You’ll Never See That

POP QUIZ!

Which of these three things will you never see?

A: A  lion playing a trumpet while riding a tricycle.

B: A salaryman doing handstand pushups while balancing two glasses of Calpis on his feet at Fushimi Inari at 3 in the morning.

C: The kanji 迄.

The answer is….

C!! Yes!

 

Meanwhile, on Earth…

It’s strange how I often hear the “Don’t bother learning [insert thing people think other people don’t use in a language]” advice.

“No one uses it.”

Yes they do.

“Don’t bother. You’ll never see it.”

Yes.

You.

Will[1].

You’ll see words like 珈琲, 蕎麦, 饂飩, 釦, and 薔薇 written in kanji if you spend enough varied time in the language and out of textbooks.

I can understand if your goal is efficiency and you want to study all the common/frequent words or whatever first.  That’s what I’m doing with my Korean now.  But if your goal is more long-term, you’ll see a lot of things, one example being rare/seldom used kanji for words you’ve only seen written in kana.

When you see them, would you rather have to stop in your tracks and look them up[2] or would you rather already know it?

The choice is simple for me.

Whenever I learn a new word I learn the kanji for it, even if it has that little x next to it in the dictionary.  ‘Cause why not.  It’s not like kanji are difficult.

Do you disagree? Do you agree? How do you approach “unknowns”?  Let me know in the comments below.

 

In my next post I’ll talk about techniques I use to remember everything, as well as new techniques I plan on testing out.

 

Author: Koyami

I'm Koyami. I am a freelance Japanese-English Translator and I enjoy learning new skills and reading in my spare time. Current pursuits include learning Mandarin Chinese, getting familiar with Blender, and collecting all of the 十二国記 books. Follow me on Twitter and Google+ for blog updates, my Japanese word of the day, and more!

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  • I have seen 珈琲 (sometimes on cafe signs), 蕎麦 (sometimes on restaurant signs, 饂飩 (sometimes on restaurant signs), 釦 (in books), and 薔薇 (in more books). I have also seen まで as 迄.

    It is also a world of the easy 変換 button on cellphones and computers. Which mean people use more difficult kanji than they actually know.

    They will be useful.

    • Exactly. Thanks for the comment!