Learn Japanese with JapanesePod101.com

View topic - Regarding Kanji

Regarding Kanji

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

Regarding Kanji

Postby paste » Sun 11.02.2008 5:31 pm

So, I'm a college student, and I've recently started learning Japanese with some seriousness. I'm halfway into my first semester of Japanese 101, so I know the kana fairly well and a few basic sentences structures. We don't officially start learning kanji until next semester, by which time I'll have graduated and moved. I started learning some kanji on my own, but it seems to be getting more difficult and unstructured the farther I get, so I have some questions. Keep in mind that I have read through several topics in this board and haven't found satisfactory answers:

1. Which method or book would you recommend the most? I find that most books I've leafed through don't really have full sentence examples or a sufficient number of kanji combinations.

2. Which kanji should I learn, by which I mean, should I focus on kanji included in vocabulary words I already know or just whatever the book/method gives me?

3. How important are onyomi and kunyomi? Should I be able to know all onyomi and kunyomi for each character I memorize and whether they are on or kun?

4. How important are radicals?

Any and all help is appreciated!

-Paste
User avatar
paste
 
Posts: 40
Joined: Fri 09.08.2006 4:35 pm
Native language: English
Gender: Male

Re: Regarding Kanji

Postby richvh » Sun 11.02.2008 6:46 pm

1. I don't use any method, just absorb what I encounter in reading often enough.

2. Learn the ones you most often encounter in whatever you read. Those are obviously the most useful to you, and what they are will vary with your reading material.

3. Don't obsess over kunyomi and onyomi. Learn how the words you learn are read, that's the only important point.

4. They are very important in distinguishing between similar kanji, and in looking up kanji.
Richard VanHouten
ゆきの物語
richvh
 
Posts: 6450
Joined: Thu 09.29.2005 10:35 pm

Re: Regarding Kanji

Postby paste » Sun 11.02.2008 7:21 pm

At this point I don't have nearly enough under my belt to undertake reading unless I want to stop every second to consult a kanji dictionary, so I don't think I'd be able to successfully use your "non-method."

Does anyone else have any suggestions?
User avatar
paste
 
Posts: 40
Joined: Fri 09.08.2006 4:35 pm
Native language: English
Gender: Male

Re: Regarding Kanji

Postby Infidel » Sun 11.02.2008 8:05 pm

paste wrote:At this point I don't have nearly enough under my belt to undertake reading unless I want to stop every second to consult a kanji dictionary, so I don't think I'd be able to successfully use your "non-method."

Does anyone else have any suggestions?


get a textbook that incorporates kanji in its lesson plan. I don't recommend studying them seperately from your base study material.
なるほど。
さっぱりわからん。
User avatar
Infidel
 
Posts: 3093
Joined: Sun 10.09.2005 1:12 am
Native language: 英語

Re: Regarding Kanji

Postby richvh » Sun 11.02.2008 9:02 pm

Use your textbook as your reading material. If you don't have a textbook, or your textbook doesn't include kanji at all, get one that does.
Richard VanHouten
ゆきの物語
richvh
 
Posts: 6450
Joined: Thu 09.29.2005 10:35 pm

Re: Regarding Kanji

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Sun 11.02.2008 9:55 pm

For now I would just stick to your textbook. If you want to learn extra kanji, learn kanji for the words you are learning from your textbook that you don't yet know the kanji for. But IMO it's better to focus on mastering grammatical patterns at the beginning than loading up on kanji.
-Chris Kern
User avatar
Yudan Taiteki
 
Posts: 5609
Joined: Wed 11.01.2006 11:32 pm
Native language: English

Re: Regarding Kanji

Postby paste » Mon 11.03.2008 1:12 am

Alright, thanks again, guys!
User avatar
paste
 
Posts: 40
Joined: Fri 09.08.2006 4:35 pm
Native language: English
Gender: Male

Re: Regarding Kanji

Postby ss » Mon 11.03.2008 3:31 am

Genki has online kanji renshuu 漢字練習 you might like to try.

Lesson List

Click on the sentences on the right hand side of each column, you'll get other kanji (vocab) as well.

Hope this helps.
User avatar
ss
 
Posts: 1656
Joined: Fri 11.18.2005 10:07 am
Native language: English speaking family

Re: Regarding Kanji

Postby nukemarine » Mon 11.03.2008 5:58 pm

Some other methods are to learn Kanji upfront. kanji.koohii.com has detailed methods to learn how to write and recognize upto 3000 kanji in a structured method. It follows an order set about by the book "Remembering the Kanji". The idea goes about breaking down kanji into components and recognizing them by their parts (not just the radicals, but even the non-radical parts of the kanji). The idea is you can learn kanji in your own language, then use that as a way to supercharge your learning of reading Japanese (or Chinese or any other language that uses kanji).

Granted, that gets you just the ability to write and recognize kanji in your own language (not very useful if you just stop there). To get a rapid association of onyomi (the chinese based pronunciation), you can utilize methods similar to "memory palace". One user (Alyks) says he learned the Writing, Recognition and Onyomi of 2000 kanji in 50 days. I think he spent 4 hours a day studying though. He used variant he called the "movie method" where he picked a movie that he attached a onyomi to, then populated that movie with the kanji that had that pronunciation (the movie became his memory palace). He's reporting early success now with his Japanese learning. I believe he started in May this year with kanji, went on to "Understanding Basic Japanese Grammar" (1100 sentences), and is now going through Death Note sentence mining using a Japanese to Japanese dictionary (sanseido I think).

For kunyomi, there are no short cuts I've seen or tried. Learn them as you go along learning Japanese.

The methods listed by the early posters also work, but I think you're limited to 700 to 1000 kanji based on personal reports by others. With so few, you're essentially illiterate in Japanese (well, technically, you're reading at the 6th grade level). Not a show stopper and still an amazing accomplishment.
nukemarine
 
Posts: 200
Joined: Wed 10.10.2007 5:33 am

Re: Regarding Kanji

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Mon 11.03.2008 7:31 pm

nukemarine wrote:I think you're limited to 700 to 1000 kanji based on personal reports by others.


Who are these "others"? I certainly know a good deal more than 700-1000 characters and I've never used Heisig or "memory palace" or anything like that.
-Chris Kern
User avatar
Yudan Taiteki
 
Posts: 5609
Joined: Wed 11.01.2006 11:32 pm
Native language: English

Re: Regarding Kanji

Postby nukemarine » Mon 11.03.2008 9:54 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:
nukemarine wrote:I think you're limited to 700 to 1000 kanji based on personal reports by others.


Who are these "others"? I certainly know a good deal more than 700-1000 characters and I've never used Heisig or "memory palace" or anything like that.


Generic people I've read on forums who talked about issues they had with learning Kanji. Of course did use the word "think", but maybe better wording would make it obvious. From what I gather, people begin hitting a brick wall with kanji at about the 700 mark using traditional methods. Now, is this the minority of persons just being vocal? I don't know.

Yudan teaches Japanese (correct?), so he'll be better suited to say what percentage of his students leave with what level of Japanese literacy. Definately better than just a guestimate of internet poster testimony.
nukemarine
 
Posts: 200
Joined: Wed 10.10.2007 5:33 am

Re: Regarding Kanji

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Mon 11.03.2008 10:10 pm

I'm not sure because I only teach the lower levels; the program at OSU focuses heavily on speaking so the students tend to be behind in kanji and reading compared to other programs, but this is a matter of priority of the class rather than a failure of the students to learn kanji.

I think the 700-1000 (I would say more like 500-1200 depending on the student) is a significant wall, or perhaps swamp, because most people tend to pass through a period where they've learned too many kanji to simply keep cramming them, but their grammatical (and kanji) knowledge is not great enough to use native materials to learn. Kanji in Context and Intermediate Kanji Book are what got me past this swamp, in addition to some video games and newspaper articles (painstakingly used).
-Chris Kern
User avatar
Yudan Taiteki
 
Posts: 5609
Joined: Wed 11.01.2006 11:32 pm
Native language: English

Re: Regarding Kanji

Postby arbalest71 » Tue 11.04.2008 1:41 pm

I really think that you need to make a distinction between reading and writing kanji. I don't think you ever have to learn any kanji to be able to read them. If you read enough you'll acquire the ability to read kanji. The more you read, the faster you'll acquire them. I do think that most people will have to _learn_ to write them. There's a very loose analogy to English here, because English spelling is so odd and (apparently) arbitrary. Even people who spell very badly in English have no trouble reading it (or at least they don't have trouble reading it because they spell badly.)

How to learn to write kanji is a somewhat controversial question. The one thing I feel really strongly about is that it's important to break them down into smaller structures, rather than treating them as bundles of squiggles, when learning to write them. This goes beyond radicals as there are many more identifiable substructures than there are official radicals. Radicals are also quite important if you want to be able to use a traditional kanji dictionary.

I will agree that neither reading nor writing kanji is very important at the very beginning, though my reasons are a bit different than Yudan's. I think at that stage the most important thing is to learn enough Japanese that you can begin to understand simple spoken Japanese, or at least start to pick out words and phrases here and there, and then listen to as much Japanese as you can. At first you're not even going to be able accurately distinguish Japanese morphemes (or even phonemes, for that matter), and it seems to me that that's a high priority. And being able to read kanji won't do you much good if you wouldn't have a clue about the meaning of what you're reading even if it were written in kana or romaji.

But I do think it's important to begin to read kanji pretty early. I think what Yudan is saying about people hitting a wall because they can't read native materials is true, but I also think it's a chicken and egg sort of thing. People can't read native materials because they don't know enough kanji (and enough Japanese in general), but they can't read enough kanji because they don't read native materials. The answer seems kind of obvious to me- the egg came first. Also, at a certain point you just have to grit your teeth and start reading, even if you have to look a lot of stuff up.

Books like "Breaking Into Japanese Literature" and "Read Real Japanese" can be very helpful here, and I think you can profit from them quite early if you have the time to spend on it. Another intermediate step you can take is to just take an electronic dictionary with good example sentences that use a large vocabulary and just start reading the sentences, looking up any words you don't know. You'll get a lot more than just the ability to read kanji from reading, so it's a good way to kill a few birds with one stone. But I think the faster you can move on to reading things that actually interest you, the better. If you're interested you'll wind up doing it as recreation, and you might be surprised at how much time that suddenly frees up for Japanese.

At the beginning I wouldn't worry about kanji too much, though if you have an extra 15 minutes a day to spend on beginning to write kanji I don't think it could hurt you to do that. If you have a lot of time that you want to spend on Japanese over and above your classwork I think at first you'll get more out of just listening to a lot of Japanese.
--

I have it on good authority that I\'m a weirdo, doing weird science.
arbalest71
 
Posts: 142
Joined: Wed 10.11.2006 8:44 pm

Re: Regarding Kanji

Postby paste » Sun 11.09.2008 2:01 am

arbalest71 wrote:Another intermediate step you can take is to just take an electronic dictionary with good example sentences that use a large vocabulary and just start reading the sentences, looking up any words you don't know.


Can you recommend one?

Also, if this doesn't overlap that, are there electronic dictionaries that have words organized by subject?
User avatar
paste
 
Posts: 40
Joined: Fri 09.08.2006 4:35 pm
Native language: English
Gender: Male

Re: Regarding Kanji

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Sun 11.09.2008 10:39 am

paste wrote:Also, if this doesn't overlap that, are there electronic dictionaries that have words organized by subject?


Not that I know of; but please don't get the idea that you can use a dictionary or a large list of words to cram vocabulary effectively -- down that path lies madness.
-Chris Kern
User avatar
Yudan Taiteki
 
Posts: 5609
Joined: Wed 11.01.2006 11:32 pm
Native language: English

Next

Return to Learning Materials Reviews & Language Learning tips

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests