Radical in kana


Is there a way to type the radical reading in kana instead of english if you already know hiragana?


Radicals don’t have readings. They are merely chopped up pieces of kanji that WaniKani gives names to so that you can create English mnemonics out of them. They are a tool for memorizing the kanji lessons that follow.


I suppose you could add in a kana reading as a user synonym, but in the long run that won’t be as effective as learning the radical names that WaniKani teaches you. You’ll notice as you progress through the levels that radicals have their given names because they are used for the mnemonics which will help you learn the kanji.


Radicals don’t have standard readings (or even meanings, especially here at WK), so I don’t think this will ever be allowed.


I was pretty sure the meaning field wouldn’t even accept kana, but I tried anyway. I added はん as a meaning synonym for 藩, which I had in my review queue. It just shakes and won’t let you enter the answer.


Interesting that it let you put なん as a synonym, yet blocks kana in the review :thinking: it’s probably for the best though. Otherwise people would get meaning and reading responses mixed up even more


Yeah, I wasn’t sure that it would let me put non-alphanumeric characters in the synonym field, but it doesn’t seem to check your text at all. The review field then just rejects all kana before checking against your synonym list. I’m sure a script could override it, but I’m not sure that’s a great idea.


This is probably a bug at input time because Tofugu didn’t expect people to do such crazy things. The meanings can have typos in it, if your synonym is very short the error checking would either accept everything or no error at all. It seems that they also remove plural *s among other things, if the input box wouldn’t check the input this could seriously mess things up :wink:


Actually, radicals do have readings, but they’re almost entirely separate from the kanji. At level 1, you have a lot of radicals that are also stand-alone kanji, so I can somewhat see why you’re asking that. However, radicals become much more complex, as, not only are their many radicals that don’t have a unique kanji form, WaniKani’s system combines radicals into bigger ones that sometimes “lose” their previous meanings.

For example, the “Lid” radical ⼇ is なべぶた and becomes なべぶたかんむり if placed at the top of the kanji. Seeing as I don’t think you want to have to deal with this system, stick with the English for now. :wink: Of course, because WaniKani does “make up” some radicals, there are plenty here that I suppose don’t have readings.


You’re referring to なべぶた as a reading for ⼇? Sure, the kangxi radicals have names in Japanese, just like the WK radicals have names here. But they wouldn’t be referred to as 読み方 in Japanese.


This question need some clarification, what do you want to enter when you see for example 「丶」?


I don’t see why they wouldn’t be readings. 読み方 itself can meaning 発音 contextually, meaning that the readings (which are definitely readings in English) are legitimate. In addition, enough radicals have the same reading as their kanji counterparts I don’t see how you can cross it out. Kanji Jiten Online uses 読み方 to refer to the names of radicals, so that’s enough for me.

Regardless, @acm2010 is right on target. If the OP wants to refer to 丶 as てん, go for it, as synonyms are a thing. More likely though it’s just the kanji equivalents like Big and Person that OP is mentioning. Although, if it blocks uses kana, I guess making synonyms in romaji is the only option for what he wants to do.


I think I was implicitly referring that every radical that have a kanji equivalent like (eg: 女、本、木、大), there is a lot of those in the first lessons but now realize it is much more complicated than that :slight_smile:

It seems that typing the radical during the review is meant to help you associate them to a “thing” in order to decompose kanji further down the road.

I think it comes out more naturally for english speaker, for /me personally I guess I should think of it as an emoticon, i.e: I’m not saying ⼇ “reads” [lid], I’m saying ⼇ “looks” like a [lid]

On that note how do you “type” radical in the forum if they some don’t have “reading” :slight_smile: ? I’d be fun to have :emoticon: for each radical!


You have to use Alt Combinations or Copy-Paste in order to “type” the radicals that aren’t also kanji.

You’re exactly right with the example of “lid.” Every radical has some “meaning” to it, but often times that meaning doesn’t translate into the kanji it is inside, so WaniKani prioritizes coming up with visually stimulating components that are easy to remember. Later on, you’ll have multiple kanji that have the same bottom parts, but you can remember which one has a lid on its head, which as a helmet on its head, and which has a hat. :grin:


I was suspecting that you were referring to only some radicals. The names of many of them are not taught in WK, so you must have learned them before if you want to use them as answers. And for some reasons the radicals are a touchy subject here because of what WK calls radicals vs. “real” radicals.

Knowledge of the classical radicals is not that important nowadays because you can search kanji easily on the Internet, but if you are interested anyway (or just want to see a list) you can read for example here:

In the online dictionary Jisho you can click together some “radicals” to find kanji: http://jisho.org/#radical
(note that these are rather decompositions and not radicals again, yet another different thing called radical!)

For entering them, I usually copy/paste them from the WK pages, but I’m sure you can also type them somehow.


I feel pretty confident that if you pointed to 氵and asked for the 読み方 you’d get an answer, but that doesn’t sound natural at all. It’s like if you pointed to a square and said, “How do you read that?”


I think it’s misleading at the very least. I’ve sat in on kanji lessons for Japanese elementary students and taken the Kanji Kentei, and every time a radical needed to be identified, that identification was referred to as 部首名, not 読み方.

Either way, it’s not really relevant, seeing as they certainly don’t have what WK calls a 読み方. Not least of which because WK radicals are not kangxi radicals. If someone wants to make a script where they can write Japanese names in the meaning field, they are free to.


After doing a few more reviews (I had to wait a few hours!) I identified what is annoying me and what originally prompted me to post.

When I saw: 「入」I typed the noon “entry” “entrance” “入口” and got all of them wrong, because I should have typed the verb “enter” instead and that happened for a few other as well (like “beard” instead of “barb”).
So it seems that sometime I can’t remember how to “express” the radical with the english word choosen by WK (like “fin”) even though I pictured was the radical so relating to.

I don’t think that’s really an issue, as SRS will help me to remember both (the radical and the english word for it) but it’s just a peace of feeback I wanted to drop there.


While this becomes less of an issue to some extent as you encounter radicals that are further divorced from the kanji you’re learning, I don’t see any issue with adding user synonyms on radicals for things like “enter” vs. “entrance”. If you know the basic concept of the radical, that’s good enough for the mnemonics.

(Incidentally, my first failed burn was 入, because I typed “entrance” instead of “enter”. So I know this feeling particularly well here…)


I don’t think I am understanding your analogy. Pointing at a square and asking how to write it doesn’t make sense in any language in the context of this situation. In Japanese, sure, someone can reply with either “shi-ka-ku” to indicate the hiragana or explain it’s the kanji of four and corner/angle, but if I don’t know how to write that kanji, they’re going to have to explain using the radical names. If you’re comparing a square to a radical, then that’s quite off-base in my opinion. Squares have no function linguistically in English. Radicals are closer to letters in English, and every letter has a reading. At least, I hope any English speaker knows how to say the letters of the alphabet (z being the exception, since the US doesn’t use zed). Ironically, I doubt most English speakers actually know how to SPELL letter names (except the diehard scrabble players).

As for it being misleading, @Leebo, I guess that depends on how strict you are with interpretations. I’m pretty sure it’s completely kosher to ask for the 読み方 of a name. I don’t see why a radical’s name is any different, though it’s not shocking to me that 部首名 is more common, since 読み方 is much more relevant for kanji, especially with 音読み and 訓読み on the playing field. But I agree that WaniKani’s system makes it very irrelevant to begin with. I simply hadn’t known how much experience the OP had, as I first memorized the names of radicals up to 5 strokes before learning any kanji containing more than 5 strokes, and actually set many my radicals to their intended meanings rather than the WaniKani names (in the case of the “fake” names).

@proppy The good news for you then is that you can add as many synonyms as you need to allow those slight variations of terms if you want!