but fits into each mnemonic correctly.

I never use the supplied mnemonics for りょう. Instead, I use “Rio”, as in “Rio de Janeiro.” I also think about the Spanish word for river, which fits well with the “fishing” mnemonic for the kanji.


That one was also a problem for me for a long time (I like the Rio thing though). I think its also because there is no vocab for it until like level 10 so it never really stuck for me.

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Glad to know that there is some vocab coming! That is a character I remember from my brief study of Mandarin. It was used all the time, and the grammar was really complex (for an English speaker). But because it was so common, I remember that it basically meant a “finished” action, and was pronounced “le.” So that sort of helps? I guess?

Warning: Non-Japanese grammar link below!

The worst part about the use of the jo staff in mnemonics is that it’s inconsistent. Sometimes WK uses it to mean じょ (e.g, in 助手), while in others it means じょう (e.g., in 上手).

That’s another one I use a custom mnemonic for. In this case, I use a person, either a man named Joe (じょう) or a woman named Jo (じょ). I can usually manage to assign either masculine or feminine qualities to a kanji or its meaning. Making 上 masculine was simple, crude, and effective, and I do not apologize for it. And 女 was just a giveaway.


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