PDA

View Full Version : Like Heisig?



dombay
May 30th, 2009, 16:59
Discuss it here.

NOWHERE ELSE.

UPGRAYEDD
May 30th, 2009, 18:11
no

wicket
May 30th, 2009, 18:18
and it's a no from me, simon.

dombay
May 30th, 2009, 18:37
?

Who is Simon?

wicket
May 30th, 2009, 18:41
sorry, been watching too much "Britain's got talent" [it hasn't, BTW].
Simon Cowell.

Nukemarine
May 30th, 2009, 20:49
Could the title of the thread be altered to "Heisig's 'Remembering the Kanji' discussion"? Not to nitpick, but Professor Heisig is mainly an author of religious studies.

To answer the question: a conditional yes.

On it's own, it can be difficult to finish. Combined with a Spaced Repetition System such as http://ichi2.net/anki Anki and community shared stories like at http://kanji.koohii.com (http://kanji.koohii.com/) then it becomes easier to finish in a reasonable amount of time (200 to 250 hours of study time).

With it completed, I found it fairly easy to roll into proper Japanese study using regular Japanese text. The ability to write the kanji properly with speed, while limited in application, helps in my studies as I like to write down sentences I'm learning.

In addition, after time is spent on the system, I found that learning new kanji is much faster than when I started out. Combined with the technique of "memory palace" to attach an onyomi to the kanji improved my reading ability.

It's weakness are there:

The keyword system, while great for developing a flashcard set-up, is poor in that he does not fully explain what the kanji mean. You're left at times with just that one word, which can be ambiguous. While this can by fixed using the extra online resources, it's a weakness of the book itself.

He chose to use the entire Jouyou kanji. While technically not a weakness, it makes completing the book take 100 hours longer. So while 100 hours will go to 1000 kanji you'll use 80% of the time, you spend additional 100 hours covering the other 1000 kanji that's used an addition 10% of time. Again, this weakness can be fixed via online resources, but it's not something you can do with the book itself.

His choice of stories, keywords and primitives - With keywords, he wants a unique word per kanji that's kind of related to it. Most cases this is not a problem, but you get some odd choices at times that's related to an obscure meaning of that kanji. His primitive choices also can be lacking in that we're meant to create VISUAL stories, but we're given a conceptual primitive. Plus, as Heisig is primarily a religious studies expert (the main reason he was invited to Japan, and began to study Japanese there leading to this book), his stories have Christian mythos attached that may be hard to grasp for some readers. Yet again, these weaknesses are taken care of in the online community, but this is about the book.

Usual arguments against Heisig are not reasonable:

Does not include pronunciation - not the purpose of the book. It's not a reference book, but a study book to learn how to write and recognize Kanji for those with English as a native language (or strong second language). There are plenty of other reference books with pronunciation references that you can use to learn along side. You may as well complain he's not teaching the Mandarin pronunciations (which other kanji books don't do either).

Mnemonics is not a new system - not relevant. He's not claiming this is new. He even stated he thought it was common sense to break down kanji to learn them. Besides, if mnemonics have been used, and do work, why would this be an argument against the book?

Teaches rare kanji - has some validity. Now, if he's teaching a rare kanji (吾) it may seem odd, till the next thing you see is a VERY COMMON kanji (語) which you notice has that 'rare' kanji right there inside. However, except for that, I covered this argument up above in weaknesses.

wicket
May 30th, 2009, 21:03
Could the title of the thread be altered to "Heisig's 'Remembering the Kanji' discussion"? Not to nitpick, but Professor Heisig is mainly an author of religious studies.

No. No it can't. This is a forum about Japan and Japanese, not religion. I'm pretty sure most people know what the thread is about.

And I don't give a shit what the purpose of the book is. It's overpriced, overhyped and totally unnatural in terms of language acquisition.

Nukemarine
May 30th, 2009, 21:25
No. No it can't. This is a forum about Japan and Japanese, not religion. I'm pretty sure most people know what the thread is about.

And I don't give a shit what the purpose of the book is. It's overpriced, overhyped and totally unnatural in terms of language acquisition.

Pardon me, I didn't realize Heisig was such a household term that the mere mention of it is synonymous with Kanji. By the way, while I didn't mention dombay by name, I thought it was obvious the request was meant for him being an administrator and author of this thread and all.

As to your "critique" of RTK:

Overpriced - so, what would be a reasonable price above production cost? I assume a little profit should be expected.

Overhyped - is this the "complete newbie does 500 kanji of the book, and goes on multiple forums yelling it's praises" type of overhype? I doubt it's the Rosetta Stone type of overhype. Could you elaborate?

Unnatural language acquisition - Hate to break it to you, but ANY class based teaching is unnatural. Unless you're born into the language, pretty every language past the first has artificial learning methods attached. A majority of the time, it's through the use of your first language. Anyway, could you elaborate on this, as I don't know too many languages with pictographic based literary structures. That the Japanese adapted/applied Chinese kanji to their existing language further weakens your argument.

wicket
May 30th, 2009, 21:31
Pardon me, I didn't realize Heisig was such a household term that the mere mention of it is synonymous with Kanji. By the way, while I didn't mention dombay by name, I thought it was obvious the request was meant for him being an administrator and author of this thread and all.

No, no, pardon me. Forgot you're a newb here.

Heisig is VERY well known on this forum and has been discussed TO DEATH on previous threads, so a lot of us old-timers are fed up talking about him.

And I'm also a moderator, so that's why I responded to your request to change the thread title.

I'm well aware that any class-based language learning is unnatural [I teach Japanese and English]; but I'm also entitled to say that I think Heisig's method takes people the long way around and never worked for me. If it works for you, that's great. It's been hyped by lots of people - mostly people who are new to learning kanji, but not always.

Anyway, I sounded rude and didn't mean to, so sorry. It's just that I don't think there's much more to add to the discussion that hasn't already been said. Do a search through the old threads.

ETA: I learned kanji by using the books that Japanese kids use to learn it - they cost me 100yen each and were fantastic and logical. And I didn't have to learn or make up any bullshit stories in English - the whole process was in Japanese.

AliDimayev
May 30th, 2009, 21:45
WICKET, PLEASE READ ME!!!!

I totally agree with you on this one.

I also find it very funny that that one time two weeks or so ago when someone mentioned he didn't like Heisig all of a sudden there were about five new posters eacah posting huge posts about how much they like HEisig. There must be a Heisig forum out there and it was alerted to that one post here on ITIL that critisized it. It is like when Frodo in the Lord of The Rings put the ring on, and then all of a sudden all those death knights or whatever-the-fuck knew instanly what direction to head towards to get Frodo and took off!

Wakatta
May 30th, 2009, 22:03
No. No it can't. This is a forum about Japan and Japanese, not religion. I'm pretty sure most people know what the thread is about.

And I don't give a shit what the purpose of the book is. It's overpriced, overhyped and totally unnatural in terms of language acquisition.

I am not sure where all these Heisig-lovers came from, but I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with you and Ali on this one, Wicket. Well, only sort of: as you say, it's a matter of what works for each individual, which is true in a lot of educational matters. We might both be right: it doesn't work for you and it does work for me. Thus to a new person, I would say, "Try it and see".

In my case, though, yeah, it really does work: not as a first thing, but after one's already situated in the language a bit and has learned some kanji the old fashioned way, getting used to the strokes. I add another disclaimer: I don't use Heisig, I use the Slime Forest program, which supplies different mnemonics for the kanji -- all of them; you don't have to make up your own stories -- and includes at least one basic pronunciation.

Those disclaimers aside: doing it the traditional way -- endless repetition -- I managed to crawl up to maybe 200 kanji over many, many months. I forgot like 60-80% of them after not using them for a while, even though they were strong for a bit. With the mnemonic approach (not Heisig exactly) I shot up to a good 1000+ kanji in a month or two and retain them with far greater success. Hell, sometimes I'll learn a new kanji, then realize that I'd learned it before with the rote memorization method and have simply forgotten it.

Nukemarine
May 30th, 2009, 22:14
WICKET, PLEASE READ ME!!!!

I totally agree with you on this one.

I also find it very funny that that one time two weeks or so ago when someone mentioned he didn't like Heisig all of a sudden there were about five new posters eacah posting huge posts about how much they like HEisig. There must be a Heisig forum out there and it was alerted to that one post here on ITIL that critisized it. It is like when Frodo in the Lord of The Rings put the ring on, and then all of a sudden all those death knights or whatever-the-fuck knew instanly what direction to head towards to get Frodo and took off!

In the other thread, you and a couple of others wondered why we were here. I posted the link to the Reviewing the Kanji forum thread that linked to this forum. That post was deleted by dombay along with all others related to Heisig and RTK that was not talking about the original poster's request about how to start learning Japanese. Seeing that this thread is actually about RTK, here's that link again, http://forum.koohii.com/viewtopic.php?id=691&p=37 with the original about 20 posts down.

I'll agree, it's bad forum etiquitte to post links to debates/discussions on other forums as it leads to drive by trolling. To be fair though, I don't think we posted and then left without at least backing up our statements.

Sorry about the posts being long Ali. Well, ok I'm not sorry, but it seems like that was a complaint. If someone wants to know how to learn Japanese, a serious answer is bound to be verbose.

kiwimusume
May 30th, 2009, 23:16
I have no issue with mnemonics. I don't use many personally, but I can certainly see how they can help some people.

What I find completely cock-eyed is the fact that he TELLS YOU NOT TO LEARN THE READINGS UNTIL YOU'VE FINISHED THE WHOLE BOOK. So, using the kanji in context DOESN'T help you to learn it?

Also, Wicket, I love you for quoting Britain's Got Talent. It makes me want to translate my post into Tyra-ese (my current obsession is America's Next Top Model.)

Wakatta
May 30th, 2009, 23:26
What I find completely cock-eyed is the fact that he TELLS YOU NOT TO LEARN THE READINGS UNTIL YOU'VE FINISHED THE WHOLE BOOK. So, using the kanji in context DOESN'T help you to learn it?

Agreed! This is why I like the Slime Forest game, which at least throws a single standard on-yomi at you. Do they stick? Yeah, mostly; some require some review with your spaced repetition (or whatever they're called) program of choice.

I don't really get the Heisig bit about "I'm not teaching you Japanese; I'm just teaching you the kanji!" The reality is that kanji skills are most useful when you can at least kind of read them. Yes, you can learn in context, but I'd rather have at least a foundation. I don't think it takes more than a few seconds of extra time per kanji to glance at the reading, so I say why not.

bizarrojosh
May 31st, 2009, 08:03
I'm using the RTK book and it seems to work pretty well.

Like others, in about a week I know the (limited/ambigious/archaic) meaning of about 120-160 Kanji and the proper stroke order. So I see that as a plus considering that I studied Kanji before this and hardly remembered any of them after year sabbtical. So it seems to do what it sets out to do and I can therefore say that I'm satisfied with its purposes. I'll have to see if I can get the pronunciations down after I finish the book (I guess I have about 2 months or so to go), but at least then I won't have to worry so much about learning how to write or recognize what reading.

elleohelle
May 31st, 2009, 08:25
I talked to a Japanese linguist about this a few weeks ago, and she is not a fan. I trust her opinion, as she's coauthored several Japanese language textbooks. I also think his books reinforce the misnomer that all Chinese characters are ideographs. Just my opinion, but I think Wicket's approach or something is really useful and awesome. Those 100 yen books are amazing :D

capn jazz
May 31st, 2009, 08:52
ETA: I learned kanji by using the books that Japanese kids use to learn it - they cost me 100yen each and were fantastic and logical. And I didn't have to learn or make up any bullshit stories in English - the whole process was in Japanese.

Where did you find these books?

AliDimayev
May 31st, 2009, 09:47
they were strong for a bit. With the mnemonic approach (not Heisig exactly) I shot up to a good 1000+ kanji in a month ]it.


1000 kanji in a month?
So by now you must know thousands and thousands of kanji.

Wakatta
May 31st, 2009, 12:03
1000 kanji in a month?
So by now you must know thousands and thousands of kanji.

Unfortunately, I slacked off (due to various factors, like actually having classes now) and haven't played Slime Forest much at all lately. I'm working that back in. And, well, okay, I guess it might have been more like 2-3 months? I sort of have it written down; I'll check.

However, sure, on days when I play it, I can learn a good 20-30 kanji in a sitting. I then stick them in my Anki deck and keep going. With muscle memory, it is considerably slower and I have a harder time retaining the kanji. I remember one person saying, "All you can realistically expect is 10 kanji a week, max" and I imagine that's close to accurate for writing-it-all-a-hundred-thousand-times memorization.

I will make a wager with you, though, my Chechen friend: I bet I can knock off the rest of the Joyo kanji by the end of next month if I make a daily habit of studying. I'm not sure exactly how many I'm at, but I think it's about 1300.

Incidentally: I -do- like those 100 (105) yen books, though! I'm all for multi-layered studying. For me, it's:

1) Slime Forest to learn new kanji with nice ready-made mnemonics (that I think are better than Heisig's, and include a reading)
2) Anki to store those kanji and review (I only started doing this partway through, though, so my Anki deck doesn't contain all the kanji I know...I should fix that)
3) Kakitori-kun to confirm and reinforce stroke order and meaning; I use the Japanese dictionary defs included for both reading practice and to give me a more accurate sense of its meaning/compounds
4) 100-yen books for more practice with compounds and junk.

capn jazz
May 31st, 2009, 12:29
Are you using the free Slime Forest trial or the $20 members version?

Wakatta
May 31st, 2009, 12:37
Are you using the free Slime Forest trial or the $20 members version?

I started with the trial version, liked it, and invested in the member's version. Entirely worth it, in my opinion!

One thing that took me a while to realize: when it prompts you on the kanji, you can type in either any valid reading (well...it's a bit fussy sometimes? Particularly with verbs? I think?) or the keyword meaning.

AliDimayev
May 31st, 2009, 13:16
WHen you say you know that many kanji, do you mean you can write them as well? Because to be able to write 13000 kanji in a matter of months is very impressive.

Wakatta
May 31st, 2009, 13:45
WHen you say you know that many kanji, do you mean you can write them as well? Because to be able to write 13000 kanji in a matter of months is very impressive.

Well, not 13,000, but 1,300 or thereabouts. And yeah, I can write them. Some are a little weak for cold writing, which is part of why I use Kakitori and the 100 yen books to refresh it. But for instance, if you ask about "insane" (きょう), I remember, "beast + king = the insane person thinks he is king of the beasts!" and then I write that animal/beast/dog radical and then king. I know how to write both of those, so I can write the kanji.

AliDimayev
May 31st, 2009, 14:13
Well, not 13,000, but 1,300 or thereabouts. And yeah, I can write them. Some are a little weak for cold writing, which is part of why I use Kakitori and the 100 yen books to refresh it. But for instance, if you ask about "insane" (きょう), I remember, "beast + king = the insane person thinks he is king of the beasts!" and then I write that animal/beast/dog radical and then king. I know how to write both of those, so I can write the kanji.
How you feel about some of the kanji software for the DS?

Wakatta
May 31st, 2009, 14:18
How you feel about some of the kanji software for the DS?

I like Kakitori-kun and the Kanji Sonomama Rakubiki Jiten. I think they're both great buys, although I use the former more than the latter.

The former is nice because it walks you through all the joyo kanji, shows you how to draw them, and provides (Japanese) dictionary defs and reading samples for each. I sometimes fail to understand the dictionary defs (I should probably use another dictionary to help...although, eh, I'm happy with just gleaning what I can) but usually I can get an idea. Even if I know the general meaning of the kanji from Slime Forest, the dictionary defs are good reading practice (it helps to have an idea of what they're probably going to say...like watching a movie whose plot you already know in Japanese) and they round out the basic meaning. Kakitori-kun also provides some drills and other review functions that I haven't used much yet.

The latter is handy as a portable, writable dictionary.

Know any other good ones that I should look into?

AliDimayev
May 31st, 2009, 14:20
I like Kakitori-kun and the Kanji Sonomama Rakubiki Jiten. I think they're both great buys, although I use the former more than the latter.

Tt the basic meaning.

The latter is handy as a portable, writable dictionary.

Yeah, I have the dictionary and that is good as a reference. I don't have kakitori-kun, but I do have kanji-um, I forget the rest. But it is pretty good, you go through each level 10~1 of the japanese level for kanji or something....

I don't know, but it is good, too. I think.

Mike_Davis
June 1st, 2009, 11:41
It's fascinating how emotionally attached Japanese nerds get to their view on Heisig. On one hand you've got the cultist proselytizers who claim they know "every" kanji when they can't read a single one (and half the time haven't even learned greetings yet). And then there's the contingent of interminable-intermediates who see Heisig's very existence as an personal affront to their hard work (and resultant carpal tunnel).

It's not stem cell research; hell, it's not even Kirk vs. Picard.* It's a niche study method for a niche language. Let's keep the righteous indignation to a dull roar.

I gave Heisig a shot last summer through the kanji.koohii.com site, and I was pleasantly surprised. I had already been studying Japanese for a few years, so readings and meanings weren't a problem, but after a couple of months of daily practice for half an hour or so, I went from being able to write four or five hundred from memory to being able to write the entire joyo set. It also smoothed out the nitpicky details I would get mixed up (stuff like what goes on the bottom in 歳、滅、減). It made a big difference in my confidence in writing by hand even now, months after I quit, and it was really helpful for the first section of the JLPT.

I don't know that I would recommend it to someone just starting out, partially because I don't think kanji's the right place to start learning, and partially out of a fear that their progress would stagnate in the giant mutual-onanism-fest that is the typical Heisig web forum. But if you're already comfortable with Japanese, but want a structured, logical way to go at fixing your kanji weaknesses, especially writing, I think it can be a useful tool.

But, to each their own; if it works for you, great, if not, there are a million other Japanese textbooks/websites out there. It's nothing to get worked up over.


(*Janeway's grossly underappreciated.)

Mike_Davis
June 1st, 2009, 11:44
Yeah, I have the dictionary and that is good as a reference. I don't have kakitori-kun, but I do have kanji-um, I forget the rest. But it is pretty good, you go through each level 10~1 of the japanese level for kanji or something....

I don't know, but it is good, too. I think.

Are you talking about なぞって覚える大人の漢字練習? I picked that up after Dawg mentioned it a while back - that game's a lot of fun. It's how I learned the prefectures!

KeroHazel
June 1st, 2009, 12:07
I think I'm only at half-mast for Heisig. The method is good, the book itself is shit. He pretty much gives up after kanji #300 or so. Wouldn't surprise me if one of the hints buried somewhere in the mid-1800s went something like this: "keyword: scam. elements: money... me... laughing... bank."

Kanji Koohii - well, it's "Reviewing the Kanji", but I remember it by the URL - is where it's at. That shit is fun as hell.

AliDimayev
June 1st, 2009, 13:54
Are you talking about なぞって覚える大人の漢字練習? I picked that up after Dawg mentioned it a while back - that game's a lot of fun. It's how I learned the prefectures!
no, it:s7 漢定3

Atalante
June 1st, 2009, 14:28
I was wondering wtf this Heisig shit was since it kept coming up, but it's the guy who wrote those "remembering the kanji" books? One of my friends swore by it when he was learning, I read it and thought it was too unnecessarily complicated, the friend who used it eventually gave up for better materials when he needed to learn them more often for the JLPT.

I personally like that Kanji Pict-o-grafx book that you can buy, I forget the author but it's really good, turns every kanji into a picture that kind of makes sense. It's shit for learning readings, but I used to use that to supplement the kanji books I was going through back when I was seriously studying. I think it's easier to remember a logical picture instead of a damn essay for each character.

Nukemarine
June 1st, 2009, 14:41
I tried the Kanji Pict-o-graphix book early on. I gave it up when it did not help recognition of similar kanji. In hind sight, it would have been even worse had I stuck with it as I would not know stroke order very well, and my writing ability would be close to non-existant. I just ended up donating the book to my ship's library.

While it's unfortunate to some that Heisig's RTK used words, it's in his description of the technique to use visual memory. So, while what he offers is written, you're meant to visualize the results. In that it is similar to Kanji Pict-o-graphix, just that the story is not drawn out for you. Sort of like complaining about novels that they describe scenes instead of painting the pictures for you like comic books do.

violetessence
June 1st, 2009, 15:38
I'm currently using Heisig, Japanese-language kanji workbooks for kids, AND working my way through reading passages with tutors.

I'm really horrible at memorizing things from rote memorization, so all the kanji I learned in college I've forgotten. So, in an attempt to find a method that'll make them stick, I'm trying Heisig. I'm to around 700 kanji in the book, and perhaps remember 70% on a good day. I'm not under the delusion that I "know" or can "read" these kanji at this point.

So far, I'm keeping an open mind about it. Surely it's not perfect, and if I could remember all the pronunciations at the same time maybe I'd be better off with some other book - but like I said, I suck at memorization so I'm breaking down the steps into bite-sized pieces. It does seem to make remembering how to write new words I learn a ton easier.

Anyway... I don't feel that I can give a strong opinion about it until I actually become fluent in Japanese. It's a book... I don't see why anyone flame wars over it. Maybe we can start a flame war over "The Secret" next. ;-)

UPGRAYEDD
June 1st, 2009, 16:22
It all boils down to Heisig advocates exageratting their claims.

A bunch come here from time to time and say something ammounting to 'holy crap there is this book I did and after I was done I knew all the kanji and could write them.' Which is a rather big exaggeration.

Nukemarine
June 1st, 2009, 16:47
Fine, then how's this as a claim:

Spending 200 hours of study time utilizing this book and online resource of kanji.koohii.com, I've been able if given an English keyword to properly write out the Kanji that corresponds to it of about 2000 kanji with 95% accuracy. That number is now upto 2600 kanji.

Utilizing this as a base line, I went on with an additional 200 hours to have a 95% success rate at comprehending 750 grammar sentences that covers 200 grammar points. In addition, by investing another 200 hours, I have a 95% chance of correctly writing out over 2000 unique vocabulary words, and recognizing those same words if reading them.

See, I take a "college class" that's can be 2 to 3 hours each day. Everyday, the "class" starts out with taking upwards of 200 question test that covers kanji (recognition, writing, and onyomi), grammar points via sentences, and vocabulary via sentences (reading and writing). Those tests are normally scored in the 90% yet covers material from the last 2 years. After that, it's finishing out the time with adding new material that will be tested on the next day.

Now those are the hard numbers. It's only a matter of looking at my Anki stats to see how much effort I'm investing and how well I'm retaining it. The abilities that are harder to guage, but are there, is that I can read novels and manga in addition to follow Japanese dramas with aid of Japanese subtitles to a fairly good degree. Being able to correctly recognize kanji has helped this immensely.

But how I did with the book is irrelevant, as the book needs to stand on its own. Complaining about other users coming on to the forum that brag about how they used the book is a poor reason to critique the book itself. I'm not overly impressed with the quality of this forum, but I'm not going to judge the JET program based on the people of this forum.

So - The main benefit with Heisig's RTK is that he gives an intuitive order to learning all the Jouyou kanji. It's not brain surgery, it's just teaching you kanji radical by radical. You don't learn an entire kanji unless you know about the parts that make it up. Yes, sometimes those smaller parts are lesser known kanji however, it makes the job easier over all.

AliDimayev
June 1st, 2009, 17:02
It all boils down to Heisig advocates exageratting their claims.

A bunch come here from time to time and say something ammounting to 'holy crap there is this book I did and after I was done I knew all the kanji and could write them.' Which is a rather big exaggeration.
Even Japanese at anytime could forget how to write some kanji.

Wakatta
June 1st, 2009, 17:58
I think I'm only at half-mast for Heisig. The method is good, the book itself is shit.

That's why I like Slime Forest. I've looked at the actual RTK, and, eh, I'm not a huge fan. And I agree it's lame that he's like, "Yeah, go make up your own stories for the rest! Have fun!" If I want to make up my own, I will, but I like Slime Forest's pre-made stories as a default. Most of them are pretty solid. I'm not sure but I think it's also more precise about using the actual etymology when possible.

mattyjaddy
June 1st, 2009, 18:43
And I don't give a shit what the purpose of the book is. It's overpriced, overhyped and totally unnatural in terms of language acquisition.

The book is about written language. Written language is not natural. Any study of written language is "unnatural" in terms of language acquisition.

So, I'm not quite sure what you're getting at. Maybe you can elaborate. Does "unnatural" mean different from your experience in learning writing systems?

Wanderlust King
June 1st, 2009, 23:39
The problem with Heisig is that you're 'learning' Kanji by filling your head with a bunch of made-up arbitrary shit. I have a book that's similar, but it goes into the true etymology behind every Kanji character, instead of making up bogus stories that you wrongly associate with them. For anyone interested in etymology, it's a really good read. It traces every character back to its early visual representations, explains the phonetic logic behind the kanji if visually it has nothing to do with the meaning, yada yada.

http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b97/jackissowhack/henshall1.jpg

http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b97/jackissowhack/henshall2.jpg

http://www.infibeam.com/Books/info/K...804820384.html (http://www.infibeam.com/Books/info/Kenneth-G-Henshall/A-Guide-to-Remembering-Japanese-Characters/0804820384.html)

Much better than Heisig, IMO.

FiercestCalm
June 2nd, 2009, 02:27
Thanks for bringing up slime forest, wakatta. I think I'd heard of it before but never played it, and now I have a good way of brushing up on my Japanese at work!

mattyjaddy
June 2nd, 2009, 07:39
Wanderlust

It's interesting how you chose #5 as a representative of the book when half of it's explanation is "arbitrary bullshit". I'll quote the source: "A useful mnemonic, but incorrect." It underscores the fact that historical or etymological methods aren't necessarily the best. (Notice how the part that made the symbol a battle ax is now missing. Is it helpful to remember the historical form as the book's mnemonic suggests? Isn't that filling your head with shit, even if it isn't arbitrary?)

#14 helps us see that even the experts aren't sure about where all the kanji came from historically, even common ones. It seems here that you have 50% chance of filling your head with, well, you know.

I'm not bashing the book, just trying to show that we all have different places where we draw the line of what's arbitrary or what's valuable or what's useful.

Wanderlust King
June 2nd, 2009, 07:52
Wanderlust

It's interesting how you chose #5 as a representative of the book when half of it's explanation is "arbitrary bullshit". I'll quote the source: "A useful mnemonic, but incorrect." It underscores the fact that historical or etymological methods aren't necessarily the best. (Notice how the part that made the symbol a battle ax is now missing. Is it helpful to remember the historical form as the book's mnemonic suggests? Isn't that filling your head with shit, even if it isn't arbitrary?)

#14 helps us see that even the experts aren't sure about where all the kanji came from historically, even common ones. It seems here that you have 50% chance of filling your head with, well, you know.

I'm not bashing the book, just trying to show that we all have different places where we draw the line of what's arbitrary or what's valuable or what's useful.

"For anyone interested in etymology, it's a really good read."

With Heisig, after I've memorized 王, I'll always carry with me the incorrect association that it is "an entity connecting the Heaven, sky, and Earth."

With the book I linked, at least after I learn 王, I'll also carry with me the correct historical origin behind it.

You may not give a hoot about that, but I value it, and like I said, other people interested in the origins of language would, too. That's the only reason I brought it up.

AliDimayev
June 2nd, 2009, 08:01
Problem is many kanji aren't derived in any meaningful way.

What the fuck does water scorpion have to with a pond? IKE

Nukemarine
June 2nd, 2009, 08:22
"For anyone interested in etymology, it's a really good read."

With Heisig, after I've memorized 王, I'll always carry with me the incorrect association that it is "an entity connecting the Heaven, sky, and Earth."

With the book I linked, at least after I learn 王, I'll also carry with me the correct historical origin behind it.

You may not give a hoot about that, but I value it, and like I said, other people interested in the origins of language would, too. That's the only reason I brought it up.

Ah, I think see the problem. See, the stories are a short-cut. You're not supposed to memorize the stories. You're to memorize the Kanji (hence the title). The keyword excites the mind to recall the story. The stories fade away to the primitives (or keywords) and soon that fades away to just the Kanji itself.

Put it this way: my stories for 王 or one for 覚 or 練 or 習 I'd be hard pressed to point out. I hear "king" I write out 王, the same goes for memorize, practice and learn.

Though when I started out with it, thinking 'One sky, with a cane beam crowning two kings" , or "In a school, I memorized everything I saw" or "Spiderman practiced his swinging on the east side of town" or "Students learning at a school desk, writing with White feathers" helped get where all the parts of the kanji would go. I'm not thinking stories now, I think in Japanese when I see those now. But I did not get there in one step.

That's what happens: story fades, and you're left with the kanji which you can attach Japanese or Chinese words. Cause, let's face it, if you went on to learn Chinese, I doubt you'll say "Damn, I learned all these Kanji is Japanese, I'm going to have to start from scratch!" It'll be more like "So what's the Chinese word for these" as you'll have basic meaning and stroke order down pat.

KeroHazel
June 2nd, 2009, 08:44
I think an incorrect derivation that works is infinitely preferable to a correct derivation that doesn't stick in your brain. So if the historical etymology works for you, great. Heisig "just works" for me.

Even Heisig admits that your ultimate goal is reflex-like recollection, the same as you'd get with rote. Heisig's method still remains as a safety net in case your reflexive memory fails you.

I've seen some criticism (and given some myself) about how some of the keywords are incorrect - like how he mixes up "town 町" and "village 村". That kinda pisses me off, but you can always replace them with your own keywords. But that's more a criticism of the book than the method.

Wanderlust King
June 2nd, 2009, 08:49
I think an incorrect derivation that works is infinitely preferable to a correct derivation that doesn't stick in your brain. So if the historical etymology works for you, great. Heisig "just works" for me.

Well said!

Jcubed
June 2nd, 2009, 09:59
I'm slowly working my way through Heisig now and I'm at about 750. I had already passed 2kyuu before I even started Heisig so I can read kanji fairly well already so it doesn't bother me that Heisig is only for writing kanji.

I have to say it's been very effective for me, right now, I'd say I can probably write about 90% of the 750 kanji I've done with this method right now. With traditional study, my retention was no where near that level.

For someone who wants to learn to write kanji, I think Heisig is great. I personally want to learn to write kanji because I plan to be in Japan for the very long term. For someone here for just a few years, I think all the other skills, e.g. reading, speaking, listening are far more important.

KeroHazel
June 2nd, 2009, 11:58
For someone who wants to learn to write kanji, I think Heisig is great. I personally want to learn to write kanji because I plan to be in Japan for the very long term. For someone here for just a few years, I think all the other skills, e.g. reading, speaking, listening are far more important.

That's a very good point. Since you have to get through the 1st RTK book before you even *begin* to get the immediately-real-world-applicable stuff, I wouldn't recommend it to just anyone. If your kanji need is limited, it makes more sense to learn the common ones first, along with readings and compounds.

Though you don't need to go through the *entire* RTK 1 book before doing readings and compounds. I'm able to pick up new vocab here and there if they use kanji that I've covered (or are close enough to ones that I have).

Trivial
June 2nd, 2009, 12:50
If Heisig wants to send me a free copy, I wouldn't mind checking it out and posting a review.

capn jazz
June 2nd, 2009, 12:54
If Heisig wants to send me a free copy, I wouldn't mind checking it out and posting a review.

I don't think Heisig himself is reading ITIL. :p

Nukemarine
June 2nd, 2009, 13:01
If Heisig wants to send me a free copy, I wouldn't mind checking it out and posting a review.

Here's the sample from Nanzan University.

http://www.nanzan-u.ac.jp/SHUBUNKEN/publications/miscPublications/pdf/RK4/RK%201_sample.pdf

Covers the 275 Kanji and numerous radicals.

elleohelle
June 2nd, 2009, 13:02
I have a question. Who cares? Learn the kanji, whatever way works. The end.

Avocado
June 2nd, 2009, 13:04
It's turned into a matter of principle. In this situation Heisig is acting the role of God.

elleohelle
June 2nd, 2009, 13:07
It's turned into a matter of principle. In this situation Heisig is acting the role of God.

Or advertisers.

enigmaneo
June 2nd, 2009, 13:43
I didn't understand why it seemed the people on this forum refused to talk about Heisig until reading this. Now I understand.

dombay
June 2nd, 2009, 14:00
What do you mean? Type Heisig into the search function. ITILeers cannot shut up about it.

Mike_Davis
June 2nd, 2009, 15:43
Well sure, Patrick Stewart's clearly the superior actor, but just look at their first officers. Really, are you trying to tell me that the Picard-Riker dynamic comes anywhere near Kirk and Spock? I think not.

moar
June 2nd, 2009, 17:27
Seems like it's an ok system for learning kanji. Learning kanji is not learning Japanese, so i think it's silly to argue it is a failed system because it doesn't teach japanese properly.

*however, it's creepy and weird that a bunch of people came over and basically advertised Heiseg like spam robots. i hope they were being paid, because if not, they're very strange fanboys.

Wakatta
June 2nd, 2009, 17:46
The problem with Heisig is that you're 'learning' Kanji by filling your head with a bunch of made-up arbitrary shit. I have a book that's similar, but it goes into the true etymology behind every Kanji character, instead of making up bogus stories that you wrongly associate with them. For anyone interested in etymology, it's a really good read. It traces every character back to its early visual representations, explains the phonetic logic behind the kanji if visually it has nothing to do with the meaning, yada yada.

http://www.infibeam.com/Books/info/K...804820384.html (http://www.infibeam.com/Books/info/Kenneth-G-Henshall/A-Guide-to-Remembering-Japanese-Characters/0804820384.html)

Much better than Heisig, IMO.

Thanks a lot! I've been looking for something like this for a while. Well...okay, maybe not looking as hard as I could have? Anyway, I like etymology and furthermore I'd like to know what kanji (especially the basic components) -actually- mean (or meant).


Thanks for bringing up slime forest, wakatta. I think I'd heard of it before but never played it, and now I have a good way of brushing up on my Japanese at work!

Glad I could help!

Nukemarine
June 2nd, 2009, 18:04
Seems like it's an ok system for learning kanji. Learning kanji is not learning Japanese, so i think it's silly to argue it is a failed system because it doesn't teach japanese properly.

*however, it's creepy and weird that a bunch of people came over and basically advertised Heiseg like spam robots. i hope they were being paid, because if not, they're very strange fanboys.

Like I posted earlier, someone linked to a thread on this forum on the Reviewing the Kanji forum. As does happen on the internet, people came over and posted their 2 cents.

Although there's a MEXT rep on RTK's forum, I thought I'd check this one out for a bit as I'm thinking of trying something like JET after I retire in four years (if such a thing is possible).

dombay
June 2nd, 2009, 18:11
I wouldn't put much store by what MEXT thinks.

They make the NSW Department of Education look competent.

biku23
June 2nd, 2009, 18:46
I was wondering wtf this Heisig shit was since it kept coming up, but it's the guy who wrote those "remembering the kanji" books? One of my friends swore by it when he was learning, I read it and thought it was too unnecessarily complicated, the friend who used it eventually gave up for better materials when he needed to learn them more often for the JLPT.

I personally like that Kanji Pict-o-grafx book that you can buy, I forget the author but it's really good, turns every kanji into a picture that kind of makes sense. It's shit for learning readings, but I used to use that to supplement the kanji books I was going through back when I was seriously studying. I think it's easier to remember a logical picture instead of a damn essay for each character.

At one time I also thought the Pict-o-grafx book was helpful, but later when I did Heisig I realized the Pict-o-grafx book is far more limited by comparison.

If you think Heisig is about memorizing essays then I don't think you have really tried it or understood it.

Like Pict-o-graphx, Heisig is about visual images, only instead of looking at a picture and trying to remember it, you build the picture in your mind from the components. For basic kanji, you end up at about the same point with both.

However, Pict-o-graphx is less general and only helps to learn a couple hundred basic kanji or so.

Heisig works on any kanji including those in his book and any kanji you may come across. Once you learn the method, it only takes about a minute to learn any kanji you like.

mattyjaddy
June 2nd, 2009, 18:49
Wanderlust:

I don't have a problem with "For anyone interested in etymology, it's a really good read." It was more "The problem with Heisig is that you're 'learning' Kanji by filling your head with a bunch of made-up arbitrary shit." that didn't sit well, especially with the examples you chose.

"With the book I linked, at least after I learn 王, I'll also carry with me the correct historical origin behind it." -- Again I don't have a problem with this either. We should learn what we find value in.

"That's the only reason I brought it up." -- Except that right before you bring it up, you criticize Heisig's book. Then the book you present carries the same faults, of course, depending on your values.

"You may not give a hoot about that, but I value it, and like I said, other people interested in the origins of language would, too."

Me - "I'm not bashing the book, just trying to show that we all have different places where we draw the line of what's arbitrary or what's valuable or what's useful." (Bolding of both words added by me, not for emphasis but to show that we're saying similar things here.)

biku23
June 2nd, 2009, 18:57
The problem with Heisig is that you're 'learning' Kanji by filling your head with a bunch of made-up arbitrary shit. I have a book that's similar, but it goes into the true etymology behind every Kanji character, instead of making up bogus stories that you wrongly associate with them. For anyone interested in etymology, it's a really good read. It traces every character back to its early visual representations, explains the phonetic logic behind the kanji if visually it has nothing to do with the meaning, yada yada.

http://www.infibeam.com/Books/info/K...804820384.html (http://www.infibeam.com/Books/info/Kenneth-G-Henshall/A-Guide-to-Remembering-Japanese-Characters/0804820384.html)

Much better than Heisig, IMO.

This was my first kanji book. I enjoy reading some of the etymology. It's definitely a book worth having. However, I disagree that it is better than Heisig. In terms of effectiveness for remembering the kanji, I think Henshal is not even close.

It's not that the etymology is not cool or won't help you memorize some kanji, but for many of the kanji it is not very conductive to memorizing the kanji well, or telling them apart from other similar kanji. Some of the etymology takes a real stretch to relate to the modern day kanji in any way. By comparison Heisig is not etymologically consistent, but will help you remember any kanji.

One of the issues I recall with the etymology is that there are often many things that used to have different shapes but have now distilled to the same shape. Take 学 for example. The 3 dots on top appear on a number of kanji, but based on the etymology there are different definitions; sometimes it stands for a hand, sometimes for other things. It's not very consistent, and I think that makes it harder to remember.

The other day someone here recognized the top part of 究 (in another kanji) as 六 but actually it is closer to 穴. I'm not mentioning it to make an example of that error, but rather to say I think that if you learn with a consistent component method, you will be able to distinguish small details like that more easily.

KeroHazel
June 2nd, 2009, 20:49
Well sure, Patrick Stewart's clearly the superior actor, but just look at their first officers. Really, are you trying to tell me that the Picard-Riker dynamic comes anywhere near Kirk and Spock? I think not.

Yeah, I'm also beginning to see why everyone is sick of talking about Heisig now.

But you see, Data is TNG's Spock (no matter what Spiner would have you believe), and Riker's a tool anyway, so you're making the wrong comparison.

bizarrojosh
June 3rd, 2009, 00:20
If Heisig wants to send me a free copy, I wouldn't mind checking it out and posting a review.

where I'm at right now there is so much rain, its almost like a torrent by the sheer force of it!

Waldroon
June 3rd, 2009, 05:59
So wait after 600 hours you can 'read' a shit ton of Kanji, and write them.

But how much Japanese can you speak and understand in a conversation?

Nukemarine
June 3rd, 2009, 06:41
So wait after 600 hours you can 'read' a shit ton of Kanji, and write them.

But how much Japanese can you speak and understand in a conversation?

Quite a bit. Hard to gauge such things. I'm not fluent, which is in the end all that'll matter. Besides, 600 hours is only like what, 12 college credit hours. It's a lot of time to invest, but don't expect miracles.

kiwimusume
June 3rd, 2009, 07:15
It's not that the etymology is not cool or won't help you memorize some kanji, but for many of the kanji it is not very conductive to memorizing the kanji well, or telling them apart from other similar kanji. Some of the etymology takes a real stretch to relate to the modern day kanji in any way. By comparison Heisig is not etymologically consistent, but will help you remember any kanji.

What's this "you", paleface (http://www.jokeemail.com/tasteless/tasteless40.htm)? :p I picked up Heisig to supplement my kanji learning awhile ago and didn't find any of the mnemonics I saw in there to be much use either. Maybe they work for some people, but they're definitely not universally useful.

AliDimayev
June 3rd, 2009, 07:24
To each his own. For me, the Japanese method works. For you, Heisig works. Great. I think the French have an expression for this.

biku23
June 3rd, 2009, 08:08
What's this "you", paleface (http://www.jokeemail.com/tasteless/tasteless40.htm)? :p I picked up Heisig to supplement my kanji learning awhile ago and didn't find any of the mnemonics I saw in there to be much use either. Maybe they work for some people, but they're definitely not universally useful.

That's fair, maybe it doesn't work for everyone.

On the RTK forum there are sometimes people who say they went through X number of kanji but they are having low retention (like less than 50%), which compared to those who have success with the method is very low (I had around 95% retention). Sometimes it's clear that they are doing something wrong, but there is also good probability that it just can't work for everyone. Being good at using mnemonics is a skill after all.

kiwimusume
June 3rd, 2009, 08:13
To each his own. For me, the Japanese method works. For you, Heisig works. Great. I think the French have an expression for this.

They do. Chacun à son goût. I saw it in a Sweet Valley High book. :lol:

Jcubed
June 3rd, 2009, 09:46
To each his own. For me, the Japanese method works. For you, Heisig works. Great. I think the French have an expression for this.

Just my opinion of course, but I think the Japanese method of learning kanji is pretty awful. I've already seen a few intelligent, college educated Japanese people forgot how to write kanji that I remember (and don't see myself forgetting) with doing Heisig. However, I don't think Heisig lends itself to being formally taught in school so I don't have any really good alternative, just saying though.

AliDimayev
June 3rd, 2009, 09:59
.

Wanderlust King
June 3rd, 2009, 10:42
I've already seen a few intelligent, college educated Japanese people forgot how to write kanji that I remember (and don't see myself forgetting) with doing Heisig.
http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b97/jackissowhack/1243607877313-1.jpg

biku23
June 3rd, 2009, 10:47
Japanese kids learn through daily reading & writing practice, while adding relatively few new kanji per year. And stating the obvious, they're already fluent in Japanese when they are using the Japanese "method".

Japanese kids would learn 80, 160, 200, 200, 185, 181 kanji respectively each year for six years for a total of 1006.

By comparison, I think a serious adult with some grasp of basic Japanese, spending about 2 hours per day, could do RTK Lite in 1.5 months, followed by doing Nishiguchi's book "Reibun de manabu kanji to kotoba" in about 4 months. That would give the ability to read & write the ~1000 kanji on JLPT2 plus the required compounds.

I would like to know of other methods that could give similar or better results in a similar time.

For example if anyone has used "Reibun de..." or "Kanji in Context", I'd like to know how much time it took to go through them without doing Heisig before.

Urthona
June 3rd, 2009, 11:43
Here are my major gripes with Heisig.

It takes a flawed approach to the language. Would you recommend to someone that learning prefixes, suffixes, and whatnot is the best route to learn English?

Heisig's method reminds me strongly of the same attitude towards language that my students take here - they have a book with thousands upon thousands of English words and the book promises fast memorization - essentially all needed English to be fully functioning - and they go through that book. Now, do my students know English? I wish. Most of them shit their pants if I deign to ask "Why?" or anything more complicated than "How are you?"

If Heisig wasn't an innately flawed method to learning Kanji and by extension Japanese, why hasn't anybody with any credibility in the various fields that this would entail endorsed it? I'm sure that the Defense Institute would love a way to reduce the needed time to learn competent Japanese to a fraction of their current alloted time.

What magical Japanese is entirely composed of kanji? I can only think of those godawful buddhist prayers at funerals and nobody can understand those anyway as they are Chinese scriptures with Japanese pronunciations thrown in apparently.

Also, I'm not the only person that desires to see a Heisig acolyte in an actual Japanese situation to see how they fare. I have my doubts.

Jcubed
June 3rd, 2009, 12:01
Here are my major gripes with Heisig...

I think (hope) that most people that endorse Heisig take the same view as I do that you see in my previous post. Heisig isn't for speaking, listening, grammar, etc. It's not really even for reading kanji for that matter; it's simply for writing kanji, which it's a great system for.

For someone trying to become competent in Japanese, reading, speaking and listening are all more important than writing. However, for anyone living in Japan long term, working at regular Japanese company, wanting to become a full member of society etc, writing is very important.

enigmaneo
June 3rd, 2009, 13:05
Wow, I didn't know I could write Kanji better than most college educated people by using Heisig and never forget. I'm going to go buy my book today. Jcubed, let's see how many of those Kanji you remember in 10 years if you don't continue studying them. This Heisig thing sounds more like a cult than a method for learning anything.

Nukemarine
June 3rd, 2009, 13:27
Wow, I didn't know I could write Kanji better than most college educated people by using Heisig and never forget. I'm going to go buy my book today. Jcubed, let's see how many of those Kanji you remember in 10 years if you don't continue studying them. This Heisig thing sounds more like a cult than a method for learning anything.

Ah, you must have missed the memo. See, there's this wonderful new invention (if you consider 40 years old new) called Spaced Repetition System. It systematically spreads out review, so something you wish to remember 10 years from now you might review 9 to 12 times over those 10 years.

But yeah, I imagine that's a common complaint about learning programs, that you'll forget what you studied later.

Here's another memo you may have missed: Kanji is not Japanese. See, Japanese were speaking Japanese just fine before they put Kanji into the mix. The Chinese know Kanji very well without speaking a word of Japanese. Both have adapted it to their language.

Now, don't get me wrong. Stopping at learning just Kanji is only going to net you points telling people what their tattoos may mean. You can take that new found knowledge and apply it to Chinese or Japanese, removing an over reliance on just kana or *shudder* roumaji. But people learn Kanji just fine without Heisig, or De Roo, or Movie Method, or any other systematic approach.

It helps speed up the process to turn Japanese into a reading language. With that, you can refine your skills with the sentence method and Japanese to Japanese dictionary, watching movies with JAPANESE subtitles (have to stress that, some people think I'm talking about English subtitles), and reading books, manga and newspapers.

PS: With RTK, yes, people do tend to write Kanji better than native Japanese. It's not a "You write kanji very well....for a foreigner", it's "Wow, I cannot write that without looking at it first". Again, that's a side-effect, and just a parlour trick when all's said and down. It is useful, but as has been pointed out, it's not Japanese.

Wanderlust King
June 3rd, 2009, 13:40
So what's the Kanji for circle-jerk?

Avocado
June 3rd, 2009, 13:43
丸引, I'm guessing. Circle-pull close enough for you?

Atalante
June 3rd, 2009, 13:51
I tried the Kanji Pict-o-graphix book early on. I gave it up when it did not help recognition of similar kanji. In hind sight, it would have been even worse had I stuck with it as I would not know stroke order very well, and my writing ability would be close to non-existant. I just ended up donating the book to my ship's library.


You'd have to be pretty foolish to try and learn completely from Pict-o-graphix. As I said, supplement it with normal kanji study books. If there's a character you're learning that's difficult for you to remember, then go to the book and try to understand the logic to it. I mean, just thinking that 助 (to help) can be symbolized as a man needing help pushing a rock is pretty simple. Sure, you won't learn the readings for it, but that's not why you use the book. I also liked how it was grouped by radicals so you could see the differences between similar kanji and make it easier to pick out differences.

Either way, I don't believe in "miracle books" that'll teach you everything you need to know. I found that the best way to study kanji is just to make use of what you have. I would read light novels, websites, and videogames in Japanese. If I didn't understand something, I would look it up. If I was having trouble remembering a character, then I'd consult the picture book or drill it on a piece of paper or whatever. It was bloody hard work at first, would take me weeks just to get through a chapter of a book. After awhile though, I started seeing the same stuff being used in the same context, and it was easy to remember. Doing so also improved my grammar skills and taught me new phrases to say that I may have not learned from a normal textbook. This is the important thing, unless you want to just study stiff Japanese and sound like how most Japanese English students sound. You gotta put in the work you want, there isn't any easy way to learn a language. Sure, you might know a bunch of random single kanji characters, but do you know how to effectively read combinations in a vocabulary context?

Urthona
June 3rd, 2009, 13:52
丸引, I'm guessing. Circle-pull close enough for you?

男たちが輪になって行うマスターベーション

I wish I could actually remember all the truly dirty Japanese I've been told but I've forgotten most of it.

Jcubed
June 3rd, 2009, 14:07
Wow, I didn't know I could write Kanji better than most college educated people by using Heisig and never forget. I'm going to go buy my book today. Jcubed, let's see how many of those Kanji you remember in 10 years if you don't continue studying them. This Heisig thing sounds more like a cult than a method for learning anything.

Haha, good job twisting my words into something I didn't even come close to saying. I doubt I can write nearly as well overall as any Japanese university graduate.

My point was that learning kanji through rote repetition, even educated intelligent Japanese people tend to forget how to write complicated kanji every so often. With a system like Heisig, it's simply much easier to remember how to write complex kanji.

A cult? Someone started this topic on a forum I occasionally browse and I'm doing to Heisig so I decided to respond. I don't give a fuck whether anyone does Heisig or not.

biku23
June 3rd, 2009, 14:48
A cult? Why does it seem so strange to recommend a book that I found helpful?

I spent a long time over years studying with many materials. Classes, textbooks, Henshal, pict-o-graphyx, WRP flash cards, only to get to a few hundred kanji, half of them shaky. This situation is very common to hear amongst Japanese learners.

I did Heisig purely by chance; I wasn't advised by anybody - just happened to find the RTK sample chapters one day and it quickly became clear that the method worked for me, and I did every jouyou kanji, and the kanji changed from a barrier to a tool for learning Japanese.

Since I did it things have only gotten better with the Reviewing The Kanji support group site growing, the number of shared stories to pick from growing, and with premade Anki decks + iAnki making it possible to review anywhere.

If you want to put your hands over your ears and shout: Cult! cult! be my guest, but I think you're not doing other learners a favor.

FiercestCalm
June 3rd, 2009, 14:58
Well, it is a little cultish to swarm over an unrelated website that happened to mention your book with all of your friends. The defense of it seems a little strange. None of us are running into some forum that said that Genki was shit and yelling GENKI IS THE BEST IT TAUGHT ME HOW TO SPEAK BETTER THAN JAPANESE PEOPLE.

Or maybe we're just not the yelling type.

enigmaneo
June 3rd, 2009, 14:59
No, I was actually wondering why the normal posters on this forum kept saying they didn't want to hear about Heisig and to only talk about it here. And then, once I started reading this forum I understood. It's not that I think it might be a good idea or not. I've actually read the first couple of chapters of Heisig, but the people posting here that like Heisig sound like the Jehovah's Witnesses knocking on my door stuffing it down my mouth early on Saturday morning.

biku23
June 3rd, 2009, 15:16
No, I was actually wondering why the normal posters on this forum kept saying they didn't want to hear about Heisig and to only talk about it here. And then, once I started reading this forum I understood. It's not that I think it might be a good idea or not. I've actually read the first couple of chapters of Heisig, but the people posting here that like Heisig sound like the Jehovah's Witnesses knocking on my door stuffing it down my mouth early on Saturday morning.

Well, I hate those Jehovah's Witnesses.

Jcubed
June 3rd, 2009, 15:17
Well, it is a little cultish to swarm over an unrelated website that happened to mention your book with all of your friends. The defense of it seems a little strange. None of us are running into some forum that said that Genki was shit and yelling GENKI IS THE BEST IT TAUGHT ME HOW TO SPEAK BETTER THAN JAPANESE PEOPLE.

Or maybe we're just not the yelling type.

I can't speak for anyone else, but the cult comment was directed at me and I've been a member of this forum (and occasionally posting on it) for over a year. I'm also a JET, so this site obviously isn't unrelated.

Jcubed
June 3rd, 2009, 15:19
I've actually read the first couple of chapters of Heisig, but the people posting here that like Heisig sound like the Jehovah's Witnesses knocking on my door stuffing it down my mouth early on Saturday morning.

How is it like people knocking on your door? You're the one that opened a thread named "Like Heisig?". Am I missing something?

enigmaneo
June 3rd, 2009, 15:42
I didn't open it. I just posted in it.

Atalante
June 3rd, 2009, 16:17
A cult? Why does it seem so strange to recommend a book that I found helpful?

I spent a long time over years studying with many materials. Classes, textbooks, Henshal, pict-o-graphyx, WRP flash cards, only to get to a few hundred kanji, half of them shaky. This situation is very common to hear amongst Japanese learners.

I did Heisig purely by chance; I wasn't advised by anybody - just happened to find the RTK sample chapters one day and it quickly became clear that the method worked for me, and I did every jouyou kanji, and the kanji changed from a barrier to a tool for learning Japanese.

Since I did it things have only gotten better with the Reviewing The Kanji support group site growing, the number of shared stories to pick from growing, and with premade Anki decks + iAnki making it possible to review anywhere.

If you want to put your hands over your ears and shout: Cult! cult! be my guest, but I think you're not doing other learners a favor.

"You know, I was like you once. I tried my best to find my part in this world, was confused. Tried to find direction, but could find no answers.

By chance I happened to find Scientology. I wasn't asked to join, I was just searching the net and found some people talking about it so I decided to look more into it. It answered all my questions, and it became clear that this view was for me! My entire life was changed!

Since this, things have only gotten better, with lots of support groups and people I can talk to that also share my views. The number of answers growing, and additional materials I can read anytime I want! Go ahead, call it a cult, but you're not doing any favors to people who want to find themselves!"

I'm intentionally being kind of a dick here, but come on. You guys are just preaching this damn book like it'll revolutionize the way we study Japanese and how it'll change everything. For you, it might have been a useful tool, but you guys also have a tone of that we're wrong if we disagree with you or say a different method is better. There is no magical book that'll make us learn Japanese really fast and easy, there's no substitute for honest hard work and multiple methods of study which include practical vocabulary and conversational phrases.

It also doesn't look too good when we get a bunch of new accounts created for the purposes of advertising the damn thing, you guys got stock in the publisher or something? Why do you care? People who have been on the site for awhile can at least be taken more seriously because they didn't join just to sell us on the book.

I personally don't care about about how people study, but this thread is just baffling to me.

Jcubed
June 3rd, 2009, 16:41
I think I missed something, I know nothing about any new accounts being made just for people to post about Heisig. I check this forum every few days and saw this topic about Heisig and decided to post because I'm doing it and it's helped my writing of kanji (and nothing else) a great deal.

Seems this thread is totally out of hand though so I'm done with it.

AliDimayev
June 3rd, 2009, 16:44
so I'm done with it.

We will all greatly miss your input. I, for one, found it immensly interesting.

What story do you have for the kanji 委?

elleohelle
June 3rd, 2009, 17:06
Language people, why is this so important? I mean why do you care?

Nukemarine
June 3rd, 2009, 17:18
You'd have to be pretty foolish to try and learn completely from Pict-o-graphix. As I said, supplement it with normal kanji study books. If there's a character you're learning that's difficult for you to remember, then go to the book and try to understand the logic to it. I mean, just thinking that 助 (to help) can be symbolized as a man needing help pushing a rock is pretty simple. Sure, you won't learn the readings for it, but that's not why you use the book. I also liked how it was grouped by radicals so you could see the differences between similar kanji and make it easier to pick out differences.

Either way, I don't believe in "miracle books" that'll teach you everything you need to know. I found that the best way to study kanji is just to make use of what you have. I would read light novels, websites, and videogames in Japanese. If I didn't understand something, I would look it up. If I was having trouble remembering a character, then I'd consult the picture book or drill it on a piece of paper or whatever. It was bloody hard work at first, would take me weeks just to get through a chapter of a book. After awhile though, I started seeing the same stuff being used in the same context, and it was easy to remember. Doing so also improved my grammar skills and taught me new phrases to say that I may have not learned from a normal textbook. This is the important thing, unless you want to just study stiff Japanese and sound like how most Japanese English students sound. You gotta put in the work you want, there isn't any easy way to learn a language. Sure, you might know a bunch of random single kanji characters, but do you know how to effectively read combinations in a vocabulary context?

You post some great advice here that does not contradict anything being said here by guys recommending Heisig OR A VARIANT!!!! One can break kanji down to its components (RTK, DeRoo), learn kanji based off etymology, write kanji ad infintum, ignore Kanji all together even. There is not nor ever will be one magic way for all people especially as a second or later language.

What you wrote in the second paragraph is advocated on other sites too. Learn from real sources, figure stuff out as they come along. However, sometimes there's the "basics" that can be learned systematically. Japanese is a pretty systematic language at times. The verbs and adjectives conjugate in a organized pattern, the pronunciations of the Kanji are fairly consistant for a majority of them, there's patterns to the kanji being used, there's basic vocabulary that's used 80% in anything you're going to read, etc. So one can, should he choose, to go about and learn stuff like that systematically. That's all RTK is, one systematic approach amoung many. One can use it to compliment the thing that'll really get you learning Japanese, which is using real Japanese (like you wrote about above).

Not to Atlanta, but to guys moaning about RTK: So out of interest, can you pronounce anything in Chinese after finishing Genki or Pict-o-graphixs? I'm only asking since everyone moans about RTK not teaching Japanese pronounciation to Chinese characters. What good is Genki if you don't learn a single thing in Chinese? Oh, right, Genki is advertised to teach basic Japanese. Well, RTK is advertise to teach WRITING and RECOGNITION of Kanji characters. Now, unless you see pronunciation in the last sentence, then why are you moaning about it not doing what it doesn't say it'll do. It doesn't teach: Vocabulary, Grammar, Pronunciation, Names, Golden Globe winners, State Capitals or what Dombay had for breakfast. Now, all that is useful stuff to know, (except for Golden Globe winners), but there's a limit to what books are offering.

Here's what it'll give you: 200 hours of study time to recognize, write from memory and know a basic understanding in English of about 2040 Kanji characters used in the Japanese writing system. I'm not the first to say, but I'll say it's a hefty upfront investment (equivalent of a 4 credit hour college class). However, the payoff has been worth it to me.

Atalante
June 3rd, 2009, 19:30
Right, I see what you mean and I can respect that opinion. It's not my place to say whether or not a book is good or bad if someone learns from it. If it works for someone, then obviously it's doing something right. The issue I'm having is everyone defending the thing like it's the holy word whenever someone says something negative about it. I checked RTK out and thought it was unnecessarily complicated and overall pointless, so obviously it doesn't work for me. Certain books do, like the picture one did, but just because it didn't work for you doesn't mean it's a useless book. Just accept that some people don't care about RTK and think the method is flawed, the way you guys are defending it really does seem obsessive and probably will turn more people reading this away from the book.

In the end, I think we just need to agree to disagree with certain points.

violetessence
June 3rd, 2009, 21:28
he way you guys are defending it really does seem obsessive and probably will turn more people reading this away from the book.

I totally agree. The fanatics in this thread make me embarrassed to be using Heisig. ^^;

Mike_Davis
June 3rd, 2009, 22:03
I totally agree. The fanatics in this thread make me embarrassed to be using Heisig. ^^;

Come with me, I've written up ninety-five theses to nail to the RevTK forum.

I've had it with the Latin (alphabet) keywords!

And the selling of indulgences.

Waldroon
June 3rd, 2009, 22:35
I'd just like to toss this out there;

But with the hundreds of hours you all spend discussing Heisig on various forums around the world, you could have learned another 1,539 Kanji.

biku23
June 4th, 2009, 05:55
I see there is no interest here except to silence people who recommend Heisig by personal attacks like comparing them to Jehova's witnesses.

Mike_Davis
June 4th, 2009, 09:07
I see there is no interest here except to silence people who recommend Heisig by personal attacks like comparing them to Jehova's witnesses.

That's silly.

More than one poster here, including myself, has said that they've gotten use out of Heisig. Others have said that they tried it, but that they found it wasn't a good fit for them. But you're apparently unsatisfied with any answer that doesn't involve someone admitting that, "yes, all other study methods are inferior, and Heisig is the way, the truth and the life!"

You're complaining about being compared to a religious zealot in the same sentence that you claim you're being "silenced"? Jesus, are you being ironic, or do you just have that much of a martyr complex?

When I read the first page of this thread, I thought the OP was overreacting. Now, I'm in total agreement with him.

Honestly, show me this glut of Japanese writers that Heisig must be producing if it's such a miracle tool. I know a number of foreigners who are fluent in Japanese (written as well as spoken), but I've yet to meet one who's gotten there without a ton of hard work, and I can only think of one who's used Heisig at all.

(And don't pull out the AJATT guy as an example. I enjoy his site, and I do think he's accomplished something really impressive, but reading his anime-inflected posts, with that ageha-girl-blogging-on-mixi-and-trying-to-look-smart overuse of kanji, makes me want to cry. If anything, it's an advertisement against Heisig.)

The truth is, the majority of people who start studying Japanese aren't going to follow through with the effort it takes to reach fluency; not out of some deficiency, or because of the inherent "difficulty" of Japanese, but rather because they'll realize it's not the priority that they thought it was for them, and they want to devote their time and energy to other areas. The same thing applies to Heisig users. And that's perfectly fine.

Heisig's a study tool for writing. For some people it seems to be really useful. For others not so much. But your posts about it aren't bringing anyone around. On the contrary, the sort of willfully ignorant self-satisfaction of a lot of Heisig users online is what put me off of trying it for so long.

But that's how it is with everything in Japan, isn't it? Anime, history, a kanji study tool; you can't enjoy anything here for five damn minutes without a crowd of awkward gaijin coming along and ruining everything.

bizarrojosh
June 4th, 2009, 09:49
But that's how it is with everything in Japan, isn't it? Anime, history, a kanji study tool; you can't enjoy anything here for five damn minutes without a crowd of awkward gaijin coming along and ruining everything.

Oh sorry Mike I didn't realize you were a Japanese national and could complain about this kid of thing. For a minute there I thought you were an Australian living in Japan as a foreigner teaching english...Oh wait...

Waldroon
June 4th, 2009, 09:58
I see there is no interest here except to silence people who recommend Heisig by personal attacks like comparing them to Jehova's witnesses.

There are a lot of similarities though. In this house we have a large dysfunctional family with a wide range of opinions. We disagree on everything as often as we agree on anything.

One day we open the door to find two guys standing there holding a RTK book, and they immediately launch into long-winded discussions about the one true 神, Heisig. But nobody wants to listen because we have our own Heisig-ites in the house already, and ours are cool dudes who know Heisig is important to them, and will talk about it, but don't preach about it, so we close the door and move on.

Then our doorbell rings and a dozen people who all look, act and talk the same come ramming in through the door because someone posted a map to our house in their church with a big "Here Be Heathens" mark, and quickly mount podiums in order to enlighten us about the one true lord, Heisig.

Meanwhile, our own group of Heihova's witnesses are all horrified that this group of simpering goons is going to set back the progress they've made here over the years by giving countless sermons and lectures, but still make an effort to show their support for your shared god, Heisig.

But rather than accept that people are different, that you've made your case and move on in life, you become increasingly focused on saving our souls and converting us, and that's about the time people stop giving a shit and just start mocking you in the hopes that you'll leave.

So hey, I gotta say....Heihova's Witnesses seems like a pretty apt description.

Now since you'll probably take this post far to seriously, allow me to point up to Mike_Davis, who made a very level headed and concise response, his is better than mine, and you should read it carefully.

mteacher80
June 4th, 2009, 10:07
bravo

KeroHazel
June 4th, 2009, 10:21
Part of the problem is that the rational Heisig people feel like the asshole remarks are directed at them (well, us, I'm an endorser too), but they're really directed at the zealots. Most of the people that seem anti-Heisig are really just being anti-assbag.

I really like the Jehova's Witnesses comparison. They really can make all Christians/religious people look bad if you want to look at it that way... when the reality is that most Christians/religious people aren't trying to ram it down your throat.

So what's the best solution for pro-Heisig people? Stop posting in this thread. What's the best solution for everyone else? Same. Really, no good can come of this.

biku23
June 4th, 2009, 11:23
That's silly.
...
You're complaining about being compared to a religious zealot in the same sentence that you claim you're being "silenced"? Jesus, are you being ironic, or do you just have that much of a martyr complex?


No, not at all. On forums (not this one in particular but in general) there are those who like to "win" arguments by resorting to personal attacks, and that's how I feel about some of the posts here. Rather than arguing about the subject at hand, they try to humiliate those who hold an opposing view. On well moderated forums that is not usually tolerated, and that is my complaint. It has nothing to do with martyrdom or whatever you want to put in my mouth.

UPGRAYEDD
June 4th, 2009, 11:38
We're all really bored and unappreciated English teachers so we like to start a good fight when the chance opens.

biku23
June 4th, 2009, 11:58
Part of the problem is that the rational Heisig people feel like the asshole remarks are directed at them (well, us, I'm an endorser too), but they're really directed at the zealots. Most of the people that seem anti-Heisig are really just being anti-assbag.

I really like the Jehova's Witnesses comparison. They really can make all Christians/religious people look bad if you want to look at it that way... when the reality is that most Christians/religious people aren't trying to ram it down your throat.

So what's the best solution for pro-Heisig people? Stop posting in this thread. What's the best solution for everyone else? Same. Really, no good can come of this.

Yes, it does seem that way. I won't talk about Heisig here from now. Anyone like onions?

mteacher80
June 4th, 2009, 12:18
i like red onions, but any other onions suck and if you like those other kinds of onions you suck too

AliDimayev
June 4th, 2009, 12:22
i like red onions, but any other onions suck and if you like those other kinds of onions you suck too
red onions are the only ones I like raw

Not like my father, who will just take a big thick slice of regular white onions and put it in a sandwhich. WTF.

Waldroon
June 4th, 2009, 12:34
Anyone here know the Kanji for "Red Onion"?

FiercestCalm
June 4th, 2009, 12:43
Anyone here know the Kanji for "Red Onion"?

You know, I just can't remember kanji for the life of me. It's a shame.

Urthona
June 4th, 2009, 12:46
赤玉葱
On the forum linked to us, there was a subject about using kanji in its completely non-common variants like の as 乃 or a debate about how that Japanese all the time guy goes overboard on his kanji usage.

The whole thing with this obsession of kanji, past its standard usage, reminds me of people that think its a good idea to write everything in English with greek/latin based words. Orwell teared them a new one in his essay on Politics and the English Language. I'd be curious to see such a paper in Japanese if it exists.

biku23
June 4th, 2009, 13:37
失礼します

"Onion plants are so spicy they make your heart tie into a double knot"

Waldroon
June 4th, 2009, 13:40
That's not the kanji for a red onion.

mteacher80
June 4th, 2009, 13:41
i know how to write the kanji for red onion but i have absolutly no idea how to say it.

Waldroon
June 4th, 2009, 13:49
i know how to write the kanji for red onion but i have absolutly no idea how to say it.

It's okay, the Japanese are all about non-direct communication anyway.

FiercestCalm
June 4th, 2009, 13:51
i know how to write the kanji for red onion but i have absolutly no idea how to say it.

Just draw the kanji on the supermarket workers' backs, they'll figure it out.

JackAttack
June 4th, 2009, 13:55
I always thought the kanji for red onion is simply red kanji + hiragana word for onion

violetessence
June 4th, 2009, 13:56
"Iwamizawa is famous for onions." That's what everybody keeps telling me. There's plenty of choices of onions at the supermarkets. I like them caramelized - you know, just fry them in some oil until they turn caramel brown and sweet... yum!

Wakatta
June 4th, 2009, 15:26
You know, I just can't remember kanji for the life of me. It's a shame.

I barely avoided one of those odd "laughing hysterically in the middle of the teacher's room" moments on this.

You know, there's probably a great Good Eats episode about onions.

AliDimayev
June 4th, 2009, 15:27
I have also seen red onion as murasaki tama-negi

Nukemarine
June 4th, 2009, 19:22
赤玉葱
On the forum linked to us, there was a subject about using kanji in its completely non-common variants like の as 乃 or a debate about how that Japanese all the time guy goes overboard on his kanji usage.

The whole thing with this obsession of kanji, past its standard usage, reminds me of people that think its a good idea to write everything in English with greek/latin based words. Orwell teared them a new one in his essay on Politics and the English Language. I'd be curious to see such a paper in Japanese if it exists.

Certainly you see the same here from time to time. With an IME, anyone can make Kanji without much knowledge as to why it's being used. The lady, who wrote that lengthy reply comparing using Kanji when Kana is normally used to Italics (and Latin words I could add), is native Japanese. Her input on the matter was appreciated. Overusing kanji form of words that are traditionally kana dulls the artistic effect. Plus, if one wishes to "write like a native" then that means using appropriate kanji and kana.

Japanese have their own version of overusing greek/latin words: Katakana foreign words. One observation I read on that is they use katakana foreign words a lot to help hide the negative connatation. So it may not be a ruse to make one look smarter like one who over uses latin words.

AliDimayev
June 4th, 2009, 19:55
Certainly you see the same here from time to time. With an IME, anyone can make Kanji without much knowledge as to why it's being used. The lady, who wrote that lengthy reply comparing using Kanji when Kana is normally used to Italics (and Latin words I could add), is native Japanese. Her input on the matter was appreciated. Overusing kanji form of words that are traditionally kana dulls the artistic effect. Plus, if one wishes to "write like a native" then that means using appropriate kanji and kana.

Japanese have their own version of overusing greek/latin words: Katakana foreign words. One observation I read on that is they use katakana foreign words a lot to help hide the negative connatation. So it may not be a ruse to make one look smarter like one who over uses latin words.

you know how many words in english are foreign words?

the only reason people bitch about it in japaense is because they are written in katakana and not kanji

Waldroon
June 4th, 2009, 23:43
With an IME, anyone can make Kanji without much knowledge as to why it's being used.

The computer studied Heisig?

bizarrojosh
June 14th, 2009, 22:34
This might not be the best place to ask this since it seems like most people hate this book, but there are a few who have said they like the book so I'll try anyway.

Some of the mnemonics that Heisig uses are supposedly suppose to correlate with some of the actual images that the Kanji are based on. Does anyone know how many of these are the real pictures and how many of these are just totally made up? I'm not really asking for a complete and accurate number but if anyone has actually studied the etymology of the words and has used his book maybe you can speak to the way that his devices are "true to reality." In other words, how close (or far off) from the true etymology of the Kanji is this book in general?

Nukemarine
June 14th, 2009, 22:47
Heisig does not talk much about the etymology of any of the kanji in his books. Sometimes he offers a little historical note for whatever reasons. There are other books, not just the ones mentioned in this thread, that are best for etymology.

Long story short, RTK is not an academic treatment on Kanji.

karumu
June 18th, 2009, 08:09
you know how many words in english are foreign words?

the only reason people bitch about it in japaense is because they are written in katakana and not kanji

very true, you don't see many people bitching about the 50% or more words that are foreign in Japanese language with Chinese origin. Why? because they are all hidden in Kanji.

Although sometimes i don't understand why Japanese love using foreign words when they have perfectly good words already.

Avocado
June 18th, 2009, 08:18
Traditionally speaking, the more Chinese you use, the more esteemed you will be.

AliDimayev
June 18th, 2009, 11:00
very true, you don't see many people bitching about the 50% or more words that are foreign in Japanese language with Chinese origin. Why? because they are all hidden in Kanji.

Although sometimes i don't understand why Japanese love using foreign words when they have perfectly good words already.


You know how many words came into English even though there was already a perfectly acceptle 'english' word already with the same meaning?


Also, many old forgein words have been kanji-tised

Typhoon
Tempura
kabocha
just to name a few

JackAttack
June 18th, 2009, 14:31
very true, you don't see many people bitching about the 50% or more words that are foreign in Japanese language with Chinese origin. Why? because they are all hidden in Kanji.

Although sometimes i don't understand why Japanese love using foreign words when they have perfectly good words already.

All kanji to begin with are of Chinese origin! :lol:

Katakana words drive me nuts sometimes because I struggle saying the weird Japanese-ified English. At least whenever I was ever in doubt about a vocab word on a quiz, I would just write it in katakana English and hope for the best. :^_^:

AliDimayev
June 18th, 2009, 14:33
All kanji to begin with are of Chinese origin! :lol:


WRONG!

Urthona
June 19th, 2009, 08:33
You know how many words came into English even though there was already a perfectly acceptle 'english' word already with the same meaning?


Also, many old forgein words have been kanji-tised

Typhoon
Tempura
kabocha
just to name a few

Many ateji are no longer used or a rarely used. I think we can all be happy that it is たばこ/タバコ and not 煙草 or コーヒー instead of 珈琲.

Avocado
June 24th, 2009, 03:08
Soooooooooo....

Dombay is right about Heisig being counter-productive to learning Japanese. Because all I ever feel like doing is testing myself on writing kanji, and I refuse to go through vocabulary. Seriously, I do a chapter of Heisig everyday and only get to Kanji in Context a few times a week. Oops.

Nukemarine
June 24th, 2009, 03:50
Avocado, I with you on agreeing with Dombay. Why after all my daily RevTK reviews, I only have 23 hours and 40 minutes left. That's barely enough time to read Mixi, FNN, watch an episode of Zettai Kareshi and read a chapter of Harry Potter in Japanese on top of a full day of work and six hours of sleep.

In all honesty, I now only spend about 20 minutes reviewing Kanji (either writing or recognition), about an hour reviewing vocabulary (reading or writing) and try to put an hour or so sentence mining a Japanese drama using subs2srs program. So in a good day, that's 3 hours max but usually it's less. With RevTK as a baseline, it's allowed that time studying to be studying real Japanese.

Avocado
June 24th, 2009, 04:10
Time isn't the underlying problem at all. That's all I have, to be honest. It's a motivation problem.

Nukemarine
June 24th, 2009, 05:26
Yes, motivation will find solutions where even the best learning plans will fail.

Well, answer to yourself honestly why you want to learn Japanese. If the answers only deal with work or something vague or just a random goal, then that can be the problem. An honest desire to learn Japanese can bring about motivation. If it's some obligation, you'll resist it more and more.

AliDimayev
June 24th, 2009, 06:48
Many ateji are no longer used or a rarely used. I think we can all be happy that it is たばこ/タバコ and not 煙草 or コーヒー instead of 珈琲.
Some still are used.


Nukemarine. Do you think npeople studying japanese should just start trying to read japanese stuff and just look up the stuff that they don't understand as they come across it?

UPGRAYEDD
June 24th, 2009, 10:38
I'm gona give heisig another spin after the JLPT.

Yeehaw

Nukemarine
June 24th, 2009, 16:32
Some still are used.


Nukemarine. Do you think npeople studying japanese should just start trying to read japanese stuff and just look up the stuff that they don't understand as they come across it?

Step back and think what happens in a traditional setting of Japanese class. Isn't it taught on the idea of progression, that each level is a build up of stuff you don't know added to things you should know?

Then you notice that books have scenarios based on the idea that should be interesting to the student In Genki's case, that would be a foreign student going to Japan while in Japanese for Busy People it's a business setting.

Now the above does the hard work for you. Problem is it's prepackaged material bound and explained not to you and your interest and learning speed, but to the wider area of people. It has all the finesse of throwing paint at the wall, covers the middle area fast but at the edges it's very messy and disorganized. It not only can be boring, or silly at times, it can be either too slow or too fast or add things you don't care about. Consider a common complaint about any Japanese text book "It cover's this XXXXX subject that I don't care about, won't cover YYYY till later chapter's and doesn't have ZZZZ." You cannot cover every eventuality with a text book. You can't cover every grammar concept and exceptions. You can't cover every kanji. You can't cover every vocabulary word.

To answer you question then, yes, a person that has access to tools for looking up material: a VERY GOOD computer based J-J dictionary for foreign learners, good example sentences, good J-E dictionary, good SRS, good tools to make flashcards for the SRS. He can then take material of interest to him for whatever reason and look up stuff as he comes to them.

To get to the above (learning stuff that really is of interest to you), you do need a baseline. You need a vocabulary, grammar and kanji in your pocket so you're not stopping at every word. Now that can be covered with text book based material. It's not hard to cover 80% of a language (almost any language) with about 1000 to 2000 vocabulary words. Japanese Kanji hits the 80% mark at 500 kanji or so. Then there's basic vocabulary concepts which cover 100 to 200 points. These baselines can be covered fairly quickly. After that, everything learned was something learned because YOU wanted to learn it. It was in something that was of interest to you.

It's an easy process, but it takes motivation and dedication because it's a shitload of hours. It's still studying. You're finding stuff you don't know and trying to figure out what it is. Hopefully you're using an SRS so you don't forget the stuff you learn. But you then have the cool side effect of fully understanding something you enjoyed.

OT: Ali, now, against my better judgement I'm giving you a serious reply. I could have just as easily wrote "yes" and build up a useless post count. But it was a good question and I hope I gave a reasonable answer.

AliDimayev
June 24th, 2009, 16:34
Step back and think what happens in a traditional setting of Japanese class. Isn't it taught on the idea of progression, that each level is a build up of stuff you don't know added to things you should know?

Then you notice that books have scenarios based on the idea that should be interesting to the student In Genki's case, that would be a foreign student going to Japan while in Japanese for Busy People it's a business setting.

Now the above does the hard work for you. Problem is it's prepackaged material bound and explained not to you and your interest and learning speed, but to the wider area of people. It has all the finesse of throwing paint at the wall, covers the middle area fast but at the edges it's very messy and disorganized. It not only can be boring, or silly at times, it can be either too slow or too fast or add things you don't care about. Consider a common complaint about any Japanese text book "It cover's this XXXXX subject that I don't care about, won't cover YYYY till later chapter's and doesn't have ZZZZ." You cannot cover every eventuality with a text book. You can't cover every grammar concept and exceptions. You can't cover every kanji. You can't cover every vocabulary word.

To answer you question then, yes, a person that has access to tools for looking up material: a VERY GOOD computer based J-J dictionary for foreign learners, good example sentences, good J-E dictionary, good SRS, good tools to make flashcards for the SRS. He can then take material of interest to him for whatever reason and look up stuff as he comes to them.

To get to the above (learning stuff that really is of interest to you), you do need a baseline. You need a vocabulary, grammar and kanji in your pocket so you're not stopping at every word. Now that can be covered with text book based material. It's not hard to cover 80% of a language (almost any language) with about 1000 to 2000 vocabulary words. Japanese Kanji hits the 80% mark at 500 kanji or so. Then there's basic vocabulary concepts which cover 100 to 200 points. These baselines can be covered fairly quickly. After that, everything learned was something learned because YOU wanted to learn it. It was in something that was of interest to you.

It's an easy process, but it takes motivation and dedication because it's a shitload of hours. It's still studying. You're finding stuff you don't know and trying to figure out what it is. Hopefully you're using an SRS so you don't forget the stuff you learn. But you then have the cool side effect of fully understanding something you enjoyed.

OT: Ali, now, against my better judgement I'm giving you a serious reply. I could have just as easily wrote "yes" and build up a useless post count. But it was a good question and I hope I gave a reasonable answer.

Leave the back handed comments out of your serious reply, then.

mattyjaddy
June 25th, 2009, 22:43
Next time bold the actual backhanded comment.

AliDimayev
June 26th, 2009, 06:34
Next time bold the actual backhanded comment.

ok

bizarrojosh
September 5th, 2009, 20:35
So I almost gave up on the book because about a third of the way through one has to come up with stories and I'm too lazy to do that. However I found this site (it may have been posted here) that lets others post their stories. Basically I just find one that I like, steal it, and its saves me the trouble of having to use my brain.

Not Logged In | Reviewing the Kanji (http://kanji.koohii.com/study/)

I think you have to register to gain access to the study room, but it takes like one second and it will save you lots of time if you were in the same situation I was in. Just thought I would let others know!

dmitri
April 15th, 2011, 22:35
Sorry to resurrect this thread on Heisig but I wanted to throw in my 2 cents.

I arrived in Japan last August with no, zero, knowledge of Japanese before I arrived. I trundled along until December when I realised that I hadn't really made any great progress in Japanese. I was using an ipod touch flash card app, but then I left it for about a week and realised I couldn't remember most of the kanji from the app (It tested you based on the JLPT levels.) So I bought the Heisig book after reading about it on the AJATT website (probably where the Heisig enthusiasts come from.)

I started it in January at the pace of 20 a day with an SRS system to help with the revision, but I also wrote the kanji's, with both their english meanings and Japanese readings onto flash cards. This was mainly to practice the stroke order but also to practice writing hiragana and katakana by writing the readings.

I am now on 1650 kanji in the book so I think I can give some feedback on its pros and cons.

Pro: It does provide a nice, logical and systematic way of learning the kanji where what you learn at the beginning with the 'elements' is built as you learn more kanji.

Pro: If you like learning by mnemonics or funny little stories then this is a fun way to learn the kanji.

Pro: Heisig does give some background to the kanji's as you go through and will tell you when he has just invented an 'element' to make things easier to remember.

Con: Some of the English key words given for kanji are not accurate and I have found out when showing Japanese people a kanji from the book they sometimes tell me it means something a bit different, or that to get that meaning it has to be in a compound.

Con: The study method recommended is very time-consuming and it is difficult to find the time to study other aspects of Japanese whilst working through the book. Indeed I stuttered after about 1000 and took a week long break from it at 1300 kanji because it was too much to remember before I was ready to start finishing it.

Con: The book only teaches single kanji, not compounds.

Overall, however, I recommend it. Heisig is not a magical way to learn kanji, but it is good and enjoyable if you want to be creative at the same time as studying. I've also found that it is a good way into Japanese if you don't know where to start. Once you do this kanji section then you can do everything else. Further to this, as it was when I studied French at university, the more you learn the more you find there is to learn. Using Heisig has made me a lot more interested in Japanese because it opens a door into Japanese; seeing kanji on the bus or in shops and remembering the meaning based on random stories about my godmother. It doesn't teach Japanese on its own, but then no study book does. But it is enjoyable and it is a tangible bit of learning that makes me want to learn more because of what I have learned in this book. I think it will also help learning grammar when the sentences use kanji.

There you go, not perfect but good for total, not knowing where to start beginners like me, and good I think if you have your eyes on fluency in Japanese. You won't remember all the kanji in the book, but it does give almost all of the important ones and a way to learn the meanings of them for you to look back on. Overall worth it has been worth the money.

wicket
April 16th, 2011, 20:01
more importantly, whatever happened to dombay? i really liked him!

Azrael
April 16th, 2011, 21:20
Bad AIDs
RIP Dombay - nevar forget

mteacher80
April 17th, 2011, 10:14
hahahah

dirtbag
April 19th, 2011, 17:14
good one, renminbi!

Tyr
April 20th, 2011, 20:12
For similar style learning to Heisig might I recommend:

KANJIDAMAGE (http://kanjidamage.com/)

Project LRNJ: Learn Japanese RPG (http://lrnj.com/)

I've learned circa 1000 kanji using Slime Forest. Find it easier than actually learning the spoken words.

Kuro2Flo
April 22nd, 2011, 15:29
I was doing heisig, but to be honest I realized I dont give a damn about the keywords and would rather learn actual words, or at least recognize them in context.

I was debating between slime forest or skritter, but dont want to pay for both unless it is really beneficial. Suggestions?

Edit: never mind, going with skritter

Page
September 8th, 2011, 12:05
anyone know where I can ~legally acquire~ a copy of kanji in context? bored as shit at work with my shit at home

3liter6
September 9th, 2011, 09:12
anyone know where I can ~legally acquire~ a copy of kanji in context? bored as shit at work with my shit at home

Amazon.co.jp: kanji in context (http://www.amazon.co.jp/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?__mk_ja_JP=%83J%83%5E%83J%83i&url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=kanji+in+context&x=0&y=0)

?