For example 子 cab be し、す one time and then it comes up again and the answer is こ ( and the others are marked incorrect). This happens for several kanji. How do you know which answer is expected when you do the reviews.
When it’s a kanji review (pink background) any answer is okay (among the possible readings for that kanji character, there can be many for some kanji), but if you didn’t pick the one taught in the kanji lesson (the one Wanikani considers most helpful) then they ask you to answer with that one before you move on. You aren’t penalized.
When it’s a vocab review (purple background), there’s usually only one right answer, because it’s a word.
For the word 子, they’re teaching the word that is pronounced こ.
Thank you. I’ll keep track. MARIA
Just to extend a little what Leebo said, which is correct.
Kanji have two different readings, Kun and On Yomi. One is the so called chinese reading and the other one si the japanese. Usually a kanji has one of both. One is used for when the kanji is used alone (or at most with kana) and the other is for when it’s used with other kanji.
When you see a pink background, Wanikani is asking you for the on yomi, the reading for when the kanji is used in conjunction with other kanji.
When you see a purple background, Wanikani is asking you to input the vocabulary corresponding to the kanji. If the kanji is alone, it’s most likely to use the kun yomi reading, If it comes in conjunction with other kanji, you read each kanji using the on yomi.
The above is obviously a rule of thumb, it doesn’t apply 100%, but it’s a good approximation.
In case of 子:
On yomi: す、し
Kun yomi: こ
If during the review it comes with a purple background, wanikani is looking for the the on yomi, if it’s purple, the kun yomi
Just a small note: This is usually but not always the case. Either way, WK will introduce the more common/useful reading (usually onyomi, since it gets used in compounds) with the pink-background “kanji” review item, and save the other readings for specific purple-background vocabulary.
But yeah, all (or nearly all) kanji have at least two readings: one based on Chinese pronunciation used for compounds, and one original Japanese reading used for vocab where the kanji is on its own. Some have more, and there are also exceptions. The vocabulary items will teach you the relevant readings naturally, so don’t stress over it too much.
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