A Japanese English electronic dictionary is pretty much an indispensable tool when it comes down to learning kanji. Something that needs to be addressed right away is that if you are just starting out in learning Japanese, then you can do without it for a while.
Really folks, a paper dictionary will do just fine for basic word
learning so here we are talking about beginning language learners. But
as you begin to advance in the language, it gets harder and harder to
make headway without a knowledge of kanji.
What happens is that as you advance, a heavier and heavier premium gets placed on acquiring new knowledge. Without a knowledge of kanji you just have to memorize your way through the language with BRUTE FORCE. If you want the speed and power of electronic format then a basic one like the Canon Wordtank IDP will do. Cheap fast but limited in function.
What you come to understand later is that so many Japanese words have similar kanji and that if you know kanji you can quickly group together similar words with similar kanji. This radically increases the speed at which you can learn the language and this is where Japanese English electronic dictionaries shine. What we mean to say is that once you know the kanji for 'fire' then related words like, fire extinguisher, fireman, fire escape and fire drill become easier to read. Just like the kanji for 'consume' (shohi suru) and 'consumption tax' (shohizei) are similar. This is how Japanese electronic dictionaries help speed up the process.
This is also where you need functionality like a writing pad, voice recognition etc. These higher end functions really help increase learning speed and are very helpful in the ESL classroom as well.
Many go for the cheaper ad on aps. These non-dedicated learning aids are so limited in their uses it's almost ridiculous. A decent collegiate paper dictionary is way better. If you can't find the meaning of the word you are looking for their is not much use in it.
Some features you'll need when you get into the heavy lifting phase of learning kanji and Japanese are:
It's good also to note that more Japanese English electronic dictionaries are mainly created with Japanese in mind as the primary users i.e. more so for Japanese looking for a relevant English translation rather than the other way around.
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