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Advice on learning Kanji.

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Advice on learning Kanji.

Postby Spaztick » Wed 02.02.2005 6:53 pm

Kanji is somewhat hard to learn, and anyone studying it will tell you: by the time students get into high school they need to know 1,024 kanji and by the time they graduate they need to know 1,945, then college textbooks can have 3000+ kanji!

The good news is not all of them are used frequently, and (according to the book which I'm going to get to) only about 300 are common. Japan-Guide says that about 300 kanji make up 50% of the literature, 1000 about 75%, and 2000 97% of all written literature. So, learning the first 300-1000 makes you well able to read Japanese, and the more you learn and read, the easier it becomes. Example:

The donkey was adamant in staying put, he wouldn't move.

You may or may not know the meaning of the word adamant, but you can draw the conclusion that it means stubborn or unmoving by the words around it. The same with Kanji.

The book I was going to mention is in the Japan Shop, and it came in the mail today, which I promptly opened the FedEx package and started reading (after I finished my danish, of course). In about 30-45 minutes or so I learned 5 kanji and all of thier on and kun readings. I figure I could learn all 300 in the book in a few weeks (or days, depending on how many I study each day, but I'm not overexerting myself like that). :D

Yea, I know what your thinking, that I'm advertising for the book, but it has helped me learn just by reading it through. I do recommend that you have some Japanese studying in you (at least the kana) before picking up this book.
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RE: Advice on learning Kanji.

Postby Daisuke » Thu 02.03.2005 11:59 am

Wouldn't it be to overestimate yourself to say that you could learn them in a couple of days? Anyways what was the name of that book?

(And when i read "after I finished my danish, of course" i became a little confused, but thats the name of something you eat for breakfast right..?)
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RE: Advice on learning Kanji.

Postby Spaztick » Thu 02.03.2005 1:50 pm

Yes, I was eating a Cherry Cheese Danish, made by Pislbury or Betty Crocher. Days is kind of extreme, I would be doing these Kanji and only these Kanji to learn all 300 in less than a week (that's 4-6 hours a day). I supposed a more realistic time is a few weeks? Simply because of the number of Kanji there are, I'd say in no less than 2 weeks for me. But, learnign 300 Kanji in a month or two isn't bad, considering that it gets easier the more kanji you know.
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RE: Advice on learning Kanji.

Postby clay » Thu 02.03.2005 2:28 pm

Spaztick, Is this the book you are using:
http://www.thejapanshop.net/books/readjapanesetoday.htm
Read Japanese Today - A New Approach to Mastering Written Japanese?

I would like to know any textbooks or books people find useful. ;)
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RE: Advice on learning Kanji.

Postby Daisuke » Thu 02.03.2005 3:05 pm

Well i don't know how fast you learn, it did just sound very unrealistic. I have been studying for a month and 2 weeks, and I do only know 22 kanji. The first two weeks, i studied only hiragana everyday, which made me a little worried because people do allways say that they learnt it in a week.. I feel kinda proud of myself everytime i learn something new, because you don't find many people in Denmark who does actually speak japanese.

Seems like a good book... If it is that useful, i'll buy it.
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RE: You are doing fine!

Postby clay » Thu 02.03.2005 3:33 pm

Learning hiragana to a fluent degree will take time and lots of reading practice, but if you study a few a day, you should have them at least within easy recall in a few weeks.

But I think knowing hiragana well is the first step.
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RE: Thank you

Postby Daisuke » Thu 02.03.2005 3:48 pm

Once and a while i am a little bored at school I practice there too.. (I know I should not but sience is not a favorite of mine!) Once, when my teacher found out, he took my book and started to ask me what the heck this was, and he told me that I would never learn anything, but he didn't know that I was actually learning until he stopped me.. ;)
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RE: Advice on learning Kanji.

Postby Ikijibiki » Thu 02.03.2005 5:26 pm

Yeah, school is a favorite place of mine to study Japanse. I'm pretty good at all my subjects (Except lit >_<) and I generally have lots of time to practice. I wish I could say that about my home life though...
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RE: Advice on learning Kanji.

Postby Spaztick » Thu 02.03.2005 10:39 pm

Yea, the same here. PLENTY of time during school for me to practice, and it gives me somethign to do. Some seem to be impressed because I'm the only one that speaks Japanese (except the Japanese exchange student that I'm friends with). I'd say learn the Hiragana and Katakana first, it should take you 2-3 weeks to learn, but I had all day. :P

Yes Clay, that was the book I was talking about. I learned a few more today as well, so that's about 10 or so. d(^^)b
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RE: Advice on learning Kanji.

Postby Daisuke » Fri 02.04.2005 2:51 pm

You must study alot everyday. I study kanji everyday, but i have to keep rewiewing hiragana and katakana, if i want to remember them. Don't know why, but i forget them if i don't. :(

Well.. this book seems to be good. Would be a great help for my studies, i think.
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RE: Keep reading

Postby clay » Fri 02.04.2005 4:08 pm

I think the biggest way to help is to read. Studying is great for covering new words and kanji, but the more you read the more concrete it will become. I think reading manga is one of the best ways to help practice. It is interesting, uses spoken Japanese and best of all, all kanji have furigana (small hiragana over the kanji to give the reading).
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RE: Read Japanese Today

Postby clay » Fri 02.04.2005 7:11 pm

I think this is an excellent book for those just getting into kanji. It doesn't just show kanji but goes through the history and meaning of each kanji and kanji part. All along showing how to construct new words by combining these kanji. I think the best thing about the book is it uses plain English to tell everything you need to know about each kanji or kanji part.
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RE: Advice on learning Kanji.

Postby Daisuke » Fri 02.04.2005 7:54 pm

Does the japan shop sell original japanese manga?
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RE: Manga

Postby clay » Sat 02.05.2005 8:50 pm

Sorry. Yes, I import mostly used manga (all in Japanese) from Japan which I think are excellent for learning Japanese. We sell them for $3.50 a pop. They are used, but most are in like new condition. Manga is a really good way to learn Japanese.

I used manga as a way to build vocabulary and pick up useful phrases. For example 武器を捨てて、降参しろ。 (buki o sutete kousan shiro - drop your weapons and surrender) is one I picked up from a manga. (Very useful!)

I would write all the words/kanji I didn't know at the top of each page so I could go back and review them easily later. It also gave me writing practice.
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RE: Advice on learning Kanji.

Postby Daisuke » Sat 02.05.2005 8:56 pm

That sounds like an interesting way of learning! :)
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