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Kanji in Genki

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Kanji in Genki

Postby lonelytraveler8 » Fri 12.12.2008 11:21 am

はじめまして。 This is my first post on the forums.

I'm progressing extremely quickly through the material in Genki I since I started a couple of weeks ago. I'm currently "finished" with chapter 1 and have learned more than half of the vocab in the second chapter. As I do with every textbook I pick up and read on my own, I've skimmed and looked ahead through the whole book.

Genki begins using Kanji in its vocabulary lists in lesson 3. However, the Kanji lessons in the back of the book (and in the workbook), don't match up directly. After scrutinizing everything closely, I learned the while a verb may be learned in lesson 3, the kanji lesson for it may not be until kanji lesson 5 in the back. However, I was completely unable to find a lesson for some kanji in the back that corresponded to some used even in lesson 3.

I realize that was probably pretty confusing, so here are a couple of examples:

行く (to go) is found in the lesson 3 vocab list. In the back of the book, it is found in Kanji lesson 5.

朝御飯 (breakfast) is in the lesson 3 vocab. However, I could only find 朝 (in Kanji lesson 10) in the back. The other two are nowhere to be found.

I'm not really sure how to go about handling this situation when I get there. I'd very much like to be able to properly write each kanji that the book expects me to learn (I learn much quicker by writing than by just trying to read and remember), but I don't see how I can do that if I have to learn from a single, small character.

I may be misunderstanding how Genki handles kanji, but I'm not sure. Should I get a different book to learn Kanji. The best idea I came up with (only a few minutes ago) is to use a dictionary that includes stroke order to find the word and learn it that way. (example: breakfast - 朝御飯).

ありがとうございます。
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Re: Kanji in Genki

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Fri 12.12.2008 11:25 am

Like most books, Genki probably introduces more vocab than kanji -- probably if the kanji does not appear as a specific kanji, you're not being required to learn it by the book. Pretty much all books do this; at the beginning you generally want to learn common vocabulary without necessarily being restrained by having to learn all the kanji for them as well. You can do whatever you want; personally I always suggest focusing on grammar and vocab at first, and not doing intensive kanji study until later.

The issue is that a word like あさごはん is pretty common in speech, and very useful for a beginner to do something like talk about their day. But the kanji are not all that common; the word doesn't appear in writing anywhere near as often as in speech. It's for this reason that no textbook that I know of takes the approach of requiring the learner to learn the kanji for every vocab word they learn.
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Re: Kanji in Genki

Postby lonelytraveler8 » Fri 12.12.2008 11:44 am

Thanks for the quick reply.

As to your suggestion, can I ask why? Should I follow Genki's method of ~15 Kanji per lesson (if I were to match the lessons in the back with the vocab/grammar lessons in front) and just ignore the Kanji in the vocab lists? Furigana is provided in the grammar section and practice exercises of each lesson, so that is definitely plausible.

When should I begin placing a stronger focus on Kanji? Also, do you know why the Kanji would be provided in the vocab lists if the reader isn't meant to learn them at that time?

Edit: Somehow I missed the second paragraph in your post, so part of this reply is unnecessary.
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Re: Kanji in Genki

Postby Sairana » Fri 12.12.2008 11:54 am

Genki isn't specifically geared toward being able to write the kanji.

To write kanji properly that you come across in textbooks, you may need to turn to outside sources. Since the only real obstacle is stroke order, it's pretty easy to find on the internet and such. There's tons of supplements out here.

Also, Kanji & Kana by Hadamitzky and Spahn is a nice resource, IMHO. It can function as a light character dictionary with stroke order reference, example words and 3 different ways to look kanji up in the indexes in the back. Mine is always within reach. :)
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Re: Kanji in Genki

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Fri 12.12.2008 12:08 pm

lonelytraveler8 wrote:As to your suggestion, can I ask why? Should I follow Genki's method of ~15 Kanji per lesson (if I were to match the lessons in the back with the vocab/grammar lessons in front) and just ignore the Kanji in the vocab lists? Furigana is provided in the grammar section and practice exercises of each lesson, so that is definitely plausible.


Other people disagree, but IMO it is a waste of time to spend a lot of time learning kanji when you don't have the grammatical background to be able to read much. Once you have a decent grammar and vocab basis (and a few hundred basic kanji) it will be much easier to increase your kanji ability.

When should I begin placing a stronger focus on Kanji? Also, do you know why the Kanji would be provided in the vocab lists if the reader isn't meant to learn them at that time?


Just for completion, I guess.

My personal recommendation is to use a basic textbook course -- i.e. Genki I and II -- and just learn whatever kanji they expect you to learn. After that you can turn to something like Kanji in Context or Intermediate Kanji Book to start getting an in-depth knowledge of kanji.
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Re: Kanji in Genki

Postby lonelytraveler8 » Fri 12.12.2008 12:18 pm

That's more or less what I'd begun to realize about Genki.

@Yudan:

Your recommendation is more or less what I had in mind, so that's probably what I'll do. Learning will probably be more fluid if I learn the vocab and then later learn the corresponding Kanji than if I were to try and do both at the same time.
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