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Discuss, ask questions and get answers on the Japanese Language and How to Learn Japanese.
I am looking for some advice on studying and memorizing kanji and had a few questions.
When memorizing the Kanji is it necessary to know all the readings and all the meanings associated with that particular character?
For example 解 has 7 Kun readings and 2 on readings as well as 13 english meanings (according to the dictionary on this site). When memorizing this character would learning all of this information be necessary? If not what information is it necessary to learn about each character? Thanks for any feedback you can provide.
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As for the characters themselves, Heisig's book Remembering the Kanji is a good way to set yourself up to learn how to read like I described above. If you know the characters in advance, then it's easy to "attach" readings to them. There's a good forum to review and discuss the book, as well as other topics regarding Japanese, here: http://forum.koohii.com/index.php
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1) I first focus on learning the meaning(s). Understanding the meaning(s) well help you better comprehend compounds.
2) I learn at least one verb form and then one onyomi reading.
3) I learn at least one compound word.
4) I break the kanji apart and learn the radicals.
5) I then write that Kanji maybe a hundred times with the pronunciation over it each time. Sometimes I need to write more, other times, I write less.
I am using the above method right now, since I am learning several kanji in one day, so I don't try to memorize everything about it at once.
Overall, I would not try to learn everything about one kanji at once. I also study new kanji by the ones I see in context - whether it be on TV, newspaper, book, etc. The best thing to do is to learn the radicals and meanings. That way you can start to see how kanji are tied to one another. Pronunciation takes time (for me at least), and is hard to master if you do not speak the word in conversation.
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Yet there is another way to learn the signs (漢字).
You would doubtless know, brettonataylor1131, that all the Chinese signs are constructed on the basis of roughly speaking 214 basic signs (the so called keys).
So in order to be able to learn the entirety of the signs, you would need to learn the 214 keys and the way they are changed depending on their position in the sign.
It is not unlike learning to count. One does not need memorise all the cyphers from 0 to infinity (which is impossible in the case of the humans), it is sufficient to memorise the digits from 0 to 9 and the rules to organise them in sets and one can generate the above infinity (generative grammars are based on this principle, by and large). The same case is here.
What you need, is a book (site, course) which would dwell on:
(1) History of the key (what forms it had in different periods of the development of the Chinese calligraphy);
(2) Its meaning (present and past - because sometimes the sign means one thing nowadays, but when it was used for the formation of another hieroglyph it had a different meaning, so beware!)
(3) Its use as a constituent component in other signs (what changes it undergoes when used and what is the logic behind the use).
Knowing the history will tell you why the sign has this particular form, knowing the meaning will tell you why the compound signs have such composition, and knowing some of the uses of the key will show you the logic (however weird in some cases of the ancient Chinese, but, after all, the history of Chinese calligraphy is more than five thousand years) behind the signs.
Well, there is a book out there for you, and the reason why I went to the pain of describing the qualities the requisite book should possess is that the book I am talking about has been published in Russian, so if you know a thing or two of the Russian language it would be a great help for you:
Автор: Владимир Соколов,
Год издания: 2009
Издательство: ООО "Харвест", Минск
Here goes the translation:
Author: Vladimir Sokolov (easy to remember - like Vladimir Putin)
Publication year: 2009
Publishing house: LLC "Harvest", Minsk
Here below is the email of LLC "Harvest":
Sorry, if I do not know English language sources for you.
Qui quaerit, reperit.
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