Has anyone else found the mnemonics and the radical combinations in level 9 not stacking up to the quality of those in past levels?
Take for example 和 (peace, Japanese style) and 乗 (ride). Both of these are taught with the radicals for ‘grain’ and ‘mouth’, yet 乗 doesn’t seem to actually have the mouth radical in it according to the kanji dictionaries I’ve referred to, and although there are some strokes that intersect in a square, they don’t even resemble the mouth radical. Now I’ve got two different kanji to memorize, both using a story about a grain and a mouth, even though one of those kanji seemingly has no mouth in it.
Which brings us to the mnemonics, which normally help to disambiguate kanji with similar radicals. For ‘peace’, we have: ‘When everyone has grain in their mouth, you will have peace. That is the Japanese style of doing things.’ This is less of a mnemonic and more of a sentence that just happens to have the words from the definitions in it. Same for the reading mnemonic: ‘Peace is the Japanese style. The walruses (わ) living off of Japan see this, and start to emulate.’ Past levels’ mnemonics have been either hilarious, or logical, or at least bizarre enough to stick. But here we basically just have walruses eating some grain → peace.
(Aside: yes, I know I could be writing my own mnemonics when the provided ones don’t land for me, but part of the reason for paying for a learning service is to offload some of that labour. I barely have enough time for WK as it is, unfortunately.)
But even the emails for completing level 7 and 8 are incredibly lacklustre in comparison to the emails you get for completing 1–6. (And I understand those emails must take a lot to write, especially given the need to write sixty of them.) Those emails encouraged me so much up to level 6, but for the past couple levels it’s felt like, ‘Yeah ok, ya did it. Get on with it.’
I don’t mean this post to be me taking a big dump on WK, because I’ve been enjoying the hell out of it for the past 8 levels — and that’s what’s got me so perplexed in level 9. I feel like all of a sudden I’m using a different product from the one I was enjoying so much before. And just to be clear, I have been absolutely loving WK up to this point. And to be fair, there are some very abstract concepts here, for which almost any mnemonic would be nigh on impossible to write (like 物, ‘thing’). So I get it, this is not easy work on the writers’ part.
So, after all this griping, what I’m wondering is… am I totally off base? If I’m not, does it get better? OR… is this maybe just part of higher levels bringing more abstract kanji that are naturally harder to write good mnemonics for? Do I just need to have a snack and a nap and stop whining?