Spelling Question

Hello, I don’t have a japanese keyboard on this specific computer. So bear with me.

So, the kana that makes the U sound after a vowel sound just lengthens the sound of that vowel. (ko-u)
But a single vowel kana aftter a vowel sound that is the same as that vowel also just lengthens the vowel sound. like, (ko-o)

Then why does it matter in vocabulary words like “tenth day” if I put the U kana instead of the O kana after the “to” sound. It reads the same doesn’t it? So why is wrong if I put the U instead of the O kana? Maybe if it was a hirigana word only that didn’t have a kanji. But even then it would still read the same right.


It would sound the same, sure. The spelling difference reflects the historical spelling differences.

When you have an お sound lengthened by う, that comes from Chinese.

When you have an お sound lengthened by お, that comes from Japanese.

You could ask the same thing about spelling quirks of English, but on a test you’ll still be marked wrong for switching them up.


Even if the sounds are the same, the characters used in the reading change the kanji/meaning. とうか’s first suggested kanji is 投下.

What initially helped me with the reading of lengthened vowels was to audibly make a small distinction between お and う for the reading. I would sound out とう as と-う out loud when recalling the reading, and just make a mental note that to drop the distinction when actually using it.


That helps forsure. But when the word has a kanji, you are not being graded on the spelling. It’s the pronunciation that you are trying to get correct. At least thats how I look at.

But I guess your right, I am trying to rationalize something that was decided a long time ago. I’m sure there is a reason behind it though.

Yeah I just put them both in my japanese keyboard wondering if it was just a wanikani thing or not. You get two completely different vocabulary.

And thank’s I will have to try that.

There are others to keep an eye out for with similar historical explanations for why it’s one way or the other.

ず and づ
ぢ and じ

Maybe more I can’t think of at the moment.

Japanese first graders regularly have to drill this. All words in Japanese can be written without kanji of course, and that’s the context of having to spell it correctly.

You’re technically being asked for the 読み方, which might sound like it means pronunciation, but that would be 発音.


Yeah, WaniKani is mostly testing you on your typing ability, not speaking or pronunciation. If you try to type 十日 as とうか, you might find it being suggested by the auto-complete function (it’s not for me - I’m getting things like 東海道新幹線 and 東海大学 instead) but the IME itself is never gonna suggest 十日 - you need to type とおか for that.


At least, typing the correct way is for IME triggering. Also, that would be how to type in full Kana or mixed Kanji-Kana as well.

Nonetheless, I think とーか or トーカ can be interpreted as 10日(とおか), but not とうか.

I am also puzzled on what 読よみ方 really means. In dictionary context, it is probably mean how to write in Kana; but in speaking context, it probably really means pronunciation. Also, somehow, Wanikani doesn’t accept “how to read”.


When you listen to Japanese songs, especially slower ones, they often have a regular rhythm with exactly one mora per beat (the kanji for beat and for mora is even the same: 拍). There you can clearly distinguish おう from おお.


I am also puzzled on what 読よみ方 really means. In dictionary context, it is probably mean how to write in Kana; but in speaking context, it probably really means pronunciation. Also, somehow, Wanikani doesn’t accept “how to read”.

That’s what the “user synonyms” feature is for. As you get further, you’ll find more and more rough edges in the English translations, and for your own sanity you should get in the habit of adding more natural definitions if you’re like 95% sure they’re right. I suspect the WK team periodically looks through the most common user synonyms and adds them to the official readings. At least I remember one of mine ending up in the official list several years ago, though it might have been a coincidence.

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Perhaps this part I am not entirely sure.

Also, this would go against Wanikani’s strictness; and no one would check my synonyms if I don’t post them. (Not sure if English translation matters much, though.) Adding “a” as a synonym for every items you don’t want to learn, is possible.

Nonetheless, now I am pretty sure that “how to read” is a valid synonym.

Oh. Right. I have wondered about those before too.

I didn’t even consider this. It makes alot more sense now.



Yeah, I agree that you can always cheat yourself, and it’s good to have a line that you won’t cross. The question I try to ask myself is “is this testing my Japanese or my English?” Also, there are just times where I think two kanji get added in different sessions, and they’ll have some shared meanings between the two, but not all of them. I don’t think it’s productive to grill yourself on “this one means smart or clever, and this other one means clever or sharp, but not smart.”

For meaning questions, it’s more of, “Do I know how to use this word or not?”, or “In which context can this word be found?”

English is a necessary byproduct, or perhaps said, necessary evil.

I only recently noticed the “part of speech” box, which might give you what you need to know to make that call.

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