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Kanji... Where to begin?

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Kanji... Where to begin?

Postby Kealdrea » Fri 08.04.2006 12:06 pm

I'm hoping to take part in a Japanese exchange program my senior year (I'm fifteen.), so I'm trying to learn as much Japanese as possible in the two years I have left. I had no trouble learning the two kana-- I just sat down with a notebook and a list of hiragana, and started writing the lyrics to songs that I knew in Japanese. I memorized almost all of the katakana in one night with that method. :3

However, kanji has me bewildered. Which ones should I learn first? The level 4 kanji, or the kanji for words I'm already familiar with? Should I memorize the on or kun readings first? Does it matter? @.@ Any studying tips would be very much appreciated.
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RE: Kanji... Where to begin?

Postby paul_b » Fri 08.04.2006 12:10 pm

Kealdrea wrote:
However, kanji has me bewildered. Which ones should I learn first? The level 4 kanji, or the kanji for words I'm already familiar with?

How about spending half your time learning grade 4 kanji and half your time learning kanji for words you're familiar with?

Should I memorize the on or kun readings first? Does it matter?

I don't think it matters, but do learn a word or two that uses the kanji in question at the same time. For example if you use Kanji Gold then make some effort to remember the words shown with the kanji you learn.
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RE: Kanji... Where to begin?

Postby Sumi » Fri 08.04.2006 12:11 pm

Memorize both on and kun. It is also wise to start from the beggining. Go from Grade 1 or start learning the kanji associated with the words you know as Paul_b has already stated.
ねえ、あのう、弟さん、ここに遊んじゃだめだよ。あそこは酸があるんだよ。
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RE: Kanji... Where to begin?

Postby paul_b » Fri 08.04.2006 12:18 pm

Sumi wrote:
Memorize both on and kun. It is also wise to start from the beggining. Go from Grade 1

To avoid potential confusion I should point out that (JLPT) Level 4 are 'first' kanji as are the Grade 1 kanji. JLPT counts down from 4, Grade's count up from 1.
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RE: Kanji... Where to begin?

Postby richvh » Fri 08.04.2006 12:22 pm

We really ought to put some kanji study tips in the WagaWiki FAQ.
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RE: Kanji... Where to begin?

Postby paul_b » Fri 08.04.2006 12:24 pm

richvh wrote:
We really ought to put some kanji study tips in the WagaWiki FAQ.

というわけでよろしく、Richさん。;-)
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RE: Kanji... Where to begin?

Postby Kealdrea » Fri 08.04.2006 12:43 pm

paul_b wrote:How about spending half your time learning grade 4 kanji and half your time learning kanji for words you're familiar with?


I like that idea. ^.^ Thank you.

I just memorized the kanas, but would it be better to find a computer program or something for kanji, or should I just keep learning them on my own?
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RE: Kanji... Where to begin?

Postby paul_b » Fri 08.04.2006 12:46 pm

Kealdrea wrote:
I just memorized the kanas, but would it be better to find a computer program or something for kanji, or should I just keep learning them on my own?

Well, people will tell you you should practice writing (e.g. with a pen) kanji and they're probably right. However flashcards, flashcard programs (like JFC), multi choice software (the Kanji Gold I linked to earlier) and similar programs (KanjiLab is one good one) are well worth trying.
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RE: Kanji... Where to begin?

Postby richvh » Fri 08.04.2006 12:50 pm

If you are going to practice writing them, be sure to locate a resource that will show you the proper stroke order so you practice writing them correctly.
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RE: Kanji... Where to begin?

Postby paul_b » Fri 08.04.2006 12:57 pm

richvh wrote:
If you are going to practice writing them, be sure to locate a resource that will show you the proper stroke order so you practice writing them correctly.

The 'Kanji Benkyou' box to the right links to pages that have quite a few stroke order videos but WWWJDIC has stroke order gifs for all the 常用漢字 (kanji in general use).
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RE: Kanji... Where to begin?

Postby richvh » Fri 08.04.2006 1:21 pm

There's a long thread on studying kanji here.
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RE: Kanji... Where to begin?

Postby AJBryant » Fri 08.04.2006 3:40 pm

というわけでよろしく、Richさん。;-)


LOL! I come from a long tradition of "if you suggest it, you get to do it." :)

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RE: Kanji... Where to begin?

Postby clay » Fri 08.04.2006 3:45 pm

AJBryant wrote:
というわけでよろしく、Richさん。;-)


LOL! I come from a long tradition of "if you suggest it, you get to do it." :)

Tony


Yeah, that is why I try not to suggest things. Of course with Zen's work on the server, when I make a suggestion there is little chance of me ever doing it!

We could make a page where we list suggestions. That way people who have time can peruse the list to find a project to their liking. Well, I guess there is something like that now with Zen's list of things to do and something else... But I can link to it from the home page -"Bored? Check our list of site improvement suggestions and have fun going at it!"
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RE: Kanji... Where to begin?

Postby Kealdrea » Sat 08.05.2006 5:27 pm

I have another question... ^^;

Is memorizing individual kanji, and their on and kun readings important, or even necessary? Please correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems like it wouldn't be helpful in most cases, since there's no sure-fire way to tell if you have to use the on or kun readings. And even if you know that you read the kun-readings, there's usually more than one, so there's just more guessing involved. D:

Would just memorizing the kanji for individual words be acceptable, and more useful than memorizing individual kanji?

Though I might be completely wrong...
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RE: Kanji... Where to begin?

Postby paul_b » Sat 08.05.2006 5:39 pm

Kealdrea wrote:
Is memorizing individual kanji, and their on and kun readings important, or even necessary? Please correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems like it wouldn't be helpful in most cases, since there's no sure-fire way to tell if you have to use the on or kun readings. And even if you know that you read the kun-readings, there's usually more than one, so there's just more guessing involved. D:

Would just memorizing the kanji for individual words be acceptable, and more useful than memorizing individual kanji?

Well you're quite a bit right and a little bit wrong. Learning (popular) On and Kun readings of individual kanji isn't completely useless. You will always come across words where you know the kanji used but not the word as a whole and a "good guess" at a reading of a word is more useful than "no clue".

On the other hand you're right that the only way to be certain of how a kanji is read in a particular word is to learn the word itself.

Which is why I suggested learning words along with kanji. (Learning kanji along with words is just as good ;-)
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