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kanji selection

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kanji selection

Postby faan-san » Mon 12.05.2005 11:42 pm

Are the kanji selected for the lower 級 of the JLPT based on frequency used in everyday life? Or, more-so on how early Japanese children learn them?
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RE: kanji selection

Postby yankumi » Tue 12.06.2005 10:54 am

In general the 4kyuu corresponds to first grade Kanji, but there are some differences. The 4kyuu seems to have more verbs. There are a number of nouns in first grade Kanji that aren't encountered until the later kyuu, such as kanji for eye, mouth, ear, hand and foot. East, West, North and South are 4kyuu, but aren't learned until the second grade for Japanese children (at least with the textbooks I have) I would think the kyuu order focuses more on Kanji an adult would encounter, much as a class for teaching English for adults might focus on different vocabulary than a first grade class.
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RE: kanji selection

Postby faan-san » Tue 12.06.2005 11:56 am

I keep reading that you need to learn about 500(or so) kanji to read a newspaper. Of course, this would mean the 500 most frequently used kanji. So, after you learn about 500 kanji (thru the 3rd & 4th 級) should you be set to read a newspaper?
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RE: kanji selection

Postby mandolin » Tue 12.06.2005 12:05 pm

I heard you need at least 1000 to be able to read a paper reasonably well...
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RE: kanji selection

Postby zengargoyle » Tue 12.06.2005 1:17 pm

faan-san wrote:
I keep reading that you need to learn about 500(or so) kanji to read a newspaper. Of course, this would mean the 500 most frequently used kanji. So, after you learn about 500 kanji (thru the 3rd & 4th 級) should you be set to read a newspaper?


depends on what you mean by read. :D
newspapers are prone to covering politcs, economics, wars, policy and the like. i doubt the first 500 kanji by any ordering used for teaching would cover the common newspaper topics. i think they try to keep the kanji to the list of ~2000 common-use kanji (and if not in that list they have to provide furigana), but beyond that it's a hard question.

word-wise, there is a list of word-frequencies derived from 4 years of the Mainichi Newspaper, roughly the numbers are:

# The most fequently used word was used 3,711,420 times.
# 592 words were used more than 10,000 times.
# 5,039 words were used more than 1,000 times.
# 7,654 words were used more than 500 times.
# 19,602 words were used more than 100 times.
# 26,813 words were used more than 50 times.
# 38,389 words were used more than 20 times.


and from that, the KANJIDICT has derived a frequency rating from 1 ~ 2500-ish but there's not enough information left to go back and get the raw percentages.
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RE: kanji selection

Postby Infidel » Wed 12.07.2005 12:06 am

Nearly all kanji lists list based on newspaper usage. This includes the 1900+ kanji listed by the Ministry of Education which were based on newspaper frequency at the time. Personally I've found 3rd and 5th grade kanji the most common with smatterings of the other grade kanji.

None of them are based on frequency used in daily life. If you want to learn kanji based on your actual need then the only way to do that is to get your prefered source material and stard looking stuff up. The language and topics used in newspapers is very specific so sticking religiously to the educational kanji order will never hurt but it could be slowing you down if your primary interest is not newspapers.

In the back of the Kanji Learner's Dictionary by Kodansha they have an updated order list but it is still based on newspaper usage.
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RE: kanji selection

Postby zengargoyle » Wed 12.07.2005 10:07 pm

Image

the percentage across the bottom is based on the 2501 kanji that are given a
frequency by KANJIDIC. for example: at the 50% mark you would know the 1250
most frequent kanji used in newspapers.

the groups are based on the Jouyou Grade levels (because that's what KANJIDIC
uses). i think General Use covers the rest of the 1900+ Ministry of Education
kanji that aren't covered in a specific grade. the Jinmeiyou are the extra
kanji approved for use in personal names, Other is anything else...

to know 50% of the most used kanji will require you to know pretty much all of
your Jouyou Grade 1-6 kanji, about 340 General Use kanji, and about 10 each of
Jinmeiyou and Other kanji.

Conclusion: newspapers are hard!
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RE: kanji selection

Postby Sachi » Thu 12.08.2005 11:15 am

I have a question as well.... so, zengargoyle, if newspapers are so hard, then would novels and books be even harder to understand? o_0 Or easier? Newspapers in English generally seem easier to me than novels of an appropriate reading level, or course.... but that must weigh in in Japanese as well, I s'pose... Adult novels must be harder then novels intended for teens, right?
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RE: kanji selection

Postby mandolin » Thu 12.08.2005 11:18 am

My High School english teacher told me that US newspapers intentionally write with an "8th grade level" vocabulary to make them readable by the majority of americans. I don't know how true that is, but of course when I was in HS, the Teacher's word is Law. :P

EDIT: Forgot to state the relevance of this comment.. heh...

That, in my opinion, explains why newspapers are easier than novels in the US. I would make the guess that Japanese newspapers do not cater to the less-literate like our newspapers (supposedly) do. Makes sense, since Japan is has a high literacy rate.
Last edited by mandolin on Thu 12.08.2005 11:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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