Learning kanji (29)

1 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-09-18 20:32 ID:RwwBOySg

How did you do it? If you had to learn it all over again, would you do it the same way?

2 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-09-18 21:55 ID:1JKP5iX4

In full daylight, with my parents watching. And I'd do it again if you asked me to.

3 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-09-18 23:37 ID:+tX+Mufd

4 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-09-20 11:08 ID:8dPyos6/

"did" would be an exaggeration, I doubt anyone knows all of them.

5 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-11-18 16:34 ID:IVSf++ja

japanese do not know all kanjis.
sometimes i forget easy kanjis, then i use cellphone as a dictionary.

6 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-12-03 16:31 ID:LNl0Nrd+

Youll learn it when youre forced to. Though it`s good if you can spend time doing writing and memorizing drills.

7 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-12-09 02:09 ID:adk2X+mY

For some time, I had to use a kanji book (a book for memorizing the kanji) and, well, just force myself to memorize them. But it was at the very beginning of my study. Later, (partly due to laziness too...) it basically became just me playing japanese video games (jRPGs and the like) and looking up all the unknown characters in JWPCe. Surely at first it was hell, but as the number of kanjis I knew grew, the lookups too occured progressively rarier and rarier (spelling? sorry, not an English native). At the present time, the only texts that would perhaps trouble me somehow are these with much technical or anyhow otherwise 'specific' terms (biology, military, economic, things like that). Other than that I can read and understand Japanese quite ok, or at least without having to look up the kanji's.

If I'd got back in time, guess I'd still couldn't help but take the same route. Since my original interest was to play some japanese RPGs that would be impossible to understand and thus enjoy otherwise 'to the full', I think without this source of motivation it's very unlikely that I'd ever made it this far again.

8 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-12-14 10:00 ID:vttOJ0YJ

I'm using the Heisig method for the heck of it.

9 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-12-14 15:39 ID:52BOK2ju

Please explain the heisig method; I'm open to any new ideas.

10 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-12-16 00:07 ID:Heaven

it involves buying a book (okay, two books) that will tell you cutesy little stories about what the characters mean while neglecting to teach you how to actually read, pronounce or use them. iow a waste of time.

11 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-12-19 02:59 ID:+mO6tdxB

Why ... isn't ... this ... on ... NIHONGO ?!? You people...

Every time I learn a new one, I get it as a tattoo so I'll never forget, along wiht ON and KUN readings and English translation.

12 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-12-19 21:15 ID:kV9RnnFn

I tried to read the Heisig books ("Remembering The Kanji" "Remembering The Kana") but I dropped it quickly. His way of thinking is too far apart from mine and rubbed me the wrong way.
So I used my own mnemonics... at the beginning. It's a crutch, anyway.

13 Post deleted.

14 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-12-20 10:04 ID:vttOJ0YJ

Yay for no italics

15 Post deleted by moderator.

16 Name: Kenji : 2007-03-14 10:36 ID:H0jM/X/W

The generic rule of kanji is up down left right. That is, up to down, left to right. That does not imply that this is always right, however, and many times there are some irregular stroke patterns that arise. Many people learning Japanese as a second language (or even the Japanese themselves) tend to use pictures and radicals as mnemonics.

17 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-04-08 12:57 ID:oXAs9eDW


This is the best way.
And it is the way of all Japanese people
((who go to school.

First, easy ones.

Keep your working.
Good luch

(Sorry for my bad English)

18 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-04-09 20:07 ID:BsEj2UAy

The way I started learning kanji is to just by brute force. It didn't work very well because I'm not a brute-force learner. How you learn kanji, similarly, how you learn the language, depends on how you learn best in general. For completeness, I'll tell you my method (I am a person who learns best by connection/contrast):
1) Radicals are sometimes useful for finding meanings: (the left/bottom is the radical in these examples) 連れる(lead/take a person) 運ぶ (carry) both have meanings regarding movement. 転(turn) 動(motion) both also have similar movement features.
2) Meaning are sometimes compositional. 悲(sadness) = 心(heart)+非(not/separate). This is also useful for compounds. 親切(shinsetsu/kindness) 大切(taisetsu/important value) 切ない(setsunai/heart wrenching) all have the word 'setsu' and carry some connotation of value or internal feelings.
3) Some parts of the kanji contribute to the sound rather than the meaning. 交(kou) in 高校(koukou) 近郊(kinkou).
4) Because of those things, learn all the parts that you can. They increase the efficiency of studying many fold. For me, learning kanji has become just remembering the parts and interelation between them. Before I knew those parts, it would take a week or so to learn ~20 kanji. Now, I learn them in a couple hours study before going to class.
5) Onyomi is alot more important than kunyomi. When you learn a kunyomi, you'll use it for native words in maybe three or four combinations outside of its verb/adjective/noun meaning. Whereas the onyomi will be used in tons of combinations and will help you to figure out the meanings (as demonstrated above). Name readings, you can learn as you go.
6) It seems backwards to say this, but if you learn Chinese, too, you'll not only get alot more comfortable with them (as that is all that is used), but you'll be able to see the sound-similarities and meanings better. Some Japanese kanji retain their archaic meanings in compounds but not alone. Also, when you know the Chinese reading, there's a greater possibility that you'll be able to guess the onyomi in Japanese (yes, it is formulaic if neither the Chinese nor the Japanese has changed in pronunciation since the borrowing). Even if you can't, you may have some idea what the meaning is.

19 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-10-18 16:17 ID:aR5HwDuT

master the reading part first, use song lyrics to remember common terms, after that start reading RAW manga scan, and practise typing before writing, this way better

20 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-10-20 21:14 ID:eQ/fTetH

First off, something very important: do not learn every kanji as a single unit by itself, that will quickly overwhelm you.
Learn every kanji by the radicals it is composed of.
Fopr example, take 親: it is composed of a pot (upper left) + tree (lower left) + see (right), so learn it as "pot on a tree which you can see" or something like that. It will make learning kanji a lot easier.

Next, learn in little steps, like 4 kanji per day. Take a look at the first kanji and what radicals it is made of (see above), then take out a writing block and write the kanji down a dozen times. This is important, as writing it down helps you memorize it. Then proceed to the next and repeat. On the next day, revise the kanj from the previous day.

As your amount of kanji grows, you can use a flash card program to keep track of them. Jfc is a nice free one, you can get it here:

Also, you'll want a good kanji dictionary. I can recommend the "Kodansha Kanji Learner's Dictionary" by Jack Halpern, Isbn 4-7700-2855-5. It did cost me 40 Euros here, weel worth the money.
Besides the usual lookup methods (radical lookup etc.), it also has a very intuitive method called "Skip", and it lists the proper stroke order for every character.

21 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-11-10 14:26 ID:kaq5cgxG

Japanese sentences which use no kanji are difficult to understand even for Japanese people.

Using only easy kanjis in addition to hiragana and katakana
makes more easier to understand for Japanese.

Sorry for my bad English.

22 Name: Pepe : 2007-12-09 14:51 ID:mMqe6i5k

I am trying to find a good book for study kanji. I've read too much about "Remembering the Kanji" and the fact is that you only study the meanings of the kanji without the readings. And I don't think that a method based on mnemonics fits to me.

I have found another books wich are more Kanji Dictionarys than methods of study. And I have found a book which seems to teach you some words whith every kanji you study.


Does anybody knows it? is there another similar book to study kanji without mnemonics?


23 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-01-08 03:43 ID:AyA8wlrs

"Remembering the Kanji" was a great start! I learned all the primitive meanings that made up the various Kanji with just the free sample and then I built up on that. :3 All of the Kanji I got directly from the book I learned about 2 to 3 times faster than the ones I did on my own. ^^ You don't need to know the readings if you don't know Japanese yet. Once you learn the Japanese and how to write using the Kanji, you don't need to. After all, they change so much, it's not worth learning the readings unless you example sentences.

I also use Anki software as a flash card system. It shows you the card again according to how well you remembered it. I highly recommend it! Learn the stroke order of the Kanji, but then all you need is to recognize it and writing comes naturally the more you study :3

I know about 600 kanji, and I've only been learning for a month now. ^_^ It takes about 1-3 hours a day depending on how busy I am and how much kanji I put on my plate.

24 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-03-05 01:25 ID:s3p9rNLP

Ok everybody.

It's pretty simple, the guy gives you the meaning (the real meaning) and ties them with a story and in book 2 he does the same thing with the readings.
It's hard work, but you learn them faster than with any other method. (you can nail all the meanings in 2-4 months)

The grammar, now that's another story, Heisig's book doesn't help much with that.

Cruise control etc.

25 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-03-05 14:16 ID:zPdyUqOQ

Luckily grammar in Japanese is piss-easy when coming from a worse language.

Sure, because nobody puts in spaces.

26 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-04-29 06:51 ID:PrWAOhWR

Unfortunately, Heisig "Remembering The Kanji" is a double edged sword. Will it get you started on kanji quickly? Yes. Can it cause confusion? Yes.

It uses a mnemonic system to let you build your kanji quickly. When trying to supplement other learning with a quick study in reading, this seems great.

The problem happens when you start learning real Kanji relationships. For example, when following the Radical to Body relationship, story based, incorrect radicals that Heisig teaches will hold you back.

Here is a real life example. All these kanji are read in compounds as ken. They are 建 which means "build" NJEDC 3090, 健 which means "health/strength" NJEDC 134, 鍵 which means "key" NJEDC 1753, and 腱 which means "tendon" Shift-JIS E446. The difference between them is the radical used, and that radical has a real meaning related to the change in the kanji meaning. But the Heisig method will teach you other meanings for these radicals, and can cause confusion when you learn to apply radicals to base meaning to decipher kanji.

Because I learned some actual Chinese origins along with the first Kanji I studied, I also learned the power of radicals. This means the Heisig method can not work for me because it contradicts what I know to be true.

If your goal is only basic reading competency, such as to pass a few college classes, the Heisig books are quick and easy. But if you plan on long term learning of the key parts of the language and culture, avoid Heisig because it sacrifices accuracy and true sub-meanings in favor of learning speed.

27 Name: 米男 : 2008-04-30 01:16 ID:eFOsXAZ0


28 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-06-20 00:36 ID:43T2xnzu

Since last week I'm learning using a memorization game called Slime Forest (lrnj.com).
So it's a brute force approach, if you will.

I don't want to learn the meaning of kanji yet, just the reading.

I made good progress on ON readings. I even found it easy at the beginning, like katakana.

Then I started doing KUN readings, and it's really hard. The program shows you the English meaning, because, when shown 下 e.g., you have to know all the readings like "shita, shimo, moto, sageru, orosu". So it's slower, you're forced to learn English meaning, and, because they're much more obscure, KUN readings are much harder to memorize than ON readings.

29 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-06-24 14:13 ID:zPdyUqOQ

Interesting. I always find KUN readings easier to remember. With ON readings I just get the impression that too many symbols have the same sound and it all muddles up in my head.

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