WK Improvement proposition

I was wondering if WK planned to add a way of differenciate Kun’yomi reading and On’yomi Reading in the reviews ? Because, we don’t know if the Question is about the Kun’yomi or On’yomi reading.

And then, why do not try to question users on their knowledge in Kun’yomi readings only and/or On’yomi readings ? Because a lot of readings are lost when you use WK it especially chooses a reading and not always the both readings. So i thought it was sad.

For example :

In a review, you could be questionned on 表 (table, surface, express)
And first, you could be told to answer in the Kun’yomi (one by many) reading (あら)
And second, you could be told to answer in the On’yomi reading (ヒョウ)

Are you just referring to the kanji items? Most readings come up in the vocab.

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Yes, i’m referring to the Kanji items. There some vocabularies where you can lean some readings, but sometimes not. I don’t have a Kanji in my head but i guess you know what i mean.

And when you learn the vocabulary, you don’t know especially the reading of the kanji (so you have to make an error for being able to read it in the review).

Not really. Sure, WaniKani doesn’t have every reading for every kanji, but for most kanji you learn the main ones. That’s not really meant to be a criticism, either. You wouldn’t actually want every reading. Since some are obscure, obsolete, or non-standard.

Not really sure what you mean by that either. You learn the reading in the lesson, just like anything else. You don’t have to wait to make an error to check it.

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Just to be clear, you want WK to ask for both on’yomi and kun’yomi of a kanji? As in, for 「人」you want to be asked about both 「じん」 and 「ひと」? If this is it, then I disagree. I like the current WK because I associate the kanji with the on’yomi. The vocabulary words with the kun’yomi.

Or do you want to be asked about all the readings? As in, for 「人」, you want to be asked both 「じん」 and 「にん」. If it’s this case I kind of agree, that we need to know both. Sometime we end up with remembering only one (the easiest, or the only one that is targetted by the mnemonics).
But, you can do it yourself, by switching everytime the on’yomi you answer with in the reviews. Or overriding and marking it wrong, if you couldn’t remember the alternate on’yomi.

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Actually, the reading used for the kanji can either be kun’ or on’ based on which is reading is used most.

Though, I think the way wanikani handles it is pretty ok. When you enter kun but need on or vice versa, the input bar shakes and asks you to try again. Which kind of makes sense, as in real life you’ll not see kanji on their own, but as parts of vocabulary.

It would help with predicting the readings of certain vocabulary words (which isn’t an exact science anyway), but knowing those rules and seeing many vocabulary, it is easy to deduce the on’ and kun’ anyway.

I think in general, basing the reading on use frequency rather than onkun makes sense.

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You are right! I found that out digging in the forums 2-3 weeks ago when I noticed a kun’yomi reading in a kanji lesson (and thought it was an error :sweat_smile:).

But since there is no real rule to distinguish on’ and kun’ (except for the “kun’yomi can be longer than 2 syllables” rule or guessing based on known vocab), I decided to go with my wrong belief. Mainly because I cannot remember which is on’yomi or kun’yomi so I don’t really have a choice.

But yeah, WK gives the most common reading during the kanji lesson. Not sure if it’s for the best, but whatever. I also read that I shouldn’t pay too much attention to that at my current stage.

P.S. If anyone has any secret for recognizing between on’yomi and kun’yomi please share it, I couldn’t find a real answer by myself (so I gave up on that)…

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Tbh, after like level 10 to 20, you’ll get a feel for it. On is quite easy, as it has very little different readings. Some kun readings look like on, which makes distinguishing those a bit more difficult. Therefore, you can often be sure of kun readings, but never of on readings.


When you enter kun but need on or vice versa, the input bar shakes and asks you to try again.

I only just started trying out WK, and while this is true most of the time, I’ve noticed that this doesn’t trigger for certain kanji (like 白). Just something that fell through the cracks?

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It doesn’t shake for しろ? Or is there another standalone reading?

Actually, after thinking about it for a bit, it’s more likely that I’m just not reading when it’s a kanji card and when it’s a vocab card. Although I swear it doesn’t shake for some alt readings :thinking:


It shouldn’t shake for vocab, only for kanji. So that might have been the case.

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Just checked it (resurrected) and the kanji card shakes correctly for the kun’yomi reading:

And accepts the correct on’yomi:

Vocabulary items usually have one and only one correct reading. There are a few exceptions to this, e.g. the one for 明日 off the top of my head.

Actually I am not sure there is any point in asking for a kun’yomi reading when there is a vocab item with that reading anyway.

An example would be the box 箱 (はこ). We are just being asked for the same meaning and pronunciation twice, first time as a kanji, second time as a word.

Why not just skip the kanji reading is such cases?

This script is real good for noting whether a kanji reading being requested is kunyomi or onyomi.

My only caution is that the indication of kunyomi/onyomi can itself be a “cue” in the review process that might help you identify the kanji when you otherwise couldn’t, since only a moderately small selection of kanji are taught without their on’yomi. For example, it’s really easy to know you’re being asked for 暑 and not 着 because it says “kun’yomi”, but they visually look fairly similar and I’ve confused them at least once.

Ah, thanks for checking that! It’s clearly just my inability to read English (笑)

Maybe I have some type of script on because I know which one i’m being asked, but I use the script Katakana Madness to help me differentiate between on’yomi and kun’yomi readings.

If it asks for the on’yomi, you put in katakana. If it wants the kun’yomi, you put in hiragana.
Otherwise, you have to pay attention to the color codes of the questions. You will be taught all on’yomi in katakana so i’d use this only if you’re familiar with it.

I use the dark theme for wanikani so most of my colors are not set to the traditional ones, but im pretty sure vocabulary is always purple and kanji is pink.

WK will never mark you wrong if you put in the on’yomi for kun’yomi or vice versa, but it will mark you wrong if you are legitimately wrong. Guessing between the two readings for the kanji wont get you a wrong answer, but there is usually only one correct reading for vocab. You will get be marked wrong if the vocab uses a specific reading and you used a different one.

The one I can think of is 生. You learn this in Level 4.

On’yomi readings:

セイ, ショウ (せい、しょう)

Kun’yomi readings:

い, なま, う, は, き

Vocab reading:

なま and it means fresh or raw

If you have the kanji, you should insert any of the kanji readings and if would just shake if it wants a different reading.
If you have the vocab, you will get it wrong if you write “life” for the meaning and any of readings under on’yomi & kun’yomi that isnt なま .

You would have to know the vocab reading & meaning separate from the kanji. Some of the vocab will use only part of a reading from a kanji, like 作用 (action) uses only さ from 作 (さく).

This is where mnemonics become important because knowing when to use い, なま, う, は, き for any of the vocabulary that includes 生 can only be done through familiarity, memory recall/ mnemonics, and repetition.

Hope that helps!

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