Need clarify the phonetic-semantic - how to use

I 'm using phonetic semantic script but I have no idea how it work and what it mean

anyone can guide me how to read it???
Is that work for newbie like me ? or it’s only efficient for immediate and advance

Not so much time, but I can give it a try :slight_smile:

Semantic phonetic composition means that a kanji can be split in two parts: one helps with the reading, and the other with the meaning.

You are looking at kanji 時. As you can see, it can be split into 日 and 寺. 寺 is phonetic, so you can expect 時 to be read じ (the phonetic part only helps with on’yomi!), and the semantic part shows that it somehow relates to the sun (for the ancient Chinese anyway, probably they used sun clocks to mean time for 時). The script shows if a phonetic element is a WK radical or kanji (the three blocks on the left), in that case you don’t have to learn anything extra. Sometimes it is not even in WK.

The benefit of the script is that it lists all kanji that use the same phonetic element, so if you remember 寺=じ it gives you a benefit to guess the reading of a kanji, it reduces the stuff you have to remember from 2000 to maybe 500–750.

In the beginning it is more work, but it really helps not only with the readings, but also with distinguishing similar kanji because you can see the semantic part in a new light.

If it is directly useful; it depends on if you want to reach level 60 :wink: Starting with maybe level 20 you will see some benefits, after level 30 I didn’t really use reading mnemonics because I could guess most readings. If you sometimes look at the script you will get started much easier than with level 20 or so.


to the author : the mini shorcut , what it mean??? like upper image : the heaven and above then below and with green and red, and I see only time and samurai and hold read : ji, the others don’t have any rule

wow I hope I will use it much, I’m now lv 7 and I hope with the reduce to 500-700 phonetic I can pass this with great A+
hmmm : so when I see the part radical that belonging to phonetic “temple” - I can guess it’s JI ? that’s all for use it?

edit : I see, the character is mark for how useful, and how about the color of the small character???

The semantic-phonetic composition is one way how the ancient Chinese created new kanji from already existing ones. It is a shortcut or helping system directly built into the kanji, it is not strictly necessary to know to reach level 60, but why not be smart about that :slight_smile:

The main goal of the script is to show this regularity, because WK sometimes shows the Kun’yomi as the main reading. If a reading is regular, you can skip learning the reading (you already know it). It also helps when you forgot a kanji, just seeing 方 inside a kanji for example should trigger readings ほう or ぼう, and you are likely correct.

Then the script tries to show when the phonetic helper is useful. The Japanese imported the kanji and changed the readings to a kind of pseudo-Chinese. Sometimes there are several readings or even totally different readings.

You picked a good example, 寺 doesn’t always imply reading じ. The markers 天 and 上 show that remembering 寺=じ is useful, but for 等=とう you would be wrong. Some phonetic components are more useful than others.

The orange color for the reading (as in “samurai”) means that the reading is not included in WK itself, you only learn the kun’yomi. The phonetic composition is still regular, so if you ever need to find the on’yomi you will find that you know it already, just because you know how to use the 寺 inside correctly.

The orange color inside the circle is for the “dakuten mode”. Some centuries ago the Japanese didn’t really worry about the difference of じ and し or ほう and ぼう, but you get a 下 for that (as in poem in your picture). With the dakuten mode it will get a better rating because し and じ are very close and depend on each other. If the rating is changed it will be orange.

It’s worth noting that you can start to recognise these phonetic links on your own if you pay attention to the radicals, and can guess and utilise these readings yourself. 門 and 問 are both read もん、官 and 館 are read かん、かん is also the reading for 干、刊、幹、竿; 検、剣、験、険 are all read けん、there are so many of these with these patterns that I think you have to not be paying attention to not notice them.

I think just being aware that certain radicals influence the reading of a kanji early on is all you need, rather than all this extra work. An example I have from yesterday’s lesson was the new kanji 導 where the reading I correctly guessed as being the same as 道、どう、and therefore don’t require a mnemonic. I don’t know if the script and extra work is necessary, just pay attention and you’ll begin to notice the connections yourself. Just my 2c anyways.

This script is my favourite one :hugs::hugs: … I will miss it big time after finishing WK
Do you know if there’s a similar app or website that does the same?

I already downloaded the original thesis mentioned in the scrip… and RTK Vol.2 also is similar … but, not quite the same still :sweat_smile:

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I ended up not using anything from that master’s thesis (if you mean that one from the previous script). I don’t know if there is an app, but I listed the websites I was using to collect the data in the first post of the Keisei thread. You could also go for a kanji etymology book like Shirakawa, it lists how kanji are constructed.

@lollipophuho at least with the script it is easy to see which radicals are useful, you can skip the step of finding them on your own. It also helps to realize that for example that もう and ぼう are very close to each other in Japanese, or find some radicals that didn’t make it into WK.

You can still decide if you just look at it from time to time to check what you found on your own, or always look at all kanji in the series to reinforce the similar ones. It’s not so intrusive :slight_smile:

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Mm I don’t disagree, it’s the only script I’ve seen that’s made me come close to breaking my self imposed “no scripts” rules, but discovering these connections is now a sort of puzzle solving motivator for me. But if I felt any functionality would be a useful addition to wanikani as an incorporated feature (ie part of the standard subscription package) it would be something like this, especially since wanikani already focuses on using radicals to aid memory retention.

I just wish that I was made aware that reading was often linked to certain radicals from the beginning. I’ve worked it out over time and exposure but it would have made things easier earlier on. I just wanted to say that it’s possible to work this out without the scripts, but I don’t detract from this one in any way. Again, I really wish it was a core addition to wanikani.

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It’s a great idea to make connections between the kanji on your own, the scripts are not really mandatory. But what I really like is the cross-browsing functionality, to see all relevant kanji together, click on one and read the page there, … it is much more convenient to have everything in one place.

Once you have one script installed you will soon have a lot installed, for me they make WK a much better place :slight_smile:

It’s really unfortunate that WaniKani doesn’t acknowledge phonetic components much. They got a little better with semantic components in the latest update though.

I definitely think it’s worth breaking your rule for this script, as it doesn’t interfere with the core lesson/review/SRS functionality of the site. While it’s possible to notice many phonetic components yourself, there’s likely plenty that you’ll miss too.

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Great, thanks!
While Kanjipedia has the looks… actually provides a lot of info regarding Keisei kanjis, so it will do the trick :+1::+1:

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