Friday, January 13, 2012

Tips for Kanji: On & Kun Reading

This blog is not about languages nor about Japanese but it IS about the experience I gained in different fields and Kanji happens to be one of them. So today I'll share my method in learning how to know the Kun from the On reading.

The most interesting thing about Japanese is Kanji. It's fun and difficult in the same thing. Learning the writing system is unique and none like other. It's not just letters and alphabets, it's specific drawings that have certain meaning that what makes it interesting.

Before starting with it, one needs a lot of tips and info about Kanji in general. I read many useful ones and figured out a method of my own. But first there's one important note, at the beginning it seems a real hard thing and as many believe it takes a long time to finish though it's true that it takes some time to learn almost an amount that makes you able to read Japanese but it's not a long time, depending on how much you study every day.

Here's a simple way I followed in learning kanji:

- Strokes: this is a good start, by repeating a certain kanji strokes order over and over again until you memorize it is the best way to keep it in your mind. The number of strokes doesn't matter much.

- Readings: when you learn a new kanji only memorize it's kun-reading, it will be easier this way since a kun-reading on it's own makes a meaning unlike on-reading which have more than one kanji with same reading.

- Useful kanji compounds: here where you'll find an easy way to remember the on-reading for a kanji. After learning one you should memorize some useful compounds of that kanji. Of course since it's a compound it will likely use on-reading. Now if you see a kanji you know it's kun-reading and for the on-reading all you have to do is remember any compound of it then the reading. It makes more sense this way because the Chinese reading is only a sound but when you relate it with a compound you know it's meaning will help to stick in your mind.

Though I'm still in the beginning I noticed something else about kanji. When reading a noun in kanji there will be two ways; either 1) kun - kun; or; 2) on - on. Kun can't come with On and same goes on the other way. Say that you saw a noun written in Japanese and wanted to read it. You will start with (on - on) since it's the rule, if you didn't understand the word then try (kun - kun). Of course, I just noticed this and as I said I'm still in the beginning.

Kanji is really easy and fun though it doesn't seem like it at the beginning. 


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