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    Seeing as in order to learn the kanji, you need to learn their sounds which are more often than not written in kana, I'd say kana is what you want to learn first. Plus there are thousands upon thousands of kanji, some of which aren't even used that frequently anymore. With the kana, there are 96 characters in total, 48 for both katakana and hiragana, many of which are quite similar.

    I really suggest learning the kana first for this reason, as the complexity and sheer amount of kanji is overwhelming enough as it is even without knowing the basic 'alphabets'. Though of course you'll probably be picking up kanji here and there whilst learning kana anyway. Remember when we learnt hiragana at GCSE I'd already managed to pick up the commonly used 'watashi' and 'mizu' kanji just from seeing them so often in textbooks and on worksheets.

    I really recommend flashcards though, either physical or online, they've always been a massive help for me in terms of learning kanji, kana and vocab ^^
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    Anyone here on WaniKani? I registered there this morning.
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    (Original post by miser)
    Anyone here on WaniKani? I registered there this morning.
    I am registered a few days ago. I'm Bambirina on there as well. What do you think of it so far?


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    (Original post by Japanesesensi)
    I just think its best to tackle the bigger obsticale first. It doesn't really make a difference what order it's done in though it all needs to be learnt.
    Not really. Learning the kanji (whatever that means exactly) takes years, it took me 2 years to get to a point where I can read ~70-80% of the kanji I come across in everyday life. Learning the kana can take 2 days if you are determined, 2 weeks if you really take it easy.

    If you want someone to be encouraged to study the language, do you really think it's better than they are illiterate for 2 years rather than spending 2 weeks and be able to read anything in Japanese that isn't kanji (and even then there are books and browser apps that add furigana to kanji).

    Plus, learning kanji is very important but I know many people who can speak Japanese very very well and can write great Japanese prose in hiragana/katakana but their kanji knowledge is probably less than a Japanese primary school student. So kanji is not vital at all until you reach a certain level, or if you have a certain goal of literacy.
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    (Original post by miser)
    Anyone here on WaniKani? I registered there this morning.
    I am, but I've been really lax. Registered earlier this year and been on it about 3 times . Need to get back on it
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    (Original post by JamesR1993)
    Anyone going for any of the JLPT tests in the coming term/year? Might go for JLPT 5, dependent on how intense my second year of university is.
    I might try JLPT 1, depending on how much time I have.


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    (Original post by miser)
    Anyone here on WaniKani? I registered there this morning.
    (Original post by Bambirina)
    I am registered a few days ago. I'm Bambirina on there as well. What do you think of it so far?
    How long after registering did it take before you got access to it? I just put my email in on the front page.
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    (Original post by Bambirina)
    I am registered a few days ago. I'm Bambirina on there as well. What do you think of it so far?


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    I only did the very first lesson - learning about 20 radicals. I really like it - and I love the site design. I was previously doing RTK but I'm considering just treating that as a sunk cost and going straight to WaniKani. I will have to spend some time learning how to write the kanji afterwards though. I'm very appreciative that it includes readings as well, which RTK didn't offer (or well it sort of does, but awkwardly).

    (Original post by Cll_ws)
    How long after registering did it take before you got access to it? I just put my email in on the front page.
    It took 2 days for me. I'm not sure how typical that is.
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    (Original post by x.Charlotte)
    I have been studying Japanese and its culture for 2 years now and im loving it

    I start the GCSE Japanese Course in September... I cant wait, But i got to refresh my writing skills over the holidays.
    Hey could please give details on how to start the japanese GCSE course
    Thanks in advance!!
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    (Original post by Japanesesensi)
    It doesn't really make a difference what you learn first. It's just fact is kana is used much less frequently then the kanji. So in the long run learning kanji first helps more.
    "Here's a dictionary. Learn all the words. You can learn the alphabet after."

    This method is only even remotely some form of an idea if you have a lot of time to do kanji and you're not actually going to be reading or looking at Japanese for a long time.

    Which, if you're seriously trying to learn a language, is the complete opposite of beneficial.
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    Well, let's consider first that as a language with a morphographic script (i.e. kanji), learning kanji is vitally important for literacy skills. You can learn how to speak Japanese without knowing how to write in it. I wouldn't suggest it.

    The kana are purely phonetic scripts, and in no form of Japanese literature other than young children's books will you find reading material written entirely in hiragana. For anything more complex, pure hiragana is practically incomprehensible considering the abundance of homophones/homonyms in Japanese. It would be idle to expect efficient learning to come from memorising vocabulary in kana unless they're words usually written in kana, and these words will take up a much smaller percentage of your lexicon relative to two-kanji compounds (~70% of the language) and mixed vocabulary (kanji and hiragana).

    That said, it seems to me that either order of learning will make no difference to your progress, but it's important that learners know BOTH fairly well before focusing most of their energies on grammar, reading and listening (recognition skills), and eventually more speaking and writing (production/output). Kanji requires a much bigger time investment than kana, so it needs the most attention.

    Someone on a previous page asked what it meant to "know" a kanji. I'm just a language student myself but I'll attempt to give an overview of the necessary skills for morphographic literacy:

    - writing competence. Knowing how to write the individual components of kanji, i.e. radicals or 部首 'bushou', and using that skill to memorise individual characters

    - farmiliarity with individual characters -- completing RTK for instance serves this purpose and this purpose alone; knowing how to write kanji intuitively with the correct stroke order (there are many other valid alternatives to RTK, it's just what I did personally). RTK done correctly (with visual mnemonics) won't give you a very good idea of what many characters mean, because you only use "keywords" that are meant to prime you for writing out the kanji. It would be wise to quit RTK once you've got a foothold of:

    - morphological families (see the link above): there are seemingly 9 ways in which kanji can combine to form new meaning, training your recognition of morphological families will improve reading skills and establish more accurate semantic connections to individual kanji (something RTK cannot do). Here's an Anki deck for this purpose: https://ankiweb.net/shared/info/3138861285

    None of this includes readings (pronouncing words) from kanji, which naturally contributes to "knowing" kanji as well. There are some good resources to get a hold of audio and embed it into the above Anki deck but it's lengthy, so if anyone wants to know just ask and I'd be glad to help.

    This is only a fraction of what it takes to acquire practical control of the Japanese language. Vocabulary is not enough, you need to know correct pitch accent and grammar, which in turn requires study of your own language as a frame of reference to understanding Japanese. Grammar is not enough, you need to know when native Japanese interpret utterances in a way that seems unintuitive to non-native speakers based on translation and lexical intereference from your English-thinking brain, something that translations often cannot provide (especially in modern Japanese fiction). Knowing all of the above concepts is not enough either, you need time and continuous enjoyable exposure and patience to surpass a stage of explicit "decoding" from Japanese to English to Meaning and acquire all of this knowledge implicitly and procedurally, that is, go straight from Japanese > Meaning and Meaning > Japanese, with no help from English. Everyone experiences glimpses of implicit control rather quickly, but it will take many years to reach a stage of overall mastery.

    /weird outburst

    p.s. I acknowledge that I'm just a beginner, and I'm frequently discovering more about Japanese practically every day, which happens to change my perspective of many things almost as frequently.

    I suppose what's even more fundamental than an effective study method is an intrinsic motivation to learn (it will take years of your time and attention), one that makes it impossible for you to lose interest, and disdain any frame of mind that makes quitting a worthwhile option. It's the same with all passions, I suppose.
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    (Original post by Fan service)
    x
    Excellent post! Thanks for sharing.
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    I'm enjoying Wanikani so far. The long waits between reviews and lessons are annoying when you're eager to learn more, but it doesn't force to much on you at once which is probably the most effective way of doing it.

    Some of the stories are a little weird, especially when they purposefully misspell the pronunciation for the sake of the story. Like in the story to remember the reading for the number Three (さん) they used the word Son, presumably because it sounds quite a lot like San, but surely that could lead to people picturing the word Son and then pronouncing it that way instead? Obviously that's quite an easy one and you can probably remember it without the story, but for the more difficult ones maybe...

    But other than that it's really good. It's a useful thing to have alongside what you're doing in your own time. Something to test you every few hours to make sure that you're remembering everything.
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    (Original post by Fan service)
    Well, let's consider first that as a language with a morphographic script (i.e. kanji), learning kanji is vitally important for literacy skills. You can learn how to speak Japanese without knowing how to write in it. I wouldn't suggest it.

    The kana are purely phonetic scripts, and in no form of Japanese literature other than young children's books will you find reading material written entirely in hiragana. For anything more complex, pure hiragana is practically incomprehensible considering the abundance of homophones/homonyms in Japanese. It would be idle to expect efficient learning to come from memorising vocabulary in kana unless they're words usually written in kana, and these words will take up a much smaller percentage of your lexicon relative to two-kanji compounds (~70% of the language) and mixed vocabulary (kanji and hiragana).

    That said, it seems to me that either order of learning will make no difference to your progress, but it's important that learners know BOTH fairly well before focusing most of their energies on grammar, reading and listening (recognition skills), and eventually more speaking and writing (production/output). Kanji requires a much bigger time investment than kana, so it needs the most attention.
    I disagree with your statement that the order makes no difference. All Japanese writing past around 1900, and basically everything you'd ever encounter in day to day life, contains hiragana and katakana. Even if it has lots of kanji, it still has kana. Particles, okurigana, grammatical parts of speech, onomatopoeia, foreign words, words with rare kanji, many adverbs... all require the use and understanding of kana. More than this, every word in Japanese, no matter how hard or difficult the kanji associated with it - can be written in kana. You even see Japanese people who can't remember how to write a word in kanji giving up and writing it in kana.

    Kana is absolutely vital to Japanese literacy and what's more, it's so easy to learn and you write literally ANYTHING you can say in Japanese with it. Even English doesn't have an alphabet as logical as that. The idea of learning kanji before you've learnt the kana (which are really simple) is just absurd if you have any intention of continuing to study Japanese in the future.
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    When it comes to the order of learning, whilst there is no set order, i would suggest starting with hiragana then moving onto katakana and then kanji because it is vital you understand the kana, so when you find a kanji that you can't read, you can identify meaning through the radicals and the sounding through furigana.
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    (Original post by atheistwithfaith)
    [...]
    It may be hasty to suppose a disagreement; consider what I meant as learning them together, sequentially or simultaneously.

    I'd wrote with the complete beginner in mind, someone who without knowledge of both elements of the Japanese writing system will find themselves with little accessible material to advance with. Kana doesn't particularly need any formal time dedicated to it (i.e. doodling the scripts on a notepad, reciting the syllabary at random: explicit acquisition is essentially instant), and I think it's important in any case to spend a few weeks or months to acquire kanji writing and recognition skills. Inevitably, in one way or another, they lead the way towards introductory grammar and vocabulary. By all means have a look at a few grammar guides and vocabulary lists during, but it would be counterproductive to have them detract from the prevous tasks, which simply establish some autonomous control over the latter
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    (Original post by Cll_ws)
    I'm enjoying Wanikani so far. The long waits between reviews and lessons are annoying when you're eager to learn more, but it doesn't force to much on you at once which is probably the most effective way of doing it.

    Some of the stories are a little weird, especially when they purposefully misspell the pronunciation for the sake of the story. Like in the story to remember the reading for the number Three (さん) they used the word Son, presumably because it sounds quite a lot like San, but surely that could lead to people picturing the word Son and then pronouncing it that way instead? Obviously that's quite an easy one and you can probably remember it without the story, but for the more difficult ones maybe...

    But other than that it's really good. It's a useful thing to have alongside what you're doing in your own time. Something to test you every few hours to make sure that you're remembering everything.

    (Original post by miser)
    I only did the very first lesson - learning about 20 radicals. I really like it - and I love the site design. I was previously doing RTK but I'm considering just treating that as a sunk cost and going straight to WaniKani. I will have to spend some time learning how to write the kanji afterwards though. I'm very appreciative that it includes readings as well, which RTK didn't offer (or well it sort of does, but awkwardly).


    It took 2 days for me. I'm not sure how typical that is.

    (Original post by Squaresquirrel)
    I am, but I've been really lax. Registered earlier this year and been on it about 3 times . Need to get back on it
    I have been using Wanikani for about 8 months.
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    (Original post by Juichiro)
    I have been using Wanikani for about 8 months.
    Nice, what level have you got to?
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    Just received my Genki I textbook as workbook. So excited to start ! and it's nice to receive stuff from Japan ..


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    For the sake of completeness, and because I've never had anyone to talk to about learning Japanese, I want to spew more of my personal experiences here. Truthfully, it comes down to wanting to help other people progress as quickly and effectively as possible, without affecting the enjoyability of the learning process. I hope people gain something from my humouring myself lol...

    Learning some kanji/memorising the kana is the very first step (at least it's the first quantitative milestone). I strongly think it should be done as quickly as possible. I 'learnt' 3000 kanji in about 3 months, long enough to have written each character dozens of times, but not too long to have dragged it out. Show and tell: I continued reviewing these kanji for another 2 months, then quit RTK the very moment I had a grasp of reading and listening comprehension. It'll be a nice piece of memorabilia, whatever you choose to practice writing kanji on.

    WaniKani looks very promising. It says it gives you the kanji meanings so it may be superior to RTK on that front. However, learning a significant amount of vocabulary before learning how words can be used may be putting the cart before the horse.In general, memorising words takes secondary priority to memorising the semantics of phrase and clause level constructs (i.e. grammar and top-down concepts). The words used in them can be actively memorised later.

    The reason I wouldn't advise spending more than ~3-5 months on something like RTK/WaniKani is because it merely teaches learners how to instinctively write kanji (and give a faint impression of their meaning), but this farmiliarity mustn't be understated. Doesn't everyone want to get to the 'real' Japanese as soon as possible?

    That said, research on Japanese linguistics has been the most enlightening resource for me, more so than popular grammar guides like Tae Kim's, Nihongoresources' guide and the Dictionaries of Japanese Grammar. Research on tense and aspect in Japanese is extremely instructive, becuase these concepts are among the most unintuitive elements of Japanese. Likewise, -te iru and Japanese verb transitivity requires a significant amount of explicit study in English. I'm confident there are more worth mentioning, but these are by far the most prominent.

    I suppose this knowledge won't be fully appreciated until actually acquiring it. Examples of their importance in iKnow's Core 2000 series...

    少し疲れました。
    I'm a little tired.

    This sentence has a present tense interpretation. Sentences as simple as this will frequently seem confusing if you haven't studied the above research. It's vital. Another example where basic grammar guides are insufficient...

    日曜日は図書館に行きます。
    I go to the library on Sundays.

    Here, the translation of 行く gives this sentence a present/habitual interpretation, when in fact it's ambiguous. See:

    土曜日の夜はクラブに行きます。
    I'm going to a club Saturday night.

    As if chosen arbitrarily, this one has a future tense translation. The full semantic scope of -ru and -ta needs to be understood so ambiguity such as this is recognised before having read any translations at all. Relying on English translations to decode the semantics of Japanese sentences simply begs for confusion and unnecessary frustration.

    This stuff will pay huge dividens to your rate of progress, particularly in reading comprehension, once you have the grammar and vocabulary base to read native material. I have a lot of light novels in text format, and for android users, having https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...z.mobile&hl=en makes them wonderful to read on the go. I can share them if anyone would like them (e.g. Haruhi Suzumiya series, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Bakemonogatari series etc...)

    For pre-productive control of spoken Japanese, I highly recommend these Japanese audio lessons. You don't really need any background knowledge at all to start using these to your benefit (there's a "long grammar guide" detailing all of the lessons' contents that can be printed for convenience), but do not let anything slow you down during RTK/WaniKani. Get it done asap, and above all, have fun doing it. The real fun hasn't even begun yet :P

    Short descriptions of the above links...

    http://kimallen.sheepdogdesign.net/Japanese/ - "Japanese for the Western Brain". This site points English-speaking learners in the right direction.

    Comprehensive research on tense and aspect:
    http://hasegawa.berkeley.edu/Papers/Hasegawa99.pdf
    http://books.google.co.uk/books/abou...d=9LqLwiAi1aYC

    I know the latter isn't free, but I intend to kanjify the romaji example sentences in it and produce an Anki deck some time this year that I'll share on ankiweb.

    http://homepage3.nifty.com/park/aspect.htm - study of "V-て いる"
    http://d-scholarship.pitt.edu/13499/...eisui_2012.pdf - impressively thorough study on transitive and intransitive verbs in Japanese.

    http://www.japaneseaudiolessons.com/ - Japanese "audio flashcard" lessons, focusing on speaking production ability, frequently neglected. It seems to be the only resource of its kind as far as I'm aware.
 
 
 
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