Should こんばんわ be on the reading warning list for 今晩は?

Level 15’s 今晩は vocab includes this sentence in its reading explanation:

Just be aware that the は at the end is actually the particle は so it’s pronounced like わ.

However, if you try and input こんばんわ as the reading, it gets marked incorrect. You have to write こんばんは instead. This creates a little bit of confusion since the correct “reading” of this item is different from how you’re actually supposed to pronounce it.

The last time this came up on the forum was in 2022 (Annoying question regarding the definition of "reading"). But since then, WaniKani has gotten a lot more lenient with “shake animations”. So is it worth adding a shake message for this situation, too?

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The わ here is not a note about how you write it but a note about how you pronounce the は particle (wa=わ) vs the regular は pronunciation (ha=は) like in はなはんetc. you still write them as は in both cases.


That is the correct, and only, spelling of that word.

That would be like saying that since the “k” is silent, then “nife” should be a valid spelling of “knife”.



Bread makes you fat michael cera scott pilgrim vs the world GIF on GIFER - by Nifym


I think this might be a difference in how we define “reading”. If you’re mentally thinking of it as “how it’s pronounced”, then the confusion is understandable - here’s WK telling you that it’s read (pronounced) a certain way, but not accepting that as the answer! But when you’re thinking of “reading” as “how it’s written in hiragana”, it makes a little more sense. Just like how です doesn’t usually have an audible “u” sound at the end, the kanafication (←not an official word) of the word isn’t always a one to one pronunciation.


I would argue that the only valid spelling of “knife” is “naifu”. :stuck_out_tongue:


I don’t think it should be accepted, but I think it’d be worth having a shake message to clarify the issue. As far as I can tell this is the only item where the reading explanation tells you to pronounce it using a hiragana character not present in the actual reading.

(Level 3’s こんにちは is kana-only vocab, so WaniKani never asks you to type in its reading and this issue doesn’t arise. Although its page is similarly confusing because the meaning explanation says to “[w]atch out for the は on the end, which is always pronounced わ”, and then directly below it is a section titled “Pronunciation” which still uses は.)

“は” is sometimes pronounced “wa”. Like when used as a particle - “私は田中です”. (everywhere all the time and in fact that is what is happening here too). The explanation here is just letting you know that this is also the case here. One needs to learn the proper spelling and accepting something that is not just re-enforces the wrong spelling habit.

The reason that it is “wa” in this particular vocab is that this is really just a shortening, and eventually it becoming a “new” word", of “As for this evening, how is it / 今晩はいかがですか”. Not unlike how in English “goodbye” originally started out as “God be with you”.

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One of the most interesting things I have learned, and continue to learn, since learning to speak Japanese is just how crazy and weird the English language can be.

Even today all these years later I still keep finding new ones. I will be asked to explain, or correct, something in English and though I never gave it a second thought my entire life, when I have to explain “why” I realize, “Yeah, that is messed up”.

And there are the just fun ones…

Why do we drive on the parkway and park in the driveway?

If corn oil is made from corn and olive oil is made from olives, what is baby oil made from? And why do I have to add “s” to make olive plural but not for corn… And why do I add “s” when it is a corn (or corns) on my foot (or feet)… and why is it foot/feet when it is hand/hands… somebody stop this roller coaster.

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… and the importance of kana spelling was something that I didn’t realise at first, until this discussion came up and the awesome Wanikani user community made me understand its significance:


Is Wanikani the only thing you use to learn Japanese? This explanation of the は partical pronunciation is a very basic beginners introduction to Japanese you’ll find in any app/book.

If you haven’t started learning grammar yet, perhaps you should? A lot of Vocabulary you;re learning on Wanikani would make mich more sense to you.