On mnemonics

So maybe it’s just me, but I don’t really use mnemonics on WaniKani anymore, neither the ones they give or ones I made up myself. I used to use them a lot but I slowly stopped, and I seem to be the minority here. Should I start using them again, do they offer good enough advantages for the toil and so on, thoughts?


You’ve reached thus far without them. Are you facing difficulties now or what?

Kind of. I usually have difficulty remembering kanji when I first learn them, but after a few reps I normally know them.

When you’re just beginning to learn kanji (which is usually when you’re just beginning to learn Japanese), you have very little knowledge of Japanese. This is when the mnemonics help the most, because it helps you memorise readings and meanings with concepts that you’re already familiar with.

As you go along, you will notice that certain “radicals” carry their own phonetic component. For example, one of the onyomi readings of 青, 清, 精, 請 is せい, which means that when you see another kanji with 青 in it, you can kinda guess the reading. As always, there are exceptions, but it already helps in memorising many readings.


Yeah I see where you are coming from, I feel like this is probably the reason I unconsciously stopped using them, because they felt obsolete a lot of the time sharing readings. Though I don’t deny mnemonics’ usefulness.

The other aspect of kanji (besides reading) is of course meaning. This is a bit trickier because you might still need to use the mnemonics, at least until you guru the kanji and then get more context from vocabs. If you get the kanji 精, you might still have to use “rice” + “blue” = “spirit” until you get to guru and then learn the vocab 精神, at which point you can forget the mnemonic. Or if you read enough Japanese texts, it might happen that you even learn a vocab before you get it on WK.

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