Why the standard is so strict on redical but so loose on vocabulary?

It started from level 1. I am a bit pissed off when I am again marked as incorrect when I am answering “ten” for my radical review for 十, where the correct answer should be “cross”. I am still having a hard time to memorize if “tree” or “wood” should be the correct answer for redical 木. And is “shell” that different from “shellfish” that it needed to be marked as incorrect for 貝?

Not sure if I am a bit biased on this as my first language is Cantonese and I have already been writing Chinese character since I was 3, so redical review is completely redundent for me, but is the standard for radical review too strict?

As a component of a kanji, redical’s meaning is made to be twisted by other components of the kanji, so there is no point to remember the exact meaning of it, not to mention that some of the correct answer for radical are just mnemonics. A kanji with 頁 redical would never have a meaning close to “geoduck”, but “page” is marked as a wrong answer for redical review.

By the way, “geoduck” is not a common word to be used in daily or business conversation, so even my English is good enough to write a post to complain and to learn Japanese using English, doing radical review is more like learning English then Japanese (which is okay for me… at least I am learning something). If one’s first language is not Chinese or English, I doubt if a “geoduck” mnemonics is actually helping. And similar situation is happening in neaerly every level, like “narwhal” or “triceratops”

On the other hand, I feel that standard for some vocabulary is too loose. “To wake up” is marked as correct answer to both 起きる and 起こす, but the actual meaning for 起こす is “To Wake Someone Up”. I think it is okay to mark “To Wake Up Someone” as correct, but “to wake up” should really be marked as wrong for “起こす”. (or at the very least, saying it is close and require answering again) This happens on some other pairs, like 温まる vs 温める, or 立つ vs 立てる, to name a few.

And if WaniKani is meant to be so strict like they do in redical, I feel that some review should really requires multiple answers before marking as correct. For example, review for 以上 should have both “more than” and “that’s all” answered before marked as correct, as both meaning are frequenly used (at least from what I see when I am reading some other materials).

For some kanji and vocabulary with multiple pronunciation, like 九 should have both きゅう and く answered before marked as correct. I believe this is actually helping especially for kanji, as it seems that most if not all pronunciations of a kanji are used anyway when the kanji is used to form a word. It may be easier to just memorize all pronunciations before going to the vocabulary.


The simple answer to the question in the title is “because the radical names are intended to be used very specifically to make WK’s original mnemonics”

It wouldn’t really make sense to ask people to memorize very specific stories if they didn’t have you memorize the parts that will be used in the stories.

It can all be overridden with synonyms if people want to ignore the strict meanings though.


It if makes you feel any better, I think geoduck is often a new word for most native English speakers starting WK, as well.


It was for me! I googled it and was horrified by the pictures (and the non-intuitive pronunciation) :eyes:

I’m all about adding synonyms, especially for radicals. Particularly things like 一 and 十 !
I will happily make my own mnemonics later based on “one” and “ten” if needs be :slight_smile:


It is but it isn’t, since it’s the English name of a pokemon (that looks nothing like the clam lol)

Is it really? If I google it, I see a bunch of pokemon mashups. But I’m not a pokemon knower at all.

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Oh you’re right, I was thinking of Golduck and Geodude, two completely different pokemon. I had them merged together in my head for some dumb reason lol!


I always set radicals to right in reviews, since they are not absolute in meaning. If you change the methodology, for sure you will find a completely different meaning for the radical.

So I dont bother with them.

It looks horrifying, but the taste is good. It is a famous dish in Chinese restaurant in Hong Kong, but I would say it is a really local thing and is seldom mentioned in English.

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It’s pronounced gooeydude


If you see any weird words on Wanikani, the reason is usually that Koichi lives in the Pacific Northwest. This is the explanation for both geoduck and yurt.


This is what gets me about it. Who was in charge of coming up with the spelling??? It’s literally the opposite to how it’s pronounced. It should be spelled goeduck.


Apparently it comes from the Native American word “gwídəq” but in that case the spelling still makes no sense


The Oxford English Dictionary lists two different groups of historical spellings for the word:

α. 1800s– geoduck, 1900s– geoduc, 1900s– geoduk.

β. 1800s– goeduck, 1900s– goeyduc, 1900s– goeyduck, 1900s– gooeduck, 1900s– gooeyduc, 1900s– gooeyduck, 1900s– gooiduck, 1900s– gueduc, 1900s– gweduc, 1900s– gweduck, 1900s– gwiduck, 2000s– gooeyduk, 2000s– gooyduck.

and says " The forms with geo- ([α. forms]) probably originated as editorial alterations of forms in goe- (although these are first attested slightly later; compare [β. forms]), perhaps influenced by [geo- comb. form])."

In other words, people who didn’t know how the word was pronounced thought “‘goeduck’ doesn’t look right” and ‘corrected’ it to ‘geoduck’. Unfortunately we ended up keeping the right pronunciation and the wrong spelling. ‘Goeduck’ and ‘goeyduck’ have cites from 1962 and 1972, which is pretty recent as these things go, so it’s tempting to suggest a revival of that spelling :slight_smile:


Wait, I thought geoduck is a duck who teaches geography?

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I would like to sign up for this revolution

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As a German I completely agree that Radical study can be irritating. A lot of words were completely unknown to me, like “yurt” (I didn’t even know the German word for it) “cleat” or “canopy”, so I had to learn the English Vocabulary more than the Radical for it, lol. Also made the 十 mistake several times, same with “Ground” instead of one

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