WaniKani teaching Passive verbs? Why?

Hey ho, fellow learners. I recently learned the passive-form of verbs, in the second Genki-book, L21. At that point I realized that WK had taught me two verbs (among many/some? others, I’d guess) that are the same, just active and passive: 呼ぶ and 呼ばれる.

That got me wondering, why is WK teaching us passive-versions of verbs?
Correct me if I’m wrong, but WK try’s not to teach grammar, right? So I’m not sure how this fits in here, as one could argue that teaching the passive-form of a verb is unnecessary. What are your thoughts on this? Maybe I’m also just confusing this with transitive/intransitive?
Please help I’m confused ~ :smiley:


My guess is that it is trying to teach you forms that are very common. With 呼ぶ, (I’m definitely no expert, but) the passive form seems like it would be almost as common (if not more common) than the active form.

That being said, WK 's main goal is to teach kanji, where the vocab is mainly to help back up the kanji. Looking at 呼, it is only found in 3 words that are taught on WK, so my guess is that they added the passive form just so there’s one more vocab associated with it.

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This is actually a case of transitivity, which there are several pairs on WK. 呼ぶ is the transitive verb and 呼ばれる is the intransitive. Intransitive verbs are sometimes indistinguishable from the passive-transitive outside of context.


Also, I think some of the passive meanings might end up being significantly different if I remember correctly (though that might be transitive/intrasitive stuff I am thinking of…not really sure)

Mh yeah, teaching common vocab would be a good point.

I was wondering about that as well… I see.

@TamanegiNoKame So in that specific Genki-lesson, what they taught was called “affective passive”, as opposed to “direct passive”. The latter being what I would have associated with traditional passive, “the park was built (by …)”. I think “affective passive” is something that doesn’t necessarily exist like that in English grammar.

Thanks for the replies, guys! :slight_smile:

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Perhaps it is meant to give you some basis, however small, for when you actually learn to conjugate stuff to passive form. Learning is easier if you already have something to work with and make connections. Like when I learned 待たせる, I had no idea it was just 待つ conjugated to the causative form. When I realized this, it helped me remember the conjugation rules because I could refer to it.


The affective passive is also possible in English, though not to the extent in Japanese. But there’s no functional difference in the way the “direct passive” is created, it just depends upon the sentence.

While it’s not impossible to read “the park was built…” as something negatively affecting someone, it’s certainly not the most common reading.

呼ばれる also has a distinct entry in my J-J dictionary as well.

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It’s also worth noting that WK teaches vocab in order to reinforce kanji readings. The only other vocab for 呼 is 呼び鈴, which is far away on level 39, so possibly 呼ぶ and 呼ばれる are both there just to reinforce the reading.

生む and 生まれる are also featured, perhaps to reinforce the う reading for 生.

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True, you could read “the park was built” that way… good point.

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