Wanikani is just not useful enough, but could be

Every native speaker with more than one finger per hand can count one and one together for that one. It helps to reinforce both the meaning and the readings of the kanji in it.

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Really? A word that is best described in the Latin “magnum opus”, because it doesn’t have a close enough English translation is as simple as putting one and one together? It could also mean a large pile of sh1t, if we’re talking about “big makes”.

Yes. And on top of that it helps you review the kanji readings.

A word that can be read correctly and the meaning at least guessed by a second grader in elementary school won’t impress anyone. Magnum opus just means big work as well. If you know words like 作品 it basically means what you expect.


I don’t think I’ve ever found a "pass a test to skip content ‘you already’ know system that was ever actually competent. Why? Such tests would simply be summaries of the content, meaning you’ll have significant gaps in your knowledge. I successfully tested out of more than 10 classes in college, and my friends had homework with stuff I’ve never seen in my life from those classes.

WaniKani is designed with a particular system in mind, specifically utilizing its custom radicals and mnemonics to create its SRS system’s scaffolding. Even if you used a 90% kanji test system, you would be sacrificing the vocabulary, meaning you’ll get in trouble later on with alternate readings you SHOULD have learned early on. あ is the reading you learn for 合, but by level 25, you see ごう most commonly.

As for the comments about natives saying such and such word is useless, that’s just silliness. I’m sure most native English speakers would tell you knowing the original meaning of gay is useless due to its almost exclusive use for homosexuality, but if you don’t learn that meaning, you’ll think that everyone dresses up like homosexuals if you listen to Deck the Halls (don we now our gay apparel).

Honestly, if you have any need for a kanji learning site, you don’t know enough Japanese to claim what is actually useful or not useful. I’ve been told 語る is never used, and I honestly don’t think I’ve heard it used alone, but unless you want to go around pronouncing 物語 as ぶつご or ものご, be my guest. :stuck_out_tongue:

As a side note to the “worthlessness” of certain words, I had a middle school student write bread as 麺麭 on the blackboard. :neutral_face: In another class, I found out that 小麦 can also be used as 当て字 for パン. :thinking:


Isn’t 当て字 the other way around? I mean, when the kanji are just used phonetically, ignoring the meanings?

It’s considered a subcategory of ateji, with semantic emphasis rather than phonetic. The name is 熟字訓.


I thought it would be 熟字訓 as well, but my JTE definitely said 当て字. She mentioned it in a quick comment during class, so I didn’t get a chance to ask. I’m thinking she probably just said used it knowing I knew the term to explain that it’s a weird reading.

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She probably called it that because of what Leebo said, then. Maybe because 当て字 might be a more known term than 熟字訓.

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It is 当て字 and it is 熟字訓. So, unless the teacher is confused and said “no it’s not 熟字訓 it’s only 当て字” then there’s no contradiction in saying that it’s 当て字.

Ah, didn’t realize 当て字 was an umbrella term. :hushed: The reference book in which I first discovered 熟字訓 defined 当て字 and 熟字訓 as direct opposites of one another. 当て字 was defined exclusively as kanji used strictly for reading with no regard to meaning and 熟字訓 was defined exclusively as kanji used strictly for meaning with no regard for reading. Good to know!

Also, curse the slow post update speed! :rofl:

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It might just be a case of sometimes 当て字 only refers to phonetic character usage and sometimes it refers to the umbrella term.

It’s like how 熟語 can be a compound word of any kind, or it can be something that is compound AND idiomatic. The former definition is more of a linguistics-specific term though, I believe, that isn’t encountered much, so people expect the idiom meaning when you use it in conversation it seems.

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Just as a reference for how “never” “never used” words are actually used, I heard 語る in the wild just last week. I remember noting it because it’s so rare, but definitely not so rare as to be a case of “never.”

Just to reiterate again, Wanikani is not structured around the practicality of its vocabulary, so it shouldn’t be your only source for that, but it’s not like most of its words are some kind of dead variation of Japanese you’d have to dust off hundred-year-old diaries to find. Even its lesser used ones can still be heard in conversation from time to time, and if you want to be a high-register speaker (or especially reader) at any point, you have to know them anyway.

And, as you noted, 語る is also a basis for compounds, which is likely the reason for its inclusion on the site.


Where I lived in America, there’s a ramen shop run by a Japanese guy called 夢を語れ. So, 語る was a word I learned pretty early on in my Japanese studies.


Where I lived in America, there’s a ramen shop run by a Japanese guy called 夢を語れ. So, 語る was a word I learned pretty early on in my Japanese studies.

“Speak of Dreams”? That’s a pretty romantic name for a ramen shop. I like it.

I think “Tell your dream” was what he said he was going for, but yeah, he said since it was his dream he wanted other people to think of their dreams when they came.


Thanks for the evidence of usage! The explanation I heard for its lack of use was that it had a very prideful, self-elevating connotation, so I figured it was used somewhere, albeit rarely.

As someone who is using WaniKani primary for the 音読み coverage, I personally love all of the vocabulary, since it is designed to reinforce those rarer 音読み.

@Leebo That’s an awesome name. Ramen shops will always be my favorite food joints. :smiley:

Spent the last few minutes trying to remember what the situation that brought up the word was, and I think it might actually have been while planning for the Hi, Friends! “What do you want to be?” lesson, with the teacher referencing kids talking about their dreams.

So, an identical situation to @Leebo’s ramen shop. Which makes me wonder if, with its slightly more romantic/formal nuance, it might be the more common “talk about” verb for dreams or other lofty ideas. Wondering if a high-level speaker can confirm or deny.

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Yeah the vocab itself is rarely useful, but they are easier to remember. That’s why i supplement WaniKani with “iKnow!” that app actually teaches me useful vocabulary. Only problem is, is that it’s rote. But WK and iKnow together is amazing.

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If you look at the monolingual definition, there’s an emphasis on “having someone listen” (as opposed to interacting) and there being an order to what you say.

So, it’s most typically for stories and monologues, not conversation, etc.

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