Radicals, LOVE them or HATE them?

I have heard a lot of hate against radicals here in the Wanikani, BUT where are the radical lovers? And if you hate the radicals(especially the higher leveled people) Why?

Neither actually. I generally think that they are not that useful but then I find myself using them sometimes to remember kanjis so I guess I can’t totally hate them, right?


I am a pumpkin!


It’s a weird day.

I use them for the first week. Then if I forget them when it comes up I mark it as correct so I won’t have them bogging down my review queue.

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They are undoubtedly useful for learning kanji initially. But I am of the opinion that WK should stop testing you on the radical names after guru. Burning radicals is just pointless, I think. Thankfully the override script exists so you never have to worry about them again.

I actually really like them as they help me break down complex Kanji and distinguish similar Kanji.

My one issue with the radicals on WaniKani is that many of the names are not the “real” ones, like ⼱ being Cloth/はば not Two Face. I find it can impede, not help learning as on WaniKanians can understand you.

Radicals on WK aren’t radicals in the sense of the “real ones” you’re describing. They’re just kanji parts and they’re just for the purpose of the mnemonics, which you mentioned being helpful. There’s basically no reason to learn the Kangxi radicals unless you want to take the Kanji Kentei.

One vocab item I got in my lessons this morning was 歩道. I tried, and sure enough, it let me put in ‘pavement’ instead of ‘sidewalk’.

So why does WK keep complaining when I use British English spellings for radical names?

(I mean it’s not a big deal because it says it’s “a bit off” but still marks it right, but the inconsistency bothers me.)

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All radicals have no synonyms by default, whereas kanji and vocab do. Feel free to add your own in the meantime while we wait for the promised overhaul to the radicals.

Yeah, I already did that. Not for the British English stuff, because like I say, it’s not a big deal, but I made sure to put ‘bug’ as a synonym for the 虫 radical.

Yeah, that’s an annoying one. I do understand why they don’t want to display synonyms for the ones that differ from the kanji meanings, because that would interfere with the purpose of the mnemonics. The overhauled radicals will have invisible synonyms for the “real” meanings.

I do agree with WK that British English is “a little bit off” though. :wink:

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I love the radicals because they give you a visual language. It helps you understand what you are looking at. And they are super easy to learn. But I agree with @gzovak that once you guru them, wanikani should not bother quizing you any further and just let you remember the ones that are useful to you.

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I like radicals, but I don’t think they should keep appearing in the reviews once you’ve got them right a few times.

Radicals aren’t too bad :smiley:

They only helped me for a short time. Once I got used to them and started doing radical lookups more frequently the arbitrary word/pop culture association just became extra work, especially since I tend to make my own mnemonics for kanji.

The radicals end up becoming less useful as you progress and kanji end up being compounds that (surprise!) include other kanji. Some of the other users have pointed out situations where the emphasis on radicals actually makes learning specific kanji more difficult.

Overall I think they’re fine. People should just use them as long as they need them and move on when they’re done.

i use them initially, but after a while you gain fluency with the kanji and the radical becomes obsolete

They are useful at the beggining but later on they are just used to aid a mnemonic, which is all fine but then remembering them later on just to get them out of the review queue becomes a nuisance, thankfully by the later levels there are very few of them.

Like others have said, the radical names are only useful for as long as you still need a kanji’s mnemonic to remember it.
WaniKani doesn’t cover writing though, so radicals were probably always going to get kind of a bad rap.

Is knowing the “real” radicals helpful when talking about unfamiliar kanji with native speakers? Also, I thought they were necessary for looking up kanji in most kanji dictionaries (but not the one I use, so that’s why I don’t really know)…

It could theoretically be helpful… but that would rely on them actually remembering the radical names and which ones are the radicals for which kanji. Some of them are easy and obvious, but some aren’t.

Your best bet would just be drawing it.

If you want to be a masochist and use a paper kanji dictionary, yes, you need radicals, but you don’t need to know the names really, you can just look at them.