Questions on chapters 3 to 5

Hi, I’m currently progressing through level 5 and things are going great, except for a few specific cases that I’ll describe here.
The first one has to do with the kanji “stone” and the kanji “right” : they are exactly the same, how can I recognize them ?
The second one has to do with the “what” kanji, when combined with days or years, you translate to : how many days/years, but when you combine “what” with “month”, it suddently changes to “what month” and "how many months is considered incorrect, why the inconsistency ?
Thank you !

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right: 右
stone: 石
There’s a difference. I do make the mistake of confusing the two though, so I can’t really blame you :')

As for the second question, I’m afraid that’s just how the language is. I think that these ‘inconsistencies’ as you call them are why this vocab is added value in WK. Suppose 何月 wouldn’t be in WK, you wouldn’t know about the inconsistency, but misunderstand everytime you’d encounter it afterwards.


“How many months” would be 何ヶ月 (なんかげつ), because ヶ月 is how you count months as periods of time.


石 and 右 aren’t the same. You see how the curved vertical line stops at the horizontal line in the first one but goes past it in the second?

This isn’t meant to be flippant, but that’s just how naturally-evolving languages work. They all have inconsistencies and exceptions that they picked up over the ages.

It’s like how verbs have very consistent conjugation rules until you come across する and 来る.

I struggled a bit with this at first too, try just remembering one of them in your head:

石 is stone because the line is at the top (therefore 右 cannot be 石, because the line is not at the top)

That’s how I trudge through similar looking kanjis haha

For me instead of thinking of it being a leaf growing out like the WK mnemonic, I just picture for 石 that it’s a hammer being raised above a stone to hit it. Since for 右, you wouldn’t have a hammer with the head somewhere in the middle of the handle.

The difference between 石 and 右 is where radicals can help. (WK makes you learn them for a reason!) 石 uses the leaf radical, and 右 uses the narwhal radical. If you can connect the radicals to the stories and take a second to pause and think before typing in your answer, you should be able to get the difference between the two.

try to write down 石 and 右 and you will notice the difference in top part.

Definitely know your radicals, they will save your life! The Narwhal ナ radical can be easily forgotten if you’re not quite familiar with what a narwhal is. So, here is a hideous music video that will embed it into your mind so that you will always be able to tell the difference.

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Sometimes, it just takes time and repetition to realize the differences. For instance, I used to keep getting the kanji 恋 and 変 confused a lot even with the mnemonics and radicals. They both look similar and have very similar readings, so when I did my vocab reviews I would always get them (and sometimes still do) get them mixed up. Over time, I just was exposed to them so many times that I realized what part of the kanji I need to be looking at to see if it’s one or the other. In my case, the bottom half of the kanji is different. In your case, try to pay attention to the top of each kanji. The stone kanji 石 doesn’t cross the line at the top like right kanji 右.

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