What to do with all the rendaku inconsistency 😭

I’m still at level 9, but I already have a feeling that these will be my leeches forever.

人数 vs 点数, 全国 vs 天国…

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Perhaps a new mnemonic? Like
The number of people in the zoo にんずう
How many points you score in a tennis match てんすう

This one you can make one mnemonic for the pair
The Dakuten from ぜんこく wanted to go (ご) to heaven てんごく.


Not much to say other than encouragement.
No this wont be your leeches forever if you keep at it and do other things than just wanikani! :slight_smile:
We have all been there, it will sort itself out in your mind before long, don’t get too hung up on it. I’d even say: If it bothers you, you never get them to guru/master, just use the double check script and force them. If they are important, you will see them in texts often und learn them anyway. :+1:


These are all extremely common words. If you continue to consume Japanese content, you will inevitably be exposed to them so much that mnemonics and conscious consideration of rendaku are unnecessary.


My first thought was the same as yours and @Sadia but then I paused and remembered the difference state of mind I was when I just started comparing to how it is now. I think that while true in retrospects, beginners tendency to get stuck on seemingly unimportant mistakes, little things, is part of being a beginner. Also as beginners they don’t encounter words everywhere because the amount of material they’re able to consume in a non frustrating demotivating way is quite small. So sometimes it’s better to use the tools you have as a beginner, instead of forcing yourself into an intermediate state of mind.


I use mnemonics too. My intention was not to suggest that mnemonics never have a place. It was simply meant as a reminder that, with enough input, this all works itself out.

If you want to be sure you remember their readings tomorrow, then sure, a mnemonic will do the trick.

My point was just that some words are so common that time alone resolves things in the long run, and so it’s not a hopeless situation where you have to be concerned about making mnemonics for every word that has or could have rendaku.


I understood you completely, what I’ve started to be less sure of is how much telling beginners exposure/it’s a common word/this things solves themselves with time, is really helpful in the short run, or somewhat adds to their frustration. Long run? One hundred percent, but then the long run is when things start to jell and you become less stressed with these kind of new stuff.
I hope you understand me better now.

@escargotagile, not referring to you specifically here, it’s just that we answer this way often, when beginners ask, and I’ve realized I don’t really know if it’s stating the obvious (read more/exposure/common words etc.) and leave them frustrated, or give them some reassurance.


I would disagree with the characterization that my reply was “stating the obvious.” Not every aspect of Japanese learning is resolved with time like this.

For example, if someone never makes an active effort to think about pitch accent in some regard, they’re not going to end up speaking with accurate pitch accent. (It’s totally fine to not worry about pitch accent if it’s not someone’s goal, just to be clear.)

So, in consideration of the fact that there are things that do shake out with time and things that don’t, I am fine with continuing to mention it when I think it applies.

You are welcome to not answer that way if you have concerns about it.


Nothing helpful to add, just sympathy. I’m pretty sure about half the mistakes I make on reviews are from whether or not rendaku applies.

Although… if I could go back to your level, I think trying to come up with some mnemonics to use generally… maybe a character, Ren, who shows up when there’s rendaku, and an anti-Ren who shows up when it seems like there should be rendaku but there isn’t?

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I meant it not as your reply but from the pov of the op. People that learn japanese as a third or fourth language already know this from experience, and that’s why I’m not sure about whether this answer really contributes anything new to their perspective.

Also it’s a bit of a guessing game , you never know what kind of help people are looking for, sometimes it’s just venting, sometimes it’s looking for some kind of rule they might have missed.

It’s the vagueness of it all.

Of course I am. That goes without saying.

I guess it wasn’t obvious why I included that.

It’s like oil and vinegar.
Either that sarcasm/irony don’t translate or I don’t know what, it seems that we will never quite understand each other. It’s ok, let’s leave it at that.

isn’t there a userscript for rendaku?
I remember that helping me

I don’t really get it, but I guess some people do get frustrated if they don’t have a mnemonic or complete understanding of everything immediately.
I find it a lot less frustrating learning to accept that you won’t understand everything from the start and that this is okay and something, everyone experiences. Being told that and possibly taking the burden off of people who think they can learn a language fast while being perfectionists from the start might actually ease the burden more, depending on how that person ticks.
There are a lot of misconceptions about efficiently learning a language, especially on sites that only advocate for SRS. It is a shame but luckily there are people, who show another way than wasting too much time with trying to brute force everything into the brain.
So, I guess to each their own and what helps a person in the end is highly subjective from that persons standpoint, so I’m sure either is valid. :slight_smile:


Vanilla WaniKani really plays into perfectionism tendencies for sure…
I come from your school of thought, and brute force was never my style of learning. But people have different levels of frustration, and different learning styles, and sometimes ideas that make total sense when you’re already there doesn’t click especially with the sense of urgency beginners have. And that sense of urgency does get them places. Playfulness is way more fun when you’re a laid back kind of person. But like you said -


@Leebo @2tea You are both very helpful and there’s nothing wrong with anything that either of you said :blush:
Indeed, it’s not the first language I’m studying and I know that things get better with time, and yet it’s still reassuring to hear it every time, especially pertaining to the particular difficulty I’m struggling with.

I haven’t found a way to use userscripts on Android, and in any case I wouldn’t like to cheat the system, I was just slightly frustrated about not remembering things.

These sound good!

It’s funny that I had already been using this one! :joy:

It’s good to know, so thanks for clarifying your stance ^^

Great minds think a like ? :upside_down_face:

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For example, if someone never makes an active effort to think about pitch accent in some regard, they’re not going to end up speaking with accurate pitch accent. (It’s totally fine to not worry about pitch accent if it’s not someone’s goal, just to be clear.)

I thought Japanese children don’t make an active effort to think about pitch accent, they just copy what they hear - and yet, it seems they do end up speaking with accurate pitch accents. Why do you think it would be different for learners of Japanese in general?

Non-native learners are not actually hearing things the same way that babies or very young children are.

Your native language shapes how your brain processes sounds. It’s common to hear people say that they cannot even recognize pitch accent even when they know it exists and are trying. If that didn’t happen, no one would ever have a foreign accent.

I suppose it’s not literally impossible that someone could end up with a native-like accent without ever thinking about pitch, but if you can find someone who did, that would be the first I’ve ever heard of.


Adults really can’t learn certain things the same way children do despite what some people who’ve never really looked into the research on the topic would have you believe. For example, some adults do have a higher level of linguistic intuition than others, but it’s not only about linguistic intuition. Children are doing much more than just learning their native language, they are also learning how to conceptualize the world through that language. Adults have already done that though and there really is no going back.

That aside though, on the topic of imitation, there are a variety of factors at play, but one of the most prevalent ones is that our brains quite literally automatically filter sounds that are not a part of our native language. That, in part, comes from a lifetime of learning to pick out and understand speech despite major interference from background noises. However, it also comes from picking up on the rhythm and intonation of the language.

It’s probably not super obvious without having looked into the topic much, but just think about how you can understand what people are saying in your native language with food in their mouth, half mumbling, and a room with music blaring all at the same time. Unless you actively force your brain to realize that those sounds it has become extremely adept at automatically filtering are important, you won’t even know they exist!

For example, in the reverse, when put to the test, most native Japanese speakers really can’t tell the difference between an r and an l unless they have actively done something lie minimal pair training. Those who haven’t typically do no better than 50% accuracy.

Similarly, if you look into pitch accent, it is exceedingly common for non-native Japanese speakers to be unable to identify variations in pitch accent even when they are specifically told it’s there and what they’re listening for.

Here is an example of a minimal pair for うえなかった。 One of them is 植えなかった ((it) didn’t grow) and the other is 飢えなかった ((I) didn’t starve).

I would wager that even advanced speakers who haven’t studied pitch accent will not be able to tell which one is which with 100% accuracy. Now, ask a native Japanese speaker and it’ll be as effortless as a native English speaker hearing “hit” versus “heat”.