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I know this has been asked a million times...

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I know this has been asked a million times...

Postby Chaosenemy » Sun 07.02.2006 3:48 pm

Yeah I know this is asked all the time, but what is the BEST way to learn Kanji? I'm so afraid of learning it the wrong way and ending up having a huge kanji reading handicap.

I understand not to learn a kanji with the english meaning. Makes sense. But do I memorize the readings then? Or do I memorize kanji compounds? I just don't think kanji compounds will stick in my head well unless I already had the readings memorized. But if I did it that way it would most likely take me 100+ years to learn a fair amount of kanji...

And I have tried learning kanji out of context by going to Japanese websites and stuff... but I find myself just staring at the screen thinking "wow I have no idea what I'm looking at". I have no problems reading the hiragana or katakana, but that makes up about 5% of what I'm looking at, so that doesn't help at all.

I just don't know what to do...
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RE: I know this has been asked a million times...

Postby richvh » Sun 07.02.2006 4:12 pm

Don't obsess over kanji. Learn vocabulary, and learn the kanji that are associated with the vocabulary. Learn the readings for the kanji used in that vocabulary, and don't worry about the other readings until you learn vocabulary that uses them.
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RE: I know this has been asked a million times...

Postby battousai » Sun 07.02.2006 4:30 pm

To each his own, there is no definitive way and the cliche do what works best applies to any form of self-study. My personal method is to learn the primary use of the kanji first, then learn vocab using the kanji to learn the alternate readings, and then wrap it up in a tight package by being able to write/read/remember all of them. For instance, 水, learn it as mizu. Know that it means water, and then when you have a firm grasp, branch out to words like 水泳 to see its alternate reading (sui). You'll also realize by doing this, you sort of build a family tree of kanji that connect. In the case of 水泳, you used it to learn 水, but now you might also learn 泳 and it's alternate readings and meanings. I'm basically the write it over and over type..but there are the see it context types, remember through pictography types, flashcards, etc. Try various methods and see what works.
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RE: I know this has been asked a million times...

Postby Chaosenemy » Sun 07.02.2006 4:49 pm

Thanks for the help guys. And yea I'm the write it over and over type as well... its just that most of the time I'll learn a kanji or two, and the next day I forget one (sometimes both O.O ). Guess I just need to practice more maybe.

Now if only I lived in Japan. I probably wouldn't forget kanji as easily seeing as they would be around me all the time.
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RE: I know this has been asked a million times...

Postby battousai » Sun 07.02.2006 6:01 pm

Practice is a must. Truth be told, you should have a list of kanji you practice from on a daily basis. Dedicating 30 mins a day to kanji is perfectly fine and manageable at the beginning. Force yourself to do it. And ya don't need to live in Japan to see kanji. Try looking for beginner or even news websites in Japanese and try reading/translating an article a week.
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RE: I know this has been asked a million times...

Postby Schattenjedi » Sun 07.02.2006 7:24 pm

battousai wrote:but there are the see it context types


That's me. :) But I wrote kanji obsessively until the point where I had a firm grip on radicals and stroke order.
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RE: I know this has been asked a million times...

Postby p2dski » Mon 07.03.2006 4:47 pm

What level are you taking? If it is level 4 than don't worry because you can learn those kanjis in about a week. The best way to learn it quickly is with White Rabbit flash cards. You could probably use them for 30 minutes a day and learn to read all the Kanji for level 3 in a couple of months easily.
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