Hello, first topic! The title may sound strange, but bear with me.
While I don’t yet understand a lot of grammar, I’m now at a point where I can read the incredibly simplified example sentences I come across. So far, so good. You have to start somewhere.
However, what I find myself doing is… ignoring the kanji/vocab using kanji that I know. I just substitute the English (or rarely, Dutch) word for it while ignoring the reading. Even WK level 1 items that I definitely know. So 人 is always immediately ‘‘person(s)’’, without even thinking of ひと. My instinct (based vaguely on Dutch-English theory) tells me this isn’t ideal for language learning in general, but my question is: will this cause me harm in my reading skills specifically? Is there anyone here with a similar experience, but further along? How did it go?
(While I’m interested in Japanese as a whole, my main focus is on just being able to read my favorite works in their native language and to read untranslated works that look like they’d interest me. Focusing on the 4 skills is nice and all for full comprehension, but I’m willing to take a longer and more convoluted road for listening, speaking and writing.)
That seems to be in line with the the “Remembering the Kanji” approach, so it’s probably not a bad way to start. There seems to be a lot of debate between people who prefer the WaniKani approach and those who prefer “Remembering the Kanji”.
From the bits and pieces of research I did before choosing WK, I think its approach to learning Kanji (and inadvertently, vocab) works better for me. Especially since I do usually actually remember the readings when I make myself. But just to be sure: you personally don’t think this would get in the way of (eventual) proper reading?
I will say that ignoring readings can hurt you. While many compounds formed from known kanji have obvious meanings, many do not. Knowing the readings or other words that use the same kanji is the fastest way to look up the unknown word. Without readings, you’ll be left looking up the kanji by part or by drawing it, which takes much longer.
This happened to me a lot when I was starting out (and it still happens with new kanji/vocab). I think the more you read the more natural it becomes to just think of the reading straight away, and I wouldn’t worry if the first thing that comes to mind is in English (or Dutch), but I still think it would be beneficial if you tried to remember the word’s reading as well before moving on from the word. Listening more might actually help you as well because the words will sound more natural in Japanese.
I hadn’t even thought about how it could affect word lookup. Thanks for bringing that up!
I don’t think it will prevent you from learning the readings later on, but I think it might take longer overall than using WaniKani to start off.
Good to hear it became more natural for you over time! I’ll definitely get in some passive listening practice by watching anime, I just don’t think that counts as real learning when I’m still focusing on the subs. But you’re right, it should definitely help my brain view it as more ‘‘natural’’.
Based on the replies I think I will try and force myself to remember the reading at first, but not worry too much. Thank you for being the first to answer me!
Tip: if you set your Netflix account (do you have one?), you can change subtitle settings to Japanese a lot of the time. And even Japanese voicetracks for some non Japanese programs, like Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
I do have a Netflix account, so this is useful advice. Thank you!
I feel like that’s natural at first, but I’d suggest training yourself to think of the Japanese pronunciation of words when you see them first. You shouldn’t be trying to translate into your native language (or English) until you read the whole sentence first. Of course, it’s hard to do that when you’re still picking up grammar, but that is the end goal, since you want to be able to read fluently. As others have pointed out, often compound words don’t use kanji the way you expect, and there are many kanji that have different meanings depending on the word they’re used in. So it may lead to some misunderstanding, and some “lazy brain” bad habit. If you aren’t vocalizing the language in your head (or out loud) as you read, it could affect your reading comprehension down the line. Just my opinion on that.
TLDR; I think you’re fine but I would agree that isn’t great for your language learning and you may want to start working on weening yourself off of it.
Aww, but I learned English to avoid having to speak Dutch!
I’ll check it out tomorrow, at a more reasonable time. Thank you!
Thank you for your reply! Yours and the others have given me a clearer idea of what I want to be doing from now on.
This happened to me in the beginning as well. But the longer I’ve used WK and the more I read, I now know the reading of the Kanji and the meaning but I’ll have to think for a bit to connect that to the english word for that concept, or at least the answer that WK expects.
So you’re basically where I want to be! XD
That’s good to hear. The advice so far has been useful, but it’s also just nice to hear from someone who essentially grew out of it.
Glad I could help
Just remember, the key is that you actually have to keep reading. I’ve been using Satori Reader (https://www.satorireader.com/) and it’s been great. I didn’t even bother doing the lessons for 壁1 かべ - wall or 湖2 みずうみ - lake since I had already memorized them from reading the stories on Satori.
1 From “Hole in the Wall” 壁の穴
2 From “Oku Nikkō” 奥日光
Oh, don’t worry! Getting myself to sit down and (try to) read will be/is the easiest part. XD
I’m really looking forward to it.