Japanese - On and Kun

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RE: Japanese - On and Kun

Post by Infidel » Tue 10.11.2005 6:39 am

The best way is to maintain exposure. Try to read some Japanese every day and it will stick more each time. http://kids.goo.ne.jp/ is a good place to start http://www.mainichi-msn.co.jp/shakai/edu/maishou/ is the Mainichi Shimbun for Elementary kids with links to the middle school and high school level within.

Reading Tutor is also really good http://language.tiu.ac.jp/index_e.html
Last edited by Infidel on Tue 10.11.2005 6:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

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RE: Japanese - On and Kun

Post by InsanityRanch » Tue 10.11.2005 9:22 am

Doesn't look like there's actually much disagreement here... earlier in the thread I said it was best to learn kanji and reading in tandem -- let your reading guide what kanji you learn and which readings for each kanji. So I think that is what Ishnar said as well. My only objection was that you still have to take the time to learn kanji *AS* kanji, and I thought Tony was disagreeing with that, but maybe not.

Part of my reaction came from interactions I've had with some Japanese people I help with English. I've noticed they had a tendency to memorize words from vocabulary books in a very piecemeal fashion, so I bought them one of those "build your vocabulary" books that stress taking words apart into their roots. And it occurred to me that these roots are a LOT like kanji in terms of being units of meaning.

In any case, I agree that reading every day is extremely useful. I put in at least an hour with my novel (almost) every day -- I usually miss on Japanese lesson day and often one other day in the week. Over the months I've gone from being able to read only a couple of pages in an hour to being able to read 8 or 9. This is due mostly to passive vocabulary acquisition. Now if I only knew a way to grow my active vocabulary quickly... but then I have no way to spend an hour a day in conversation or even correspondence...

In any case I find it's best to practice contextual reading very consciously, by forcing myself to a) read to the end of a phrase or even sentence and b) make a wild guess about a new word before going to the dictionary. This strategy pays off -- but even when I guess the meaning correctly, I sometimes have to go look up the pronunciation. (bummer!)

Incidentally, for anyone who's interested in the thorny world of kanji readings, I'm putting up a translation of a section of a Japanese kanji text for adults over in the translation section. This section deals with the historical process behind the Japanese writing system and has more details (and examples) than what I've seen in English so far.


"Give me a fruitful error any time, full of seeds, bursting with its own corrections. You can keep your sterile truth for yourself." -- Vilfredo Pareto

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