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Lesson Transcript

Hi everyone.
Welcome to the Japanese Kanji video series.
In this lesson, you'll learn the "word" radical.
Take a look at these kanji characters. Can you guess what they mean?
(pause for 4 seconds)
By the end of this lesson, you'll be able to grasp the meaning behind these kanji characters.
First off, can you spot the radical that's common in all of these kanji characters?
(pause for 4 seconds)
It's this part here.
This particular radical is called...
The "word" radical is used in some of the most common kanji characters. Let's take a look at it in more detail.
The meaning for the "word" radical relates to "words" or 'speech."
From left to right, the first kanji means "to say," the second means "to talk" or "story," the third character means "language," and fourth character means "plan."
As you can see in the first example, the "word" radical is a kanji character on its own.
Did you spot the smaller "mouth" radical that we learned in lesson 6?
It's this part here.
The other part above it, is actually the "heart" radical. The heart spewing from the mouth is symbolic of words, or meaning "to say." You can imagine the lines as words exiting the mouth.
The second kanji has the "word" radical on the left, and this other character on the right. Once again, there's the small "mouth" radical that we learned sitting at the bottom there. Can you guess what the radical on the right is?
(pause 4 seconds)
I'll give you a clue, it's a physical muscle in your body.
(pause 2 seconds)
The large radical on the right represents the "tongue." Here's the mouth on the bottom, and there's the tongue sticking out of it. Do you see it now?
The "word" radical paired with the "tongue" radical gives you the kanji meaning "to talk."
The third kanji has the "word" radical on the left, and this other radical on the right. And guess what? There's that "mouth" radical again.
There's this other tiny character above the mouth. It means "five." But why five?
It's traditionally thought that we experience *language* through five "paths"; using our two eyes, two ears, and our mouth - which adds up to five. Together, this character stands for "language."
The fourth kanji is the "words" radical paired with the "ten" radical which we learned in lesson 5. Think for a moment, and guess what it might mean.
(pause 4 seconds)
Remember, the right radical can mean "ten," but it can *also* mean "complete."
The meaning of this kanji is....
(pause 2 seconds)
to plan!
Words thought to completion means that something has been "planned" out.
We"ve only learned six radicals so far in this series, but are you starting to see how we can already breakdown and guess the meanings of many kanji characters? Imagine what you could do if you learned just a few more radicals!
OK. Let's move on!
Common positions
The "word" radical will almost always be in the left position.
pause 2 seconds
As seen in the original examples for "talk," "language," and "plan."
pause 2 seconds
Notice how the "word" radical is squished horizontally when it's in the left position.
pause 2 seconds
Okay. Now let's learn how to write this radical.
Stroke Order
The "word" radical is written in seven strokes.
The first stroke is a diagonal stroke that starts at the top, and goes from left to right.
The second stroke is a long and flat horizontal stroke, which also goes from left to right, and sits just under the first stroke.
The third and fourth stroke are identical to the *previous* stroke, except shorter.
The last section is a box which sits at the bottom. It's written in the same way as the "mouth" radical that we learned in lesson 6.
So the fifth stroke, is a vertical stroke that goes from top to bottom on the left side.
The sixth stroke goes from left to right, bends, and continues downwards.
The seventh and final stroke closes the box at the bottom.
And that's it! You're done!
Common Readings
When the "word" radical is on its own, the kanji can be read as...
ゲン、ゴン for the on reading
and い、こと、ことば for the kun reading
When the "word" radical is part of another kanji...
for the "talk" kanji
for the "language" kanji. And...
for the "plan" kanji
Lesson Review
In this lesson, you learned about the "word" radical.
It signifies "word" or 'speech."
You also learned the kanji characters for "word," "talk," "language," and "plan," in which this radical appears.
It's almost always in the left position.
And it's written with seven strokes: one diagonal, three horizontal, and another three making a box.
In the next lesson, you'll learn about another common radical used in some of the most common and basic kanji characters, the "day" radical.
See you in the next lesson. Bye!


Review & Remember All Kanji from this Lesson

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Please to leave a comment.
😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

JapanesePod101.com Verified
July 1st, 2016 at 06:30 PM
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Do you know any other kanji with the Word Radical 言?
Click here to download the FREE Kanji e-book
Click here to buy the Full Version Kanji e-book

JapanesePod101.com Verified
September 22nd, 2020 at 04:20 PM
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Hi Sweety Jain,

We are sorry for the inconvenience. I will forward your thoughts to our team and we will see what we can do.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions!

Kind regards,


Team JapanesePod101.com

JapanesePod101.com Verified
June 12th, 2020 at 12:49 AM
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Hi Steven,

Thank you for your comment!😄

You are right! I have never though about that but it is actually "saying thousand with mouth!"

In that way, it is really easy to remember the kanji "話." Thank you for pointing that out.👍

Please let us know if you have any other questions!

Best regards,


Team JapanesePod101.com

June 5th, 2020 at 09:42 AM
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Is the kanji 話 a combination of word,1000, and mouth?

Like a mouth with a 1000 words is able to speak/can tell a story?

Sweety Jain
June 2nd, 2020 at 05:43 AM
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the link that you have shared gives an option to download only for apple users. what about other people like us? and the full version is chargeable. while I am paying for the premium plus session, I still dont get the advantage of the Kanji e-book. :(

Sweety Jain
June 2nd, 2020 at 05:37 AM
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where should I click to get the free e book?? there is no link provided.

thank you

January 24th, 2019 at 04:27 PM
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Hi Anthony,

Thank you for the comment!

Did you notice the difference? You're so attentive!!

Yes, sometimes there are different ways of writing character not only for kanji, but also for hiragana and katakana.

It depends on style of type or handwriting.

You will see more examples like this.

Thank you for studying with us!



December 24th, 2018 at 03:50 AM
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I noticed how the word radical appears in text is slightly different from the one displayed in the video. The text version (言) has a short slanted line sticking out from then top line, whereas the version in the video has a vertical line the same length as the two above the mouth radical in place of that short slanted line. Is there any difference between the two?

JapanesePod101.com Verified
June 14th, 2017 at 03:27 PM
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I'm very sorry for the late reply and also for the problem!!!?

Could you send a message to contactus@JapanesePod101.com describing the issue and including your username?

Thank you for the patience!

Natsuko (奈津子),

Team JapanesePod101.com

April 10th, 2017 at 11:54 PM
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when i try to add the introduction to kanji script to dashboard, the check mark will go green, but it never appears on my dashboard/pathway. its super annoying every time i get back on to study, i have to search it manually. why does this happen? Also, some weeks ago, i added to my dashboard a new lesson, and when i went to check, the lesson that got added was completely different than the one i check marked :(

it makes me feel ripped off since im paying for a service that is not working right... ugh.. but every day im on here still.

JapanesePod101.com Verified
January 4th, 2017 at 10:55 AM
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Melanie san,


Yes, that is right.:smile:

Yuki 由紀

Team JapanesePod101.com