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Learning Kanji

Half-n-Half

先輩
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I have a quick question on learning Kanji. I have learned the Hiragana alphabet and am half-heartedly learning the Katakana. My question is, should I learn Kanji as well to supplement my katakana and learning? I figure it's a great way to learn new vocab and also a way to be able to "fully" read in Japanese. Also, what are some good ways/sources to learn Kanji? (preferably free of charge)
 

Charles Barkley

TNT Basketball Analyst
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Kanji to supplement katakana? What does that mean exactly? Are you hoping that learning kanji will help you learn katakana (it won't), or are you wondering whether or not learning kanji is necessary (it is)?

Learning kanji can do a number of things:

1) Boost your interest in the language.
-sometimes I would get sick of grammar, katakana, memorizing vocab, and the other things that you have to do when you are learning Japanese by yourself outside of Japan. But I always found learning how to write the kanji to be fun. Even if you are only learning the english meanings of the kanji and how to write them, that's helpful if it keeps your interest.

2) Learning kanji helps you remember vocab.
-but, for this to be true, you can't just be learning the English meanings. You have to learn kanji by memorizing kanji pairs, ie 毎日=まいにち、 NOT 毎日=everday. This point is a little vague, so let me explain:

When I first started learning them, with some kanji, I didnt know any of the vocab that the Kanji was used with. For example, 形. I learned that to mean shape. 形=shape. If a Japanese person came up to me and asked me what it meant, I couldnt tell him, because I had no idea that 形=かたち. So, its important to learn the Japanese readings of the kanji if you want them to reinforce your vocab study. But, as I said in the point 1), if learning from the English motivates your study, do that as well.

3) Obviously you'll need to learn it if you ever want to go beyond beginners level Japanese. You can put it off for a while, but there's no real reason to IMO.

www.kantango.com is free and can help kanji study

The Heisig Method (Remembering the Kanji) has many supporters (though I havent tried it)

White Rabbit Press Kanji Cards are useful

I also bought a great book that had maybe a green and red cover and taught 250 kanji. Thats how I started.
 

Half-n-Half

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Thanks for the advice! I probably should have left out the katakana part. What I was asking is if it would be good to learn it alongside other things such as grammar and learning katakana, or would it be better to take it one step at a time (i.e. learn grammar, then vocab, then kanji, or something like that). Sorry for the misunderstanding and thanks again!
 
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