Thoughts on mnemonics for jukugo vocabulary?

I think that it would help to have phonetic mnemonics to remember the readings for jukugo vocabulary. I understand that Wanikani’s focus is the ability to read kanji but the absence of mnemonics to help memorise jukugo vocab for spoken communication implies that a Wanikani user either already knows the vocabulary in hiragana form or is memorizing how the vocabulary sounds outside of Wanikani. I for one like to use Wanikani to learn and remember vocabulary without having encountered them before on anki/memrise decks etc. I know it would probably take a lot of effort though, and Wanikani gives you the option to write your own mnemonics but still. It would be helpful.

1 Like

Mnemonics for complete words definitely sounds like a good idea, but likely out of the scope for Wanikani, because it would make the system more complicated.

What about using Anki instead? Perhaps there are some decks out there.

1 Like

I don’t think that adding arbitrary mnemonics to vocab is the way to go for this, the kanji themselves should be the mnemonic, that’s kind of the point.

It does make it harder to engage with “phonetic” content, be it spoken Japanese or Japanese written in kana, but that’s a normal part of the process. What I find is that there are many words I learn on WaniKani as just a group of kanji that slowly become proper “words” in my mind as I encounter them more and more in the real world.

Mnemonics are a crutch to memorize words, it’s not something you need in the long run. For instance I struggled to remember the rather common word 玄関 for a while, so my “mnemonic” for it was just to remember the kanji for the word and derive the pronunciation for it. Eventually I got used to the word enough that げんかん would come naturally without having to go through the kanji step. Repeated exposure is the key here.

If you already know the individual kanji, what does a mnemonic for げんかん specifically give you? Doesn’t it just make everything more complicated?

Rare exceptions are words like 光栄 and 栄光 where you actually need to remember the correct order for the kanji since both are valid but have a different meaning, I do actually have a mnemonic for these words specifically as a result.

2 Likes