Radicals, components, parts, primitives, elements.
James Heisig says "Primitive elements are not to be confused with the so-called "radicals" [...]. In fact, most of the radicals are themselves primitives, but the number of primitives is not constricted to the traditional list of radicals."
Then there is Eve Kushner, who says "Every kanji consists of one or more components (also known as elements). [...] The radical may be a component with a clear meaning[...]" and then goes on to mention the functions of the "phonetic component" which is also different than the "radical component." I understand this to mean that the radical influences the meaning of the kanji as a whole and the phonetic may or may not influence its possible on'yomi readings (but not kun'yomi--right?).
So the "components" are elements or "primitive elements" and they compose the radicals (phonetic or not), which compose the kanji, which then go on to form compounds--am I on the right track?
So, for example, 鹿 is the kanji for "deer" and a radical in 麗 (and in others, I'm sure), and its primitives (or elements or parts or components) are 广, 比 and 鹿 itself (I got this info out of jisho.org, by the way). To sum it up, 鹿 is a kanji, a radical and a primitive element all at the same time. Is that correct?
Would you say it is necessary to study all the primitive elements and radicals and only then go on to study the actual kanji? I ask this because I'm currently studying for level 2 of the JLPT -- so I've already memorized a fair share of kanji -- but only learned about radicals and primitives just recently (and find the whole thing very confusing, mind you), and I was wondering if I should take a step back and learn more about the structure of the kanji so as to make it easier to memorize the next thousand of characters I've got coming my way. Any advice from fellow japanese students would be very much appreciated!
Thanks in advance.