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Post Reply JLPT N1
Posted 4/19/15
You might need to suffer a little -chuckle-
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Posted 4/19/15 , edited 4/19/15

Shigumundo wrote:


RedExodus wrote:

Interestingly enough, I've heard from Japanese people that it's not just kids who don't know all of the 2000 jouyou kanji, the adults don't either. The magic number is more like 1700.


I'd question what is the requirement for "knowing a kanji" according to these natives who claim they know less than the jouyou kanji.
I'd guess it might be reasonable if you're talking about being able to write the kanji in the "correct" stroke order, but otherwise I highly doubt that a typical japanese person knows less than the jouyou kanji.

Knowing only 1700 kanji - you'd have problems reading regular newspapers, it just wouldn't work out...


To be more accurate, they were talking about knowing how to just write a kanji. Typically, they only write around the 1000 most common kanji. From my past experience, this actually shows whether you're on forums or news sites or reading manga. If you recognize readings for around 1000 kanji, that's actually more than 90% of a page most of the time and 95% coverage typically allows you to figure the rest out through context. What's more important would be your vocabulary IMO. You can know a certain amount of characters and recognize perhaps 95% of the characters on both Youtube comments and a news site but you ain't gunna read crap on news unless you have the words rather than the characters. On difficult sites, I always see the same characters I always see on other stuff but arranged in ways that I didn't understand so I think kanji count is overrated.

Writing kanji in the correct stroke order by hand is more difficult. Everyone does it by typing nowadays so they forget how to do it IRL a lot.

If you wanna be complete on your learning(reading) of these "common use" kanji, then you might as well learn 3000(labeled as college level), not 2000 but a lot of them are too rare to be worth learning which actually contradicts what "jouyou" means. This has also been discussed by bloggers who are fluent in Japanese. This 1700 is extracted from the pool of 3000 kanji, not exclusively the ones listed as jouyou kanji. Hence, this 1700 figure is more effective than if you were to learn 1700 from just the jouyou kanji. Trying to learn characters exclusively from misleading lists rather than from real experience just isn't as effective. Overall, trying to teach all 3000 is like trying to teach calculus. They are big names but nobody remembers them in life anyways.
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Rabbit Horse
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Posted 4/19/15
so learning 3k kanji is like trying to learn calculus
...all hope is lost
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Posted 4/19/15

RedExodus wrote:
... What's more important would be your vocabulary IMO. You can know a certain amount of characters and recognize perhaps 95% of the characters on both Youtube comments and a news site but you ain't gunna read crap on news unless you have the words rather than the characters. On difficult sites, I always see the same characters I always see on other stuff but arranged in ways that I didn't understand so I think kanji count is overrated.
...

This! Jukugo and goi are more important than kanji alone. Many of those 2000, 3000 or 4000 kanji are rarely used but others are common but unless you know the tens or hundreds of jukugo for them, knowing the individual kanji is not much use. Japanese learners need to concentrate more on words and phrases than on kanji as directly translating English makes you sound very strange. Unless you know the proper words and phrases you will not be able to use or understand natural Japanese. Remember that the kanji represents the words, not the other way around.

Words and phrases are actually much more important and in fact many people who successfully work in Japan cannot read a lick of kanji and never read newspapers, let alone manga or novels. In most public places romaji is displayed anyway so it is actually better to know the vocabulary and grammar so you can speak properly rather than having the ability to read obscure kanji in light novels. Japanese learning used to leave kanji and even kana until last but the emphasis has been flipped recently because of the JLPT's emphasis of it.

Depends on your goal really. If you absolutely need the JLPT to get a job then get it but otherwise there are in fact more important things to learn than what it requires. You don't speak during the test, it is just multiple choice. Quite limited really. Challenging for sure, even for some native speakers, but not necessarily that representative to how well you can communicate in Japan.
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Rabbit Horse
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Posted 4/19/15
i would think that you'd learn the words associated with the kanji you learn, rather than just learning the kanji by themselves
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Posted 4/19/15

namealreadytaken wrote:

i would think that you'd learn the words associated with the kanji you learn, rather than just learning the kanji by themselves

That is an excellent way to learn but it is a very large task. People balk at learning 3000 kanji... what do you think they'd say to learning 20000, 30000 or 50000 words?
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Posted 4/19/15

hpulley wrote:
That is an excellent way to learn but it is a very large task. People balk at learning 3000 kanji... what do you think they'd say to learning 20000, 30000 or 50000 words?


idk, it seems kinda useless to me to only learn the characters without practical use of said characters
kanji is barely, if ever, useful in conversation and such (with few exception of course, such as when talking about kanji).
i'd rather know less kanji and more words, then a whole ton of kanji, but little to no words.
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Posted 4/19/15

namealreadytaken wrote:


hpulley wrote:
That is an excellent way to learn but it is a very large task. People balk at learning 3000 kanji... what do you think they'd say to learning 20000, 30000 or 50000 words?


idk, it seems kinda useless to me to only learn the characters without practical use of said characters
kanji is barely, if ever, useful in conversation and such (with few exception of course, such as when talking about kanji).
i'd rather know less kanji and more words, then a whole ton of kanji, but little to no words.

I agree completely as you can get from my previous post but I don't know that many western kanji learners really go for that when learning kanji. I think they concentrate more on the kanji and the readings to memorize them and move onto the next one rather than learning even the 20000 high school vocabulary words that they can be used to represent.
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Posted 4/19/15 , edited 4/19/15
ill throw in my .02 here.
i know enough japanese to know how its spoken is totaly different from how english is spoken.
the sentance structure is very different, so id imagine that learning japanese grammer in the spoken language would be crucial, even more so than words on a test.
you could know all 4k kanji and still sound like an idiot if you dont know how to put them in the right order.
and knowing how to construct kanji is essential in using online dictionaries.
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Posted 4/19/15
well, if you don't know the kanji, you can just look up the word in hiragana. most dictionaries should give a list of words that matches your query. knowing the grammar is of course essential. grammar and vocabulary go hand in hand when learning a language.
grammar is of course very important. even if you get the conjugations right, if you don't use keigo when talking to superiors or customers, you'll probably have a hard time finding a job and keeping it.
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Posted 4/19/15
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Posted 4/19/15 , edited 4/19/15

nemoskull wrote:

ill throw in my .02 here.
i know enough japanese to know how its spoken is totaly different from how english is spoken.
the sentance structure is very different, so id imagine that learning japanese grammer in the spoken language would be crucial, even more so than words on a test.
you could know all 4k kanji and still sound like an idiot if you dont know how to put them in the right order.
and knowing how to construct kanji is essential in using online dictionaries.


Grammar is just a mental construct. Natives don't think about grammar at all when they learn and speak. Language is more like music and you create grammatically correct and native sounding lines just by saying things that "sound right".
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-z4IsnpyWk
The point that grammar does not exist in native-like language is also brought up by Khatzumoto on his All Japanese All the Time blog.
http://www.alljapaneseallthetime.com/blog/there-is-no-grammar

Also, I don't worry about learning characters or words. I just read or listen to stuff that I like and the subconscious brain naturally absorbs them. You remember things better when you do stuff you like anyways.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3zlRM6oFvI.

namealreadytaken wrote:

so learning 3k kanji is like trying to learn calculus
...all hope is lost


I mean, you can if you want to be a perfectionist but why would you want to? People forget what they don't use. A Japanese teacher even told me that you don't need so many to be good. Japanese people aren't robots, you can catch them making mistakes at reading too yet they can go through with life just fine.
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Posted 4/19/15
Absolutely I aldo agree you should learn by using it rather than just empty memorization.
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Posted 4/19/15

namealreadytaken wrote:

so learning 3k kanji is like trying to learn calculus
...all hope is lost


If only.
I got an A in calculus, but I've only memorized like 200 kanji. Though that's because we go pretty slow on kanji in my University Japanese class.
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Posted 4/19/15 , edited 4/19/15

RedExodus wrote:

If you wanna be complete on your learning(reading) of these "common use" kanji, then you might as well learn 3000(labeled as college level), not 2000 but a lot of them are too rare to be worth learning which actually contradicts what "jouyou" means. This has also been discussed by bloggers who are fluent in Japanese. This 1700 is extracted from the pool of 3000 kanji, not exclusively the ones listed as jouyou kanji. Hence, this 1700 figure is more effective than if you were to learn 1700 from just the jouyou kanji. Trying to learn characters exclusively from misleading lists rather than from real experience just isn't as effective. Overall, trying to teach all 3000 is like trying to teach calculus. They are big names but nobody remembers them in life anyways.


Sure, you could learn from experience alone, or go by some bloggers supposed absolute list of what is needed, but I still think it's best to learn the jouyou kanji to start off with, even if the list includes some obscure kanji that you might never encounter. But definitely, it depends on your goal with learning japanese. If you want to read newspapers, novels, manga, whatever - you should probably learn a ton of kanji...
If you just want to be able to read decently but mainly be fluent in speech, going a shortcut such as that would probably be beneficial. Either way, I suppose you'd catch up whatever kanji you need regardless of you learning 1700 or 2150, if you spend some time actually reading japanese instead of just "learning" keywords for kanji.

From Wikipedia: The list is not a comprehensive list of all characters and readings in regular use; rather, it is intended as a literacy baseline for those who have completed compulsory education, as well as a list of permitted characters and readings for use in official government documents. Due to the requirement that official government documents make use of only jōyō kanji and their readings, several rare characters are also included by dint of being a part of the Constitution of Japan, which was being written at the same time the original 1850-character tōyō kanji list was compiled.


hpulley wrote:
Words and phrases are actually much more important and in fact many people who successfully work in Japan cannot read a lick of kanji and never read newspapers, let alone manga or novels. In most public places romaji is displayed anyway so it is actually better to know the vocabulary and grammar so you can speak properly rather than having the ability to read obscure kanji in light novels. Japanese learning used to leave kanji and even kana until last but the emphasis has been flipped recently because of the JLPT's emphasis of it.

Depends on your goal really.


It all boils down to what you said in the end there. However, even if you aim to not know any kanji because you only need/want to have fluent speech but be unable to read, learning by using romaji is just way too big of a shortcut to take. Learning the hiragana and katakana is very simple and one should aim to get rid of the romaji ASAP. Kana is so simply I don't see why you'd really skip learning kana to use romaji instead.


hpulley wrote:

idk, it seems kinda useless to me to only learn the characters without practical use of said characters
kanji is barely, if ever, useful in conversation and such (with few exception of course, such as when talking about kanji).
i'd rather know less kanji and more words, then a whole ton of kanji, but little to no words.

I agree completely as you can get from my previous post but I don't know that many western kanji learners really go for that when learning kanji. I think they concentrate more on the kanji and the readings to memorize them and move onto the next one rather than learning even the 20000 high school vocabulary words that they can be used to represent.

Remembering the Kanji by Heisig is popular. As far as I've read on the kanji koohi forums and other places, it's a bit mixed with people using RTK2/learning the readings for the kanji without vocab, and people learning the readings when learning vocab.
There's really no wrong way to do things, and by the time you're fluent, I don't think it would have mattered how you started out, since it probably would not take that much or less time to go one route rather than another. And by fluent I mean both in speech and in reading/writing, although there are people who aim to only be able to speak, or only be able to read (there's guides on how to be able to read japanese as quickly as possible, skipping all "unnecesary" steps that doesn't help your reading - made for people who want to read books and Visual Novels).

Heisig's method is just one among many. Having used it myself, I see it as very good however. "Learning" the kanji in this way is mainly useful for being able to write them and recognize them however. It's very useful when moving over to vocab with the kanji you've "learned". You're already familiar with the kanji, and can probably write them in correct stroke order if you did as Heisig intended. And as long as you keep on reviewing these, the stroke order will most likely sit.




RedExodus wrote:

Grammar is just a mental construct. Natives don't think about grammar at all when they learn and speak. Language is more like music and you create grammatically correct and native sounding lines just by saying things that "sound right".
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-z4IsnpyWk
The point that grammar does not exist in native-like language is also brought up by Khatzumoto on his All Japanese All the Time blog.
http://www.alljapaneseallthetime.com/blog/there-is-no-grammar

I mean, you can if you want to be a perfectionist but why would you want to? People forget what they don't use. A Japanese teacher even told me that you don't need so many to be good. Japanese people aren't robots, you can catch them making mistakes at reading too yet they can go through with life just fine.

Also, I don't worry about learning characters or words. I just read or listen to stuff that I like and the subconscious brain naturally absorbs them. You remember things better when you do stuff you like anyways.


Well, even if it's just a "mental construct", it still is there, and you still need to learn it. It's really the same in english and any other language, by fluency you don't sit and think about the grammar rules when speaking or writing, you just speak/write what sounds right. I don't see how that matters though, as you still need to learn grammar to reach that point of fluency where you don't even think about grammar rules anymore.

Sure you will forget kanji you never use, and you might pick up a few "obscure" ones that you encounter more often than the jouyou kanji, depending on what you read - I still think you should aim for the jouyou kanji, seeing as that what the japanese consider to be the base line for literacy in japanese. If anything, learning kanji when learning vocab would be ideal if one thinks 'learning' the jouyou kanji is not needed.

If you intend on becoming fluent, just "absorbing what you hear" is probably not a very good method unless you're living in Japan. Just "absorbing" via anime/dramas/etc would get you to pick up words and general phrases, but becoming fluent that way is probably not going to happen. I suppose it's a method that works if you already have a good base to stand on, ie you already know tons of japanese and your only last step to fluency is becoming more familiar with the language/learning more words and stuff by actually reading/listening to the language.
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