Please fix mnemonics with conflated English meanings

To embark a house = to nail strips of bark to the walls.
- The Koichi English Dictionary

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Its definitely an inconsistency that can be fixed, and there’s really only a plus side to fixing it. Similar to if they made the word for 休 “break” and then had the mnemonic talk about a leader breaking a tree into two instead. It’s just inconsistent. I’d like think we can all recognize that.

With that being said, it certainly shouldn’t be “detrimental” to your studies. While inconsistent, it may not be major enough to where wanikani would bother to change it. Ultimately that’s just a decision up to them, but thanks for bringing it to their attention.

TLDR: Yeah it’s a problem but not a very big one, so I’m not sure if they would even bother changing it. Only can wait and see.

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If something so trivial is “detrimental” to your learning, I respectfully suggest that maybe you should find a new hobby. Or, skill that you want to learn. Something that isn’t for the faint of heart. Perhaps crochet.

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Hi, @Vikkio92! It’s great to see a new face in the forums, and I think the issue you brought up is very helpful. I’m not as far along in Wanikani as you are, and I’m glad you’re giving me a heads up before I encounter this. Hopefully, the mods will see this and make a few edits.

I do want to say that some of the wording you used in the post and in some of the subsequent comments feels a little aggressive or upset. Some posts have been deleted, which makes understanding what exactly occurred difficult. Obviously, these forums are text-based, which can make certain phrases that are fine in real-life conversations seem combative online. I’m assuming that wasn’t your intention or the intention of anyone involved.

In summary, the criticism you brought up is (in my humble opinion) warranted, but it would be better appreciated if you phrased it in a more constructive way. The Wanikani overlords are always working hard (see their frequent posts on kanji and vocab updates), and the Wanikani users are overwhelmingly amazing and awesome people. If I can give you a humble recommendation, always assume that everyone is doing their best and wants the best for you because they really, really do on these forums! :grin:

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Hey @Vikkio92

Thanks for reaching out about this :slightly_smiling_face: I can certainly see how using different meanings in the mnemonics could add some confusion, I will inform the content team and see if they’d like to change this. I am also noting from other users that 続く and 続ける could do with an update, as well as 搭載.

It’s worth bearing in mind that we are always updating our content as you can see here, and we will always be happy to make changes if we think it will benefit the majority of users. You can also always reach out at hello@wanikani.com and we’ll be sure to respond quickly to any query or issue you may have.

Thanks again for the feedback, I will keep you informed about this and let you know once I hear back from our content team.

Update: We have made a couple of changes now to avoid any ambiguity for 翌 and 搭載, and we also made some changes to 認める as a similar issue with it had been mentioned in another thread.

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Hey! Thank you so much for updating this, it’s much appreciated!

I apologise if I came across as “hostile” as someone mentioned, but that was entirely in response to people attacking me for putting forward some constructive (and completely non-hostile) criticism. I don’t appreciate my opinion being dismissed (a lot of responses were basically “tough, just make your own mnemonic” or “shut up mnemonics aren’t meant to build understanding, only surface level association”).

Once again, the changes are much appreciated - I’ll bring up more if I stumble across any.

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If you are interested, I would be more than happy to shed some light on why I think your initial post was percieved as being hostile / malicious in nature, because I believe it was entirely due to a few unfortunate word choices and sentence structures (plus, I happen to have a degree that relates to this type of thing, and I’ll pounce on any opportunity I can find to actually put it to use).

Constructive criticism can be really helpful for sure (as it was in this very thread!), but since it can be very easy to fixate on the “criticism” part and not the “constructive” part, I think it’s really important to make sure that one’s intended message is conveyed properly.

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Hey! Sure thing. I think I might be on the spectrum and I’ve certainly noticed that my focus in communication is on semantics rather than pragmatics. So please feel free to analyse to your heart’s content. I’m certainly interested to hear more :slight_smile:

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Alright then, I’ll have a look!

As I said, I think the main issue just lies in a few unfortunate word choices and sentence structures, which lead to some of the sentences in your initial post seeming somewhat accusatory. For example:

The core message here, as I see it, is that the mnemonic(s) in question might be making an already prevalent issue even worse, which would obviously be a problem. Pointing out that this issue exists is great, but the way in which you phrased this part ends up sounding pretty harsh. It feels like it’s very bluntly stating that “you are making this issue worse” and that it’s due to “laziness,” and people generally don’t respond well to that sort of accusation. It’s “face-threatening,” if you want to use a proper term for it.
In a scenario like this, I’m not surprised that some people would hone in on the “laziness” part and start arguing that “you don’t know if they were being lazy” and so on, even though that’s ultimately irrelevant to the issue at hand. Simply rephrasing the post a little could completely avoid this issue.

Likewise, I find that it’s generally a good idea to not have an unnecessarily high degree of certainty in your writing. Personally, I like to include plenty of “I think,” “I find,” “it seems to me,” and so on when writing, since that makes your statements seem a lot less harsh.
For example: “that doesn’t make sense” sounds a lot more accusatory than “I don’t see how that makes sense,” even though it’s carrying a very similar message.
Some would say that this is just sugar-coating (and, to some extent, it is), but it genuinely works wonders for making whatever message you’re sending out feel more agreeable.

If I were to rewrite that section of your post, here’s how I’d put it:

Still carries more or less the exact same core message, but there’s no direct accusation to get hung up on, so it’s easier to focus on the issue you put forth.

I do have to point out, though, that people can be very different when it comes to how they receive and interpret messages, so there’s no “best” way to write or speak. Some people might be perfectly happy to receive a harsh-sounding message, while others would be unable to get past the perceived insults. What I wrote above is just a general guideline for making your writing sound soft and agreeable (there’s a whole bunch of articles about “face-threatening acts” and other related terms, but TL;DR: sounding nice is generally a good idea).

I hope that was useful! Communication is very important to me, since it’s something I used to be dreadful at and have spent a long time learning about, so getting a chance to share some of what I’ve learned is much appreciated!

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Thank you! I knew all of this, but I guess sometimes I still miss it :slight_smile:

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I don’t really think you can say that this:

is just “a few unfortunate word choices and sentence structures”. And it’s not “constructive (and completely non-hostile) criticism” either.

People have a tendency to think “I don’t like X, so the creators must be morally lacking in some way.” Just look at how emotionally people act towards movies they don’t like, or when a software company changes a product. I’m certainly not immune to this myself, but it’s a bad habit.

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I definitely agree that I have this habit, too, which is very not good. :grimacing: I always try to assume that people are operating with the best of intentions and to their maximum ability unless proven otherwise. The Wanikani staff are working very hard, and I assume that creating mnemonics that are perfectly accurate is nearly impossible. This is only worsened by the fact that a lot of Wanikani users don’t have English as their first language; this isn’t a bad thing (it’s a really good one), but it makes the staff’s job even harder. I have no idea how they manage to make the vast majority of mnemonics work.

I also wanted to add on here that emojis are a great tool for Internet discourse when used appropriately. They can demonstrate one’s sincerity or a joking tone, etc. Tone is so difficult to display openly in a text-based format, so using emojis can show your true feelings in a way just words can’t. You can also use kaomojis, which I personally find extremely cool.

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Oh, Koichi is definitely morally lacking in some way. :stuck_out_tongue:

Is it still “face-threatening” when the people who were taking offense were not the target of the criticism? I guess sometimes people can conflate criticism of a thing they like with a criticism of themselves, but I’m not sure if that would be the same thing? The actual target of the criticism was able to look past the insult and address the actual problem (probably because this is their job and they’re being professional, but still).

Also, everyone is pointing out the problems with OPs criticism, but the resulting criticism of the initial post is just ignored as though it’s not an issue to be hostile back to someone if they started it first. A lot of times if people are annoyed or upset about something, they might use some hyperbolic language in their frustration, and like others have said, it’s easy to read things even more harshly than intended when it’s just text on a screen. Other than TofuguNico, no one here was the target of the criticism, so why can someone come in here and tell OP to get a new hobby and no one bats an eye? While I do think it’s important to learn how to criticize something in a way that’s more constructive and less accusatory or insulting, I think being able to respond to poorly expressed criticism in a way that deescalates instead of doubling down on the negativity is also a skill that more people could use. Communication is a two-way street, after all.

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I’d say that that’s very much up for debate (though I’d personally lean towards “yes”). I highly doubt the lovely gent who came up with the term was thinking of public internet forums back in the day.
Doing a little digging, I came across this research paper which states that disagreeing with an opinion can also be considered face-threatening, which this would definitely fall under.

And I completely agree that responding to perceived hostility in an equally hostile way likely won’t help matters! You’ll run into the exact same issues, and it’ll likely just spiral further and further out of control, with each interaction growing more aggressive.

Cases like these are great examples of that exact thing happening.
For the record, most (if not all) of what I wrote regarding the opening post seeming a little harsh absolutely applies to a lot of the replies to that same post! I am in no way implying that that kind of response is acceptable just because the post they’re replying to is perceived as being hostile.

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Completely disagree with this. There is absolutely zero moral judgement if I call someone lazy. I can be very lazy myself, so why would I judge someone else for it? But I will still point it out. Whether they take offence is entirely on them.

Don’t add too many though, otherwise instead of hostile you will end up looking stupid :joy: :joy: :crazy_face: :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

Jokes aside I strongly agree, how many times in my line of work, have I received an e-mail that I interpret as straight up aggressive, with no means of being sure what the person behind wanted to convey.

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It’s worth noting though that a lot of people would not agree with you about that. Especially in US and UK culture the idea that work and diligence have an inherent moral value and thus that laziness is a moral failing is very deep rooted. So for purposes of “criticism is more effective if you avoid accidentally implying a moral judgement”, not calling people lazy is still a good idea even if to you it’s not a bad thing.

The other reason bringing up “laziness” can put people’s backs up, I think, is that it implies “I’m right, any person must agree that my idea is the right thing, and the only reason you haven’t done it is that you are lazy”, which ignores the possibilities of different priorities, different ideas about what is or isn’t important, good old “too much work and not enough people”, etc.

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While I can agree with you in principle, the whole situation is far less dramatic than this entire conversation is trying to imply.

I was and will always be happy to hear other people’s opinions on any topic, including my own tone (misunderstood or otherwise) and communication style, but at the end of the day, what I wanted to achieve with this post was for the service I paid for to fix an issue I thought was significant enough to post about. That was the key point I wanted to get across, and I did.

Could I have phrased the post in a way that other people would be less likely to misconstrue? Sure. Will I try to do so in the future? Sure (though it’s not like I haven’t up to now, anyway). Is this as big a deal as this thread is making out to be? Absolutely not.