The Kodansha Kanji Learner's Course: A Step-by-Step Guide to Mastering 2300 Characters ペーパーバック – 2013/12/6
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Kodansha's widely acclaimed Kanji Learner's Course (KLC) is a complete guide to mastering all the kanji needed for genuine literacy in Japanese. It anchors a comprehensive kanji learning system, supported by the KLC Graded Reading Sets, the KLC Green Book, the KLC Wall Chart, and keystojapanese.com (a user-support website for forming study groups, exchanging tips, and tracking one's learning progress with points and level ranks). The KLC is also cross-referenced for convenient use with Kodansha's companion volume, the Kanji Learner's Dictionary.
THE FOUR ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS FOR KANJI LEARNING
The 2,300 entries of this main textbook adeptly integrate the four essential elements for mastering kanji meanings:
(1) Accurate keywords. Each character's core meaning is encapsulated in a concise, easily memorized keyword. The keywords for all 2,300 entries have been carefully chosen to be semantically accurate and to integrate the character's various senses into a core idea.
(2) Vocabulary to illustrate the keywords. The concept captured in each keyword is illustrated with up to five sample vocabulary items, carefully selected to clarify how the kanji is used in building typical words and phrases.
(3) Mnemonic aids for remembering the keywords. Each entry contains an original mnemonic aid that is carefully designed to help learners remember the character's core meanings. Mnemonic aids pay special attention to helping learners immediately recognize each kanji and distinguish it from lookalikes.
(4) Rational learning sequence. The course's widely praised sequence represents a breakthrough in kanji pedagogy. It aids learning by introducing kanji components step by step, grouping related kanji together, and building vocabulary progressively - all while teaching kanji in rough order of importance.
A SELF-GUIDING, SELF-REINFORCING COURSE
The course arranges all the information needed to master 2,300 characters into a streamlined, self-guiding, and mnemonically self-reinforcing curriculum. Sample compounds include only such kanji as have previously been learned, ensuring that learners are able to understand and use each compound, and providing a built-in review of all the kanji already studied.
THE ULTIMATE KANJI LEARNING RESOURCE
* Provides a sophisticated, pedagogically sound method for remembering the core meaning of each kanji, conveniently summarized in concise keywords to facilitate memorization.
* Introduces the meaning and usage of each grapheme the first time it appears, helping learners seamlessly acquire new kanji based on a sound understanding of their component parts.
* Innovatively uses concrete imagery to simplify complex characters and make their meanings immediately recognizable in their graphical forms.
* Teaches characters in a pedagogically effective sequence, presenting graphically related characters together to help learners give significance to their contrastive features as they learn them, and thereby avoid having to re-learn them later.
* Helps learners actively apply each character's principal meanings and readings using key vocabulary words, carefully chosen to illustrate the character's uses and to help learners employ it in everyday reading and written communication.
* Helps learners differentiate among graphically similar kanji by showing how to remember the characters in a mutually contrastive manner that connects their graphical distinctions to their underlying semantic differences. Along the way, the course introduces nearly 800 pairs of easily confused kanji.
* Helps students learn to write kanji accurately, by indicating each kanji's stroke order and placing careful emphasis on distinctions among graphically similar characters.
* Includes all the kanji needed for genuine literacy in Japanese, including all 196 characters added to the official Joyo Kanji List in 2010.
Andrew Scott Conning is a doctoral candidate and Presidential Fellow at the Harvard School of Education. He received a bachelor’s degree in languages from Georgetown University and a master’s degree in social anthropology from the Escuela National de Antropologia e Historia (Mexico). He has been active in Japan as a lecturer and university administrator, and most recently as a research scholar at the University of Tokyo.
One small point that wasn't mentioned by others, are the appendixes at the back of the book. They contain lists of kanji sorted in different ways (sorted by radical, sorted by stroke count, sorted by kana/sound, etc).. this makes looking up a kanji much easier, and it also allows you to see them surrounded by other kanji with identical sounds, or identical stroke count. Honestly the individual kanji pages would normally be sufficient, but the effort put into the appendixes/indexes at the end of the book (which span nearly a hundred pages) makes this book invaluable for anyone who's serious about learning kanji. The learning order is exactly the right way they should be learned, and the author deserves much praise for having designed it that way.
I can't recommend this book enough. It has turned into the cornerstone of my Japanese self-study.
1. The kanji are listed logically so that similar looking kanji are learned at the same time. This prevents confusion later since you won't come across kanji that look like ones you already learned.
2. The book doesn't introduce new graphemes and radicals at lightning speed. It introduces them gradually so you can construct kanji from images you know rather than having to constantly remember new ones.
3. Every kanji has its own unique, well-written mnemonic to ensure you remember the meaning.
4. Unlike some other books, this one will teach you Japanese vocabulary and pronunciation alongside the kanji.
In short, if you're serious about kanji, this is the book that will get you to a strong level. Completing the book in its entirety will enable you to understand the core 2300 kanji as well as over 10 000 unique Japanese words.
日本の義務教育の過程における語彙の学習を思い起こしてみれば、結局、漢字にかぎらず、その学習順というのは、常に易から難へと配置されていることに気づきます。それを思えば、このThe Kodansha Kanji Learner's Courseの採用しているメソッドは極めて理にかなっていると思います。