Is it just me or does anyone else not really bother memorizing the radicals in a given kanji? Either I can manage to remember the kanji easily when I see it, or if I’m typing on my phone/computer, I just recognize the kanji from the list of suggested ones that pops up when I start typing. I’ve only been tripped up by similar-looking kanji maybe twice that I can remember. Am I shooting myself in the foot doing this, or should I be fine?
Lots of radical talk lately
With absolutely no idea about your current kanji knowledge or learning process, I’d say you’re hurting yourself if you plan to take the kanji kentei. This is with regards to the actual radicals, not the ones used in WK’s mnemonics.
With regards to both the actual radicals and WK’s, I’d say your ability to write will probably suffer the most in the long run. If level 13 on WK is as far as your kanji knowledge extends, I think you’d be hurting yourself in the long run with recognition too, but I don’t want to make that assumption in case you’re just really good at visually differentiating things.
I did the same as you and I’m fine. Everyone has different opinions in regards to which kanji are similar looking either way so if you find a few that confuse you just set some time aside to learn their differences. I know it’s not necessarily radical related but for example 未 and 末 was never a problem for me but 緑 and 縁 was
Its a memory aid, just use it for the kanjis you need them for.
Well I can’t say this will happen to you, but it’s a risk:
It’s easy to recognize kanji by overall shape now, but in the later levels that’s going to come back to haunt you when they’re all similar to ones you already know, with one small difference. It’s going to be hard to keep track of which one is which if you can’t fall back on the mnemonic, even partially, to jog your memory.
In actual reading text, this is less of a problem because in context, you can almost guess what it’s going to be without even looking.
Just be aware that you will run in to things like this which might be frustrating during a kanji review.
Lots of radical talk lately
I noticed that too!
And honestly, at first I didn’t pay much attention to the radicals for the first 10 levels or so, then suddenly I started getting a ton of kanji that were very similar looking, or kanji with 4-5 radicals. Suddenly it became necessary to focus on the radicals and mnemonics. You get a lot more similar-looking kanji at higher levels, I feel I’m only just now starting to experience it at my current level and it’ll just get worse from here on out. If you can do it without the radicals though, then that’s awesome. I know there are people that can do it, I’m just not one of those people.
yeah, this discussion has been going in a few threads. i don’t want to repeat myself, but i think you’ll likely have problems in higher levels with many visually similar kanji, and with readings, which sometimes use radicals for mnemonics. It’s cool that heisamaniac pulled it off, but i’m not sure everyone can do it, because you’re basically just looking at 2000 sets of up to 20 or so strokes and trying to absorb them visually and not confuse any of those. I think memorizing the radicals and mnemonics is less work and better retention in the long run.
But in any case, heisamaniac’s advice is good for any method: if you confuse two kanji or struggle with one, take a good long look at it and memorize the differences to other kanji.
Usually if there were more than 3 radicals I rarely bothered with the mnemonics, especially because I liked to dissect the kanji in a very different way than WK. Sometimes I’m annoyed that the mnemonics can’t just use previous kanji. Like diarrhea has to be sick+grain+knife instead of just sick+profit (because there is no profit radical). I usually make my own then.
I don’t really think this has come to bite me back, really. A lot of the kanji with one switched radical just ‘feel’ very different for me. And some really complex kanji are so unique looking you can tell what it is by glance. Sure, there are some occasional mixups but just confirming them and making a mental note (and sometimes writing the two kanji) has worked well enough. Through context it’s always easier to tell and with time and reading more it’s been even a lesser problem.
I started paying more attention to radicals only recently. There’s a ton of similar kanji with only one different radical. I guess, you don’t have to use mnemonics but you should pay attention to the radicals.
The visual differences can be very subtle:
徹 and 撤
借, 措, 惜
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