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Good Kanji learning book......

Have a textbook or grammar book that you find particularly helpful? What about a learning tip to share with others?

Good Kanji learning book......

Postby Kdar » Wed 06.27.2007 7:52 pm

What is a good Kanji book? Like a dictionary.. or what ever its calls..
Or.. to learn them..... etc...
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RE: Good Kanji learning book......

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Wed 06.27.2007 8:59 pm

Dictionary? I recommend WWWJDIC, or Kanji Learner's for a paperback.

Learning? Basic Kanji Book v1 and 2, published by Bonjinsha.
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RE: Good Kanji learning book......

Postby Pork Chop » Thu 06.28.2007 1:19 am

Kanji & Kana 1 & 2 by Hadamitzky and Spahn is a pretty dang decent series.
I've got the old series. I hear the latest is only 1 volume (so far), so I don't know if it has 2000 kanji like the old ones.

I picked up Kanji Mnemonics by Bodnaryk and A Guide to Remembering Japanese Characters by Henshall. Haven't seriously tried to go through either, but they're both extremely similar to each other and neither seems easy to make it through.

With Kanji & Kana, it goes one kanji at a time with practice boxes, so you can print off a copy of each page and practice on it. The other two books are in a similar format- one kanji at a time, but without the practice boxes. They seem hard to read straight through and they don't have the feel of a workbook.

Flashcards don't help me much because unless I can break it down and actually write it by hand, I can't process all the strokes just by looking at it. I need the tactile experience of writing it; otherwise similar looking kanji are easy for me to confuse.
Even still, I've got all the white Rabbit Flashcards.

I've also got Japanese the Written Language, Kanji In Context, Essential Kanji (which I like more as a kanji quick reference), Read Japanese Today, and Decoding Kanji. I'll review any of them if you want.
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RE: Good Kanji learning book......

Postby b4d0m3n » Thu 06.28.2007 2:43 am

Heisig's Remembering the Kanji. Most people here poop on it, but it's actually quite good.
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RE: Good Kanji learning book......

Postby Daiki » Thu 06.28.2007 2:53 am

FOR SURE, 100%, POSITIVELY, CERTAINLY THE "James Heisig's Remembering the Kanji" SERIES, ALONG WITH THIS WEBSITE:

http://kanji.koohii.com/index.php

I CAN'T EMPHASISE ENOUGH HOW GREAT THESE TWO WILL HELP WHEN USED TOGETHER! I LEARNED ABOUT 500 KANJI IN A MONTH! (the meanings AND writings!)


Please check them both out. They're SO helpful, it's not even funny! :)
Last edited by Daiki on Thu 06.28.2007 2:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Good Kanji learning book......

Postby NocturnalOcean » Thu 06.28.2007 3:33 am

I thought the purpose of the books was to learn the kanjis first, then apply the readings? And the keywords that Heisig use is hardly the meaning of the kanji. And just making a meaning in the English language will be inaccurate, however it can be helpful.

I have yet to hear about anyone that is literate in japanese using the Heisig books 1, 2 and 3. However I have heard of millions of people through the years, being literate through study of kanji in context.
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RE: Good Kanji learning book......

Postby AJBryant » Thu 06.28.2007 7:15 am

Heisig is evil.

Heisig is the devil.

Heisig is one of the Ancient Old Ones dwelling below the sea in R'yleh and waiting with the great Cthulhu to rise from his basalt and obisidian tomb and devor the living.

DO NOT USE HEISIG.
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RE: Good Kanji learning book......

Postby Daiki » Thu 06.28.2007 7:36 am

What's the deal with everyone hating on Heisig? His books are the most helpful of any I've ever read! I learned so much kanji in such a short amount of time with them, so what's to complain about? I don't get it! It works right, so what's the big deal? :@
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RE: Good Kanji learning book......

Postby LordOfTheFlies » Thu 06.28.2007 7:46 am

Uhm, yes you learnt the kanji. But can you put them to use in the japanese language? I don't have any experience with Heisig's books, but learning kanji like that seems a bit far fetched to me.
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RE: Good Kanji learning book......

Postby Daiki » Thu 06.28.2007 7:54 am

The only purpose of them is to learn the MEANINGS, WRITINGS, and READINGS of the Kanji, quickly and simply. Nothing less, and nothing more.
Last edited by Daiki on Thu 06.28.2007 7:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Good Kanji learning book......

Postby richvh » Thu 06.28.2007 8:09 am

The purpose of kanji is to be able to read and write them in context. With Heisig, you put a lot of effort into doing things that don't directly apply to that.
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RE: Good Kanji learning book......

Postby ruisu81 » Thu 06.28.2007 8:32 am

I'm using Basic Kanji Book, Vol. 1 & 2. I think it's great choice if you're looking for a kanji supplement.

It has 500 kanji, and gives some example sentences to help your comprehension.

The book alone is pretty good. But the system I'm borrowing from this guy, is a great combination. I pretty much follow the books flow and do everything it says on paper. Then after each lesson, I manually make flashcards of the newly taught kanji (with seperate cards for the kunyomi and onyomi) and their examples in an SRS. The SRS I use is Mnemosyne.

Before I started using the SRS, just practing writing on paper was the most important thing I could do for remembering (but still my retention wasn't so great). But with the SRS my retention very close to 100% so far. On days when I don't learn new kanji, I still run the SRS for a few minutes. I think this is a good way to learn 500 kanji in a short time.
Last edited by ruisu81 on Sat 06.30.2007 6:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Good Kanji learning book......

Postby Infidel » Thu 06.28.2007 8:33 am

Daiki wrote:
The only purpose of them is to learn the MEANINGS, WRITINGS, and READINGS of the Kanji, quickly and simply. Nothing less, and nothing more.


If you can't use the kanji in a sentence, then you don't know the kanji.
なるほど。
さっぱりわからん。
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RE: Good Kanji learning book......

Postby clay » Thu 06.28.2007 8:43 am

Heisig is one of the Ancient Old Ones dwelling below the sea in R'yleh and waiting with the great Cthulhu to rise from his basalt and obisidian tomb and devor the living.


Ouch.

I agree context is vitally important, but there is some merit in his method. As you can see from the above poster, it inspires hope for beginners. It could be a good way to become familiar with the meaning of basic kanji in a very short time.

Of course the student would then have to 'start over' with the readings which may negate the time saved, but the kanji are no longer mysterious lines on paper.
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RE: Good Kanji learning book......

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Thu 06.28.2007 9:04 am

The problem is that a lot of Heisig's meanings aren't real meanings of kanji -- i.e. 大 is given the meaning of "great dane" (and yes, I meant 大; that was not a typo for 犬).

Heisig's basic ideas are flawed. The whole fundamental basis of his entire system is that you *must* learn 2000 kanji for them to be of any use at all. Given this, it then makes sense to study all the writing/meaning, and then all the readings, and organize them not by frequency.

The problem is that his basis is wrong. You do not need 2000 kanji to do anything. Even a few hundred kanji is enough to at least make an attempt at reading something, and I was doing quite well with the Tensei Jingo column of the Asahi Newspaper when I had only studied about 800-1000.

Another problem is that he takes the same approach as almost all supposed "kanji learning" books take. I'm going to write this bold and in all caps because it's so important. LEARNING KANJI IS NOT THE SAME THING AS LEARNING TO READ JAPANESE. Yes, learning kanji is something you have to do to be able to read Japanese. But too many people seem to think that they just start from 1 and go until they hit 1945, and then they suddenly can read anything they want in Japanese. But without practicing, and practicing *a lot*, you're not going to be able to read.

I have no doubt that Heisig's method worked for him. According to his introductions, he lived in Japan while he was using it, and he had a high proficiency in the spoken language (and some reading proficiency) when he developed it.

I hear a lot of "I learned 200 kanji in two weeks!" testimonials, but I have only seen a very small number of people claim to have used Heisig to attain true reading proficiency -- and without exception, these people ignored most of Heisig's approach and just focused on the meanings and stories.
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