Teach Yourself Japanese
Subject: Re: Studying Kanji readings
Date: Wed, 06 May 2009 01:28:50 GMT
References: 1, 2, 3
> > I suppose the simple answer is "yes," because you will encounter all of these words if you use the language enough. I have, anyway. But for this character in particular, and a few others like it, it's best to learn the words the readings are used in, and that will help you figure out better when to use each one.
> Thanks for the response. I'm interested in others experience in learning. I've also tried to learn kanji readings as I learn the words (like, 生やす for "growing" something - interesting that it applies to growing a beard).
> Now that I think about it, maybe I'm mostly worried about 音読み, because I've had the experience of seeing a new compound of some term and realize (with embarassment) that I've forgotten the readings, even though I've seen both characters and know how to read them in other words, but not in this word. So I thought learning the readings of each character alone might boost my ability to read new words, or words that I don't see often.
I know what you mean. I'm not sure you'd need to really study them individually all that hard if you have experience with them in compounds, though. Probably just looking them up and seeing what they are, maybe making a mental note to help you remember like "oh, it has this phonetic part" or "when it's used in other characters it also has this reading (or a similar one)," etc. would do the trick.
> > For instance, き is only used when referring to cloth. For things "raw" or "live," なま is used. I've only ever seen お used in 生い立ち. セイ is the more common 音読み, so if you don't know it's safer to guess that one, but obviously there are quite a few words where it's read ショウ. This is a pretty good list to start with, I'd say (you did leave out at least 生える, though, but that's forgivable because you have its transitive counterpart, 生やす).
> I suppose learning all the readings is best, along with words that use them. Perhaps someone can answer a follow-up question: I wondered because of conflicting information on 教育漢字（きょういくかんじ） as I am studying them on different web pages. The Wikipedia page on the topic has a list of characters by grade and also makes the claim that the Ministry of Education's list "prescribes which kanji, and which readings of kanji, Japanese schoolchildren should learn for each year of elementary school".
> Does the 教育漢字 list actually specify which readings are to be learned? When I checked MEXT's web page (mext.co.jp) I only found lists of characters by grade, not any lists of readings in hiragana or katakana. I could have missed something, though.
I have no idea. I never did go by any lists for learning 漢字 or words (well, a little with the 漢字), so I can't speak to that. I know there are some readings for characters that didn't show up in Kanji & Kana (by Hadamitski and Spahn, I believe), and I think they said they only included the official readings. I'd just go with learning them how they're used by Japanese people. The ministry can come out with official readings 'til they're blue in the face, but that doesn't mean people will abide by them. That may not be too helpful to you if you're kind of just starting out, though.
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