Vocab with similar meaning?

how do you deal with vocab that has similar meanings? im working through the core2k/6k deck
on a different plattform and this is driving me insane. im stuck with 10-15% of the vocab even though
i know all possible readings i have learned up to this point.

are there any good userscripts here on Wanikani to deal with that?
any advice in general?

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You can add user synonyms. Would that solve your problem already?

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I think he might be referring to things like verbs where there’s 2 different forms, transitive and intransitive. I have trouble with them myself sometimes, there’s no real trick that I’ve found for memorizing which is which, just something I have to get used to dealing with.

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This is where two things are handy,

One, example sentences, the more the better. And real ones, not Tatoeba Garbage.

Two, looking at Japanese definitions, or a better E-J dictionary. The difference to most of these words becomes very clear with a better definition.

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@JanaWolf thx for the suggestion, i will play around with it and see if it help. i probably need a note system i have access to while reviewing my vocab. this way i could add similar vocab wanikani wont accept as an answer.

@Syphus: example sentences are covered by the core2k decks, i know WaniKani doesnt provide them, but i will either continue my deck on a different plattform or start a new deck with anki in addition to wanikani. anything you can recommend?

simple example from my current level here on Wanikani: they ask for the reading for “girl” or “woman” there are always a good handful of readings and without some hints i will often times give the “wrong” answer even though i know all possible readings. (not an issue right now, but it will probably become one later)

different example: lets say wanikani asks me for “street”, what do they want to hear/accept as an answer? 道、通り、道路、道路 etc.

different forms are confusing as well as @RysingDragon mentioned.

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But WaniKani doesn’t prompt you with English…

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Do you use KaniWani in addition to WaniKani? From what I’ve noticed, in order to differentiate most of the similar terms, it adds its own synonyms to allow you to distinguish between them. Other than that, use a dictionary or find a Japanese person to ask. Japanese has a lot of contextual synonyms that English doesn’t. Usually the meaning of the Kanji can also point out a difference (完成 vs 完了 for example).


Wanikani doesn’t prompt you with English ever…also every single Vocab word has at least one example sentence. I’m not sure why you don’t think they exist.

As far as places to get other sentences, ALC is good, the Wisdom E-J dictionary if you have access to it. And pretty much every J-J dictionary has sentence examples.

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now im confused @Leebo. im under the impression it does all the time for vocab.

example question: whats the reading for "little girl, maiden, young lady etc"
example answer: 少女

yes i use KaniWani too. but KaniWani doesnt solve the problem, at least so far, only have access to the first three levels.

example question: whats the reading for "woman, girl"
example answer: 女子

the first thing i read will be woman, so i might answer with 女の人 or 女.
but thats wrong because 女の人 doesnt mean “girl”. so what im trying to say is, there is some overlap and i only learn 1-2 of the meanings, this will lead to wrong answers.

thats why i mentioned some kind of note system i want access to while reviewing my vocab.
this way i could make a simple note for “woman, girl”: [not 女の人、 女]

Yeah, you’re confused. WaniKani only ever shows you kanji, then it asks for either the meaning or the reading. No idea what you’re referring to.

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Ah. I see the problem I think. :smiley: I’ll use your example to explain!

In the case of meaning, 女 means “woman” as in “female.” Example: That person is a woman.
女の人 means woman as in “person of female sex.” Example: That woman over there.
女子 pretty much means “girl,” not woman, but KaniWani is supplying woman in order to give context that 女 is in the word.

With KaniWani, try to use the most “specific” term as reference first. With “girl” as an option, 女 and 女の人 should be crossed out as options. 女子、女の子、and 少女 should come to mind.

女子 is used often for adolescent girls AKA girls who are not yet mature but not children (女子高生 Joshi Kousei is a commonly used term in the anime realm for high school girl).
女の子 Onnanoko means a child who is female.
少女 focuses on the “maiden” part. It’s usually used for girls who are very innocent or pure.

Did that help at all? O:

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thanks for the explanation, i will try just that. thats exactly the problem i have / hopefully had :slight_smile:

im still a little bit lost here, but after reading @EiriMatsu post, i might have confused WaniKani with KaniWani, sorry.

Kanji are not words themselves (unless they are stand-alone in the Vocab section, like 女 does), but simply units of meaning. In English, we use words as units of meaning. As a result, we can use English words for many more situations than Japanese words can be used. In the case of “woman” and “girl:”

“That’s the problem with women.” Without context, you would use 女 here, because the speaker is referring to a trait pertaining to women in general. 人 means person, so tacking that on in 女の人 requires you be talking about a person rather than people as a whole. If the example sentence was pertaining to younger (college aged, for example) women and insinuating that the problem did not occur with mature women, 女子 could be used.

Essentially, the combined kanji usually “illustrate” the meaning:
女 is a standalone kanji, so it is the “overall” term for things female.
女子 is “woman” + “child.” It indicates the person is a woman, but is still child-like. This is why it refers to about the middle school to college age. They have enough maturity and physical development now to be distinguished as a woman, but they are still developing.
女の人 is pretty literal. It is a “woman” + person," indicating that a person is female.
少女 is “few” + “woman.” The person in question is female, but demonstrates few traits to show any maturity. This is used for young girls. 少女 is a bad term to use for an adult, as, like 乙女 Otome, it can technically assume “virgin.”

You’ll find a lot of synonyms as you progress through WaniKani, but analyzing the Kanji will be your best friend most of the time. Of course, there will always be those few that just don’t make sense. Jisho.org is pretty good about giving the context, so check it out if you’re ever confused. :grinning:

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eijiro and weblio have reasonable E–J definitions

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