Usefulness of certain kanji

This is no hate meant whatsoever, as I know that all kanji have their place in the language and they will all have their usefulness at some point. I was just wondering why WaniKani teaches Kanji in the order that it does, but I was wondering why it teaches things like [arrow] or [machine] before kanji that may be more useful in life? Is it do with building up to more difficult kanji as you go on or another reason.
Thanks x

1 Like

Yeah, WaniKani subscribes to the idea that as learners of Japanese as a second language, we already understand the meanings of words, so it generally aims to teach kanji in order of increasing stroke complexity.

Japanese kids learning the kanji in schools for the first time understand the idea of kanji but lack knowledge of words, so instead Japanese schools teach in order of increasing meaning complexity.

That said, you’re definitely gonna come across 矢 and 台 on at least a semi-regular basis, so I’m not sure those are the best examples you could have used for less-useful kanji. :stuck_out_tongue:

9 Likes

Also some simple “unused” kanji are used as components in more complicated kanji.

4 Likes

tysm! what kinds of things are those kanji used for, if you don’t mind me asking? I would have thought that they were not often used as words, are they used as compounds instead of actual words?

Just as “arrow” in English can be both “thing you shoot from a bow” and “a symbol that points at things”, same goes for Japanese, albeit the latter is 矢印.

And aside from being the first character in 台所 (kitchen) and 台風 (typhoon) and 台湾 (Taiwan), 台 is the counter for vehicles - if you travel in Japan, you’re often going to see signs like this one:

P-dai

6 Likes

I suspect 矢 is at an early level more because of the long list of other kanji the radical forms a part of: https://www.wanikani.com/radicals/arrow . 台, as well as being the counter for machines, also means “platform, stand” so appears in a lot of compounds for that reason ( 舞台 stage, 滑り台 playground slide, 台地 plateau, etc).

3 Likes

wow that’s really interesting, thanks so much for taking the time to reply!

1 Like