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Advice on learning Kanji.

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Advice on learning Kanji.

Postby HyeoshinX » Mon 04.04.2011 9:55 am

Hey guys.

So I've pretty much got the kana's down and now I just need some advice on how to learn kanji's or if possible, how you guys learnt your kanji's. Furthermore, if I were to use Anki to learn kanji, how would I go setting up the cards? For example:

front: Kanji
back: meaning of the word and on' and kun' readings with examples of the kanji usage

Will this be a viable way to learn kanji? Cause kanji's have the on' and kun' reading and the kanji's more often strung together to form a whole new word. So I was just wondering the "optimal" way to learn kanji...

Thanks :wave:
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Re: Advice on learning Kanji.

Postby furrykef » Mon 04.04.2011 6:44 pm

Most people here will tell you that you shouldn't study kanji together with 'on' and 'kun' readings. As for how you should learn kanji... well, that's quite a contentious topic!

Many here subscribe to the notion of "learn words, not kanji" -- you'll pick up the kanji as you go along -- and an increasing number of us, myself included, advocate the book Remembering the Kanji Vol. 1 by James Heisig. (If you do use it, I strongly recommend you use it in conjunction with the website kanji.koohii.com.) It is a very unconventional method where you learn 2042 kanji (or 2199 kanji if you use the new RTK1 supplement -- it was released last year in response to the new Joyo list) by their English meanings and without their readings. Once you have studied the 2042 kanji, you can then either move on to RTK2, where you learn the readings, or (as many have done, including me) just dive into actual Japanese and learn the kanji readings as you go. Some people think it's silly/useless to study so many kanji before learning the readings, but I have found it extremely helpful and well worth my time and effort. The point is to build a "database index" of sorts in your mind to the kanji, so that when you learn a new word, you don't have to learn it stroke by stroke; you just have to remember which kanji you've already learned. (I've also found learning new kanji to be quite easy now, probably in no small part due to the fact that I don't have to learn them very often now.)

There is a free excerpt of the first couple hundred kanji from RTK1 if you want to try it out before you buy the book, too. :)

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Re: Advice on learning Kanji.

Postby HyeoshinX » Mon 04.04.2011 8:13 pm

Thanks for the input Kef. I just have a few questions that needs clarification.

What do you mean by "learn words, not kanji"? Should we just learn the word like for example 'kazoku' (家族), without actually knowing the meaning of the individual kanjis first?

Furthermore, I would most probably get the RTK book (probably go through the free excerpt first :P ) like you've said. Mainly cause I heard many people 'recommending' it. The method you suggested means going through the book and learn the kanji with their associated English meaning but not learning the readings. You also said you dived straight into actual Japanese and learning the kanji readings, what do you mean by that?

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Re: Advice on learning Kanji.

Postby furrykef » Tue 04.05.2011 3:11 am

HyeoshinX wrote:What do you mean by "learn words, not kanji"? Should we just learn the word like for example 'kazoku' (家族), without actually knowing the meaning of the individual kanjis first?

Well, you might learn that 家 means 'house' and 族 means 'family', but you wouldn't have studied the kanji before learning the word (unless of course you already learned another word that uses the kanji).

You also said you dived straight into actual Japanese and learning the kanji readings, what do you mean by that?

I used the "sentence method". I used smart.fm and mined it for sentences such as 彼は家族を大切にしている ("he values his family") and learned both the reading and meaning of the full sentence at the same time. (I use three cards per fact in Anki for this. English -> Reading, Reading -> Kanji, and finally Kanji -> Reading & English.) Since smart.fm has shut off free access, though, you'll now have to find another source for sentences unless you want to pay the fee (not worth it, IMO).

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Re: Advice on learning Kanji.

Postby chikara » Tue 04.05.2011 3:16 am

furrykef wrote:.... I used the "sentence method". I used smart.fm and mined it for sentences such as 彼は家族を大切にしている ("he values his family") and learned both the reading and meaning of the full sentence at the same time. (I use three cards per fact in Anki for this. English -> Reading, Reading -> Kanji, and finally Kanji -> Reading & English.) ....

Isn't that contrary to the RTK methodology though?
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Re: Advice on learning Kanji.

Postby Dustin » Tue 04.05.2011 4:47 am

chikara wrote:
furrykef wrote:.... I used the "sentence method". I used smart.fm and mined it for sentences such as 彼は家族を大切にしている ("he values his family") and learned both the reading and meaning of the full sentence at the same time. (I use three cards per fact in Anki for this. English -> Reading, Reading -> Kanji, and finally Kanji -> Reading & English.) ....

Isn't that contrary to the RTK methodology though?



Not at all, they are usually supplemental in most rings.

It's one thing to remember how to write an individual character and recognize it, it's another completely to go memorizing individual readings and definitions for each kanji rather than learning those in context.

I went the same route, I used rtk simply to gain the ability to recognize the kanji properly, and write them, now I am learning words in context. You don't need to know a lot about each character, just the ability to recognize them within a word, to benefit from the sentences method and to learn them in context like this.
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Re: Advice on learning Kanji.

Postby furrykef » Tue 04.05.2011 4:51 am

chikara wrote:Isn't that contrary to the RTK methodology though?

It is if you define the "RTK methodology" to encompass both RTK1 and RTK2. Many people just do RTK1 and ignore RTK2.
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Re: Advice on learning Kanji.

Postby HyeoshinX » Tue 04.05.2011 8:27 am

Ahh. I see. Thanks for the swift reply. I'll give it a shot and see how it goes.

Thanks :bow:

EDIT: By the way, if there are any more "tips" or other method that can be recommended, please feel free to do so :D
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