Stuck on radical readings! No right answer?

Hello! I just unlocked the second part of learning where you learn pronunciation for the radicals you first learn, unfortunately even though I remember what the pronunciation was, when I try to type in the answer it won’t register it as correct! For example I would type in “coocu” as the sound since they said it sounds like cookie and cucumber but it is incorrect, and i’d type in “ninjean” as the sound since they said it sounds like nintendo and jeans but it’s also incorrect. Any help would be appreciated!!


It seems two things are happening here:

First of all, the sounds they use in the mnemonics are used to help you remember the actual sound since they’re supposed to be close, but if you phonetically type over the mnemonic you’ll often be a bit off. For example, for the kanji 二 you seem to have typed ねえ, while the actual answer is に (pronounced ni, like the sound in knee), which is given after the mnemonic. However using the English spelling will not give you the actual Japanese reading. The mnemonics are mostly based on how the word sounds, not on how it is spelled.

Secondly, some kanji have multiple readings, in which case you’re only supposed to give one of them. Take 人 as an example, it can be read as either にん (sounds like the start of nintendo) or じん (which sounds a bit like jean). In this case, entering either にん or じん during a review will be marked correct, but entering にんじん will not be, since that’s not one of the readings. The same applies to 九, which can be read either as く or as きゅう.


First of all, welcome to WaniKani! :smiley: I hope you have a great time here.

Second, in addition to the fantastic answer from @BIsTheAnswer, I was just wondering have you “formally” learned hiragana and katakana yet? From what I can tell, some of the problems you are experiencing may be from not knowing how to read the hiragana they have next to the English mnemonic which represent the real Japanese reading of the kanji. If you have then ignore this, but if you have not I think many in this community would suggest the following article to help out:

After that, you can also check this one out:

Maybe you have already learned it even, but if you feel like its been a while then these articles would be really good to brush up your knowledge and make sure you have them down. If you are already really comfortable with them, sorry in advance for misjudging the situation.


I’d personally recommend to try the app “Dr Moku”, it uses really good mnemonics for learning hiragana and I think it has a built-in SRS system. It’s what I used and it took me like a week to get to the point where I could start using WaniKani and read words in hiragana.

If you want an additional gamified site for kana review, you can try I haven’t used it myself, but it seems promising. If you want kana mnemonics, take the suggestions given above. I don’t have any because I used my Chinese knowledge to help me, so I don’t know what to suggest.

Just as an additional idea though, I’d suggest you learn the corresponding romaji when you learn kana, since most kana input happens using romaji, just like what you’re doing now for your WK answers.

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Just to clear one thing up, mind: these are kanji. The radicals have a blue background, and don’t have readings.


thank you everyone for your response this is incredibly helpful! you’re totally correct @jacob100 i didn’t learn hiragana or katakana yet i skipped it thinking the site would teach me them the same way they taught me the other words (my lazyness is showing, but really i’ve just never learned anything as easy as they teach here!). i’ll make sure to stop the lessons here so i can memorize those first!! thank you all so much i will try the guides as well as dr moku and kana pro! :smiley:


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