Thursday, December 10, 2009

Facebook Response: Japanese Kanji Are Difficult to Memorize

This is a response to a friend I have on Facebook. I am just going to summarize the statement. He basically said at one point he memorized 600+ Kanji and have forgotten them. There are some key points I would like to address: this guy is bilingual like me except his Japanese is better than mine. I have a deep understanding, but by far he is conversationally fluent except for some instances with economic or medical terminology. A little background on him: his schedule is intense at times with working in the IT field. It is also at graves too. Sometimes he works 12-16 hours.

I think the best thing to do with that schedule is study during the breaks. I use short books like Read Real Japanese during my 15s. We have extended holiday hours so my study time has also kind of short. Since he has a since of fluidity already, I would basically go with half a Kanji lesson to 1 a day. Since 250 Essential Kanji volumes 1-2 are heavy books to lug around, I would probably use something a little more portable, but definitely get the writing time in. You can also use the website which has the Kanji broken up into various levels for the JLPT. Probably the perfect books would be Kanji drill series. (漢字ドリル) Since I have other things for the JLPT to study for (i.e. grammar and listening) I use the 1000plus Kanji books 1 and 2.

I know how difficult it is to memorize different Kanji. In fact I try not to. What I do instead is either read them in context, memorize radicals, or try to consistently write out example sentences. I also try to real as much natural Japanese as possible so I do not come off as sounding too text bookish. If any one else has anything they wish to leave a comment providing additional information, please feel free to do so.