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Some thoughts on RTK3....

#1
So I'm learning the kanji in RTK3 (having completed RTK1 four years ago and by now being fully confident in my recall ability of the RTK1 kanji) but I've noticed a a degree of overlap in the meanings of some of the kanji in RTK3, e.g., the kanji with the "water" radical:

rinse  

douse  

souse  

drench  

inundate

After learning the above, I was thinking, "does this really add anything useful to my knowledge?"  The above are closely related semantically.  I'll still finish RTK3 but maybe I just feel a bit let down....
Edited: 2017-03-31, 8:18 pm
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#2
I think RTK3 is at a point where it really doesn't make sense to bother going through the effort unless you're going to learn some Japanese words to go with the kanji. From doing a little googling in the dictionary, it appears that 洒 has to do with being smart, witty and refined; 沐 seems to be associated with ritual ablution; 潅 is used in words relating to irrigation; and 濡 means to get sopping wet, like when you're caught in the rain (the last is the only one I would have known offhand). Those are just rough guesses based on the words that turn up in association with each kanji. All have to do with water in some extended sense, but they're not actually that similar to each other.

I am finding the RTK3 useful right now to go through the process of adding more kanji to my vocabulary now that I am reading enough to run into non-jouyou kanji more regularly. I try to learn at least one pronunciation and at least one associated word with each kanji I learn, assuming that I can learn any other meanings/readings as I encounter them.
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#3
Everything past RTK1 seems overkill to me.
As the other poster said, I wouldn't bother reading another entire book of kanji, maybe just use it as a reference for story inspiration.
At this point, I'd rather add new kanji from other source of materials, and only for more common words like 茄, 燕, 鴎
But even so, they don't seem to be commonly used in daily life...so 'useful', definitly not. Maybe just for 'fun' or a feeling of completeness.
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#4
(2017-03-31, 8:43 pm)pied2porc Wrote: Everything past RTK1 seems overkill to me.
As the other poster said, I wouldn't bother reading another entire book of kanji, maybe just use it as a reference for story inspiration.
At this point, I'd rather add new kanji from other source of materials, and only for more common words like 茄, 燕, 鴎
But even so, they don't seem to be commonly used in daily life...so 'useful', definitly not. Maybe just for 'fun' or a feeling of completeness.

Would you suggest that someone who aspires to read Japanese literature past the high school level should use RTK3?
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#5
RtK3 was relatively useful before the 2010 change to the Jouyou kanji. Before 2010 the Jouyou list was missing some frequent kanji like 誰, 俺, 拭, etc. With the renewed 2010 list the vast majority of those "more useful" kanji were moved from RtK3 to RtK1. The latest edition of RtK3 now contains only 800 kanji, most of them not too useful nor frequent. So I personally don't think it's worth it at all o go through RtK3 like RtK1, unless you have a lot of spare time or you're a completionist. Better to pick up new kanji as you study, like others before me have suggested.
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#6
(2017-04-01, 3:03 pm)ForgettableFury Wrote:
(2017-03-31, 8:43 pm)pied2porc Wrote: Everything past RTK1 seems overkill to me.
As the other poster said, I wouldn't bother reading another entire book of kanji, maybe just use it as a reference for story inspiration.
At this point, I'd rather add new kanji from other source of materials, and only for more common words like 茄, 燕, 鴎
But even so, they don't seem to be commonly used in daily life...so 'useful', definitly not. Maybe just for 'fun' or a feeling of completeness.

Would you suggest that someone who aspires to read Japanese literature past the high school level should use RTK3?

I would rather say 'could' use RTK3 or any other kanji dictionnary for reference. The problem with RTK3 is maybe that, at that level, when you know about 2000 kanji, you're supposed to have all the basic primitives in mind, you should be able to make your own stories rather easily, if not already a habit, and you certainly want more accurate keywords than those given in the book.
RTK3 doesn't prevent you from cross referencing the meanings of the kanji anyway.
You should be able to broadly understand japanese dictionnaries definitions at this point (or at least give it a try) and there are more reliable resources on internet nowaday....so I think it's just time to move on and learn kanji a bit more freely without necessarily following a pre-made list.
But anyway in the end, you do what you feel is better for you. I know that when I reached about half of RTK1 I was modifiying almost every stories/keywords, and was double checking on internet.
Even if I personaly don't aspire to read Japanese Litterature, I think a student who does, might find it a bit boring to read and maybe not the more efficient. The more obscure the kanji is the more context you need to understand its meaning... those informations are better found on internet in my opinion.
Edited: 2017-04-01, 4:45 pm
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#7
There's nothing overkill about RTK3 if you want to function like a college educated adult, or maybe even a bit better (as Japanese people write a lot less than they used to).

(2017-04-01, 3:03 pm)ForgettableFury Wrote: Would you suggest that someone who aspires to read Japanese literature past the high school level should use RTK3?
Absolutely.
Edited: 2017-04-02, 4:20 pm
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#8
(2017-04-02, 4:52 am)ryuudou Wrote: There's nothing overkill about RTK3 if you want to function like a college educated adult, or maybe even a bit better (as Japanese people write a lot less than they used to).

Your conversation skill should be top-notched then.
It's more the grammar and 敬語 used the right way, and the content of your conversation that will make you function like an 'educated adult'.
Being only proficient in kanji and being able to read that little unused kanji on that food package, or being able to read a medical report doesn't make your conversation skill better or more interesting.
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#9
Functioning like an educated adult includes the whole package - meaning kanji proficiency as well. RTK3 is aimed at those who want to be proficient at functioning at the equivalent of the college level, and it says as much in the prologue.

You're also misinterpreting my post. Conversation skills are just one piece of the pie, and have nothing to do with what I was talking about. No one was implying "only study kanji", but rather that a high level of kanji proficiency is also required in addition to everything else for native-level fluency. "Conversation skills" also arguably the easiest piece of the pie, as most people are proficient at a generally acceptable wide-range of conversation topics long before they're anywhere close to native level.
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#10
Educated doesn't imply kanji proficiency in isolation. It implies that you understand the differences between words that use the same kanji. Nowhere near the majority of educated americans understand the differences between all sorts of latin/greek/french roots. At best they understand the usage patterns and implications of the ones that are used in their field. If they have a field. Not all education is highly academic. Not only that but there's no way RTK3 is going to teach you nuance.

As long as you read enough japanese, you're going to be more than proficient enough at the written japanese language in general to seem educated. Reading is the only thing that actually works.
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#11
@ryuudou:
I don't know where exactly I got you wrong, but if I was, then my bad.

btw I wasn't talking about learning kanji in general, but about RTK3 (which the topic is about).
And learning kanji also means to know when not to use them ^^
Edited: 2017-04-02, 4:56 pm
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#12
(2017-03-31, 7:24 pm)phil321 Wrote: So I'm learning the kanji in RTK3 (having completed RTK1 four years ago

I'm gonna stop you right there. Four years into your Japanese studies, you're still studying Japanese from a book written in English?

You're never going to learn Japanese by doing that. You could study Japanese in English 24/7 for the next million years, and still not speak it.
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#13
@Stansfield123: You're implying there was some kind of continued study during those four years, but we really don't know. For instance, apart from keeping up with RTK reviews (well, and occasionally watching some anime) I do absolutely nothing Japanese-related at present.
Thus, even when I finished RTK3 three years ago and have been reviewing since then, even if I have added a few more kanji I encountered by chance (in contrast to "by repeated exposure") to my deck, and even when I spend more time in this forum than I should... Even then, I wouldn't dare to say I've studied any Japanese during the last three years.

@phil321: My case is a pretty weird one. I study Japanese (well, when I really do) just for the lulz. I have no real motivation to do it, only arbitrary goals like "wanting to understand a lot more when watching films / dramas / anime" or "being able to read Japanese texts (even if just those for children) without this feeling of being decrypting".

At the time I finished RTK1, I was supposed to feel relieved or accomplished, but it was such a downer instead that I needed to set a new goal, quickly, or fall defeated and probably abandon Japanese altogether, invalidating all the efforts I made up to that point.
My first attempt was a Core deck but it ended up in total failure. My mood had a lot to do, probably. Memrise, delvinlanguage and the like weren't around at the time (or at least I wasn't aware of them)... I was running out of options.

I won't elaborate, because it just involves personal reasons, but RTK3 proved to be the lifesaver I was looking for. This was before the last 常用漢字 reform, so it gave me a powerful effect of perceived reward, too, not only for those essential kanji not present in 常用 then, but also for the way in which you learn to deal with variants and ancient forms along the way, a subject touched only very tangentially in the first book (yeah, nothing you couldn't learn elsewhere, but an added bonus indeed). And by the time I finished it, the much expected rush of happiness to my head was finally there.

Nonetheless, I don't feel like RTK3 is that important nowadays. Finishing the 6th edition of RTK1 is more than enough to start learning vocabulary and reading texts of all kinds, and I think that's the best you can do at that point. Granted, you'll find kanji outside those 2200 here and there, but they'll gonna be in RTK3 on a hit-and-miss basis, so you're better off adding to your deck the kanji you do encounter while being actually exposed to the language. Also, most of the words posing you problems would be made of already known kanji anyway, and with browser addons like rikai* and yomichan, neither of these is usually a problem.
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#14
The time you spend doing RTK3 would be much more useful learning Japanese; if you need those characters at some point you can learn them from things you're reading.
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#15
(2017-04-02, 4:24 pm)wareya Wrote: Educated doesn't imply kanji proficiency in isolation. It implies that you understand the differences between words that use the same kanji. Nowhere near the majority of educated americans understand the differences between all sorts of latin/greek/french roots. At best they understand the usage patterns and implications of the ones that are used in their field. If they have a field. Not all education is highly academic. Not only that but there's no way RTK3 is going to teach you nuance.

As long as you read enough japanese, you're going to be more than proficient enough at the written japanese language in general to seem educated. Reading is the only thing that actually works.
No one is talking about isolation. Although RTK involves study in isolation (unless you use Japanese keywords which is pretty common for RTK3) the results do not give proficiency in isolation; the knowledge fits into and functions within a bigger larger picture. Educated implies kanji proficiency which involves writing, and RTK3 gives that writing proficiency. No, reading does not teach you how to write. That said both RTK1 and RTK3 have the side effect of actually improving your reading due to being able to easily distinguish compounds with similar characters.
Edited: 2017-04-04, 3:49 am
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