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古文奇才

Best way to learn kanji?

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古文奇才

For someone who already knows Chinese, is there some quick way to learn kanji? Sometimes I can guess the meanings, but I'm never quite sure. Is there any other way besides good old-fashioned time & effort?

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Hofmann

...What?

 

It should be more like 99% of the time you know the meanings.

 

And maybe 50% of the time you can guess the on-yomi.

 

And you have to learn the kun-yomi.

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zhouhaochen

Is there a list of characters/kanji that have a different meaning in Japanese/Mandarin or cannot be understood by a Mandarin speaker?

I a sure Japanese courses for Chinese most have something like this, just no idea where to find. Would be quite useful for Japan visits.

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古文奇才

There's no way I can know the meanings 99% of the time. I do translation and the Japanese pops up and I find myself struggling to look it up online or just guessing. I suppose probably you have to just study Japanese and learn those words one at a time but I wish there was some kind of shortcut or list like zhouhaochen said.

 

I asked some Taiwanese people and they said they learned kanji from old school video games - there would be a block of Japanese text and they could pick and figure out the characters.

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Allen Zhang

In my childhood, I used Xinhua Dictionary, and when I first got it, I was wild with joy.

在我小时候,我用《新华字典》,当我第一次拿到手的时候,真是欣喜若狂。

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arrow

Actually the old-fashioned time & effort is still a better way.

And with your knowledge of Chinese, the process will be significantly shortened, hopefully.

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Hofmann

I don't get it. With your Godlike Chinese skillz, you should be able to account for almost anything but kokuji.

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古文奇才

Well I can read almost all of them at face value but the way they are used can be confusing and context specific. For instance, there was a 株式會社, which I later found out means 公司, or company. That was an easy one, but there were others like 炊事場 which I guessed meant 廚房,and then a Taiwanese person told me that was right. Also, I have been translating articles about Taiwanese history and the Japanese used slightly different (just enough to make it confusing) characters for administrative divisions and government bodies. So yeah I can read almost all the characters but they are constantly used in unfamiliar ways. Of course, like some of the other people said there's no shortcut for that you just have to learn it.

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Takeshi

I don't get it. With your Godlike Chinese skillz, you should be able to account for almost anything but https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kanji#Kokuji'>kokuji

Not necessarily true, you also wouldn't be able to account for ateji, kakikae, and kunyomi based compounds, as well as perhaps even some on'yomi based compounds. The legendary 手紙 (toiletpaper/letter) is a kunyomi based meaning in Japanese; no knowledge of Chinese can help you understand such meanings, unless you know that tegami means "letter" in Japanese, then I suppose Godlike Chinese skillz will let you know that 手 means te and means kami. (if you know the respective Japanese words already)

 

Don't even get me started on ateji or kakikae. These are incomprehensible to a Godlike Chinese skillz person. (Though I suppose they could have good guesses at some of them due to phonology, but who knows.)

 

I suppose by a Hofmann definition of "Godlike Chinese skillz" you would know all the classical meanings of characters and be well versed in Classical Chinese, and I don't think anyone else in this thread assumes this, which is why nobody is getting your argument, but whatever, if we go from your assumptions, then yes "Godlike Chinese skillz" would actually allow you to understand most kunyomi based /single character/ meanings (I doubt all Chinese people would be able to get them though), but that still won't tell you that even on'yomi compounds like 電話 means telephone. (Bad example here because that word is actually used in China, but if it wasn't, I don't see how any "Godlike Chinese skillz" would allow you to understand that for sure; sure, you will probably be able to get a good guess though.)

 

Also, just because something is kokuji doesn't mean Godlike Chinese skillz wouldn't be able to account for it persay; a lot of kokuji are used in China.

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tooironic

I'm also not sure why Hofmann is making that argument. Sure, knowing Chinese means you can guess the meanings of many kanji, but there is a difference between guessing the meaning of a character or character combination and actually knowing its nuances and how it's used. Then of course, as others have pointed out, there are many characters in Japanese that are either false friends or aren't used at all in modern Chinese.

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Lu

 

Well I can read almost all of them at face value but the way they are used can be confusing and context specific. For instance, there was a 株式會社, which I later found out means 公司, or company. That was an easy one, but there were others like 炊事場

It looks like you're not talking about kanji but about words. Japanese uses largely the same characters as Chinese, but forms different words with it. Why would there be a shortcut? Well actually there is a shortcut of course, namely that you already know the characters that the word consists of and can take a reasonable guess at the meaning, and that shortcut you already found. So the bad news is that it takes time and effort like every language; the good news is that it'll be a lot easier, perhaps like an English speaker learning French, instead of an English speaker learning Japanese or Chinese.

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古文奇才

Good to be slowly understanding what Chinese and Japanese have in common and what they don't.

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zhouhaochen

I asked a Chinese friend who studied Japanese at university and then spent a year abroad in Japan about a list of Kanji's that are not known to a normal Chinese person or have a different meaning, but she could not think of anything like that.

Would be a good thing to have, even keeping the Chinese learner (non native speaker) in mind. Anyone up for working on one? I am happy to help for the Chinese part, but I can't speak a word of Japanese (which I still hope to change one day though, would be a fun first step).

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古文奇才

It certainly would be helpful if somebody made a list like that.

 

I heard that when Sun Yat-sen visited Japan, he could communicate in writing with the Japanese, even though they couldn't speak to each other. Maybe Chinese and Japanese were more similar a long time ago or in classical usage.

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Lu

 

I heard that when Sun Yat-sen visited Japan, he could communicate in writing with the Japanese, even though they couldn't speak to each other. Maybe Chinese and Japanese were more similar a long time ago or in classical usage.

They probably wrote 文言文.

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zhouhaochen

 床= 地板 :mrgreen:

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Pingfa
I'm currently using Chinese to learn Japanese and sure enough knowing Chinese gives one a massive edge. The majority of individual characters are the same or similar enough to hanzi as to be easily guessed at. Of course there's no shortcut to learning the words, though there are tons of Chinese loan words.

 

One method I use to remember words is imagine they are strongly accented English phrases, like たそがれ(ta so ga re)=that's so great... because the 黄昏 view is pretty great, or かなしみ (ka na shi mi)=can't ask me... because 哀しみ is not something people like to be asked about. These are often a stretch, but even so provide a mental map to remember the word. These often include images I associate with them.

In short, give your brain something memorable to associate the word with. If you forget the word, hopefully this will help jog your memory.

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Hwong_DsiKiem

OK I'm not sure if I'm helping here but, a friend of mine learns Japanese, and he says he hates kanji because he needs to learn how to write every new character he learns in addition to its pronunciations and meaning, which "isn't something he has to worry so much about for a phonetic script like kana."

 

I told him that he could actually just bear a few rules in mind:

common strokes of Chinese Handzi: 直橫點勾剔(not sure if that's the right word)丿瘌(not sure if that's the right word either):

vertical, horizontal, dot, hook, tick, leftwards sweep and rightwards sweep.

And the stroke order would mostly be:

write from top to bottom; left to right and outside to inside;

for a big 口, write the first three strokes, fill in what's inside, and then close the opening.

For an orthogonal cross like 十, always write the horizontal stroke first

For a 辵 radical, write the other part first, and then the boat.

 

Although it turns out the Japanese way of writing isn't actually like that. They write ノ first and then the 一 for the character 右 (as opposed to the other way round) and write the middle stroke first for the character 山.

 

Hope it helps you a bit in learning Handzi though...

 

Edit: oh actually do you mean kanji as in Japanese kanji? I have made a fool of myself then...

Well, I'd say reading up on classical Chinese would help.

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古文奇才

I have read a little bit of classical Chinese and there is something called "本意," or "original meaning," for characters. It's what they meant thousands of years ago. Maybe some of these meanings are preserved in Japanese (or Korean).

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