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  1. #61

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    Quote Originally Posted by UPGRAYEDD View Post
    That makes it really, really complicated.

    Just do a good roku on top of the tsukii with ito iu ito over a chou horse chou 刀 add the kokoro and road enclosure and you're done.

    Anyone with a moderate level of kanji study can come away from that kanji in about 5 minutes.

    Heisig just makes this ridiculous story when you are better off just breaking down the radicals on your own.
    It's not Heisig's story, it's a story you make yourself by breaking down the radicals on your own.

    It's basically what you did, plus adding a ridiculous story, but that's what makes it easier to learn and remember in the long run compared to trying to remember it like a meaningless pattern.

    You know, memory champions use this kind of thing to remember large amounts of information. Saying "that's ridiculous, you're better off just remembering the information in the raw" is just not true.

    EDIT:
    About the stroke order, the stories in Heisig don't have to be in stroke order. It's using visual memory. The order comes from the visual image. The action is inside the ana (btw 穴 is not 6 it's a hole). iu is riding an uma and getting flanked by ito that are chou...

    Anyhow, I always learned to write the kanji with correct stroke orders with RTK.
    Last edited by biku23; May 18th, 2009 at 19:18.

  2. #62

    Default Re: Help getting started...

    Quote Originally Posted by Asydious View Post
    And the Church thought Galileo a heretic! Just because the establishment says it is so does not make it any more true. The most valuable tool any man can possess is an open mind.
    I think the Crackpot Index gives 10 points for mentioning Galileo. If our friend here had only gone on to use the phrase, "hidebound reactionaries", he'd be really moving up the scale.

    I think Heisig's approach is great. It's really helped me out. Well, not Heisig itself, but Slime Forest, which takes a similar approach, but also teaches you a basic reading, and provides stories (which are different from Heisig's and IMO better).

    AJATT has some great observations, but I don't think I would recommend his overall strategy. Learn kana first, if nothing else then to learn pronunciation and let you read the readings in their native script. I'd also suggest learning your first block of kanji traditionally, to build up some sort of muscle memory for the most common radicals and such. Meanwhile, learn vocab and grammar. You can then come back and use a mnemonic approach to ramp up your kanji-acquisition speed. Kakitori-kun can help you practice the stroke order and (with its Japanese explanations) elaborate on the kanji's meanings using compound examples.
    Quote Originally Posted by katsudon View Post
    Principal: 'genki no nai shapenaa'
    Me: *giggle*
    Principal (turns to me, says): Very old sharpener. I am not as old as that sharpener.

  3. #63
    VIP UPGRAYEDD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by biku23 View Post
    It's not Heisig's story, it's a story you make yourself by breaking down the radicals on your own.

    It's basically what you did, plus adding a ridiculous story, but that's what makes it easier to learn and remember in the long run compared to trying to remember it like a meaningless pattern.

    You know, memory champions use this kind of thing to remember large amounts of information. Saying "that's ridiculous, you're better off just remembering the information in the raw" is just not true.
    No one is saying that kanji are meaningless patterns that must be memorized.

    Kanji are made up of various radicals and from their positions you can often infer sound and meaning. Any student of Japanese should be learning this. But learning form and meaning before sound does not help you acquire Japanese faster. It's a big waste of time to do anything but learning all three of them together.
    You see, gentlemen, a pimp's love is very different from a square's...
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  4. #64
    VIP UPGRAYEDD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help getting started...

    Lol at missing 穴


    It also means asshole.
    You see, gentlemen, a pimp's love is very different from a square's...
    (郷に入っては郷に従え.)

  5. #65

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    Quote Originally Posted by UPGRAYEDD View Post
    No one is saying that kanji are meaningless patterns that must be memorized.

    Kanji are made up of various radicals and from their positions you can often infer sound and meaning.
    But the example you showed of how to learn that kanji was just a meaningless list of parts. Heisig is just adding a system to that, and basically encouraging you to think about radicals and positions.

    Any student of Japanese should be learning this. But learning form and meaning before sound does not help you acquire Japanese faster. It's a big waste of time to do anything but learning all three of them together.
    I found it valuable to break down the task, and I think I progressed to a higher level thanks to doing that. I can't be in your shoes, so I can't say which way is better, but I can certainly say it one way that works.

    To me, I think knowing the meanings in advance lets you proceed faster and wider with reading. That fact is hard to quantify, but if there's one thing that's a tangible advantage of RTK, it's that I learned the kanji forms in a very solid way, plus the ability to write them - whereas with the pen & paper practice method kanji were very blurry and difficult to remember how to write after a while.

  6. #66
    ITIL's Favorite Beaner! Gusuke's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help getting started...

    Man, knowing how to read that complicated character is like a mere parlor trick, totally useless.

    I'm going to stick with the radical approach; it's what's worked for me so far. Learning a bunch of kanji without knowing how to read them seems totally pointless and a waste of effort to me.

  7. #67

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gusuke View Post
    Man, knowing how to read that complicated character is like a mere parlor trick, totally useless.
    Yes, absolutely. It was just an extreme example to illustrate the method.

    I'm going to stick with the radical approach; it's what's worked for me so far. Learning a bunch of kanji without knowing how to read them seems totally pointless and a waste of effort to me.
    Chinese people have an easier time to learn how to read Japanese, so I think knowing the kanji is not pointless.

    But anyway, it's cool if you have a method that works, stick to it. Sticking to things is the most important part.

    I stuck to RTK to the end, and then stuck to reading, and it works for me.
    Last edited by biku23; May 18th, 2009 at 21:28.

  8. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gusuke View Post
    Man, knowing how to read that complicated character is like a mere parlor trick, totally useless.

    I'm going to stick with the radical approach; it's what's worked for me so far. Learning a bunch of kanji without knowing how to read them seems totally pointless and a waste of effort to me.
    I agree 100%. And the radical thing works out well.

    1. That's how you look up kanji in a kanji diciontary (and Japanese kanji dictionary)

    2. You can gleam meaning and pronunciation from the radicals if you have to (not in all cases, of course)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyakuman View Post
    As usual, you all (Aliを除く) have your heads up your asses.

  9. #69
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    I've only got one thing to ask of all of you. With all your claims about Heisig's method, and learning Kanji the way the book describes. Have you tried it? I mean really, really tried it? I'm going go with no. Which means that you can't really make any accurate claims of it. At all.

    Take care.

  10. #70
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    Default Re: Help getting started...

    I've been silent in this board for some time already, but now let me say a few words.

    Heisig's been bashed in this and other community for various overclaims. Like you all say, if you complete Heisig and do nothing else, you have learned a stupid parlor trick.

    That's true.

    But if you go on with your studies, and learn the readings later, it works very well.

    I did Heisig in 3 months, like 勝海殿 claims, but after that I could read NO japanese. Nothing. But I could write 2042 kanji from memory. Like you say. It was useless.

    But I have not stopped there. I kept learning japanese, and now, 12 months later, I can read the newspaper just fine. I can understand most of what I hear. I can even speak a little, making a lot of mistakes. I'm far from being fluent, but Heisig made literacy the base of my Japanese. I keep reading the news, my favorite novels and my favorite manga everyday and I'm confident I'll be fluent in no time.

    Learning the kanji first makes a lot of sense.

  11. #71
    Backwater Blonde Rachel1404's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help getting started...

    I don't understand why it must be one method or the other? Personally I'm using Heisig and Genki simultaneously; I'm wizzing through meanings with Heisig whilst learning readings with Genki.
    I tried just learning a few Kanji at a time (i.e meaning, readings and compunds all together) but found it really hard to keep them straight in my mind. Heisig just seems to provide the extra memory trick that I need.

  12. #72
    Now with 25% less sugar! Auburn's Avatar
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    I just wanted to say to the OP:

    All of this stuff that has been posted is probably making you hyperventilate and think, "I am NEVER going to be able to learn Japanese!!" So, ignore them and ignore the terms and theories.

    Try a variety of books/styles. One of them will suit your learning style. Go to the local university, and ask a professor to recommend a text. Ask your friends. Etc. Then test drive them to see what works for you. This is why you get so many different opinions about Heisig, etc. Heisig works for some people, Pimsleur works for different people, Rosetta stone works for others... you need to find one that makes sense according to how you learn.

    Once you feel confident with the basics, you can try other systems, or get a tutor, etc.

    Japanese can certainly be challenging, but if it's something you can get excited about, then you can do it.

  13. #73
    Daimyo ***** dombay's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help getting started...

    Yea look Hesig has been debated to death in many other threads in this forum.There is only 5 other pages of it to look through so do look.

    People are never going to agree on it. It's got a cheap and nasty cheating feeling for some, some think it's flawed from an educational point of view and others swear by it. None of these arguments are new. A lot of very experienced teachers and Japanese learners have argued this right here on this website before.

    Anyone got any useful advice on starting out in Japanese for new JETs?
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  14. #74
    Али Димаев AliDimayev's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help getting started...

    Get a textbook you like. I think GENKI isn't bad, but that's just my opinion. Get some type of CD or online source so you can hear and practice proper pronunciation. Get a grammar dictionary (that series with the YELLOW, BLUE, and RED books are very good grammar references, in my opinione- lots of example sentences and they explain the nuances between simliar grammar points). And just study away.

    I don't mean to sound rude, but sometime all this debate about 'how' to learn Japanese is loike debating between different diets. If you want to lose weight, eat less and exercise more. If you want to learn a language, find some books and sources that you like and that work for you and study, study, study.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyakuman View Post
    As usual, you all (Aliを除く) have your heads up your asses.

  15. #75
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    Very interesting debate. Very long. And ended like every single other Heisig debate. Surprise?

    Really, if you want my opinion...I believe fun comes before anything. Believe me....I used to be a Khatzumoto fanatic. Everything he said was like the word of God to me. Until I actually developed a stable mind, and intelligence over my actions.

    Khatzumoto said "Let there be Heisig!" and there was Heisig. And it was....weird. I was head over heels to buy this book, to attain native-fluency in the Japanese language. So, I bought the book and studied like there was no tomorrow. And I was not having the time of my life. I was doing something that worked for Khatzumoto, and not necessarily for me. So I stopped all of it, and realized the wrong in my actions. But I realized the true uses of this book.

    I read the introduction over and over again, making sure I had caught up to exactly what I was supposed to be learning/doing. I realized that Heisig is the most laziest, and most fun way to approach Kanji. What this book means to me is, through help of a single definition or keyword with direct relation to the primitives, I am able to make a deeper meaning of the Kanji in to my memory. Anyone can go through lists and assign all readings, meanings, and stroke orders to any Kanji they want. But I wanted to recognize and feel the Kanji as if they were apart of my own blood and skin, and through Heisig I was and am able to achieve this feeling.

    There are many misconceptions about Heisig. Every single person who has ever crabbed or ranted about the 'uselessness' of Heisig, has never read or researched the process/method of remembering the Kanji. All they ever know is that people come on to forums preaching that they've learned X amount of Kanji in X months, using one Keyword of many, and remembering weird, meaningless sentences.

    But I'm not here to change any of your opinions, and I sincerely must excuse myself because I don't have time to copy and paste Heisig's exact words about this process, when everyone themselves can check it out. I truly believe whatever feels 'right' and fun for you will help you attain anything with a good amount of work. Some people have more fun with readings. Some people have fun with Pimsleur/Rosetta Stone. Some have fun with Heisig.

    Debate is really meaningless, in this style. I've seen this so many times before; "Method X doesn't work because it doesn't include (insert point about language that it isn't supposed to teach)." It is like saying the photosynthesis process sucks, because it does not provide water for any life that uses/needs it, when the photosynthesis way of collecting energy is not meant for producing or collecting water.

    Any forum would be 100,000 times more loved if everyone researched what they spoke of or against, and agreed to disagree on anything, especially with Japanese, in attempt to help each other reach the common goal of said forum.

  16. #76
    Senior Member Urthona's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help getting started...

    Graded Japanese Readers are a great tool for getting an introduction to reading. The vocabulary is made to be easier and they have different levels depending on how much you know. I like the level 3 and level 4 books. They also come with audio cds.

    Trying to expand your reading/writing beyond the textbook really helps.

    On Heisig, it takes something that everybody learns - mnemonic devices used to learn the kanji but rips out the essential steps in learning and being able to use them. Learning in the more traditional ways helps you learn the pronunciation, meaning, and whatnot by radicals and patterns. I've read his stories and they are often just asinine, needlessly confusing, or just overly complicated.

    If Heisig was the be all and end all of Japanese learning, it would be practiced by far more people and actually accepted by academics. It just feeds into an orientalist fantasy about the mystique surrounding characters and the supposed impossibility of learning Japanese.

    EDIT: What goddamn forum have we been linked to?

    Also, just a skim through the all the japanese site, the guy seems to be somewhat autistic or just really creepy. I can't imagine why anyone would more or less excise every non-Japanese aspect of their life to learn the language as quickly as possible. Also, the results he achieved after 10,000 hours or whatever the fuck he spent studying his way could have been replicated with another study method if one was so inclined to try it.
    Last edited by Urthona; May 19th, 2009 at 08:36.

  17. #77

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    I don't understand where all these new people are coming from preaching this insane way of learning Kanji.

    My real Japanese person professor taught us hiragana then katakana then kanji. I trust her judgement. And that's all I have to say.

  18. #78
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    This is a very interesting debate. I guess I will throw my hat into the ring.

    Because onions are small and their tissues leave little or no trace, there is no conclusive opinion about the exact location and time of their birth. Many archaeologists, botanists and food historians believe onions originated in central Asia. Other research suggests that onions were first grown in Iran and West Pakistan. It is presumed that our predecessors discovered and started eating wild onions very early - long before farming or even writing was invented. Very likely, this humble vegetable was a staple in the prehistoric diet.

    Most researchers agree that the onion has been cultivated for 5000 years or more. Since onions grew wild in various regions, they were probably consumed for thousands of years and domesticated simultaneously all over the world. Onions may be one of the earliest cultivated crops because they were less perishable than other foods of the time, were transportable, were easy to grow and could be grown in a variety of soils and climates. In addition, the onion was useful for sustaining human life. Onions prevented thirst and could be dried and preserved for later consumption when food might be scarce. While the place and time of the onion's origin are still a mystery, there are many documents, from very early times, which describe its importance as a food and its use in art, medicine and mummification.

    Onions grew in Chinese gardens as early as 5000 years ago and they are referenced in some of the oldest Vedic writings from India. In Egypt, onions can be traced back to 3500 B.C. There is evidence that the Sumerians were growing onions as early as 2500 B.C. One Sumerian text dated to about 2500 B.C. tells of someone plowing over the city governor's onion patch. In Egypt, onions were actually an object of worship. The onion symbolized eternity to the Egyptians who buried onions along with their Pharaohs. The Egyptians saw eternal life in the anatomy of the onion because of its circle-within-a-circle structure. Paintings of onions appear on the inner walls of the pyramids and in the tombs of both the Old Kingdom and the New Kingdom. The onion is mentioned as a funeral offering and onions are depicted on the banquet tables of the great feasts - both large, peeled onions and slender, immature ones. They were shown upon the altars of the gods.

    Frequently, a priest is pictured holding onions in his hand or covering an altar with a bundle of their leaves or roots. In mummies, onions have frequently been found in the pelvic regions of the body, in the thorax, flattened against the ears and in front of the collapsed eyes. Flowering onions have been found on the chest, and onions have been found attached to the soles of the feet and along the legs. King Ramses IV, who died in 1160 B.C., was entombed with onions in his eye sockets. Some Egyptologists theorize that onions may have been used because it was believed that their strong scent and/or magical powers would prompt the dead to breathe again. Other Egyptologists believe it was because onions were known for their strong antiseptic qualities, which construed as magical, would be handy in the afterlife.

    Onions are mentioned to have been eaten by the Israelites in the Bible. In Numbers 11:5, the children of Israel lament the meager desert diet enforced by the Exodus: "We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic." In India as early as the sixth century B.C., the famous medical treatise Charaka - Sanhita celebrates the onion as medicine - a diuretic, good for digestion, the heart, the eyes and the joints. Likewise, Dioscorides, a Greek physician in first century A.D., noted several medicinal uses of onions. The Greeks used onions to fortify athletes for the Olympic Games. Before competition, athletes would consume pounds of onions, drink onion juice and rub onions on their bodies.

    The Romans ate onions regularly and carried them on journeys to their provinces in England and Germany. Pliny the Elder, Roman's keen-eyed observer, wrote of Pompeii's onions and cabbages. Before he was overcome and killed by the volcano's heat and fumes, Pliny the Elder catalogued the Roman beliefs about the efficacy of the onion to cure vision, induce sleep, heal mouth sores, dog bites, toothaches, dysentery and lumbago. Excavators of the doomed city would later find gardens where, just as Pliny had said, onions had grown. The bulbs had left behind telltale cavities in the ground. The Roman gourmet Apicius, credited with writing one of the first cookbooks (which dates to the eighth and ninth centuries A.D.), included many references to onions. By the Middle Ages, the three main vegetables of European cuisine were beans, cabbage and onions. In addition to serving as a food for both the poor and the wealthy, onions were prescribed to alleviate headaches, snakebites and hair loss. They were also used as rent payments and wedding gifts. Later, the first Pilgrims brought onions with them on the Mayflower. However, they found that strains of wild onions already grew throughout North America. Native American Indians used wild onions in a variety of ways, eating them raw or cooked, as a seasoning or as a vegetable. Such onions were also used in syrups, as poultices, as an ingredient in dyes and even as toys. According to diaries of colonists, bulb onions were planted as soon as the Pilgrim fathers could clear the land in 1648.
    Me Rikey Very Much!!!

  19. #79
    VIP UPGRAYEDD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brokenvai View Post

    Any forum would be 100,000 times more loved if everyone researched what they spoke of or against, and agreed to disagree on anything, especially with Japanese, in attempt to help each other reach the common goal of said forum.
    Please find a reputable Japanese program or academic journal/study that shows the Heisig method is more successful than traditional methods or recommends the Heisig method as a study method for kanji.
    You see, gentlemen, a pimp's love is very different from a square's...
    (郷に入っては郷に従え.)

  20. #80

    Default Re: Help getting started...

    Urthona, the way you put it, it makes it sound like by using Heisig you won't also be able to make use of radicals and patterns to learn readings and whatnot.

    Heisig is not an end in and of itself, it is one step, and once someone has done RTK1 they will move on to learning readings & vocab and making many useful associations.

    Having already an ability to recognize most common kanji, you actually have the chance to make more connections sooner IMO, and you'll be able to associate more vocab & readings to kanji faster.

    With learning by Heisig or just learning kanji parts/radicals for example, you will be able to for example take note of the common part between 通 and 痛 and associate that they both have the same ON reading (つう). For me I learned to read 通 first through compounds like 交通, and later I came across 頭痛 and I guessed the reading correctly ずつう plus also guessed the meaning head-ache. This makes it quick to memorize.

    Then I'd come across say 社交的 (sociable). I'd know the readings of 社 from 社会, 交 from 交通, and 的 is the ~able part, so I could read it, and again the meanings (society + mingle) would make the association to "sociable" easy.

    Those are just a couple of examples, but it just goes on and on like this, building connections. I think anyone who studied reading to a higher level knows how these connections build up and help snowball your learning. The more connections the better.

    As for AJATT, it's too extreme for me. I can't do it even if I wanted to; it would result in nothing more than divorce + loss of work. The guy goes as far as saying learning Japanese all day is more important than studying for college & that kind of thing. However, he seems to motivate some people. Most of his posts have little to do with Japanese, and mostly to do with attitude.
    Last edited by biku23; May 19th, 2009 at 09:33.

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