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How Do You All Study Kanji?

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  • How Do You All Study Kanji?

    Been taking Japanese for almost 2 years now...and kanji still owns my ass every time. I'm curious as to how everyone else studies kanji. I myself usually repeatedly write down compound words, as opposed to singular kanji. I write the furigana on top. Generally I have a page with the meanings of the individual kanji as well. My teacher suggested using flashcards...but I don't see that as helping much for actually writing them out, just recognition.

    So what do YOU do?

  • #2
    I don't really write them at all. If you break them down into their component elements (not necessarily radicals), then they're fairly easy to memorize. Usually I can memorize one in about five minutes, if the elements are memorable enough. I know around 1600 of them now, I guess.

    The crucial thing to remember is that for the purposes of memorizing kanji, you don't have to stick to what the radicals and such REALLY mean (as long as you remember that, as well). I assign completely arbitrary meanings to simple elements, and that's extremely helpful. For example, 糸 inside a larger kanji means 'spider-man' (get it?). And it's always very easy to come up with a story or something to relate that with the other elements in the kanji and the whole thing's meaning.
    Last edited by poncho; 02-18-2005, 12:28 PM.

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    • #3
      I know this seem's kinda of sad, but I learn most of mine by playing RAW Japanese PS2 games...... Trial and error I suppose. It's like being forced to learn a new language in a forigein country, in order to survive (or progress) you tend to pick things up pretty quick and it becomes reflex that way, I guess the older you get the harder it is to memorize thing's like languages and letter's....but for me this works. Oh.... and sorry if this didn't awnser your question the way it was intended ^_^

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      • #4
        There are 2 things that deal with kanji, recognition and writing. I can recognize and read about 300-500 kanji, and can guess the meaning of some others based off their stems and sentance context, but I can only write maybe 200 kanji perfectly. The only way to learn to write a kanji is really to SEE it very often, written reinforcement helps, but after a few days, you totally forget
        sex is lonely without hot

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        • #5
          Originally posted by maiyahi
          The only way to learn to write a kanji is really to SEE it very often, written reinforcement helps, but after a few days, you totally forget
          Not if you do it my way! I sometimes forget the exact meaning of a kanji when I try to read it, but I've virtually never forgotten how to write one when given the meaning, if I studied it properly.

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          • #6
            Kanji is really simple, and there are differant ways, but the more you see it the better. and as poncho said, if you know the meaning you can read it or write it, but you don't always have that luxury. You can even see the kanji and know what it means, but not know the word for it. The best way to memerize them is to take like 7-14 kanji a week and just do one or two a day and write it alot in free time or trace it on your palm with your finger or something. Try reading lots of things that have furigana in it (the kanji with kana above it) and it will help also
            sex is lonely without hot

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            • #7
              The very important thing to do is to develop a good system for categorizing and organizing kanji. Only a very, very few kanji can be memorized as pictographs (maybe ten or twenty). The rest are total nonsense, and you have to be able to recognize the patterns in them or else you'll forget them instantly. At no point should you be trying to memorize the way a kanji looks, because that's the first step to completely failing to reproduce it later. You need to memorize the components and the way they're arranged. So if you have a complex kanji, don't even try to memorize it until you've learned everything that it's made of and assigned interesting meanings to each part. Then it's best to make up an absurd story or scene to link the components and meanings together. And it's good to learn all the kanji that have similar components all at once, even if some of them aren't the most commonly used ones. It really helps.

              I can assure you that this method works best. I've been learning Japanese for 2.5 years, and as I said, I remember about 1600 kanji, with good recollection. Trust me on this one!
              Last edited by poncho; 02-18-2005, 04:05 PM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by poncho
                I can assure you that this method works best. I've been learning Japanese for 2.5 years, and as I said, I remember about 1600 kanji, with good recollection. Trust me on this one!
                Doesn't your method basically boil down to: Remember how to write the character, and you'd recognize it pretty easily?

                That's definitely the best way, yes. That's how they teach it in schools, in fact.

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                • #9
                  The best way, since you already have knowledge in Japanese, I would say, learn it from games, or manga, or whichever form that interest you...

                  I am Chinese, so kanji is kinda easy to me(though, some of the kanji have different meaning, or simply aren't chinese), and I learnt my Japanese from ...sadly, games/anime/manga... I can type, talk(as in normal conversation with Japanese), listen and read, just not romaji...

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by RogerDucky
                    Doesn't your method basically boil down to: Remember how to write the character, and you'd recognize it pretty easily?

                    That's definitely the best way, yes. That's how they teach it in schools, in fact.
                    No, my way boils down to: Learn them in the right order (NOT the way they do it in school or even in Japan, because that's slow as all hell), and assign interesting, if inaccurate, meanings to subelements and come up with interesting stories with them. The key is never to rely on your visual impression of the character as many try to do, because it will never work. Nor will a loose sentence or two with some sort of strange 'saying' that links the meanings of radicals like I see in textbooks. You really need something vivid.

                    For example, the 忄 radical is really ubiquitous, and doesn't seem to add much meaning to any of its characters. So I let it signify a particular person I know well, and associate him with all the related characters. Obviously, he has nothing whatsoever to do with the meaning of the radical, but this method works extremely well.
                    Last edited by poncho; 02-18-2005, 05:20 PM.

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                    • #11
                      There are character stems which help you, and memorizing the shape does help. Kanji is easy as long as you dont rip off more than you can take on. It comes in time, dont fret over it. the best way to learn it is to read stuff with a ton of kanji in it and just re inforce it till its instinctive
                      sex is lonely without hot

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                      • #12
                        Interesting thread. Gave some kudos to the thread participators. Very useful info indeed
                        Been gone for a while~

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                        • #13
                          I think it is best to read all 3000 kanjis one by one just to remember radicals.
                          And then start reading as much as possible.

                          That's my plan for learning kanji.

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                          • #14
                            i've been studying japanese for 2 years now and i've been using flash cards. they work for me =P

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                            • #15
                              I ordered the Kanji ABC and the Kanji-A-Day books ...
                              Let's learn japanese and move to Japan to avoid the horrible licensing crap.

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