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What ways have you learned to fluently read Japanese? - UniLang

What ways have you learned to fluently read Japanese?

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jonathan
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What ways have you learned to fluently read Japanese?

Postby jonathan » 2005-07-07, 23:45

I can read through Hiragana and Katakana, but still struggle very much with Kanji. I used to know maybe up to 100 at one time, but because I do not actively read, I can say that sadly now I'd probably only be confident in reading 20-30!!

So what are your success methods in learning Kanji and learning to read Japanese texts? Do you just practice reading all the time with a dictionary by your side? Are there any awesome resources/books on learning to read and memorize Kanji better?

ありがとう〜
Jonathan / ジョナサン / 조나단 / 乔纳森 / Giònata / Jônatas / Jonatã / Jonathas / Jonátan / โจนาธาน / Jónatan

中文的名字:天礼

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Postby Javier » 2005-07-08, 7:31

Hi bluepxl,

To get fluency in reading japanese, the non-native face two problems : kanji, and new vocabulary. One way is to learn both at the same time, but that's the hard way, I mean, pick any text, and start with the dictionary to discover new words and kanji.

For me it works to follow the same way kids learn - first speak it, then learn to read, have the words in mind, and then later discover the kanji used to write them it is easier.

How to do it? Get any text (for kids much better - don't chose economy or politics ;)) then copy it into JWP for example, or use Rikai to annotate it. In those softwares you can for example change everything to kana *except* the kanji list you have chosen, so finally you get a similar text kids use to learn kanji. a complete japanese page, but only with the kanjis used in the first grade. Then you can focus only in new vocabulary and only a limited set of kanji.

Browse this for some kid's texts:

http://www.google.com/Top/Kids_and_Teens/International/Japanese/

and look for tools in the Jim Breen's japanese page, a must for every japanese learner :)

http://www.csse.monash.edu.au/~jwb/japanese.html

Later, when you have more fluency, you can also try in print "Read real japanese" for example, are selecte japanese texts, with the new kanjis and difficult words alredy explained.

Good luck.
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Javier
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Postby Javier » 2005-07-08, 8:41

kids.goo.ne.jp is also nice for starters because you find furigana everywhere, so you can see how the kanji is read.

also there is an option to enable furigana or not ふりがなあり/ふりがななし and most of the texts are kids texts,

you can focus on reading japanese, do not need to look how to read kanjis, you'll learn more words (use www.rikai.com for a online japanese-english annotation), and you will in the mean time pick some kanjis.

You can also try reading then without furigana.
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Postby Rounin » 2005-07-09, 23:50

There is an additional problem encountered when learning kanji that's nearly absent with hanzi and hanja: All the different non-Chinese readings. Personally I know a few hundered kanji, somewhere in the range of 300-900, and I still can't read shit beyond "hi" and "where's the beer"?

One strategy I've decided to try is reading texts on the web using the plugin RikaiXUL which lets you look up words from Mozilla Firefox, and hope that in time I'll learn to recognise the words that I've read without looking them up.

Oh, and by the way, when you eventually get very confident, you should consider checking out Aozora Bunkou ( http://aozora.gr.jp/ ), a great collection of Japanese literature whose copyright has expired. The texts are invariably very old, but some are even readable to me using RikaiXUL, for instance the revised kanji version of Souseki Natsume's "Wagahai ha neko de aru."

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Postby Omoidebanashi » 2005-07-11, 7:05

[Double post. Gomen nasai.]
Last edited by Omoidebanashi on 2005-07-11, 7:11, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Omoidebanashi » 2005-07-11, 7:09

Heh yeah kids' texts are the way to go :). I visit kodomo asehi (http://www.asagaku.com/) infrequently and try to puzzle out the articles. Some are written for shoogakusei and some for chuugakusei, so you get different levels.

Also, I find an amount of ambient knowledge can be gained by creating your own resources. I've been using JWPce to tabulate the jooyoo kanji (http://www.csse.monash.edu.au/~jwb/jouyoukanji.html) - I've almost finished grade 3 - and I know most of the ones I've written up. I did try to make kanji flashcards, but because so much information is needed, they don't really work.

Everyone says it, so I'll say it as well: practice writing kanji lots. (Try to use the right stroke order. I guess I'm a small perfectionist like this, but even the most ignorant Chinese [OK, so it's a different language, BUT...] I've seen will get annoyed if you botch up stroke order. The program at http://wakan.manga.cz/ has stroke order.)

Use radicals to your advantage, too. SOMETIMES you can understand the meaning from how the phonetic and the radical combine, and quite often you'll see that two kanji with the same phonetic have similar on-yomi (thanks to the system Chinese was developed with).

And even if you don't retain many kanji for writing, you'll at least recognise most of them in context in what you read, so that's all good.

Hope that helps.

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Postby Skurai » 2005-10-24, 5:12

For me kanji is easy, I just look at the kanji and see a picture, then I think of a word and there, I've read it.
Well... that's just for me :D
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Postby BobMaster0 » 2005-10-24, 13:49

same here

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Postby Thom » 2005-12-14, 2:52

I don't know how the Heisig method is looked upon around this forum, but I've found it to be an incredible way to learn not only how to read and decipher the Kanji, but to also be able to write them from the very beginning. I'm working through his first book and am up to 510 Kanji, all of which I can write perfectly. Granted, I can't pronounce what I'm writing and I only know each of them by an English meaning... but I can always add in readings and compounds later. What it does for you is get you acquainted with around 2000 of the most common Kanji in a very short period of time, so there's no writing them over and over and over and trying desperately to memorize. With this method, it really kind of happens automatically.

I've only been working through it for a few weeks and, like I said, can recognize and write 510 Kanji.

You can read a review and even download the first part of the book in .pdf format here:

http://www.kanjiclinic.com/reviewheisigwiig.htm

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Re: What ways have you learned to fluently read Japanese?

Postby polishboy » 2008-12-18, 1:18

I can learn Japanese websites, I don't understand everything, but I think I am OK.
First I think you should not learn it "first hiriagana, then kanji", you should try at the same time.
The earlier you start to learn kanji, the better.
I myself when learning Japanese, was curoius abou some kanji, not displayed, so I checked them.
because i had had known some Chinese before.
So it was not enought for me that frog is カエル, I wanted to see the 蛙。
Also when I browse wikipedia, i am trying to learn new characters for fun.
means sturgeon.
And don't try to learn all reading of kanji!
learn only those useful!
or learn just one.
Treat it like fun.
for example when you see a word 韓国 you learn "this is read as kankoku, it means Korea, 韓 means Korea (older ethymology is different, it was some device maybe, but now it is used only when reffereing to Korea, 国 means country ".
And you know two meanings of characters, and two on readings, it may be slow going, but if you advance, you will have less and less to learn (because you will know characters already).

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Re: What ways have you learned to fluently read Japanese?

Postby Karavinka » 2008-12-21, 0:08

Given that you have a basic reading skill and a reasonably good oral comprehension, using audiobooks can be a great help. Sure, everything Japanese is damn expensive to order but there are free audiobook directories like ohanashipod.com, and you can find a corresponding source text on the aozora bunko. To me, it not only helps with the Kanji but Kana as well. (Well, I assume you all know Kana, but how fast do you read Kana, compared to Latin?... I found many people overlooking this.)
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Re: What ways have you learned to fluently read Japanese?

Postby cumberbatch » 2013-06-24, 12:59

You just have to keep on reading. But make sure it's something you are interested in, for example, Harry Potter in Japanese.
Also, this website might be of help: http://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/easy/
This contains news in Japanese and there are furigana to help you while reading. Enjoy! :)

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Re: What ways have you learned to fluently read Japanese?

Postby johnklepac » 2013-08-09, 2:36

I haven't been doing this for too long, but lately it's helped a lot: whenever you see kanji you don't know, look them up. Have flashcard decks that you review every so often. Eventually, even if you can't pronounce everything you'll get the general meaning.

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Re: What ways have you learned to fluently read Japanese?

Postby chostakovitch » 2014-01-10, 11:33

For me, it's gotta be playing voiced visual novels. It's just like listening to dramas/CDs, but better, since you are the one who's controlling how the story play out. You can hear whatever is being said and even when there are some parts that aren't voiced, the characters would kindly repeat what you just said sometimes. I learned so many kanji from playing VNs in a year, it's crazy.

OR! You can use Rikai-kun/Rikai-chan. It's an addon to your browser and it helps you understand how to read Kanji when you hover over them. Pretty useful if you read a lot of web articles, I'd say.
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Re: What ways have you learned to fluently read Japanese?

Postby Karavinka » 2014-03-18, 12:31

chostakovitch wrote:For me, it's gotta be playing voiced visual novels. It's just like listening to dramas/CDs, but better, since you are the one who's controlling how the story play out. You can hear whatever is being said and even when there are some parts that aren't voiced, the characters would kindly repeat what you just said sometimes. I learned so many kanji from playing VNs in a year, it's crazy.

OR! You can use Rikai-kun/Rikai-chan. It's an addon to your browser and it helps you understand how to read Kanji when you hover over them. Pretty useful if you read a lot of web articles, I'd say.


This is so true, and I wish I had discovered them earlier when I was still in the learning phase... There are at least two VNs that are completely voiced, including the narration - Suzumiya Haruhi no Yakusoku and Toradora! Portable, both for PSP.
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Re: What ways have you learned to fluently read Japanese?

Postby locksleyu » 2014-04-13, 19:24

I've studied Japanese for around 15 years and can read an understand almost any type of Japanese, though my reading speed is much slower than English.

I think these are the two most important things to get fluent in reading:

1) Look up a word (or kanji) every time you find one you don't understand deeply. You can just try guess the meaning but unless you are natural in languages that won't be sufficient. Especially make sure you memorize the kanji readings for any word, so when you hear it spoken you can connect the meaning.

2) Take a huge chunk of time (months to years) to focus on grammar and memorize every grammar pattern/rule/construct you can find. Once you memorize the commonly used grammar constructions the only thing you have left is looking up individual words meaning which usually isn't that bad.
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