Hey everyone; I just finished RTK (woo!) and now I'm at a loss as to what to do. I've searched the site for other similar threads but I don't think I really found an answer. I know about the concept of on and kun readings, and I think I know about kanji compounds, but I have a few questions.
1. In a vague sense, what's the next step in my study?
2. Am I supposed to learn compound by compound or kanji by kanji? Aka if I find the word 電車 do I learn it as Densha and thereby over time get an intuitive sense of readings, or am I supposed to look up the readings for individual kanji one at a time? Like if I study 電 by itself and then learn the compounds associated with it later? 電車、電話、 etc.? I probably didn't phrase this well.
3. What's the best method/tool/resource to look up readings?
Oh and this is my first time actually posting on the forum and I wasn't sure if this was the correct subforum. I figured it would be better here than in the actual RTK section, seeing as it's only tangentially related to the book.
If you're more inclined to use a textbook, you could try the Genki series.
Never, ever learn On-readings in isolation, always in compound words.
It seems that relatively few people in this forum have done RTK2, but I found it helpful for the "pure groups" and "semi-pure groups" to learn when a radical indicates a common reading (like in 中 忠 仲 etc). The rest seems less useful to me.
Just learn the readings as you encounter them. Personally I'm 3 months post RTK and mainly working on grammar. I had jumped into some manga and such right after RTK but it was the grammar that was holding me back most so that's why I am focusing on it.
Thanks for the good help, everyone. To clarify, I'm pretty comfortable on where I am with the grammar for the moment, I'm mostly working on expanding my vocabulary. So I guess general consensus is that it's better to work with compounds.
From: Massachusetts USA Registered: 2011-08-01 Posts: 530
A downloadable Anki deck based on the smart.fm deck of the same name. The new pay-model smart.fm/iknow.fm has roughly the same deck, although it has been modified since it was part of the free/public site.
From: New York, NY Registered: 2009-10-02 Posts: 458 Website
A couple problems with that frequency chart:
-A lot of the "words" it includes are really grammar points. If you want to learn として or られる... I think an Anki deck is the wrong way to do it. It could work, given enough example sentences. But it really is another matter altogether from learning a word like 会社.
-ござる is listed in the top 150 words, presumably because of the frequency of ありがとうございます・ありがとうございました. You don't need to learn ござる as a separate verb until you're pretty advanced, unless you're Rurouni Kenshin. And again, if you do want to learn it, I don't think a dictionary definition is going to be particularly helpful.
-Because the word frequency chart is based on blogs, it includes a couple of words disproportionately -- コメント、サイト、etc.
-I don't think a disconnected word frequency list is a particularly good way to determine what vocabulary you should learn. Why not take sentences from a book of survival Japanese for travelers, and at least you'll know how to ask where the bathroom is? Why not take sentences from a textbook like Genki, that introduces new vocabulary in the context of conversations? Why not take sentences from dramas and easy manga, that give you plenty of interesting context around new words?
The more I read, the more I am convinced that native materials are the best word frequency list, as long as you're reading something relatively contemporary and connected to real life. (If you are a beginner, you do not need to learn how to say Potions Class.) And by that I don't mean, take a novel and run word frequency analysis on it; I mean that just by reading, the words that pop up the most are the ones you'll remember.
That only applies once you have the grammar and vocabulary to start dealing with native materials without it being a horrible slog. But even for beginners I think that a textbook will provide you much better context around new vocabulary than just a list.