learning japanese script
Tue Aug 14 10:19:50 EDT 2007
I'm sure there will be plenty of replies regarding the usage of
kanji/hiragana/katakana, so I'll try to quickly summarize what worked for
Now, keep in mind that I lack a very functional command of the Japanese
language (I am like a deaf/mute, I can understand what people say, but have
a hard time expressing my thoughts)...
Hiragana and katakana were initially the hardest for me to learn. Basically,
I just had to memorize them. But once you pick it up, it's there, and it's
instant recognition (almost the same way with many kanji). Although, to be
honest, I still have problems with katakana to this day, but luckily, they
usually turn out to be words that you can make out from the context, once
you look at them a few times.
As for kanji, I learned it through visual memorization. Maybe it's different
for everyone, but I've always found it easy to remember kanji meanings once
I learned the kanji meaning/what it looked like, or someone told me the
kanji meaning. I tried those "learn kanji" books but none of them worked for
Three things that worked for me:
a. Living in Japan and having to "memorize" place names, then applying that
when I saw the kanji elsewhere, at work (I didn't work with English speaking
people), etc... I know that living in Japan isn't a feasible option for
everyone, but whatever I learned there I could have learned elsewhere. The
constant exposure to reading obviously did help. Alternatively you could try
internet TV? I know a fella here who gets all the Tokyo channels live at his
business (discussion about this service has popped up on this list before).
And as an aside -- I will always stand by television and visual/auditory
media as an excellent way to learn another language. I speak from experience
b. This program: http://web.uvic.ca/kanji-gold/
c. Typing in Japanese. If you communicate with Japanese speakers via e-mail
or a messenger often, it will definetely improve your kanji skills, as IME
lets you type in hiragana before converting to kanji.
These are definetely the "wrong" ways to learn kanji -- if you'd like to
follow the path of erudition then it would be in your best interest to learn
radicals, etc... but if you want to be practical about it and apply what you
know in order to get to a decent level of coherence, I suggest doing what I
did. Nothing but practice will get you to the level that you desire.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Emma Newbery" <emmanewbery at hotmail.co.uk>
To: <kinejapan at lists.acs.ohio-state.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, August 14, 2007 9:53 AM
Subject: learning japanese script
> Hello all.
> I have just embarked upon the long path of learning to read and write
> Japanese. I am using the 'Japanese for busy people' workbooks, and have
> been sailing through learning hiragana, but much to my dismay when i went
> to try out my new skill on www.amazon.jp i find all the sentences to be
> combination of hirigana, kanji and katakana. I realise to all you who know
> how to read japanese this is very obvious, but it there anyone out there
> to whom japanese is not their first language who can instill me with some
> confidence that it is possible to learn it all - and why are there 3
> forms within one sentence!
> Emma Newbery BA (hons), MA, PGCE
> Programme Leader
> BTEC National Diploma in Media Productions
> Blackpool and the Fylde College
> The next generation of Hotmail is here! http://www.newhotmail.co.uk
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