if you are learning to read Kanji as a foreigner, how would you rate the difficulty of learning it?
Posted 7/10/14
i did a bit of self-research on the internet to get myself started, and found it quite overwhelming... but interesting at the same time... (I feel like writing a story or poetry in Kanji would be amazing because you can shift and shape different characters to get subtle meaning)

- the guides say I should learn the radicals before anything else
- that I should start with simple looking kanji with difficult meanings instead of complex looking kanji with simple meanings
- there are over 2000 kanji characters... and the shape of each one can be rearranged...

so it got me curious, if you are a foreigner trying to learn to read Kanji, how would you rate the difficulty? From 1 to 5.

Bonus question: What helpful tips did you use when trying to learn as a beginner?
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Posted 7/10/14 , edited 8/12/14
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Posted 7/10/14
^ Same here. Just bought Remembering the Kanji. I'm at 105 kanjis in two days. If you study them that way, and practice them everyday, its really not that bad.
CaelK 
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Posted 7/10/14 , edited 7/10/14
It's largely route memorization, so it's the equivalent of using brute force to solve a problem. It's not inherently difficult, there's just a lot of stuff to memorize.

As for advice...

Learn general rules for stroke order. Once you have this down, you can use handwriting IMEs to look things up. They have a bit of leniency as well, so you might get the kanji you're looking for even when you're slightly wrong about how it looks.

I wouldn't suggest learning the radicals before any kanji - you can know all the radicals in the world and no actual kanji, but you still won't understand anything. The reverse is not true. Learning radicals will help, though I would say to be on the look out for them as you learn kanji. After a while, you might see the same thing in a bunch of different kanji, and always in the same place (洗、泳、池、流). That's a good sign that what you're looking at is a radical, and looking up what the radical means will help you in the future. In case you're curious, the four back there are wash, swim, pond, and flow. The radical is water.

I would start with simple, but very common kanji that you'll likely encounter again and again. Learning the kanji for ten will get you farther than learning the kanji used for silicon. I'm pretty sure I've only seen silicon once in my entire life, and it was a big blob on a monitor.
Posted 7/10/14 , edited 7/10/14
^ @hotdog & RedPokki: Thanks guys for the textbook recommendation. It's just what I needed. I had a look at the textbooks at my local bookstore... and it wasn't as detailed as the one you guys mentioned.

I definitely need to order it from Amazon.


CaelK wrote:

It's largely route memorization, so it's the equivalent of using brute force to solve a problem. It's not inherently difficult, there's just a lot of stuff to memorize.

As for advice...

Learn general rules for stroke order. Once you have this down, you can use handwriting IMEs to look things up. They have a bit of leniency as well, so you might get the kanji you're looking for even when you're slightly wrong about how it looks.

I wouldn't suggest learning the radicals before any kanji - you can know all the radicals in the world and no actual kanji, but you still won't understand anything. The reverse is not true. Learning radicals will help, though I would say to be on the look out for them as you learn kanji. After a while, you might see the same thing in a bunch of different kanji, and always in the same place (洗、泳、池、流). That's a good sign that what you're looking at is a radical, and looking up what the radical means will help you in the future. In case you're curious, the four back there are wash, swim, pond, and flow. The radical is water.

I would start with simple, but very common kanji that you'll likely encounter again and again. Learning the kanji for ten will get you farther than learning the kanji used for silicon. I'm pretty sure I've only seen silicon once in my entire life, and it was a big blob on a monitor.



Thanks a lot for the helpful tip! You have no idea how much that one advice already piece together so many missing puzzling questions in my mind.

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Posted 7/11/14
All I've actually done of Kanji so far is by using an app that gives me random symbols and gives me options of what they could mean, then after gives me an English word with four Kanji symbols to pick from.
This isn't the best method but I can pick out about 150 words in total of level 1 Kanji words like rain, numbers and colours and stuff like that. I can't say any difficulty in the poll since I wouldn't say "I'm learning to write and read Kanji" as such, I just do that activity for fun once or twice a day. If I had to say anything though I'd say level 3 when you begin learning more complex words and phrases. But remember I haven't done much it might be a lot harder than I make it out to be.
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Posted 7/12/14
Mandarin is definitely the most difficult language to learn. Kanji, I wouldn't really know. I wish I was fluent in the language though!
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Posted 7/12/14
Just takes diligence and time~ In this day and age, the resources are innumerable! So long as you're serious about it, it'll be a piece of cake.
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Posted 7/12/14
I'm using a web app called Wanikani, and it's not that bad at all, but I did have to get the hang of Hiragana first, and it's going to be quite some time before I git gud. Not sure how to compare it to Arabic though, I mean I've never tried learning Arabic is it really that difficult?
Posted 7/13/14

Rowan93 wrote:

I'm using a web app called Wanikani, and it's not that bad at all, but I did have to get the hang of Hiragana first, and it's going to be quite some time before I git gud. Not sure how to compare it to Arabic though, I mean I've never tried learning Arabic is it really that difficult?


Personally haven't tried to learn Arabic either... so I'm just basing it on what other people say about learning it:

from this website: http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/2005/06/im_trying_to_learn_arabic.html


Most of the letters have four different forms, depending on whether they stand alone or come at the beginning, middle, or end of a word. Even then, so far so good. But in Arabic, as in Hebrew, people don't include most vowels when writing. Maktab, or "office," is just written mktb. Vowels are included as little marks above and below in beginning textbooks, but you soon have to get used to doing without them. Whn y knw th lngg wll ths s nt tht hrd. But when you're struggling with comprehension to begin with, it's pretty formidable.


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Posted 8/18/14
Its super hard for me
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Posted 8/26/14
I find kanji to be quite hard to learn. I personally
Find hiragana to be the easiest to learn.
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Posted 8/27/14
Hiragana is just messy, or artistic, kanji. Once you've learned them, that's like fifty something already down.
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