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Inconsistency in Japanese Skritter App

Arman   November 27th, 2012 11:15a.m.

I have used Skritter through the website for several time now and I am happy that I am able to learn on the get go through the new released app. However, the inconsistency is really witholding me from studying seriously and moderately. For example: Sometimes you will hear the word pronounced and others times you won't. And I have noticed that through the website I would get the on-reading for a specific kanji and through the app I would get the kun-reading for the same character. Or sometimes if you look up the meaning of some elements that make up the Kanji it will say 'unknown' even though that same element was taught to you on its own accomponying a meaning.

Especially the lack of audio is a problem to me. It gives the characters less 'colour' and thus takes longer for me to get into my long term memory. The process has just become longer and more tedious than I remember it being when I used the website.

Are these confirmed problems and will they be tackled in the future?

nick   November 27th, 2012 1:22p.m.

Hi Arman--sorry to frustrate you. Can you give a few choice examples of words/kanji for each problem you describe? That will help us track down some specifics.

It's true that we don't have audio for everything. We do have plans to do another recording session and get some more audio in there, but they're not definite. Have you downloaded the extra Japanese sounds in the app's study settings?

Arman   November 27th, 2012 2:53p.m.

No problem Nick. I just hope this will be fixed somewhere down the road.

It's hard to recall specific cases but I will post them here as I find them.

Here is one to start with: The character for 'morning' in japanese is either pronounced 'asa' or chiyou'.
Practicing this character through the website always gave me the 'asa' pronounciation. Now through the app this is always 'chiyou'. I suspect this depends on what kind of source material you use, as I always learned this character prior through a different one.
If so, is there a way to toggle between pronounciations?

And one off-topic question: How come the pronounciations are written in either hiragana and katakana? Why not just hiragana?

Arman   November 27th, 2012 3:03p.m.

Owh here an example of the kanji make up problem I adressed: For example 'uta'(popsong) is made up of the character for mouth and a second character of which is said to have known definition. However this character will then appear by itself only moments later revealing it to mean shellfish(?? not sure)

唄 <- this the character in question.

greenteapanda   November 27th, 2012 5:53p.m.

This 唄 (うた/uta) is ordinarily only used when talking about traditional songs of various sorts, like 子守唄 (lullaby), 島唄 (traditional Okinawan folk music), 梵唄 (ぼんばい, song in praise of Buddha's virtues), etc. The character by itself is for songs that include the samisen. It is NOT for pop music.

The regular うた/uta is 歌. Pop music would be ポップミュージック.

Shellfish BTW is 貝 (kai). It does not include the mouth radical.

scott   November 28th, 2012 3:24p.m.

For 朝, the two pronunciations have two different meanings. あさ means morning, but ちょう means dynasty. For words which have two readings but the same meaning, like 私, (わたくち, わたし) both are shown.


Arman   November 28th, 2012 4:53p.m.

I know the two pronounciations are valid, I just don't get why I can't toggle between them.
But even if it's pronounced chiyou the english translation still says morning.

ジェレミー (Jeremy)   November 29th, 2012 12:16a.m.

There are words using 朝 with the meaning of morning that use the reading ちょう、like 朝食(ちょうしょく: breakfast). 'Chou' is the onyomi, while 'asa' is the kunyomi.
The reason why all the readings aren't written in hiragana-- the kunyomi readings are displayed in hiragana while the onyomi readings in katakana.

If you want to toggle through other version of dictionary entries at any time, you can hit Shift+A to pull up a quick add page. In the case of 朝, it could exist as the single noun entry for morning (containing the one reading and definition), or as the comp which contain all of the readings and possible definitions associated. After typing the a word into the quick add screen, clicking "More Results" will toggle between the different possible entries. Hopefully this is helpful. ^^

Arman   November 29th, 2012 8:13a.m.

So how do you recommend reading the readings?

Doesn't it make sense to hear the kunyomi reading when the character is presented by itself, and hearing the onyomi readings when it is part of a word made up of multiple kanji?

greenteapanda   November 29th, 2012 9:18a.m.

Sometimes Kanji have no kunyomi, and sometimes they have no onyomi. There can also be multiple readings of each. For example, 私 can be either わたくし or わたし depending on the level of politeness in a conversation.

Some words are a combination of the two, like 鉄道 (てつ どう, railroad) has the kunyomi for iron, and the onyomi for road.

However, I've noticed some things that might be helpful:
Verbs that don't use する/やる(which basically turn nouns into verbs) are almost always kunyomi.

If there are okurigana (hiragana after the Kanji), then the character before it is 99% likely to be read with kunyomi.

Tanizaki   December 9th, 2012 11:52p.m.

"Some words are a combination of the two, like 鉄道 (てつ どう, railroad) has the kunyomi for iron, and the onyomi for road."

That jukugo contains the on'yomi for both 鉄 and 道. The kun'yomi for 鉄 is くろがね.

greenteapanda   December 11th, 2012 6:05a.m.

Oops, yeah, you are right. I must have been half asleep when I wrote that example.

There are still words with a mix of kun- and on-yomi that are pretty common in everyday life like 御中 (おんチュウ, used to address mail to companies/organizations) and 泥棒 (どろボウ, thief/theft).

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