Okay, so I just had 観る come up on Wanikani. I’ve been familiar with the onyomi かん for a while, as it appears in several useful words (参観, 観光), but up until this moment didn’t realize its kunyomi was an alternate version of 見る.
Wanikani defines 観る as “to watch” or “to view,” and has an interesting example sentence where I’d thought 見る would more commonly be used: どっちの映画を観るか迷っています。
In my experience, also, Japanese speakers have terrible trouble learning the difference between “look, see and watch,” so I was surprised to find they might have such a distinction in their own language.
Or … do they? A Japanese teacher once specifically pointed out the difference of nuance between 聞く and 聴く as we were talking about how one didn’t exist for 見る (which is what makes the “look, see, watch” situation so difficult). I’ve also never encountered 観 in the wild outside of its compounds.
So is this just an archaic kanji usage that Wanikani doesn’t quite put the right spin on? If I presented the idea that 見る is “see/look at” and 観る is “watch” (or something along those lines), would that aid understanding, or would I just get blank stares because there really isn’t a difference?
Edit – Or is it just a register difference without real separation in meaning or something?