What is your approach to memorizing characters?

Elf
Posts114Likes 78Joined 8/10/2018LocationPH
Native
English, Tagalog
Learning Japanese

For the guys who are studying languages with unique writing systems like Chinese, how do you do it? I tried SRS and I don't think it works well with me. I appreciate the tips, thanks. 


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#1
Ent
Posts731Likes 457Joined 18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
Native
English
Learning Korean
Other Chinese - Mandarin, French, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Tagalog, Thai

I used Remembering the Kanji, by James Heisig. I see free pdf's of it all over the place now; not sure why, because I had to pay for it back in 2005. I highly recommend the technique that he popularized, but I wouldn't learn all of them at once because it's not worth the review time you would need to stay on top of them if you aren't actually using them. Instead, I recommend memorizing about 100 of them using RTK, which will get you very comfortable with the method. Then, just use it to learn new kanji as you come across them. 


To elaborate a bit more, the time to actually "learn" a kanji character is after you know a word that it belongs to. You should recognize the word and be able to produce it properly before trying to learn the kanji for it. This is the path of least resistance. And it should come as no surprise that you need to use kanji in order to not forget them. Reviewing with tools like anki helps, but it's not nearly as effective as actual usage. Out of all aspects of language learning, Chinese characters are probably the easiest things to forget if you don't use them.

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#2
Elf
Posts114Likes 78Joined 8/10/2018LocationPH
Native
English, Tagalog
Learning Japanese

OK thanks. I tried a similar approach to this. I used the kanji.koohi website for mnemonics but used Heisig's kanji order. Worked ok I guess, I think I got to around 130ish and quit. I kept forgetting some along the way and maybe it was because I did not use it in context.


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#3