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Do you learn the readings aswell?


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The block between the people who use the raw Heisig-method and the people who use Heisig+Readigs is quite huge, and it never seems to settle down, because well... As with most other things, people don't very easily change opinion, and so called "debates" is more like arguing over your own opinion while still knowing that the other person will... Probably never get your point, or change opinion.

Do you learn the readings aswell? Why/Why not?

You can of course answer even if you're not using Heisig's method, but I assume most people use his book(s)... Most, but not all, of course.

Personally I did learn the readings aswell, for about 50 kanji, but after having learned those I started questioning it, and looked around for some information on the topic, and I found myself leaning more and more towards the "no-readings" side. I just found that it did take an awful lot of tiem to learn those readings, more often than not I could remember the key word for the kanji very quickly, but the readings took quite a while to learn. At the same time, I also felt like I was wasting my time, because I didn't think that I would have much use of these readings. And honestly, apart from when the kanji's reading is the same as the word for it (I mean... The reading for one is hito/hitotsu/hitottsu and that is also the WORD they use for saying 1 when speaking) I find it rather pointless to learn the readings, as I can just learn those later on when learning the vocab related to those readings.

Truly there are quite a lot of kanji which is used as a word, or rather, one of their readings which is used as a word... But at the same time, there are also tons of readings/kanji that aren't used outside of compounds.

I do see the benefits of learning the readings aswell, but I don't think it's really worth my time right now.

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  • 4 months later...

Huh, another dead thread? Let's fix that! After all, this is a good question to have asked and I want to answer it! I myself like to learn the meanings first and use a more pictorial approach for the words that I deem need it. Really, it's more of a question of which way is best for me to learn that particular kanji.

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  • 10 months later...

As a starting student of Nihongo, I always take down notes for the first kanji groups.  Some of the kanji have only one reading, but for other kanji, the positions of each kanji will determine how they are being read.  For the first and starting kanji, I write the readings for purposes of convenience and memorization, not to mention reviewing them.  But I will be better able to appreciate the kanji when there are visual aids which will determine the correct reading of that particular kanji.  The problem is trying to remember all the kanji as you progress.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I learn kanji best when I encounter them in real life.
When I see a certain kanji for the first time, I obviously don't know what it means, how you read it, etc.
But then I look it up and the kanji gets stuck in my brain.
Then the readings and meaning automatically get in my mind as I read the text.

For example, I encounter the following sentence:

Now I know exactly what it all means, except for "来".
So I first read it as "ashita, watashi ni ... te kudasai".
Then I go to Jisho.org (a must-bookmark website for anyone learning Japanese!), try to find that kanji and there you go! Reading: "ku(ru)" or "ki". Meaning: "to come".
I read it again: "ashita, watashi ni kite kudasai". (Please come to me tomorrow!).

It's a slow way of learning, but it works best for me at least.

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Everyone learns differently, but for me, it was brute force memorization up until N3. After that, I started learning kanji in context with words. I would read books or go through textbooks and learn different compounds together and end up learning the different readings that way. If you are just starting out, I recommend learning both the readings and meanings. It won't help you later on if you only know the meaning. A lot of Chinese students of Japanese fall into this trip. They already know a lot of the meanings of the kanji, but not the actual Japanese reading. 

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I try to learn both the Kanji and the readings. It's easier once you know more. When I first started out, I was extremely confused and overwhelmed with everything. Kanji for me, was already tough. However, on top of learning the shape and memorizing it, there were all these "meanings" and "readings", which also needed to be understood. :sad:

Japanese is a very beautiful and rewarding language, but it sure is tough. For example there's "下", "shita". It was one of the very first Kanji I learned. It looks simple enough, but also has multiple readings.

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I have recently joined WaniKani to learn Kanji.
So far it's looking really good.
It's strict, but I guess it's for the good because it prevents you from getting overwhelmed.

I'll keep trying until I reach level 3.
Then I can see if it's worth the 10 USD monthly in order to continue or if I should stick with my encountering method.

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Do you learn the readings as well? Why/Why not?

I actually don't think this is the OP's intended question. Everyone who wants to be able to read normal Japanese needs to learn Kanji readings, so unless you plan on trying to use romaji and kana all the time, the answer to this question is "yes".

I think the intended question is "Do you learn readings in a big, isolated, systematic manner such as Heisig 2?" My personal answer to that is "no". I tried it in my second year of Japanese study, and found out it's very inefficient. There are few rules and little order that help you remember readings, so unless you have already encountered the word from which you are taking the reading from in the wild, and are quite comfortable with it, the reading isn't going to stick. There are some exceptions of course, but learning readings in isolation is a big waste of time imo.

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