Readings: on'yomi / kun'yomi

Should I be trying to learn whether a particular reading is on’yomi or kun’yomi? Or is it better to focus on learning the reading that is used for each particular vocabulary word?

It seems that knowing whether a reading is on/kun might help me decipher new words (eg this has hiragana so it probably uses kun’yomi reading which is …), but I’ve already come across plenty of exceptions.

A case of ‘do what works best’ or will it be really helpful in the future to know whether each reading is on’yomi or kun’yomi?

I would say, if you find that aspect of Japanese interesting, there’s no harm in digging into it. But if you just focus on words, the understanding of how to guess the readings will just flow from that.

Well, yeah, since I would never make a blanket recommendation that everyone focus on which category everything is, it’s a “do what works for you” situation. But I think that no matter what people do, they’ll get a feel for it.


“Do what works best” is always the best policy. :slightly_smiling_face:

I don’t think it’s particularly important.
I think all you could really get from knowing that is that if you find the kanji in the wild you may be able to guess the reading. Like you said, if it has okurigana, probably use the kun’yomi, if it’s a jukugo, probably use the on’yomi.

You can get it right, you can get it wrong, since it’s still a guess and we all know there’s plenty of readings and exceptions.

If you’re really interested in it, go for it, otherwise, I’d leave it as one of those things you just pick up as you go on

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