Learn Japanese with JapanesePod101.com

View topic - Method to the Madness

Method to the Madness

Japanese, general discussion on the language

Method to the Madness

Postby Avitty » Sat 08.18.2007 5:48 pm

I've started learning kanji but I'm struggling to learn all the different pronounciations. I know that a kanji character on its own is usually a kun-yomi pronounciation and that written together they're usually read with a on-yomi pronounciation, but how do you tell which kun-yomi or on-yomi pronounciation to use?

For example: When reading the kanji for seven (sorry I can't type it) by itself, how do you tell if it is read as なな or なの?

Thanks.
Avitty
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat 08.18.2007 5:37 pm

RE: Method to the Madness

Postby hungryhotei » Sat 08.18.2007 5:56 pm

When you are learning those kanji are you learning any example words with them?
天気がいいから、散歩しましょう。
hungryhotei
 
Posts: 1067
Joined: Wed 04.12.2006 5:06 am
Location: Germany
Native language: English

RE: Method to the Madness

Postby saraLynne » Sat 08.18.2007 6:25 pm

The clue you need is actually in your thread title! A method.

Learning kanji and readings in isolation is an exercise in futility. Rote memorization works for a very small percentage of people, especially in huge quantities like.. oh... a list of kanji.

This is why you need something that introduces kanji in some sort of structured order and supplies you with context so the kanji actually is meaningful and useful. A more technical approach to kanji may be viable after your vocabulary has grown enough to start reading blocks of text.

At that point, you'll WANT to start learning more readings so you can start guessing at pronunciation. But that won't come right away.
Image
User avatar
saraLynne
 
Posts: 349
Joined: Wed 07.05.2006 3:02 am

RE: Method to the Madness

Postby Mike Cash » Sat 08.18.2007 7:46 pm

I was sitting here scratching my head trying to imagine where you got the idea that the kanji for seven by itself can be read なの.

Then it dawned on me that you had in mind 七日 (なのか).

You're far better off learning kanji in conjunction with example words and, if at all possible, in some sort of context.
Never underestimate my capacity for pettiness.
User avatar
Mike Cash
 
Posts: 2737
Joined: Sun 08.20.2006 3:38 am
Native language: English

RE: Method to the Madness

Postby CajunCoder » Sat 08.18.2007 7:50 pm

saraLynne's advice is good. You will come to find that in language, context is VERY important; this is all the more true for Japanese.

To learn to read kanji, you simply have to read. If you're using a textbook that introduces kanji, that's a good start. If not, you can try reading anything that catches your interest. I plowed through emails, websites, videogame dialogue, anything I could find (even though I was nowhere near good enough to truly comprehend any of it yet) for the first 6 months-year. I'm sure most people don't have this kind of patience or time, but I did, and my reading improved rapidly (as did my knowledge of grammar, word usage, and to a more limited degree expressions due to seeing things used in context a lot.)

Browsing through Barnes and Nobles a few months back, I found a really nice book for reading practice which introduced kanji in the context of dialogue. I don't remember the name of it, but if you can find such a book, it might be good practice. I'm sure someone here has some good recommendations.

So, in short... Learn to write words you know. You don't nessicarily need to know what 会 and 話 mean, nor do you need to know all of their pronunciations. If you know the word かいわ means "conversation," and you know that it is written "会話," you should be fine. As you start learning other words that you know in context which use the same characters (for example, 会社、社会、話題) you will become familiar with the readings and meanings of each character over time. There are no set rules to when what reading is used, but you can often make an accurate guess in the same way you can with writing or pronouncing an English word that you've never seen or heard before. It's really all just about "becoming familiar" with things.
CajunCoder
 
Posts: 403
Joined: Tue 09.27.2005 4:08 am

RE: Method to the Madness

Postby AJBryant » Sun 08.19.2007 12:01 pm

Sigh. Learn the kanji as you learn new words.

Learn the word in its entirety when you see it. THAT'S how you learn kanji.
User avatar
AJBryant
Site Admin
 
Posts: 5313
Joined: Sun 10.09.2005 11:29 am
Location: Indiana
Native language: English
Gender: Male

RE: Method to the Madness

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Sun 08.19.2007 12:45 pm

There seem to be two erroneous beliefs that underlie a lot of what self-studying beginners do:

1. Your primary task in learning Japanese is to learn the hiragana, katakana, and 1,945 kanji.
2. Learning a kanji consists of memorizing the readings and English meanings.

Unfortunately I think these beliefs are reinforced by a lot of books on the market as well as even some teachers.
-Chris Kern
User avatar
Yudan Taiteki
 
Posts: 5609
Joined: Wed 11.01.2006 11:32 pm
Native language: English

RE: Method to the Madness

Postby AJBryant » Sun 08.19.2007 2:09 pm

I have to agree with you, Chris. It's annoying. (Oh.... Not the agreeing with you part, the "beliefs being reinforced" part.)

Tony
User avatar
AJBryant
Site Admin
 
Posts: 5313
Joined: Sun 10.09.2005 11:29 am
Location: Indiana
Native language: English
Gender: Male

RE: Method to the Madness

Postby ChisaiNeko » Sun 08.19.2007 4:05 pm

If I may echo, learning the onyomi and kunyomi is futile without learning vocabulary words that use and reinforce them.
小さい猫
User avatar
ChisaiNeko
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat 07.14.2007 6:11 pm


Return to Japanese General Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests