I’ve not too long ago been trying to enhance my very own information of kanji, or Japanese symbols (the journey by no means ends when there are 50,000 kanji to be taught!). I discovered Japanese as a child and nonetheless communicate nicely, however as I by no means went to highschool in Japan, my writing abilities are sorely missing. My father, an American, discovered Japanese as an grownup, and he avidly recommends a 1977 e-book referred to as Remembering the Kanji by James Heisig. This e-book is likely one of the outdated guard requirements, and a few contemplate it the easiest way to review Japanese symbols even to today.
However can ink-and-paper books actually compete with flashy web sites and complicated apps on the subject of memorizing Japanese symbols? Does one work higher than the opposite? Right here’s what I’ve found.
Outdated-school research aids for Japanese symbols are straightforward to acknowledge. They embody handmade flashcards, notebooks full of kanji, books, research guides created earlier than the appearance of Le Web. Listed here are some tried-and-true favorites for people who consider these bodily instruments are the easiest way to review Japanese symbols.
Books: James Heisig’s Remembering the Kanji
First, there are good old style books you should utilize as references as you research kanji. Let’s study Heisig’s strategy—the one which made his e-book so profitable—for instance.
Heisig assigned reminiscence aides to totally different radicals (radicals are the constructing blocks of Japanese symbols) and used them to create mnemonics. For instance, he assigned the character for the quantity 9, 九, the reminiscence aide of “baseball” since there are 9 baseball positions. Then, for the character for spherical, 丸, he assigns the mnemonic “fats/spherical baseball participant.” On this method, the primary quantity of Remembering the Kanji teaches you over 2,000 kanji.
Workbooks: Japanese for Busy People Series
Subsequent, let’s study workbooks. If you happen to assume having to maintain a separate pocket book is a flaw when utilizing common books to review Japanese symbols, workbooks could also be extra your jam. One basic collection referred to as Japanese for Busy Individuals is a good instance. This collection makes use of real-world eventualities, like asking about shopping for a memento, to bolster grammar ideas and introduce kanji. It additionally consists of worksheets with workout routines and house to observe your kanji stroke order (a vital idea).
Everybody has used flashcards to cram at one level or one other. Premade kanji flashcards may be useful to drill these Japanese characters into your mind. Those within the Dr. Moku collection are cute, artistic, and efficient. As an alternative of together with reminiscence aides like Heisig, Dr. Moku’s flashcards sport enjoyable drawings that make the kanji seem like the factor it represents. For instance, the kanji for fireplace, 火, reveals an individual holding two flaming torches.
Welcome to the fashionable age! If you happen to choose the portability and comfort of digital instruments, that is the place you belong. These digital studying aides have harnessed the strategies of the outdated guard and ushered them into our pockets.
Kanji Research is a full-scale strategy to be taught hiragana, katakana, and a wide selection of newbie kanji. It incorporates quizzes, writing observe (simply have your stylus prepared), customized flashcard units, and extra so you may reinforce your studying in a number of methods. Sadly, it’s at the moment solely obtainable for Android, however the makers say they’re engaged on an iOS model.
WaniKani is a downloadable desktop app that, like Remembering the Kanji, depends on mnemonics and radicals to assist learners grasp 2,000 kanji in “simply over a 12 months.” WaniKani college students are critical about Japanese; the app appears geared towards learners who plan to maneuver to the Land of the Rising Solar.
That is the web site that impressed this text, to be trustworthy. They took Heisig’s idea of mnemonics and ran with it, claiming they may also help you “be taught 1,700 kanji utilizing Yo Mama jokes” full with a smattering of curse phrases. Not like the unique Remembering the Kanji, KanjiDamage additionally tackles onyomi and kunyomi (simply so as to add to the enjoyable, there are at the very least two methods to learn every kanji).
For instance, take the kanji for king, 王, which is pronounced “oh.” The onyomi reminiscence help on KaniDamage is, “OH s***, right here comes the king!” The mnemonic for remembering the kanji itself is beneath. Remember the fact that they’re arguing that the Japanese image for king, 王, appears just like the kanji for one (一) on high of the kanji for earth (土).
“Think about some actually earnest man with a pamphlet telling you, there may be solely ONE REAL king on the entire earth. and his identify is JESUS F****** CHRIST.”
Elegant? No. Memorable? Sure. KanjiDamage additionally has an accompanying Anki flashcard deck that will help you in your profanity-laced studying journey.
Study Japanese Pronunciation with Speechling
So, is the easiest way to review Japanese symbols on paper or on-line? The reply is easy: the easiest way to review Japanese symbols is no matter works for you. If shopping for a e-book will enable you keep constant, do it. If making kanji research really feel like a recreation utilizing an app works higher, do this. For me, writing my very own flashcards on my pill has executed the trick. Simply preserve at it day by day, and you will notice progress!
After all, all these instruments are for studying kanji. I’m fortunate in that I grew up talking Japanese and am now simply attempting to atone for my studying, however for these of you who’re simply getting began, you’ll need to deal with spoken Japanese too. Speechling has a terrific library of weblog posts about Japanese that will help you, together with this one about utilizing Japanese lyrics to complement your research. And the easiest way to be taught Japanese pronunciation may simply be the Speechling studying app. So discover your excellent kanji research aide, obtain the Speechling app, and begin studying! 頑張れ!