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How to learn 2,000 kanji in 2 months!


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An interesting personal challenge, if you're up for it! Benny the Irish Polyglot shares his technique to learn 2,000 kanji in 2 months! He says it is possible and I do not doubt him but take a look  for your selves!

http://www.fluentin3months.com/2k-kanji/

By 2,000 kanji, he is in fact referring to the 常用漢字 (Jouyou Kanji).

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I really like this blog, but I think this particular blog post boils down to "learn 23 kanji a day". I could use some more tips.

Also, I don't think Remembering the Kanji is a great book. It's nice for remembering what the kanji looks like and maybe the basic meaning, but it's pretty terrible when it comes to readings and it doesn't teach any compounds at all.

I know he's a genius polyglot and I'm pretty much nobody, but I don't think this method works for the majority of people who study Japanese.

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23 kanji a day? When I finally graduate from college and find a job somewhere, I may have time to focus and learn that many realistically. 2000 kanji in 60-90 days though? I may have to go somewhat slower than that, but I'm sure I can get the 2000 Jouyou kanji learned and memorized at a reasonable pace once I have less to worry about. I guess I could start learning now, but there's no way I'd be able to do 23 a day with my current schedule.

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Definitely a crash course meant for linguistic geniuses! Yes, memorizing all those kanji is no mean feat. I gather you have to have a natural photographic memory in the first place. Also, the complexity in Japanese compared with Chinese is that the same kanji can have different pronunciations depending on the context in which they are used and this will make learning them even more difficult!

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  • 1 year later...
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:confused: That's a really tall order. I'm having difficulty learning a hundred in a month! Of course, I have to blame my hectic and merciless schedule for that. I'm gonna read that site just to see if there are pieces of advice I can use to better my own language learning skills.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Sounds like a challenge. In my opinion, you'd need to be both dedicated and focused in order to do this, not to mention ambitious. You'd have to live for Kanji for those few months. I mean, it's possible - of course it's possible, but this task would require a strong will. Three months is an average time for a semester. I have eleven different subjects during that time and I am quite content. It's very diverse, keeps me occupied and learning different things. Last year, though, things were very different. I still had eleven subjects, just like this year, but I was practically ''living'' for one subject (it was very difficult and detailed). I'd managed, but I was under constant strain and pressure. I couldn't wait for it to be over and the rest of my subjects suffered. At times, the very thought of what awaits had me groaning.

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This guy is a polygot...meaning he is unnaturally gifted in learning languages. The average person cannot do something like that. Trust me, I've tried learning Japanese and know several brilliant people who did too, and that's on the side of brilliant!

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I don't think I could do it. At least, I wouldn't be able to learn the 2,000 kanji properly in such a small amount of time. There's still the stroke orders that I have trouble with too! I don't have the time to sit down and learn the stroke order, kanji itself, and it's meaning 23 times in a day. If you go by the repetition method, then even longer. My pace is much slower but I'm sure I'll remember them more easily by taking my time with it. Though, everyone learns differently. Others probably learn Japanese more easily by learning it quickly. As for me, it depends on the language.

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I don't think I could do it. At least, I wouldn't be able to learn the 2,000 kanji properly in such a small amount of time. There's still the stroke orders that I have trouble with too! I don't have the time to sit down and learn the stroke order, kanji itself, and it's meaning 23 times in a day. If you go by the repetition method, then even longer. My pace is much slower but I'm sure I'll remember them more easily by taking my time with it. Though, everyone learns differently. Others probably learn Japanese more easily by learning it quickly. As for me, it depends on the language.

Now this is much more realistic. Learning 23 new symbols a day is not that difficult - but learning their meaning along with the stroke order makes it more complex. I am still learning Hiragana and I'm taking it slow, because I want to do it properly. When I've tried the Kanji, though, just a few of symbols which kept repeating themselves in simple sentences, I started having problems. As I said before, this feat would require a lot of focus, dedication and ambition.

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It's interesting, but learning over 2,000 kanji within three months would be difficult. Also, the author makes a good point: even if you learn all of the kanji within three months, it doesn't mean you'll be good at or proficient in Japanese. I could imagine that trying to learn twenty-three different characters per day would be strenuous, especially when you have to retain the memory of the other characters you learn every single day. I wouldn't try it, but if you're really good at learning languages, why not? It can't really hurt to try. Just remember that while learning kanji is essential to learning Japanese, there are other grammar rules and vocabulary that need to be studied as well if you wish to become fluent in Japanese. Studying Japanese culture is crucial as well in order to achieve fluency.

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  • 10 months later...

Learning Kanji in two months? I find it impossible in my case. I have a work schedule that drains me. However, it is not an excuse not to learn it. I just learn at my own pace because if I cram all 2,000 Kanji in two months, I might not appreciate the stuff that I am studying. I take my time so that I can savor each word and relate it to certain characters or figures or drawings so that I can remember it easily.

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Back in 2006 I used Heisig's RTK1 (free PDF of the first 100 or so characters), with paper flashcards to learn to "learn" all 2000+ kanji in the book in about 7 months. It was really hard, and I was very proud of myself. It's helped me tremendously with my Japanese and Chinese. That being said, while I think for most westerners the mnemonic method is the way to go, I don't think learning the whole book is the right thing to do for most people. 

Learners who would benefit the most from learning all 2000 at once are: 

1) those who plan to study very intensively, meaning several hours a day for 2 or more years 

2) those who already have a strong background in the language

As others have stated, this method only teaches you to recognize a character, and to write it if you are given an english keyword. This doesn't mean the method is useless, it just means that you need to know some vocabulary and do some reading to give it value. If you have very little vocabulary, then either you will need to use an SRS, or something to review, to stay on top of this knowledge, or you will forget it.  

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I want to agree with the most people here and say it's not quite possible.

But I must point out that we did not establish what does "learning a Kanji" mean...does this mean all the readings + writing + origin + .... in other words complete mastery or simply remembering how the Kanji looks like?

If it's just the meaning then perhaps it might be possible...but than again (I don't know about others but) I would forget for sure...reviewing 2000 characters on daily basis is just not quite scalable.

So no I don't think it's possible unless you are a genius.

I don't mean to discourage people from trying this crazy method, but it's kinda like as if I published my own method "Learn 2000 Kanji in 2 days", simply learn 1000 on day one, then 1000 the next day...bam! you're done. Congratulations, you've have mastered in just 2 days what takes many years to master!

But in all honesty, if you can pull it off then you have my respect! I've tried this method and failed.

Those were my two cents..

Good luck guys!
Richard

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While I don't doubt his claims, I cannot handle that much kanji in such a short span of only three months.  In order to fully grasp the kanji, you will have to study them everyday to the exclusion of other activities.  Nevertheless, his claims are worth a try for those who are willing to take him up to the challenge.  But for the average person, this learning metnod will be quite difficult, if not impossible.  He must also have a strong heart and an iron will, and he must not procrastinate.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I think this would work better with an alphabet that you don't have to draw precisely, like English or Spanish, better than one with characters, like Asian languages or Hebrew.  I am terrible at drawing.  I will modify this technique for Spanish, though.  I will substitute learning Spanish vocabulary for drawing kanji.  Hopefully, this will help with my foreign language goal.  He seems to have borrowed this technique from fitness gurus. 

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The whole point of that blog is to push you through your language learning as quickly as possible.
However, I even find learning ALL the kanji in 2 months too much.
In fact, pretty much all kanji I learnt so far were out there in the real world.

Like: 行、見、来 - I was confused about those at first, but experience taught me these mean "to go", "to look" and "to come", and that they're pronounced "iku", "miru" and "kuru".
I tried learning the rest of the kanji with flash cards, but I was rather overwhelmed with question marks.
So many kanji mean nothing to me, some of those are like an entire sentence.
Here's what I mean (copypasta from KanjiDamage):

a color called 'cinnibar,' which I didn't even know ENGLISH had a word for that color
a garrison of 17th century troops under the command of a Shogun
unit of measurement only used with bread loaves
a specific kind of cedar
'dowager Empress', a word only used by retainers in the Imperial Court.
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  • 2 weeks later...

It's possible. You'll want to learn your radicals first. Those are the more basic kanji that all the other kanji are assembled from. Once you know those, you can learn the more complicated kanji by looking for the radicals inside them and making the connections. It helps if you have regular exposure to kanji, and frequent opportunities to practice. When I was living in Seoul I would read the signs inside the train (Korea with smaller English, Japanese, and Chinese translated noted below it) and practice my Kanji on a phone app during the ride.

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