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richmo_bill
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 8:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
皆さん、こんいちは!ビルといいます。宜しくお願いいたします。

I've been lurking for a bit and decided to join today.
I'm not sure there is any surefire way to quickly learn kanji, but speaking from my experience and learning method, I find the quickest way to learn kanji (kana for that manner) is to just read more. I live in Chicago and am blessed with a branch of Sanseido Japanese bookstore. I was able to get 国語 school books starting from pre-school to high school. The sooner that you can eliminate english and romaji from your Japanese learning the better. You'll start remembering the characters much faster by eliminating the english which your mind and subconcious will cling to
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richmo_bill
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 10:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
ごめんなさい!!間違えました!”こんにちは”といいたかったですよ。
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I do pretty well with this:



It has five different ways to look up kanji and three different indexes plus stroke order, frequency stats, and tons of compounds.

Also: The Kanji Pict-O-Graphix guy based a lot of his work on this book, which traces the kanji back to their original hieroglyphic forms.



Fascinating for all you etymology enthusiasts!
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2007 4:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Obenjo Kusanosuke wrote:

Just joking Nagaeyari, actually, most of us have counted strokes at one point or still do when it concerns kanji. This is the traditional way to look up kanji. You can count the total amount of strokes in the character, or you can count up the strokes in the "radical" and then search from there. Some of the more advanced versions of the Canon Wordtanks have this "stroke total" look-up option. As my current Think Wordtank is one of the cheaper versions, and I need to go "manual" for looking up a kanji character, I always go with my stalwart and massive hardcover version of Nelson's kanji dictionary. You can order it from Amazon and they have it for a pretty good price.


Fortunately, since I bought that beast, a smaller and much more portable soft-cover version has appeared on the market called creatively enough, The Compact New Nelson Japanese-English Character Dictionary. The "baby" Nelson dictionary is abridged but contains 3,068 main-entry characters--that's basically enough!


I bought the New Nelson kanji dictionary yesterday to search the meanings of the kanji I read on the NnY: Kakushin PK official website, and I absolutely love it. It's so very complete, almost everything is in this reference book! Wink

It allows me to understand the system of radicals and strokes, also.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2007 4:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Glad you like it! Very Happy
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2007 5:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Obenjo Kusanosuke wrote:
Glad you like it! Very Happy


Well, the kanji are so small, I almost need a magnifying glass to see enough of the kanji to recognize and dissecate the radicals.

However, this will allow me to play NoY: Kakushn in due time if I do the research painstakingly. Just Kidding
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AJBryant
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2007 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Here's a hint -- don't learn KANJI.

Learn WORDS.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2007 3:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Agree. Learning words is what forces you to learn their associated kanji.
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ltdomer98
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2007 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
It's better to start with words, to have a base. But I'd argue that it helps to learn kanji as kanji as well, because then (not as often, but often enough) you can figure out the word. Maybe not everyday vocab, but place/person names, you're going to know the kanji before you know the word.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2007 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
My thing is, when you learn a new word, learn how it's spelled. That's what students learning Chinese have to do.


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ltdomer98
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2007 4:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Agree completely. But at the same time, you have to learn the letters so you can piece together words you've never seen, and at least have an idea of what they mean.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2007 4:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
True. Very true.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2007 2:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
when you try to read a Japanese text on the internet, it is most likely you don't know all the kanji writen in it.
this is what I use:
it's a plugin for mozilla firefox, and is called "rikaichan".
just by hovering the kanji with your mouse, a box with the kana writing and a translation pops up. It realy fastens up the reading of a japanese text online.

here's the download link: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/2471
and the dictionaries for the add-on can be downloaded overhere: http://rikaichan.mozdev.org/
or http://www.polarcloud.com/rikaichan/.

I think it's damn usefull for the learners of Japanese among us.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 06, 2010 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
So, it's been about 3 years, and since there has been a lot of thread necromancy, I thought I'd ask - what is the best electronic dictionary NOW, 3 years after the last time we talked about it?
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Tornadoes28
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 06, 2010 9:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I know you have asked about opinions of current electronic dictionaries but I wanted to also add my opinion of Google Translate. Before you mock I want to say for what it is, it is not bad. And since I have been using Google Translate for at least a couple years or so, I have noticed that it has improved. I use Google's Chrome browser and within the last several weeks Google has incorporated their Translator into the browser and it works pretty well. When translating websites I have a pretty good idea of what the content is and what is being said and it seems to have improved over the last year or so.

It is still somewhat primitive but to me it is becoming a more and more useful tool. There is even talk from Google of a mobile translator that will translate spoken words. Frickin Star Trek but someday it will probably happen.

What are the opinions here of Google Translate?
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 2:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
mock mock...who's there...oh, it's Tornadoes. Just Kidding

Google Translate is IMHO leaps and bounds ahead of Babble Fish, but has room for improvement. I will use it when I am too lazy to go and look something up on my super-mega cool Canon Wordtank (that replaced my cheapie version). But honestly, if I am really stuck and want to actually "learn" the word or kanji that is messing with my head, I go look it up on the wordtank (which can take time trying to input the kanji but helps me better remember it later) or will copy and paste the bad boy character/word into Jim Breen's online E/J dictionary.

Anyway, the bottom line is if you are relying on Google Translate to look at Japanese sites and to read about J-history, it will be about as accurate as a NHK taiga drama that tells you that Naoe Kanetsugu and Uesugi Kagekatsu fought in Korea and that Kanetsugu personally rescued Ieyasu's grand-daughter from Osaka Castle and returned her to an over-joyed Ieyasu and Hidetada. Get the picture? Wink
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ltdomer98
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 2:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
For surfing websites, nothing beats Firefox with Rikaichan. You just turn it on and run your mouse over the word. Nothing could be easier.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 3:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
ltdomer98 wrote:
For surfing websites, nothing beats Firefox with Rikaichan. You just turn it on and run your mouse over the word. Nothing could be easier.
For those of you who use Microsoft's Internet Explorer, if you use a Google toolbar, you can do the same thing that Domer just described.
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Tornadoes28
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 7:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Obenjo Kusanosuke wrote:
Anyway, the bottom line is if you are relying on Google Translate to look at Japanese sites and to read about J-history, it will be about as accurate as a NHK taiga drama that tells you that Naoe Kanetsugu and Uesugi Kagekatsu fought in Korea and that Kanetsugu personally rescued Ieyasu's grand-daughter from Osaka Castle and returned her to an over-joyed Ieyasu and Hidetada. Get the picture? Wink


Got it. Don't worry, I do not use it for that because I figure it would be even less accurate than a taiga.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 7:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Ok, now that the little google interlude is over, back to the original question. Rolling Eyes

Since it's been 3 years since we last went over it, has the electronic dictionary technology improved? Any new, better recommendations?
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 8:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I love my wordtank V903 with Japanese, Chinese, English, voice examples and MP3. I can write kanji on the screen for searches as well when using kanjigen.

The Chinese comes in handy- both with the traditional and simplified features-- both for business and when I've researched a few terms on topics related to the Imjin War. The Chinese would probably also help with trying to understand older kanbun.

Only drawbacks: I prefer Kojien to the pre-loaded Super Daijirin on this model, but it isn't so bad. I'm just used to Kojien. The other minor drawback is that it is in monochrome and not in color like some of the others from Sharp have color and more multimedia features but that's what I have a smart phone for.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Please forgive me for interrupting your thread, but you guys all seem to be "old hands" with the Jp. language, so I'd like to solicit your honest opinion of my dilemma:

Can a person in midlife, making a motivated effort and in the presence of just enough native speakers to properly make a fool of themselves, actually learn to read, write, and/or speak Japanese? Is it worth it even to try? The person in question has above average skills in English, schooldaze French and Latin never seemed a problem, and Gregg shorthand (for those of you into prehistoric "dead" languages) was a piece of cake.

So would this be a productive venture? How realistic is it to aspire to reading Jp. history from primary sources in, say, 5-10 years? I'm not talking about just being able to find the obenjo in the airport. Let the opinions rip--I'm prepared to "eat bitter."

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
It's easier if you already know a second language because you already know how to learn and process a non-native language, but anyway, reading and writing are sort of separate from speaking and listening - you don't really need someone else in the room with you. It is also far easier to learn to understand a foreign language than to speak it, because listening is a passive skill, speaking is an active skill. So I think one could learn to read and understand spoken Japanese at any age if they put their mind to it. Speaking takes more effort, and regardless of age, it is a skill that some people never seem to really master. You have to be a bit of a perfectionist and a bit of an intellectual - or at least have a drive to master intellectual tasks. Not everyone has that, and so they stay marginal; they are happy with less.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 10:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Quote:
Since it's been 3 years since we last went over it, has the electronic dictionary technology improved? Any new, better recommendations?


I am still using my Sharp e-dictionary - now eight years old. I keep thinking I should update but we have got used to each other now. I suppose a screen to write unknown kanji on would be useful and rikaichan sounds brilliant but I have a feeling that having to look kanji up by radical and stroke count, time consuming as it is, actually helps me remember them better.

Quote:
Can a person in midlife, making a motivated effort and in the presence of just enough native speakers to properly make a fool of themselves, actually learn to read, write, and/or speak Japanese? Is it worth it even to try?


I decided to learn Japanese when I was in my 50s. I thought it would give me something to occupy me for my remaining years, as well as maybe preventing senility. I did some classes but I live in the country so mostly I have taught myself. I can now read pretty fluently - for instance I can read a Murakami novel (just finished the first two books of 1Q84) and I read quite a lot of Japanese history books, RG and so on. I read at a much higher level than I speak, mainly for want of practice, though I have found native speakers around here who are kind enough to converse with me. And I've been to Japan many times.

I think what helped me was having already studied French and Spanish for many years so as Kitsuno says I understood the mechanics of grammar etc and having a strong visual memory which seems to me to be essential for kanji. (I've known other people who have simply given up.) I am highly motivated (read obsessive) so I suppose that helps too. But I would certainly encourage you to go for it. It can be done. It's taken me about ten years to get to this level - I found that depressing to start with as I had mastered other languages in less time, but it makes such a difference to learn when you are young. I don't know how much I could read in primary sources without more help - I don't understand enough about classical Japanese though I am trying to study that now. I would love to take classes in it and am thinking about looking for some.

It is definitely worth trying. It's given me some of the greatest intellectual satisfaction in my life and I think it opens up new pathways in the brain that actually improve all-round spatial intelligence. (But sometimes it's head-bangingly frustrating.)
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ltdomer98
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 10:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Owarikenshi wrote:
Can a person in midlife, making a motivated effort and in the presence of just enough native speakers to properly make a fool of themselves, actually learn to read, write, and/or speak Japanese? Is it worth it even to try?


Absolutely.

You get all sorts of linguistic study nonsense that tells you that kids learn languages faster than adults. I think that's bull. A child is limited by brain development and how much they can absorb and exposed to; an adult chooses their amount of exposure, has a fully developed brain, AND already has one language to which they can relate the 2nd language.

Quote:
How realistic is it to aspire to reading Jp. history from primary sources in, say, 5-10 years? I'm not talking about just being able to find the obenjo in the airport. Let the opinions rip--I'm prepared to "eat bitter."


Quite realistic if you put effort into it. It requires a lot of effort. My problem is that I'm lazy. Embarassed
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