Learning Kanji

20832 cr points
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22 / M / Space/Time
Posted 2/22/13 , edited 2/23/13
I was wondering, should I remember the kanji with all the english definitions first, and then find out what the japanese reading is?

As I learn more vocabulary, i believe it will become obvious what the japanese reading is.
I've found a website that me help for anyone trying to learn kanji.



EDIT: I've decided. I put sheets with lots of kanji, and the definition above them all over my wall. This way, I look at them as much as possible.
14585 cr points
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33 / F / Philadelphia, PA
Posted 2/22/13 , edited 2/23/13
Err...Kanji is very difficult.

In Genki, we're learning Kanji's more frequently used meanings and pronunciations.

Like the Kanji for Sunday is 日曜日

Now 日 means "Sun" and "Day" basically. But it can be pronounced Ni, Nichi, or Bi depending on what you're using it for.

So Sunday is Nichiyobi and 日 has two different meanings and two different sounds in one word.

Basically what I am trying to say is learn the Kanji, all it's meanings, and which meanings are pronounced all at the same time. My teacher says you want to learn how the Kanji is pronounced first and for which words it's pronounced as such before you really start using the Kanji so this way you're less confused.

Hopefully that wasn't too confusing. :X
16405 cr points
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31 / M / ロンドン、カナダ
Posted 2/23/13 , edited 2/23/13
Take your time.

The Japanese learn approximately 2100 common use kanji by the time they are out of high-school. It takes many years of practice to get quite good at kanji, and you can easily overwhelm yourself if you try to take on too much too quickly.

Most kanji have multiple pronunciations: the pronunciations have both Chinese and Japanese origins. Those which derive from their original Chinese origin are known as on'yomi and of course, the Japanese way is known as kun'yomi.

As a general rule (although some exceptions exist) if you see a kanji by itself you pronounce it the Japanese/Kun'yomi way. When you see multiple kanji together, you read it the Chinese/On'yomi way.

Learning the kanji's meaning is obviously the most important aspect to understanding kanji, followed by learning its proper pronunciations, and learning familiar vocabulary that you may find it in.

9 cr points
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29 / M / Austin
Posted 2/23/13 , edited 2/23/13
Doing kanji with the meanings makes Japanese a crazy amount easier. Just find an organization of 'em that works for you(personally I like Heisig's Remembering the Kanji) and you can belt out the 2k jouyou kanji in a month of hard work or 3ish at a leisurely 15 a day. Use an SRS like Anki to keep from forgetting them as time comes by and you'll be fine. If you do decide to use Heisig check out http://kanji.koohii.com/ they have a whole bunch of user created mnemonics for the kanjii.

Knowing the kanji meanings is the difference between seeing a blank wall of text and getting the general meaning of what's said because most words make sense as a combination of their kanji meanings(for example even a brick of kanji like 不特定多数(ふ とく てい た すう) not specially determined many number=large unspecified number).It's also a lot easier to remember vocab when you link it to concepts.

I'd recommend learning the pronunciations in words just because there are so many and I know i could never have done it without context haha, but find what works best for you. Good luck with Japanese!
112 cr points
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34 / M / south wales, UK
Posted 3/4/13 , edited 3/4/13
personally I'd advise learning the kana scripts first (hiragana and katakana) once you're sure on those two scripts (which boil down to about 40-50 symbols each off the top of my head with out checking broken into 2-3 letter syllables or vowels) you can then proceed onto furigana which is kanji script with kana written alongside to help with pronouncation (often found in children's japanese books and learner's books) from there it's only a short step onto kanji.
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221238 cr points
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Posted 3/15/13 , edited 3/16/13
Closed because of the new one that popped up!
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