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How do i start with kanji?

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How do i start with kanji?

Postby David1978 » Mon 07.12.2010 8:27 am

Hallo all,

You probably heard this question a hundred times, but i have some trouble to find an answer.
I will soon finish with the learning of hiragana and katagana and i would like to start with the kanji.
And their goes the question :blush: How do i get started? Can anyone help me with it, are there some good books or any recommended sites i can use?

thank you for the help :D

David
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Re: How do i start with kanji?

Postby furrykef » Mon 07.12.2010 9:22 am

Well, my opinion -- and, for some reason, the opinion of almost nobody else here -- is to use James Heisig's Remembering the Kanji Volume I (RTK for short), along with the website kanji.koohii.com. There's a free sample of RTK on the publisher's website, so you can learn a sampling of kanji -- over 200 of them, I believe -- for free before you buy the book. But this method isn't for everyone.

I'm guessing the resistance to RTK here stems largely from the fact that many of the veterans here learned Japanese, and kanji, before the RTK method caught on like wildfire, and they managed to do fine without it. Hence, they think the RTK method is superfluous. Just the other day I made a lengthy post explaining my position on RTK and why I disagree that it's "snake oil", but I've yet to receive a response. I have to say if I don't get one, I wouldn't put much stock in what the RTK naysayers have to say. :mrgreen: But they're probably just taking their time or are tired of debating.
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Re: How do i start with kanji?

Postby Snowflake » Mon 07.12.2010 11:55 am

Hi, David! Congratulations on your progress with the kana!

It seems, sometimes, that there are as many ways to approach learning kanji as there are kanji themselves. Furrykef has mentioned Heisig, and from what I understand, that is a very popular approach (it doesn't appeal to me, but that's ok). You could also start with the info right here on TJP. Look at the gray headline bar on the top of this page, click on Learn --> Lessons --> All Levels, then drop down to Kanji.

I'm a kanji beginner, too, so please take what follows with a grain of salt. I can't give you the benefits of years of experience or exposure, but I can tell you a few things I've been doing and am happy with. The more experienced folks here may poo-poo my methods, but I'm extremely satisfied with my progress. And I'm having fun! My approach is to learn individual kanji while simultaneously learning whole words. I'm familiarizing myself with the individual kanji so I can recognize them when I encounter them, either alone or bundled into a word.

I'm not so worried about learning all the readings of all the kanji. Rather, I try to learn a kanji and its basic meaning, and I get readings by learning whole words. Again, maybe it's a flawed approach and maybe one day it'll come back and bite me on the butt, but so far, it feels comfortable for me.

I've been using a number of sources, including a few IPod apps (especially those which allow me to write, because writing helps sear the images into my brain), [edit: I forgot to add White Rabbit Press flashcards, which I purchased right here from TJP], smart.fm, coscom and ReadtheKanji (which drills whole words). One of the things I like about the IPod apps [edit: and the flashcards] is their portability. One of the things I really like about ReadtheKanji is its flexibility. I can control the number of new words I'm introduced to and the rate at which they are introduced. I can control how much (or how little) info is displayed about each word: kanji, meaning, example sentence in English, example sentence in Japanese and whether the answer is displayed in romaji and kana or just kana (I choose just kana, which helps reinforce my kana).

I also like things that use some sort of SRS. A lot of people find Anki to be invaluable for drilling. Personally, I just tend to use sources that have some sort of SRS built in already (less work for me).

Good luck in whatever methods you choose. Look around and experiment -- I'm sure you'll find something that works for you!
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Re: How do i start with kanji?

Postby David1978 » Tue 07.13.2010 5:40 am

Hallo,

Thanks for both replies it's been verry helpfull since i didn't know where to start.

Thanks a lot;

David
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Re: How do i start with kanji?

Postby The Lady Ashuko » Tue 07.13.2010 10:27 pm

When I first started learning kanji, the method that worked best for me was to just take a book (I used 高校生の日本語12か月 漢字練習帳, High School Japanese in 12 Months--Kanji Practice Book, which was given to me when I was an exchange student) that has the meaning, stroke order and example words and write the kanji repeatedly until I had it down. Then I'd write down several sentences using that kanji so that if I forgot the meaning later I could just reread the sentence to guess the meaning without using English.

Lately, I got a DS so I could get Kanji Sonomama (A J-E E-J dictionary) and in my research I discovered a wonderful "game" called 正しい漢字かきとりくん (tadashii kanji kakitorikun). This program has the hiragana, katakana, and every jouyou kanji divided by the grade level a Japanese student would learn them. You can see the stroke order, trace over an outline, see the on-yomi, kun-yomi and a simple definition in Japanese (keep a dictionary handy just in case), plus it grades your writing and gives you tips! It's really wonderful.

And if you are needing a good Kanji dictionary, I have Kodansha's Essential Kanji Dictionary, which I love. There are sites online which serve this function, but I am fond of books and like flipping through them. In this dictionary, you can look up a character by it's on- or kun-yomi, radical, or the number of strokes if you really have no clue.
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Re: How do i start with kanji?

Postby David1978 » Mon 07.19.2010 9:59 am

Thank you for the good tips.

Ifound some of your practice books on the net.

thank you verry much;

David
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Re: How do i start with kanji?

Postby The Lady Ashuko » Mon 07.19.2010 7:30 pm

Glad to help! Good luck ^^
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