Of the unexpected easiness of "Yonder"

When I saw yonder (向 / こう), my gut reaction was “wtf is that meaning? how will i ever remember that this means “yonder”?”

But because it was so weird an unexpected I recall it every single time.

Well played Koichi.


I don’t think I get it. Is there something weird about yonder? :thinking:


As the OP is named guillaume, I’m going to guess that French is perhaps a first language, and OP is learning Japanese via the second (?) language of English. I imagine yonder doesn’t come up often enough in ESL texts…


I’ve been using yonder in normal conversation here in St. Louis, MO ever since encountering 向こう years ago. It’s quite useful.

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“Yonder” is kind of the main meaning in other places as well, not just here, but yeah.

I only know yonder because I had to read parts of Romeo and Juliet in class and there was

what light over yonder window breaks

And that’s about it. Don’t ask me why I remembered that word from just one sentence 20 years ago and why I can’t seem to do the same with Japanese.


I am French but also grew up in the US, of which I am a permanent resident and where I have lived half my life in addition to having a graduate degree from, thank you very much :slight_smile:

Obviously it’s a word as any, but the words used on WaniKani just tend to be fairly common words as a general rule. Yonder is just rarer in usage, and just fairly old fashioned in 2018. Data supports this:

Would it make any difference if it were “over there” instead?



edit: full lyrics here, and god, off topic but, the last time i listened to this musta been like 30 levels ago and i can get all of it now and it feels amazing


Add “over there” as a synonym. Yonder is just more exact. Use it and be different!


To me it just feels “cleaner” to use a one word meaning if one exists, over a phrase.


as a native english speaker, “yonder” works way better for me even if it’s old fashioned, because when things with multi-word definitions start coming up for burns i always forget whether it was “over there” or “other side” or “far side” and inevitably get owned. but i can definitely see how the latter would work better for non-natives.


Yonder, toil, and ford were all weird ones for me, because I never use those words in English to begin with. Yet I’ve remembered them all somehow… (thanks Koichi!)

edit: just for fun I used Ngram for my weird words too

Theory: the spikes at the very end were caused by Koichi and team while planning mnemonics for Wanikani.


As you have written what is essentially a list of your ‘English ability’ qualifications summed up with a ‘thank you very much’, this reads very much like a rebuke, but since what you have written also serves to confirm my supposition that you are a native French- not English-speaker, I am a little at a loss as to why.

Perhaps you have taken umbrage at my reference to ESL texts? If you inferred that I meant your English was somehow lacking, that was not my intent (there was nothing in your post but your name and you’re not knowing the word yonder to indicate the possibility that English is not your first language).

I presumed (perhaps incorrectly) that, like the majority of non-native English learners living in developed countries with quality education systems, you would most probably have had your first exposure to English through ESL texts, and as they are generally designed towards effective communication, ‘yonder’ is not a word that would be likely to appear.

Once a person’s language skills move beyond such texts (as yours clearly has), the types of vocabulary that you would encounter would depend entirely on which texts you engaged with and which dialects you were exposed to, just as it would for a native-English speaker.


I’m not sure why you got overly defensive, he wasn’t attacking you he was just referring to the fact that Romance-language natives seem to have trouble with words of Germanic origin, especially old-fashioned ones like yonder.

English natives grow up reading Shakespeare and other classic English lit so we pick up a lot of words like this over the years.


Sorry dude, native English+French speaker. Fun fact, many people don’t have just one native language. Maybe next time don’t try guessing people’s life history just based on their name?


By the way, @Rowena was on your side.


I think I had never seen yonder before WK and I’ve been exposed on a daily basis to English for 7 years. I don’t read fiction books nor old school stuff so that’s probably the reason why.

@Rowena is a woman’s name and “dude” is used with men. Just saying.


Rowena did a totally valid observation and deduction based on the facts and even did write that it is only a guess.
Nowhere they implied what you are implying they implied.

Really no need to get aggressive in the writing against them.


Nope, it’s increasingly gender neutral in modern English slang.