View Full Version : Does writing out the kanji help you memorize them better?

Jody Holeton
24th June 2002, 23:01
Dear all,

I have heard conflicting reports about this!

Would you all mind taking a poll AND writing about some of your study strategies?

Thanks! Any input would be appreciated--Jody Holeton

24th June 2002, 23:23

In my experience, simply studying them by the rote/writing alone is not sufficient for most people.

Simply learning each kanji and it's readings is not enough, you need to study them in context.
The Kanji Dicitionary I listed gives many unusual readings and meanings of the Kanji as well as list a lot of word and names that use them.

Japanese hasn't got that many rules, but many execptions to the rules and exceptions to the exceptions.
So simply learning a few grammar and Kanji rules and the Characters themselves will slow you down.
Also Written and spoken Japanese differ, the tests often have kanji and words that are hardly used anymore and if so ONLY in writing and hardly in everyday life.

My Sensei keeps pointing out which words in the books are good to remember and which are best forgotten( hardly used by Japanese themselves).
She also sez that if we study too fast, we will forget Kanji we learned in the beginning as we cannot read/write enough to fix them into memory.

P.S.: Work on a 2~3 year plan to learn them all.

Jody Holeton
25th June 2002, 00:11
Dear Red!

Ya know, the more I talk to you the more I think you AREN'T KAMIYAMA!!!!!:D

Thanks for the input!! I think one of the best courses of action would be for me to do an intensive program for 3 months PRIOR to getting my 1Q.

Right now, I'm thinking:
Initially review all the kanji from the kanjisite.com. Review all the kanji from 4Q, 3Q and whatever they have for 2Q. After a few weeks of review (to get my schema working) I will start writing and flashcarding.

Start reviewing "A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar" (by Makino and Tsutsui) and its intermediate counterpart.

Get myself a free conversation partner 2X a week where I can work on my trouble areas.

Watch TV (especially the news) and try my hand at some manga...

Get the 4Q-2Q study guides and try and dig up a 3Q test and even a 2Q one for practice.

WHat do you all think?

Is that a 3 year plan?
3Q looks really doable right now BUT 2Q........

Thanks again RED!

25th June 2002, 06:32
Of course everyone learns differently, but I feel that writing them out a bunch when you first learn a character can be very useful. However I would definately agree that that alone is not enough and you will quickly forget them if you don't continue to re-enforce them via other methods. Obviously finding a good book and working through it and having a designated study pattern is very important. However it is important to make use of those little blocks of time we all have where we just plan old aren't doing anything.

If you live in Japan your possiblities are endless, especially when you are dealing with the 2kyu kanji (which I know you are from the other thread). I find that transit time is a great chance for review and general study. Carry flashcards with you and review them while you are riding the train somewhere (I have a Canon Wordtank which has a flashcard feature so I can just pull that guy out and study). Also actually try and read all the advertisments around you on the train. Manga can be ok, but it really depends on the genre of manga you are reading. The younger "Jump" type stuff is fun to read and has the readings all written out for you, but often you end up relying on the readings too much. Also most manga is written in the style of how people actually talk, so while it may be great for your Japanese in general, it might not be all that useful for studying for kyu test material. Be annoying and refuse to speak English unless it is a situation where you have to (work, etc). Write email in Japanese. Write letters in Japanese. Keep a dairy in Japanese. Go hang out in Japanese chat rooms. Watch Japanese TV. Read Japanese books on subjects you are really into 8for example Budo books). Listen to books on tape. Get one of those 365 day calendars with some words of wisdom for each day and try and figure out the day's saying while you brush your teeth. Go hang out in bars (and avoid the ones that all the other gaijin always hang out in). Basically the goal is to try and integrate Japanese into your daily life as much as is possible. And don't forget to review frequently. Also keep in mind that as time goes by and your skill level progresses you will probably find that how you learn and remember things will change and you will out grow certain methods that worked well before. Don't be afraid to experiment and, most importantly, don't stop.

More rambling tips,
Rennis Buchner

25th June 2002, 14:27
Hi all.
Iagree with Rennis's points about 'total immersion' if and when at all possible..If the brain learns to think constantly 'in Japanese' as it were it makes the learning process a hell of a lot easier to get over.
Personally I have also found that it helps me to try and memorize the Kanji by reading something in Japanese that is in context with my own interests....Read; Martial arts. I find that my ability to retain the 'image' of the kanji is often pushed along by remembering the way it formed the sentences in the Budo books that I read (Hiden mgazine is a good start for this)...Although this method obviously cannot help you learn all the varied Kanji it does help to kickstart the 'I WANT to do this' process that I need in order to learn things well.
Of course, I guess it all depends on your own way to pick things up...I like to write the Kanji as my brain memorizes images far better than sounds or ideas but others are different in the way they learn the best.
Personally...I would write them as much as is possible and try to keep the in mind as much as possible...Get used to the images and they become a more natural thing for you to remember...IMHO.
Abayo. And good luck!