Shouldn't transitive verbs allow the form "___ something" generally?

I know that when learning 広げる for example it helped me remember that it was transitive by putting the meaning as “To Spread Something” and in general I know that I’ve seen a lot of the transitive verbs wanting their meaning to take the form “To ___ something”.
I just learned 分ける, and thought, “aha, this was transitive, to the answer must be ‘To split something’”, but it was marked as incorrect because only “To split” was accepted. I feel like, the consistancy isn’t necessarily needed for the Meanings list, because it could bloat it if you want to also include the meanings without ‘something’ at the end, but it feels to me like the “___ something” versions should at least be accepted answers.

I’m wondering if I’m misunderstanding something and “To split something” is not a valid meaing for 分ける, and if I’m not, how to suggest that meaning is added to the list of accepted answers.

Thanks!

14 Likes

No, you have not misunderstood it.

“To split something” is absolutely a valid meaning for 分ける.

Transitive verbs in Japanese take a direct object (via the を particle) which is precisely what the “something” is in the English version. More recent additions to WK, like 広げる, have got the “something” on the end which makes good sense because it forces the user to know the transitivity.

There’s too much edit distance between “To spread something” and “To spread out” to be able to accidently use the wrong one and still get it accepted. 分ける was added to WK a long time ago before they had put so much effort into avoiding transitivity mistakes in answers.

It would make sense to change the earlier verbs to be the same but I guess that’s a long job.

8 Likes

@mods   

3 Likes

I don’t really think so. I just did a quick check and there seem to be less than 600 Transitive verbs taught on WK. They’re also already tagged so extracting them shouldn’t be difficult, someone would simply have to change the meaning and mass replace/add them back in.

I don’t know what their internal systems look like and how many people they can put on the job but it doesn’t sound like a huge undertaking. I’d probably even do it for them because I really want this change as well.

4 Likes

I was thinking that it would be a long job just in terms of coming up with and agreeing on the right English phrases!

According to the API just now, there are:

  • 487 entries tagged as a transitive verb (33 of which match “something” in the primary answer)
  • 355 tagged as an intransitive verb

So that makes 800+ entries where they would need to make an effort to avoid the wrong transitivity. My brain hurts already…

1 Like

Question might be “how many transitive verbs have their intransitive pair in WaniKani too?” If they’re not pairs, you might not need to make the transitivity that explicit.

3 Likes

I think this might be the biggest challenge. The rest can be kind of scripted. From the transitive/intransitive pairs I’ve seen so far only a handful really required synonyms. The rest was okay-ish and in some cases it’s really hard to argue which English word or phrase would objectively fit better.

1 Like

By the way, if anyone else reading this is new to WaniKani and hadn’t realised this, like I hadn’t when writing this post initially, you can add your own answers by clicking the ‘Add Synonm’ button on the word info。You can do this during a test:

Or, by looking for the word via the Dashboard > Vocabulary:

Not sure if this was explained to me somewhere near the start and I skipped over it, or if the devs simply expected that I had eyes, because the button is right there, haha. Anyway, wanted to update with that work-around for any new users that find this post and are as blind as me! ^^

1 Like

So that was an interesting question.

I took all the verbs marked transitive or intransitive and the excluded cases where they are marked as both (e.g. 引く). That resulted in 816 words.

Then I grouped those words based on the characters with hiragana removed so as to group them by base kanji. That resulted in 621 base kanji groups containing 816 individual words.

And then finally I selected only groups that contained at least one transitive verb and at least one intransitive verb. I was surprised that this list went down to only 156 base kanji groups containing 335 individual words.

To conclude:

WK only has 156 verb groups* (same kanji, different okurigana) that contains at least one transitive verb and at least one intransitive verb.

* Groups and not just pairs because some groups (e.g. 上) have more than two words in them.

Verb stems that have at least one transitive and at least one intransitive

Slug SlugNoHiragana Meaning Transitive Intransitive
上る To Climb False True
上がる To Rise False True
上げる To Raise True False
下げる To Lower True False
下がる To Get Lower False True
並べる To Line Up True False
並ぶ To Be Lined Up False True
乗せる To Give A Ride True False
乗る To Ride False True
乱す To Put In Disorder True False
乱れる To Be In Disorder False True
乾かす To Dry Something True False
乾く To Get Dry False True
交わる To Intersect False True
交じる To Be Mixed False True
交ぜる To Mix True False
付く To Be Attached False True
付ける To Attach True False
代える To Replace True False
代わる To Replace False True

… and so on.

Excluded verb stems

I looked at the excluded words and it looked correct to me:

Slug SlugNoHiragana Meaning Transitive Intransitive
与える To Give True False
乗り換える 乗換 To Transfer True False
争う To Compete False True
亡くなる To Pass Away False True
仰ぐ To Look Up At True False
企てる To Plan True False
伏せる To Cover True False
休む To Rest False True
会う To Meet False True
伴う To Accompany False True
伺う To Inquire True False
似る To Resemble False True
似合う 似合 To Suit False True
住む To Live False True
余る To Be In Surplus False True
作る To Make True False
使う 使 To Use True False
供える To Make An Offering True False
侮る To Despise True False
侵す To Invade True False

… and so on.

So 335 words ain’t so bad.

6 Likes

Thanks for bringing this up! We agree that we should add “to __ something” as a possible meaning answer (either to the meanings section or on the allow list) for all transitive verbs. We’ve been adding some recently, and we’ll try to go through some more this week, particularly the ones mentioned in the thread :raised_hands:

7 Likes

Recently got dinged for this one, unfortunately. Saw 集める, went “ah well in english you can use this transitively or intransitively so ill be specific” and it turns out it didn’t accept the ___ something answer at all. Glad to see its being looked into!

2 Likes