Problems with remembering a lot of kanji with the 糸 radical

These guys have had a massive impact on my accuracy as of late. I keep mixing up: 絡, 続 and 結, and to a lesser extent: 統 and 総. For some reason I even mix up 様 and 緑 (I still blame the 糸 radical) even though I thought I had those nailed a good few levels ago. What is happening to my brain? Why are these ones such leeches? Have I got a specific form of dyslexia that prevents me from seeing anything past the 糸 radical!?


What does dyslexia even look like in pictographic based languages like Chinese and Japanese? Is it more or less common than in letters based langauges? I know there are several forms of the disorder in English (I have friends that have gotten diagnosed with different types at least, eg. some mix up the order of letters in words, some mix up the direction or orientation of specific letters.)

This topic is half me venting, half me genuinely looking for advice or at least solace in the fact that I’m not alone. Share your pain, which ones keep tripping you guys up?


You’re not alone and it’s normal :slightly_smiling_face: It has happened to me many times with Kanji that are similar or not-even-that-similar.
I think when you start out, your brain isn’t accustomed to remembering “this new type of thing” (pictograms). As you keep doing it, it gets better at it. Be patient, don’t give up and think that it’s some kind of disability, unless it still doesn’t improve at all after a long time.
I’ve noticed that my eyes often automatically jump to the half of the kanji that “matters” and only glance over the other half.

While WaniKani is about learning Kanji, and knowing Kanji on their own is a very good foundation, in the real world you won’t see these kanji isolated side-by-side and have to distinguish them. By “real world” I mean actual books, signs, etc. and not the JLPT. I personally don’t worry that there are a handful of kanji that are hard to distinguish isolated on their own. As long as I know the vocab they are in. I have difficulty with (Indigo) and (Storehouse). It’s annoying, but I’m pretty sure that when I see one of them in the real world, it’ll be clear from context which one it is. If someone writes me that their scarf is 藍, I won’t think that the scarf is inside a storehouse :wink:

様 and 緑

In 5 levels, say hello to a new friend: (Think of 金 as being more permanent than a thread. So it’s more useful for recording something)
(and then, a while later, joins the party :tada:)


I share your pain. So I’m not sure I can offer anything useful :slight_smile: I think I need to sit down separately with those and make up mnemonics that match the shapes. or they’ll be coming round and round forever. Sometimes the WK repetition just doesn’t work with me because i’m so infuriated at getting it wrong again, I don’t pause to take in the right answer properly and just press on.
good luck, don’t go mad

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About the dyslexia, you might remember the radicals, but not where they are in the kanji.

When writing in hiragana, I sometimes skip a syllable, or when thinking of a word, I forget the specific word, but remember the syllables that compose it. (This is in all languages)

I remember hearing that dyslexics actually have an easier time learning Chinese and Japanese. English is much more of a nightmare, as it uses an alphabet based on sound, but many words aren’t spelled phonetically.

Anyway, I found this article: Visual elements make Japanese an easier language for those with dyslexia - The Japan Times

Interesting paragraph:

Dyslexic people can often get sounds and kanji compounds mixed up. So instead of reading 経験 as “keiken” (experience), they might accidentally say “kenkei” without even realizing it. Or, instead of writing “transportation” as 交通 (kōtsū), they might write 通交 (tsūkō), which means “friendly relations.” In cases like these, though, it just takes a little extra effort to get the brain to latch onto the correct reading or kanji order.

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You’re definitely not alone. Try your best to study each kanji’s radical when you come across, tie it to some sort of mnemonic or way of remembering, and… trust the process :slight_smile: trying in earnest to recall a kanji’s meaning (even if you make a mistake) does help you learn it better! keep on keeping on

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(ancient sci.lang.japan in-joke, rather than a serious contribution to the thread…)


Those kanji used to mess me up too, but repeated exposure eventually helped clear them up. As @podbod has said, just keep going and focus on all the radicals when you remember the mnemonics.

Radical-based Kanji study made me focus more on radicals, or at least knowing that radicals are important; but it is far from foolproof.

Reading is another thing, but I think it scopes down what needs to be focused, and what not to be, resulting in another pictographic problem.

A real solution might be writing, and ensuring that writing is done with correct Kanji, I guess.

I am genuinely interested to dyslexic aspects of pictographs too. Like, natives too, handwrite less. Typing, maybe, but there is a computerized aid (IME).

But then, there is no need to be absolutely perfect, to focus on reading.

there is a point you have to create your own mnemonic.

I started doing that about those and even very similar kanji you will encounter later.

The thing is, for me, I try to see a part of a kanji and I associate with something else.

It happens and your accuracy will drop a lot.

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for me, with kanji which share the same radical, the problem is that when i first encounter them, there’s only a few of them, so they’re easy to tell apart, so my brain makes shortcuts in remembering them.

later, when there’s many of them, those shortcuts come back to bite me, because they’re not detailed enough to tell apart the dozen(s) or kanji using that radical. so then i have to sit down and relearn those kanji, fixing them with additional details. so far, that’s then been enough to be able to also keep new ones distinct.


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