WK teaches you kanji through mnemonics, radicals and stories, but it never teaches you about the four types of kanji. I tried to search the forums and some people are aware of this, but I’ve never seen an explicit guide on this.
Reading and discovering this has changed the way I learn new kanji:
The 4 Types:
1. Pictographs 象形文字
- kanji that look like something
- 日 (literally looks like the sun)
2. Indicators 指事文字
- kanji that represent something it looks like
- 二 (represents the concept of two things)
3. Combographs 会意文字
- two kanji together make new meaning
- 口 (mouth)＋鳥 (bird) = 鳴 (chirp)
4. Semantic and Sound borrowers 形声文字
- half the kanji is meaning hint, half the kanji is reading hint
- 日 (sun meaning) + 青 (blue reading せい) = 晴 (clear sky, onyomi = せい)
Feel free to read the article if you want to know more, but in this post I want to highlight specifically the last one.
90% of Kanji are 形声文字 (semanic + sound)
This is to say that 90% of kanji’s reading and meaning can be guessed
This becomes increasingly more useful the more radicals/kanji you know and me on the edge of 30 it is starting to blow my mind how applicable it is.
I dare you to look through the kanji you just learned and post if you found at least one this trick helps with. This simple bit of knowledge is helping me remember kanji more on top of mnemonics that WK provides.
Share what you think.