Sentence Spacing


#1

hey y’all,

I wanted to have a discussion about adding a supplement to the current example sentences that are provided with vocabulary words. I’m currently reading two different kinds of reading material aimed for beginners (children’s stories and KLC reading set) and the sentence spacing that’s provided after each normal sentence is quite helpful. Would love to hear the community’s thoughts.

I understand it’s a type of crutch, but for beginners I consider it similar to training wheels. Perhaps for the first 10~ levels?

To be honest, I was quite scared to post this as I’ve read the strong backlash people receive if their post is even close to the field of “Possible Ways to Improve WK”. Figured I’d shoot my shot because I really wanted to hear some other opinions.

Thanks for letting me pick your brain.

Disclaimer: I love the program and I’ve read the FAQ!


#2

Do you mean adding in a second instance of each sentence, where the second instance has spaces between the words?

I think that’s pretty helpful in learning material myself.

My opinion of the example sentences has always been that I use them exclusively to disambiguate word definitions, so to be honest I usually only read the English anyway, but I guess this would be a fairly easy change to implement.

That said, the general consensus among beginners is that the example sentences are not a good resource for reading practice, so adding something to make them more usable for beginners doesn’t seem like it would actually be that helpful.


#3

I don’t think you really have to be this cautious. This does not seem like an entirely unfounded question.

But I’m not sure if I understand what you want. Is what you want that spaces be added where an example contains a subordinate clause (ie: 赤いズボンを買う友達はボブだ。 --> 赤いズボンを買う 友達はボブだ)。 “After each normal sentence”. This seems odd, so I suspect this is not what you mean.

Or do you mean spaces between each word? I could get onboard with that for the first levels, I suppose.


#4

You only get a strong backlash if your castle is built on sand and you are especially cocky :wink:

One problem is that there is no direct relation to a word in English and Japanese, so different people may choose different splittings.

There are some online tools to do this (see https://japanese.stackexchange.com/a/11834/20444), command line tools like jumanpp or kabocha, or you can use rikaichan/yomichan to find the possible word boundaries (grammar knowledge helps, though).


#5

I think it’s a good idea as well.
Also, using different typeface (e.g. bold, italic, etc) or font to distinguish the role of different words in the sentence may be helpful for beginners to match the translation to the example sentence.

I heard they are redoing the example sentences, by the way. It might be the right time to ask for this kind of improvement.


#6

I agree that that’s a problem in deciding how to split it up, but I imagine that so long as you don’t do something crazy your method will probably make it easier for readers to parse.

OP, please don’t be afraid to give good / interesting feedback! :heart:

I think that if they split the sentences up like this, people would understandably think they were supposed to provide useful learning sentences, when I don’t think that was really the intention in providing them. They’d then get even more backlash against these sentences.

So basically, I’m a fan of the idea, but think that if they did this they’d have to actually make the sentences for these levels useful for beginners to read. Maybe they’re doing this right now! Who knows? :stuck_out_tongue:


#7

@Radish8 @finnra
Yes, exactly! A second instance of the sentence with spaces after each particle and word. I’ll take an example out of something I’m reading.

ももたろうはいぬとさるときじをひきつれ。

ももたろう は いぬ と さる と きじ を ひきつれ。

@acm2010
The way I’ve seen it done is always like above, spaces between particles and words. What do you think of that method?


#8

The tricky aspect is that it can be difficult to define what a word is…


#9

I have been playing around with tools to tokenize Japanese, it is an interesting experience (for example seeing the ~ます ending as an auxiliary verb after a conjunctive form). I have mainly seen the particle included in the “word” it belongs to, though. But as @Radish8 says, if you do it consistently it doesn’t matter how you do it.


#10

On a different note you should send your suggestion to hello@wanikani.com, the forums are only there to tell you that any idea is bunk.


#11

Well, OP can add that the suggestion has stood the test of fire :wink:


#12

And there’ve been several good (/ not hated by the forums) ideas recently!


#13

You could even suggest a way to achieve world peace using kanji and be criticised that it doesn’t work on possible mars colonies :wink:

Btw, how did you get the angry aya? I’m not even a regular anymore although I was a good boy …


#14

@Radish8 I agree… But for most of them I don’t think they will have the time to do anything about it, considering their current workload.

@acm2010 I’m not sure, actually. It happened at the same time as the durtle epidemic, so my guess is that I got someone angry due to the BS I posted on that thread. (In particular educated guess as to why it was happening). That being said, I do post a lot of BS overall, so it may be completely unrelated.


#15

Wanting to make Aya angry made Mami angry … Not sure which one was higher street cred, though.


#16

Yeah, that’s interesting: when I click on your badge, I can see who got it, and how (at least what post was registered as granting it).
In your case, it was the post I was replying to.

BUT, I can’t see that anymore for the badges I have. So I don’t know what caused mine.

I believe Angry Mami has more street value, as it’s more rare, and has a pun in its description.


#17

Happened to me for not knowing who Aya was.


#18

It’s funny, because Mami has the Angry Aya badge.

I hope they make a Serene Oldbonsai badge, or maybe a Happy Kristen badge. That would be awesome to have.


#19

I am against spaces. I believe that crutches just slow you down in the long run. I’m now at the point where I’ve made some Japanese friends on italki and I’m reading their sentences and my brain is just getting on with it. I think we have to be like this “Now listen up brain! Now we read without spaces and that’s just how it is! Suck it up, princess!” It will always be hard. No matter when you take the plunge. I reckon the sooner you do the sooner it will feel natural.


#20

Thank you everyone for your replies! I enjoyed reading them, and getting a different perspective. Cheers.