Seedtime Multilingual™

What makes the characters so difficult to remember? Why do Japanese have two readings for Kanji? What are keys to memorization? This blog does not attempt to teach linguistics nor the elements for learning the Kanji (this can be done in your own self-study) , but in my experience (with learning Mandarin Chinese and Japanese), I have tracked a few tips: spending time looking at the characters is the first step to becoming comfortable with what we see!  That feeling of discomfort with foreign writings and sounds, letters, script is no doubt the same feelings that we get in the presence of those (characters or persons) most unlike ourselves, linguistically and culturally.

Learning Kanji or any other non-alphabetic, non-Western writing system is like making  new friends.. from a different culture.  We size them up first, their appearance, hair, features phenotypes/genotypes, speech, sound or what they portray in character.  Is this right?  I think that the more we look, listen, and pay attention, the more familiar we become with the unfamiliar.  Thus, the less uncomfortable we feel learning Kanji…. and characters!

Dare to look, breathe, read.

Kanji are Japanese characters (adopted from the Chinese writing, called Hanyu (in the early 7th century,) literally meaning Han Characters Laying to rest formal linguistic words, like orthography, logographic, let’s simply agree that as English-speakers, non-alphabetic characters seem very scary! 

Remembering The Kanji 1 Flash Cards 2 offers Kanji Cards for free download.  These are suitable for Beginners, great review for more advanced learners.  Kanji is the subject here, but also the underlying human feeling of discomfort with the unfamiliar.

Clifford Black,, a former mentor, and I refer to as,  a Super Educator par excellence, introduced me to the concept of “taking a picture” with my eyes at a time when I was struggling with Kanji. This is among the many tips and tricks for learning how to learn that he proposes to learners of various subjects.  It’s been helpful in remembering the Kanji.