Monday, October 6, 2008

Trouble kanji

It's recently occurred to me how confusing all these body of water kanji are getting. Obviously, a few of them (such as 川) are quite simple to remember and differentiate from others, but then you get both sea and ocean, which also happen to have different kanji despite similar meanings.

In order to make memorizing these suckers a little easier, I've written each body of water kanji down on a cheat sheet of sorts, which I reference from time to time in order to test myself and make these confusing characters really sink in; mnemonics certainly make things easier, but in my experience thus far, one can only stretch a mnemonic so far before it becomes too convoluted and... well, stupid. In that event, good ol' fashioned memorization by other means seems to be more effective.

On top of bodies of water, I've also discovered that I've been having a bit of trouble with kanji using the "road" radical along with animal-based primitives -- again, mnemonics can only go so far, especially when meanings are dangerously similar to one another.

At any rate, writing simple cheat sheets like this has really helped me get over some difficult humps previously, and definitely helps sort these kanji out in your head. Here's what I've recently jotted down:

Bodies of water
Lake 湖
Ocean 洋
Creek 江
Stream 川
Sea 海
Open Sea 沖

Road + Animal
Escape 逃
Escort 送
Pursue 逐
Advance 進
Consummate 遂

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