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Hiragana vs Kanji.....

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Hiragana vs Kanji.....

Postby Zvono11 » Fri 09.25.2009 6:42 am

I have a problem with those scripts.They are both used to write words with Japanese origin (root). I know how to read and write Hiragana, but i have a big problems with Kanji. So my question is, Is it a mistake (problem) if I use Hiragana instead of Kanji??
As an example: I am 18 years old.---> Watashi wa 18 SAI desu.---> There is a KANJI sign for SAI which is much complicated than to write it in Hiragana.... Is it a big mistake if I use Hiragana instead of Kanji (if I can´t remember of the Kanji sign or if I don´t know how to write the sign I need)....



P.S. I am Sorry because I can´t write Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji on my PC, so I used Romaji....



Arigato....
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Re: Hiragana vs Kanji.....

Postby Sairana » Fri 09.25.2009 7:08 am

It's not a problem to start out using hiragana. Technically, you could probably go forever writing only using kana. However, your ability to -read- Japanese materials will be severely limited (impossible?) if you don't plan to learn kanji eventually.

I should probably mention that people who can't write kanji are often viewed as uneducated or childish, but that applies to native speakers. There's likely some breathing room for a foreigner, though I bet there will still be some people who will look down on you for not writing kanji when they're normally used.
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Re: Hiragana vs Kanji.....

Postby NileCat » Fri 09.25.2009 8:06 am

Just for your information. I'll show you some examples.

私は18歳です。is the most proper way of writing.
私は18才です。many people prefer it especially when they handwrite it.
わたしは18才です。is also fine. It doesn't look too childish in any casual writing.
わたしは18さいです。looks being jejune if you are native. But I'm sure they never look down on you if you are non-native.
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Re: Hiragana vs Kanji.....

Postby Zvono11 » Fri 09.25.2009 11:28 am

NileCat wrote:Just for your information. I'll show you some examples.

私は18歳です。is the most proper way of writing.
私は18才です。many people prefer it especially when they handwrite it.
わたしは18才です。is also fine. It doesn't look too childish in any casual writing.
わたしは18さいです。looks being jejune if you are native. But I'm sure they never look down on you if you are non-native.



Thank you for help.... I think that I understand it now....
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Re: Hiragana vs Kanji.....

Postby Zvono11 » Fri 09.25.2009 11:33 am

I have one more question about Kanji... I have heard for several ways of learning Kanji. So my question which one is the best way to learn all those ˝signs˝??? How many of them should I learn, so I would be able to read a daily newspapers, books,....




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Re: Hiragana vs Kanji.....

Postby furrykef » Fri 09.25.2009 12:48 pm

How to learn kanji is a very controversial subject. My own personal recommendation is to use Heisig's Remembering the Kanji Vol. 1 in combination with the website kanji.koohii.com. But most of the regulars here will tell you not to do that and instead "learn kanji in context". I've never really understood their position, though... my own opinion is that trying to learn a new kanji, how to write that kanji, and words that use that kanji all at the same time is a real big mess and a fundamentally wrongheaded approach. It's too much to absorb all at once. But hey, it's worked for them...

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Re: Hiragana vs Kanji.....

Postby hyperconjugated » Fri 09.25.2009 1:18 pm

furrykef wrote:I've never really understood their position, though... my own opinion is that trying to learn a new kanji, how to write that kanji, and words that use that kanji all at the same time is a real big mess and a fundamentally wrongheaded approach. It's too much to absorb all at once. But hey, it's worked for them...
- Kef

It's not really too much to absorb if you have realistic goals and stay with material within your level. If you try to apply that ANKI,SRS,Heisig repetition-reset recall percentage-play mindset to the 'kanji in context' style, I'm sure it will get overwhelmed quite rapidly. The most useful and important material keeps repeating enough that it'll stick in mind and one can proceed with adequate pace...
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Re: Hiragana vs Kanji.....

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Fri 09.25.2009 2:11 pm

furrykef wrote:How to learn kanji is a very controversial subject. My own personal recommendation is to use Heisig's Remembering the Kanji Vol. 1 in combination with the website kanji.koohii.com. But most of the regulars here will tell you not to do that and instead "learn kanji in context". I've never really understood their position, though... my own opinion is that trying to learn a new kanji, how to write that kanji, and words that use that kanji all at the same time is a real big mess and a fundamentally wrongheaded approach. It's too much to absorb all at once. But hey, it's worked for them...


There are two main objections to Heisig's divide and conquer approach. The first is that the way the book is organized, very rare kanji are introduced early and very common kanji are introduced late; Heisig claims that this is OK because you need to know all 2042 kanji for any of them to be of use. This is not true, though. The second thing is that writing 2042 kanji is not a skill that is particularly useful for most people studying Japanese; even most native speakers could not write 2042 kanji. This doesn't mean that no learner should ever learn to write that many, but it casts serious doubt on the idea that the writing should be the *first* thing you do with the kanji. (NB: I'm also not saying that writing kanji is a useless skill, just that learning to write that many kanji is a useless skill.)

Now, some people apparently do hybrid approaches, combining Heisig with other learning techniques -- Heisig's introduction states very strongly that this should not be done, but doing it anyway may fix some of the problems just mentioned. It still doesn't solve the basic problem that extremely rare characters like 胆 and 旭 are learned early (because of their simple forms) and other very common characters are learned very late. Of course you can mess with the order and learn additional kanji as well, but then I think the question becomes why you are using Heisig's book at all.
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Re: Hiragana vs Kanji.....

Postby furrykef » Fri 09.25.2009 2:54 pm

I've found it pretty useful, though. My counterarguments are:
* Learning the obscure kanji often helps you learn the ones that are more relevant, directly (when the obscure kanji is used as an element in a more common kanji) or indirectly (by the simple virtue of demonstrating how kanji are built up out of simple forms and can be broken down in a way that's easy to memorize). Also, I doubt the number of kanji in RTK1 that are both truly obscure and not used as building blocks -- like your examples of 胆 and 旭 -- is particularly high.
* The primary purpose of studying a large number of kanji first is to build an "index" to the kanji in your mind. That way, you can learn a complicated new word like 美術館 and have only three things to memorize (which particular kanji to write) instead of a large number of complicated strokes that have no apparent rhyme or reason. My experience is that this has been very effective; my main problem now is not learning how to read or write words, but memorizing the vocabulary itself (i.e., producing a Japanese word from its English meaning and vice versa).
* It's much easier to go from active recognition to passive recognition than the other way around, as has been my own experience. Thus, it makes sense for Heisig to teach you to write kanji that even natives might not be able to write, because those same natives would often at least be able to read them (in context if nothing else); you don't have that advantage. Learning a large number of kanji also helps hammer the rules of stroke order into your brain.
* The way Heisig breaks down kanji makes it almost impossible to get similar kanji confused. It's difficult to keep the difference between, say, 僕 and 撲 straight unless you have some sort of system in place for distinguishing them. This is to say nothing of the differences between, say, 弋, 戈, and 戊, plus a couple more variations. Which form a particular kanji uses is much easier to memorize if you have a system. If you focus too much on understanding kanji in context, and not enough on studying individual kanji, you might not even realize you misread or miswrote a kanji due to such confusion.

Of course, Heisig's not a perfect system, and it's very far from a silver bullet, but I can't say I regret having gone through with it. The only part I regret is not having used kanji.koohii.com until towards the end of the book. :) Indeed, I find learning Japanese to be very hard as it is, but it's nice to be able to write kanji with ease and know that there's one thing that I can already do well. Not to mention that having that part of it behind me means my burden when learning the rest is that much less.

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Re: Hiragana vs Kanji.....

Postby Fillanzea » Fri 09.25.2009 11:25 pm

furrykef wrote:my own opinion is that trying to learn a new kanji, how to write that kanji, and words that use that kanji all at the same time is a real big mess and a fundamentally wrongheaded approach. It's too much to absorb all at once. But hey, it's worked for them...

- Kef


I agree that it's too much to absorb all at once, but I don't think that learning kanji in context requires that at all.

If I had to do it all over again, I would focus at first on learning vocabulary in context, without paying too much attention to the kanji; and then begin introducing kanji only in the context of words I already knew (like, if I already know りょこう、just beginning to be able to recognize it as 旅行, without necessarily worrying that 旅 means 'travel' and is also read たび, and what other compounds it appears in). And then, once I'm comfortable reading the kanji, I could learn how to write it.

I don't have any objection to Heisig for those people who really can blitz through it. But I found, when I was learning, that there are a lot of manga and light novels you can get a toe-hold in if you know even 300 or 400 kanji -- and in many cases you don't even have to KNOW those kanji, you might just need to be able to read one or two compounds containing that kanji. So I would hate to see anyone put off starting on authentic reading materials while they spent a long time trying to memorize all 2000 in Heisig.
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Re: Hiragana vs Kanji.....

Postby Zvono11 » Sat 09.26.2009 7:51 am

I bought a book about Japanese writing system few months ago. It is called ˝Beginner´s Japanese writing script˝...I am not satisfied with that book, because there is described only how to write them and what do they mean in English and it isn´t described how to pronounce (read) them in Japanese. Could someone suggest me some book or website where I could learn Kanji with explanation of pronouncing, reading and meaning???
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Re: Hiragana vs Kanji.....

Postby furrykef » Sat 09.26.2009 1:06 pm

Heisig's RTK1 is actually the same way and I think it's a sensible method for the reasons I've explained above; it's a "one thing at a time" philosophy. (I have no idea how Beginner's Japanese Script compares to it, though.) I also wouldn't really recommend studying kanji readings, because readings have as much to do with the complete word as it does with the individual kanji. I don't think anybody here has had much success with the old "study kanji + reading in isolation" method. It certainly didn't get me anywhere. So your question kind of reads to us as, "Could someone suggest me some book or website where I could shoot myself in the foot?" ;)

So I'd recommend simply using Heisig's RTK1; most of the rest here will recommend simply using a textbook such as Genki and learning everything (kanji, vocabulary, grammar) from that. Which way's better? Well, whichever way works, of course. :)

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Re: Hiragana vs Kanji.....

Postby nukemarine » Sat 10.03.2009 1:06 pm

Odd that "learning Kanji" on a forum about Japanese is considered controversial. Unless you want to remain functionally illiterate in Japanese, kanji must be a part of the equation in learning Japanese. Although I can't prove otherwise, learning Kanji first off (well, real early) in my Japanese studies has allowed me to reach the level I'm at in a little over two years of self study. Others did quite well learning Kanji as they went along. A few that live in Japan probably can speak and listen quite well without any Kanji.

Ok, so the controversial part is Heisig's method. The kicker is most of the complaints about Heisig are correct. The part they're leaving out is most of those complaints have been addressed, corrected and/or adapted by the Japanese learning community.

- Heisig's stories are archaic or don't make sence: Use RevTK community stories for those.
- Can't come up with visual stories on your own? Again, use RevTK community stories.
- 2042 Kanji too much to learn? Use the "RTK Lite" versions that use about 1000 of JLPT 2-4 kanji (and subsets) or the 2001.Kanji.Odyssey Kanjis.
- Keywords are not accurate: Use SRS or RevTK scripts to change to keyword of your liking.
- Not in japanese: Use SRS or RevTK scripts to change keyword to a Japanese keyword.
- No pronunciations: Use Memory Palace concepts (like Movie Method) and learn Onyomi pronunciation along with the meaning.

That's the big thing now. If someone comes on this forum and says they used Heisig, likely they mean they used Heisig's RTK along with Reviewing the Kanji or another SRS. On top of that, they had help of a community of others to get to the end of one small step of learning Japanese.
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Re: Hiragana vs Kanji.....

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Sat 10.03.2009 1:28 pm

nukemarine wrote:Odd that "learning Kanji" on a forum about Japanese is considered controversial. Unless you want to remain functionally illiterate in Japanese, kanji must be a part of the equation in learning Japanese.


Why is it that every time this debate comes up, I have to explain again and again that "you don't need to learn 2000 kanji to start reading Japanese" or "I don't think you should start off by learning how to write 2000 kanji" is not the same thing as "don't learn kanji at all"?

I have never, not one single time, seen anyone on this forum recommend that foreign learners not learn kanji at all, and frankly I'm sick of this straw man.

If you guys think learning to write 2042 kanji is a good use of your time, all I can do is shrug my shoulders -- maybe some day in my life or career I'll come to the point where I think that's useful, but it sure hasn't happened yet.

(Waiting for the inevitable responses that (purposely?) misread my post as saying that learners shouldn't learn to write any kanji...)
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Re: Hiragana vs Kanji.....

Postby Infidel » Sat 10.03.2009 4:10 pm

nukemarine wrote:Odd that "learning Kanji" on a forum about Japanese is considered controversial. Unless you want to remain functionally illiterate in Japanese, kanji must be a part of the equation in learning Japanese.


There are a bunch of saying that cover why this is controversial.

Don't put the cart before the horse.
Don't run before you can walk.
etc. etc.

No one anywhere said don't learn kanji. The controversy is over order and method. Just as said above, you don't need over 2000 kanji to start reading. Knowing about 300-500 is enough to get a toehold in a bunch of manga so a student can start applying all that effort much sooner. What is more important than kanji is grammar and vocabulary.
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