Why doesn't Wanikani treat all kanji as radicals?

I’ve just learned the 草 kanji with the meaning “grass”. When I saw it, I immediately thought: this is so perfect: it’s 早 “early” + the “flowers” radical, both from the previous level! This is the perfect mnemonic: it’s too early for the flowers to bloom yet, so they look like grass!

But then I saw the actual mnemonic:

and I realised that the mnemonic I had in mind probably wasn’t used because 早 is not a radical.

So my question is:
Why not use kanji as components in other kanji? Radicals and kanji have gone through the same SRS stages, so we should know them to a similar level, so why not use kanji as components?

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Well, later on, some Kanji are being used as Radicals as well, this one for example:
https://www.wanikani.com/kanji/業 (learning at level 10)
https://www.wanikani.com/radicals/business (learning at level 12)
However, I can’t tell you why this isn’t done in general. I assume it’s because not every kanji is used in other kanjis.

That’s a great mnemonic btw :heart:

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The example you mentioned isn’t rare: most kanji in levels 1 and 2 are identical to radicals. For example, there’s the ニ radical and then the ニ kanji. But this is not what I mean. I mean: for a kanji to serve as a component of another kanji, Wanikani requires that we learn it as a radical (e. g. ニ) separately from learning it as a kanji (ニ), and only then can we use it as a component (e. g. in 冬). I’m not sure why this extra step of learning it as a radical is needed. Why not say “you already know the kanji 早, it would fit perfectly into the mnemonic of 草, let’s use it!”

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Yeah, but you (hopefully) learn the radical before you learn the kanji for 二, while for business, you first learn the kanji and later on, it is used as a radical to build other kanjis (just take a look at the bottom of the page :wink:).

WaniKani teaches you kanji by building them using radicals. Sometimes, “smaller” kanjis are used in more complex kanjis, and if this is the case, you’ll have to learn it later on as a radical, too. While I agree that it isn’t always necessary to learn it as a radical after you’ve learned it as a kanji, I think it is stilll a great system!

And, I think, if you learn a new kanji, they’ll try to use the radicals (or kanji) that you might remember best since you’ve known them longer than others or because they are simpler than others. I don’t think that everyone knows their kanjis as well as others do.

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It might not be more complicated than… they didn’t think of your great idea! :slight_smile:

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The system is programmed so that kanji aren’t unlocked until all of the radicals have reached guru status.
They would have to change it so that kanji can be composed of other kanji, which is doable but not trivial.

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Yeah, stuff like that always annoys me. It would be so much easier to differentiate between similar looking kanji like 働 and 動 if they would just use 動 in 働. Also kanji being retaught as radicals :roll_eyes: And this is all just because for some reason WK thinks it isn’t allowed to change it’s own rules.

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I’ve been building my anki deck to have this very feature. I don’t have a concept of “radical” vs. “kanji”, I just call all of them kanji (even if they aren’t a kanji on their own) and say that others are combinations.

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RTK also makes a lot of use of “this part of kanji A is kanji B you already know”; it doesn’t recommend drilling the components that aren’t kanji on the basis you get enough repetition of them anyway from working with the kanji that contain them. IME that approach works fine.

This is something I want to do — because you’re right, it’s a bit weird. Some pretty legacy system things we built that need to be pulled apart in order for us to do something like this. But yeah, it’s not just kanji as radicals, but it’s also things like radicals that are the same as kanji you learned previously — I mean, maybe you ought to learn them still, but they should really just burn after a couple turns in your Reviews, probably (I think we’re closer to being able to do this over the other one, actually). And, vocab as prerequisites for vocab. We create soft prerequisites by separating these pairs / groups of vocab across multiple levels, but would be nice if we could just say 仕方がない requires a guru’d 仕方 to unlock. That said, in some cases (probably not this one), separating by levels helps to deal with some of the interference that can occur between similar items.

Anyways, this is just a yes yes yes from me, though I think #2 and #3 are more likely to happen just from a “it relates more to the things we’re working on right now” perspective. That said, no promises or expectations, but I do agree :+1:

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HE WALKS THE EARTH AGAIN

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SEE YOU IN 3 YEARS

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I WILL SUMMON YOU AGAIN :crabigator:

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OH MY GOD YOU’RE ALIVE.

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WHAT JUST HAPPENED

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I DONT KNOW EITHER I FEEL IM RESPONSIBLE FOR IT I AM DEEPLY NOT SORRY

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Hi there, a quick tip: Next time when you forget your password, there’s a “Forgot password?” option right as you log in. No need to be ashamed, it happens to all of us that we forget our password and keep retrying for years on end, but glad to see you figured it out!

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He’ll see your tip in 3 years

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I feel like the concept is great for beginners, but I have to admit I stopped paying attention to radicals by the time I reached level 40 or so. Just going with kanji would open up so many new possibilities for dealing with similar kanji, but then to me it’s never been an issue.

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Bigger Kanji as a radical might be helpful for writing, but it’s an overkill for reading. Your brain can already notice the vocabulary without that much Kanji precision.

Well, it is also true for Kanji after a while. No need to learn Kanji before vocabularies, though Kanji might be re-learned and revised in retrospect.

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