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Would this make learning kanji a little easier?

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Would this make learning kanji a little easier?

Postby kentaku_sama » Mon 03.23.2009 8:16 pm

I though that I could study Jlpt vocabulary through Iknow or anki. When I come across a word with a kanji, I go look up that kanji online and find the stroke and some readings and such. That way I'm not only studying the kanji lists, I'm studying bonus by learning every kanji in the words I learn. Also writing.
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Re: Would this make learning kanji a little easier?

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Mon 03.23.2009 8:50 pm

A little easier, but not much. Lists of words with no context aren't much better than lists of kanji.
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Re: Would this make learning kanji a little easier?

Postby monkeykoder » Mon 03.23.2009 9:31 pm

It would be nice to be able to just memorise say 1000 words and just start reading.
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Re: Would this make learning kanji a little easier?

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Mon 03.23.2009 9:59 pm

monkeykoder wrote:It would be nice to be able to just memorise say 1000 words and just start reading.


Won't work.
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Re: Would this make learning kanji a little easier?

Postby astaroth » Mon 03.23.2009 10:08 pm

My two cents.
What I do now is to learn vocabulary and kanji separately, that is I'm learning a particular kanji plus some words with that kanji on it so I can remember pronunciation in particular compounds, and distinctly from it I also study vocabulary not necessarily using that particular kanji.
What I thought is that if I restrict myself to only words using the kanji I know, my vocabulary will remain particularly small for a long time, instead by doing this the kanji will eventually catch up with the vocabulary (though maybe in a couple of years :? ). But anyway I notice there are kanji I recognize and kanji I know, one set contains the other by they are definitely not the same.
I don't say it's the easiest way to learn kanji, but it works for me ...
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Re: Would this make learning kanji a little easier?

Postby monkeykoder » Mon 03.23.2009 10:15 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:
monkeykoder wrote:It would be nice to be able to just memorise say 1000 words and just start reading.


Won't work.


Why not?
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Re: Would this make learning kanji a little easier?

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Mon 03.23.2009 10:39 pm

Memorizing 1000 words out of context is a feat of memory that few people can manage, and even if you do, without context you're not going to know how to words work in sentences. You also won't be able to deal with the grammar.

At the beginning stage, you need something that integrates all aspects of the language. You can't just isolate vocabulary and study it alone.
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Re: Would this make learning kanji a little easier?

Postby monkeykoder » Mon 03.23.2009 10:59 pm

I'll admit I doubt it would work but I'll be darned if my lack of vocabulary isn't hindering my ability to learn grammar (just too low of a vocabulary to actually read).
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Re: Would this make learning kanji a little easier?

Postby astaroth » Mon 03.23.2009 11:42 pm

I agree with Chris that vocabulary without grammar/sentence examples is useless. Except for few words, like dog or horse, a word is used only in context, think about the difference between 知る and 分かる. But than this is of learning any language not just Japanese -- I mean the sentence "the book is on the table" is probably like "Hello, world" when learning computer languages.
Also learning kanji by themselves is useless, though there are situation when words were not sticking in my mind until I learned the kanji like 長男, which I really struggled to remember until I learned 長い...
So one should learn all three aspects of the language together, and I thought this was not even a question. Then there is a problem of pace between kanji, vocabulary and grammar but that's part of the game.
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Re: Would this make learning kanji a little easier?

Postby furrykef » Tue 03.24.2009 12:56 am

monkeykoder wrote:I'll admit I doubt it would work but I'll be darned if my lack of vocabulary isn't hindering my ability to learn grammar (just too low of a vocabulary to actually read).


I learn Japanese grammar just fine -- I do stumble a bit here and there, but that's to be expected -- and my Japanese vocabulary is rather poor. In fact, I learn new grammar structures much more easily than I learn new words, for some reason. I figure that trend will reverse itself once I've grasped all the basics of Japanese grammar, where the new grammar to learn becomes increasingly obscure but there's still plenty of basic/intermediate words to tackle. (When I was learning Spanish, most of the basic grammatical points took only a few months to master; however, becoming proficient with the grammar to a native level takes years, and is a process I haven't yet completed. I suspect the same is true of Japanese, only taking somewhat longer.)

I'm learning kanji (and Japanese in general) through Heisig's Remembering the Kanji Vol. 1, which I have already completed, and my own version of the sentence method, wherein I put sentence into Anki and it asks me to 1) translate the given English/Spanish/whatever into Japanese kana, 2) translate the given kana into kanji, or 3) translate the given kanji back into English. (Hence, each fact in Anki has up to three cards.) Most people here are not fans of Remembering the Kanji, but so far I don't regret having done it. My only regret about it is not using the site Reviewing the Kanji much earlier in the process -- use that instead of Anki for doing RTK.

astaroth wrote:Except for few words, like dog or horse, a word is used only in context, think about the difference between 知る and 分かる.


Actually, I find that quite a lot of words, not few of them, do have a nice 1:1 correspondence to English, with no context necessary. Book, calendar, computer, paper, CD, encyclopedia, etc., etc. -- there are not words that need context to be understood. Of course, there are still many words that don't match English concepts so easily.

However, I've taken to using the sentence method for all words, whether they "need" a sentence or not. I find that using complete sentences helps things stick better and gives you a better feel for how the language is spoken/written. Also, the sentence you find a word in may teach you something new. For instance, you could learn that "子供 = child", or you could learn "この本は子供には難しいです。 = This book is difficult for children." -- assuming you already know the other words in the sentence, then this way you learn both "子供 = child" and how you say "This [noun] is easy/difficult/etc. for [type of person]" with almost no extra effort.

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Re: Would this make learning kanji a little easier?

Postby monkeykoder » Tue 03.24.2009 1:06 am

I find it easy to understand the grammar and attempt to use it easily but it never quite sets in until I see it in use or use it myself but there are very few things I want to say that I have to vocabulary to say in Japanese.
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Re: Would this make learning kanji a little easier?

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Tue 03.24.2009 9:11 am

furrykef wrote:Actually, I find that quite a lot of words, not few of them, do have a nice 1:1 correspondence to English, with no context necessary. Book, calendar, computer, paper, CD, encyclopedia, etc., etc. -- there are not words that need context to be understood.


They need context for you to know how to use them, though. You don't just say "computer". You say "Turn on a computer", "Type on a computer", "Use a computer", etc. It's with these verb+object combinations (for instance) that you need native input to know what's idiomatic to say.
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Re: Would this make learning kanji a little easier?

Postby Denus » Tue 03.24.2009 1:41 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:
furrykef wrote:Actually, I find that quite a lot of words, not few of them, do have a nice 1:1 correspondence to English, with no context necessary. Book, calendar, computer, paper, CD, encyclopedia, etc., etc. -- there are not words that need context to be understood.


They need context for you to know how to use them, though. You don't just say "computer". You say "Turn on a computer", "Type on a computer", "Use a computer", etc. It's with these verb+object combinations (for instance) that you need native input to know what's idiomatic to say.


Yeah. Another example:

電気をつけて - Turn on the lights.
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Re: Would this make learning kanji a little easier?

Postby AJBryant » Tue 03.24.2009 3:21 pm

Another few that NSoE take for granted but drive English learners bonkers:

You *watch* TV, but you *see* a movie. You *listen to* the radio (you don't *hear* it).

Japanese has all sorts of things like that (like, for example, 歩く taking を and not で or に to indicate the "where").
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Re: Would this make learning kanji a little easier?

Postby furrykef » Tue 03.24.2009 3:44 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:They need context for you to know how to use them, though. You don't just say "computer". You say "Turn on a computer", "Type on a computer", "Use a computer", etc. It's with these verb+object combinations (for instance) that you need native input to know what's idiomatic to say.


But you also say "I have a computer", "That computer is expensive", "The computer is in the bedroom", "I hate this @#!!* computer", etc. -- all of which should be translatable without using computer-specific idioms, so putting the word "computer" in a sentence doesn't necessarily shed more light on how the word is used; you specifically need a sentence like one of the ones you mentioned for it to do that. So we're both right, I think -- you do need to learn phrases such as "turn on a computer" as a unit, rather than trying to learn "turn on" + "computer" in isolation. But still, learning the word "computer" in isolation is far from useless, and doesn't hinder you from learning the idiom "turn on a computer" later on -- which you could very well end up learning without any effort merely by coming across the phrase once or twice, since the context is likely to make it clear what is meant.

AJBryant wrote:You *watch* TV, but you *see* a movie.


Even that isn't the whole story. If a movie is on TV and somebody is talking to you, do you say "Not now, I'm seeing a movie"? ;)

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