Hi, I’m pretty much a newbie and I am really struggling to remember when to rendaku something and when not to! I get HOW to do it, and I know which kanji do have like regular forms and rendaku’d forms, but can not for the life of me remember which it should be when!
Like, くち for 口。Is there a rule for when it should be ぐち？？
Or… is it just a case of memorising when it’s used? (Please don’t say this is the case, I’ll cry)
There’s also a userscript called Wanikani rendaku information which adds an info section to your lessons explaining why a word does or does not rendaku.
I find it quite helpful, and would definitely recommend it!
My memory is apparently fuelled by pure rage. I angrily rant about rendaku at least once a day. The helpful user scripts and people on this site have given me great tips on when to rendaku and when not…but it’s still mostly guesswork for me. Until I get angry enough, then the rage burns it into my brain!
It may not seem like this just yet, but the further you get into WaniKani you’ll start to guess and just know when things get rendaku, intuitively, the first time you see a word.
The human brain is really remarkably good at being able to subconsciously pick up on patterns. The more reps you get, the better you’ll get. It’ll be a bit of a headache and struggle at first but your brain will start sorting things out the further you go.
I honestly couldn’t even tell you what the exact pattern is other than when it’s part of the whole word it gets rendaku. There are some exceptions for sure but I can guess right at least 95% of the time at this point.
It’s something I’ve noticed with other aspects of Japanese as well. You start to see only small bits and pieces you understand and everything else seems frustratingly far away, but slowly you start to recognize more and more.
I see something similar with new vocab as well. At first, each new word requires a lot of effort, but the more vocab you learn, the easier it seems to become, including guessing many of the readings and rendaku.
It has mostly to do with phonetics. When you read aloud a lot, you may notice that some phoneme combinations are more comfortable than others. For instance, いりぐち and then try to read 入り口 as いりくち and I dare you はいりくち .
However, there are exceptions like 緊張 (きんちょう、nervous), which constantly trip me up…
I can also say you will begin to get an idea of when rendaku will occur. One of the most likely examples is when a kanji ends with a つ which, if followed by a kanji with a non vowel sound will usually turn into a っ.