Don't Eat With Your Mouth Full

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steepholm steepholm
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Japanese Diary 8
I'm now at the 600 kanji mark. Of course, I'm forgetting them almost as fast as I learn, but flashcards do help to bed them in, and in general my stock accretes.

Which leads me to ask - has anyone here tried The daughter of my York hosts is in Beijing, and apparently recommends it as a way of learning Chinese, but I see the site also has a Japanese string to its bow. Not that I'll venture there until I've finished Remembering the Kanji, as I don't want to mix systems, but it might be useful for reinforcing stroke order, which Reviewing the Kanji doesn't help with.

Stroke order is left-to-right, top-to-bottom! :-)

Seriously, though, Halpern's dictionary (a must-have, eventually) has a great section on stroke order. And this webpage is basic, but pretty good:

Thanks - that's an interesting page.

Someone I know who lives in Japan says that his spouse, now in her late sixties, is losing characters. Apparently (he claims) people do, even native speakers and readers. I wonder if a) this is true; and b) it has any effect on Japanese poetry in, by, of old age.

man, it doesn't happen just to old people. even if you're a native speaker and reader, stop using a language like Chinese or Japanese regularly for long enough (if you move overseas to England, for example) and you shed a lot of characters, and not even necessarily the more obscure ones.

That's interesting. Of course, in the West too many people become forgetful as they get older, and of words (though not so much spellings?) as much as of anything else. Possibly this loss is more pronounced with characters - which would suggest that they are held in memory in a different way from alphabetic words, or more tenuously. I find that fairly plausible, inasmuch as with alphabetic words the memories of the sound and spelling (even in English!) reinforce each other, whereas with characters you don't have that double lock.

do you do writing exercises? when I was learning Chinese in school, from primary to secondary levels we had exercise books in which we had to write new characters/words that we learnt over and over again, at least 20 times. it's rote learning, yeah, but it's the sort of thing that's necessary for pictogrammic languages, I think.

I do write them out, but usually once or twice - or a few more than that if it's a particularly tricky one. Never twenty, I'm afraid!


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