I've started learning japanese but I don't know if I have to learn kanji one by one or learning them by learning phrases does anyone know?


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What Guys Said 1

  • I've been attending the super intensive language classes for students of Japanese Studies at my university last semester. We learned them one by one and that certainly makes more sense. In order to feel truly comfortable with Kanjis, you need to know them both passively AND actively. Reading short texts with Kanjis in them certainly helps you "solidify" your knowledge but the problem with reading is that you're only learning stuff passively. Learning Kanjis is probably one of the toughest parts about learning Japanese... at least in my opinion. It's basically like learning vocab: it's mostly about self-discipline and there's no magic trick or easy way around it. You simply have to sit down and practice them. When doing that, it's very important to learn them in the correct stroke order. In order to do that, you need to have a good study book that actually shows you the stroke order. For example the Japanese department of my university uses this one here:
    The way I'm doing it is that I would sit down whenever I feel relaxed and I have some time, I would take a big pile of paper, I would open my book, look at the Kanjis and the stroke order and simply write them again and again and again. I usually write every Kanji around 20-30 times before moving on to the next one. After around 10 Kanjis, I stop and try to write all of the ones I've just learned by heart without looking at the book (only looking at the English meaning). You should be able to immediately draw a Kanji simply by seeing the English meaning. For example when you read "Japanese language", you should be able to write 日本語. When doing that, you should have learned already and know that 日 also means "day" and is for example used in weekdays. You should know that 本 also means "book" and that 語 on its own means "word". Also, when learning the Kanji, it's important to also learn their readings in Japanese (on-yomi and kun-yomi). This is also a reason why you should definitely study with a good book. Almost every Kanji has at least 2 different readings (one on-yomi and one kun-yomi). However, many Kanjis have three or some even four or five readings. These readings can seem totally random and have absolutely nothing in common with each other. Learning so many different readings for every Kanji is very exhausting and potentially frustrating because some of them you won't see until much later, in difficult texts. So it's helps a lot if you've got a book that tells you which ones you really need and

    • which readings you can forget about and learn later. Once you know a couple of basic Kanjis, you can start trying to read texts and see if you can recognize the Kanjis and understand them in context. But learning them actively one by one in boring, exhausting cramming-sessions is unfortunately indispensable if you want to master Japanese.
      It helps a lot if you know anyone who knows about Kanjis and could help you a bit if you need help. For example my girlfriend is Korean and so I usually just ask her because she had to learn most of those Kanjis (in Korean they're called Hanza) in elementary school.

What Girls Said 1

  • By stroke order...

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