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Recommended study plan for my learning process?

Have a textbook or grammar book that you find particularly helpful? What about a learning tip to share with others?

RE: Recommended study plan for my learning process?

Postby Pkmn Trainer Abram » Tue 02.05.2008 11:15 pm

Update:

I learned the numbers and corresponding Kanji. Kept drilling them in my head over and over whenever I needed to count something, but I'm confused on all numbers not ending in "jou"

Would 12 and 27 be "jou ni" and "nana jou ni"?

And currently, I'm translating in game text on Pokemon Pearl, looking up the hirgana and kanji for the words. Too soon to say if it's a good method of remembering the kanji though, I am looking up stroke order and writting em out.
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RE: Recommended study plan for my learning process?

Postby richvh » Tue 02.05.2008 11:37 pm

"Jou"? What form of romaji are you using, something French based? "Juu" is the number 10, and sounds roughly like "Jew"; "jou" would sound roughly like "Joe."

Juu ni is, indeed, 12, but 27 is ni juu nana (nana juu ni would be 72)
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RE: Recommended study plan for my learning process?

Postby yukamina » Wed 02.06.2008 3:55 pm

Wakannai wrote:
Kanji or kana look alike only because you haven't learned and practiced writing them properly enough. If you know how to write a kanji properly, you know how to read it too. In the same way, words only sound alike because one hasn't learned to listen for the differences properly.

That's ridiculous. If you study similar looking characters, you can easily tell them apart, but that doesn't mean they don't actually look similar.
Wakannai wrote:
It's all the same. Memnonics are a crutch. While there is nothing wrong with using a crutch when necessary, the problem is forming a dependency on he crutch and using it everywhere and insisting it's necessary. The only reason it seems so necessary now is because you've allowed yourself to become dependent on it, not because using a crutch is inherently better than not. If a kanji gives you trouble, sure, consider using a mnemonic, but don't allow yourself to believe that you won't be able to learn without them.

A crutch? Mnemonics are a handy way to remember something, why not use it if you like it? Why put more effort into memorizing something than necessary? We're trying to learn a whole language... anything to use my time and energy more efficiently is a good thing. I could sit and memorize a list of 50 words. But I could learn those words easier by reading a couple paragraphs using them instead. But I don't think you'd call that a crutch.

saraLynne wrote:
OK... hum... another comparison with English: Just because you know all the letters of the alphabet doesn't mean you know how to spell English words. There are far, far too many possible combinations for the same sound (feat, feet), or same combinations for different sounds (feat, sweat).

But with the English alphabet you won't be coming across new letters all the time. The spellings may vary greatly, but it'll be using the same simple letters each time. Jukugo combinations vary too, but as long as you already know the kanji in them, it's fine. Kanji words aren't usually random, why make things harder than they have to be?
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RE: Recommended study plan for my learning process?

Postby Wakannai » Wed 02.06.2008 4:48 pm

That's ridiculous. If you study similar looking characters, you can easily tell them apart, but that doesn't mean they don't actually look similar.


Before you call someone's point out as being ridiculous, you should expend more effort trying to understand the point. Especially, you shouldn't argue against a point that was never made. You only make own point ridiculous. Where did I say that they wouldn't look similar?

A crutch? Mnemonics are a handy way to remember something, why not use it if you like it? Why put more effort into memorizing something than necessary? We're trying to learn a whole language... anything to use my time and energy more efficiently is a good thing. I could sit and memorize a list of 50 words. But I could learn those words easier by reading a couple paragraphs using them instead. But I don't think you'd call that a crutch.


A crutch is something that should be used when necessary and avoided when it's not. Mnemonics are inefficient by nature. You cannot use an efficiency argument in favor of mnemonics. It's also not like vs. dislike either. I'm not arguing against using mnemonics, I'm arguing against depending on them. Also, since I've argued vociferously against memorizing lists of words, you are once again, making up false arguments and then biting your own points. Don't put words in my mouth and then argue against them. Learning words in context is always best. If you learn most of your words in context, you shouldn't need mnemonics but for the odd word that is hard to remember.

Mnemonics are for hard words, not every word. People that insist on using mnemonics all the time are just creating more work, and more potential of burnout when they finally get frusterated with it all.
Last edited by Wakannai on Wed 02.06.2008 5:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Recommended study plan for my learning process?

Postby yukamina » Wed 02.06.2008 8:06 pm

"Kanji or kana look alike only because you haven't learned and practiced writing them properly enough." It sounds like you're saying once you have practiced them, they no longer look similar. Once you've distinguished the difference between the pronunciation of two words, they no longer sound similar. Maybe that's not what you mean.

But I don't see what you have against mnemonics. How are they inefficient? It's just a memory aid. It's only as inefficient as you make it.
Context teaches how a word is used, and gives you some exposure to it. But it doesn't tell you why it's written a certain way. It doesn't solve everything(there; I said it)
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RE: Recommended study plan for my learning process?

Postby HarakoMeshi » Wed 02.06.2008 11:18 pm

Mnemonics are inefficient by nature. You cannot use an efficiency argument in favor of mnemonics


Huh? I think you've got this backwards. Mnemonics can increase the efficiency of memorising certian things... its the whole reason for their existence.

That's not to say that mnemonics are always better than memorizing in a natural way, it varies from one thing to another. But I certainly don't think you can say something like "inefficient by nature". That's such a close minded POV.
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RE: Recommended study plan for my learning process?

Postby Chris Hart » Wed 02.06.2008 11:28 pm

yukamina wrote:
"Kanji or kana look alike only because you haven't learned and practiced writing them properly enough." It sounds like you're saying once you have practiced them, they no longer look similar. Once you've distinguished the difference between the pronunciation of two words, they no longer sound similar. Maybe that's not what you mean.

But I don't see what you have against mnemonics. How are they inefficient? It's just a memory aid. It's only as inefficient as you make it.
Context teaches how a word is used, and gives you some exposure to it. But it doesn't tell you why it's written a certain way. It doesn't solve everything(there; I said it)


The problem is you aren't recalling it directly. It's like going from A to C by way of Z. You are simply taking the long way. To use language, you must be able to use it directly. If you keep using mnemonics, you are going to be stuck with a much longer, and lossier process of going from English -> look up mnemonic and convert -> Japanese, and vice versa (substitute native and target languages as appropriate) instead of already being where you want to be.
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RE: Recommended study plan for my learning process?

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Wed 02.06.2008 11:42 pm

But I could learn those words easier by reading a couple paragraphs using them instead. But I don't think you'd call that a crutch.


The difference is that reading paragraphs is a real-world task. So if you learn words via that method you are also getting practice doing the "real thing" and not just memorizing out-of-context material. A mnemonic has nothing to do with a real-world situation.

The problem with indiscriminate use of mnemonics is that people use them as a patch over bad study methods -- often, overuse of mnemonics means that you're learning too much out of context material without relating it to real language.

Jukugo combinations vary too, but as long as you already know the kanji in them, it's fine.


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RE: Recommended study plan for my learning process?

Postby AJBryant » Thu 02.07.2008 12:36 am

Yudan Taiteki wrote:
The problem with indiscriminate use of mnemonics is that people use them as a patch over bad study methods -- often, overuse of mnemonics means that you're learning too much out of context material without relating it to real language.


Quoted for truth.



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RE: Recommended study plan for my learning process?

Postby HarakoMeshi » Thu 02.07.2008 12:44 am

saraLynne wrote:
yukamina wrote:
it's hard to just say "these random lines mean 'scenery', now remember that forever *_* " And then do that for 2000 characters spread across 20,000 or so words. Using phonetic markers, mnemonics, learning things in groups, I think it goes a long way.


I guess that's where I don't follow... a new word is a new word, and each word is unique and takes some effort to understand it. I perceive kanji as another -aspect- of that word and its meaning.


I'm sure there's a better way to describe this, as I'm doing a piss poor job of it... hrm.

OK... hum... another comparison with English: Just because you know all the letters of the alphabet doesn't mean you know how to spell English words. There are far, far too many possible combinations for the same sound (feat, feet), or same combinations for different sounds (feat, sweat).

You learn each word by itself and how to spell it. I see kanji not as random lines, but as the spelling of the word, each must be given its own attention. A word's kanji (or compound) is unique to itself, even if components of it or all of it is used in a different word.


Its not like all this learning is free of charge; every bit of knowledge takes some time and effort to learn, and to master.

Anyone who's learned to read Japanese can surely recognize that learning to read compounds made of familiar characters take less effort than compounds that use unfamiliar kanji. The kanji themselves are not unique to each word; only the combination of the kanji & okurigana (the spelling) and the choice of reading for the kanji.

Post RTK1, since the kanji writings are usually already familiar, that is one less thing to swallow at the same time. I quickly learn to recognize new words (i.e. the spelling) thanks to familiarity with the kanji, and then the reading follows soon after.

After I have also become familiar with the common readings of a kanji, learning the reading of new words that use those kanji gets easier still.

Learning kanji bears fruit in learning Japanese vocab.

If you have no kanji knowledge and you want to learn something like しょうねん (as in boy/juvenile) as an arbitrary string of kana, our minds have a harder time of memorising this. The 'melody' of a sentence can help commit that sound to long term memory. A mnemonic may help you commit it.

However if you already know the general meanings of 少 & 年 as well as their ON reading then learning this word becomes a sinch; thanks to all the connections you have at your disposal, it shouldn't even take repeating more than a couple of times to learn this word.
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RE: Recommended study plan for my learning process?

Postby HarakoMeshi » Thu 02.07.2008 1:52 am

Chris Hart wrote:
yukamina wrote:
"Kanji or kana look alike only because you haven't learned and practiced writing them properly enough." It sounds like you're saying once you have practiced them, they no longer look similar. Once you've distinguished the difference between the pronunciation of two words, they no longer sound similar. Maybe that's not what you mean.

But I don't see what you have against mnemonics. How are they inefficient? It's just a memory aid. It's only as inefficient as you make it.
Context teaches how a word is used, and gives you some exposure to it. But it doesn't tell you why it's written a certain way. It doesn't solve everything(there; I said it)


The problem is you aren't recalling it directly. It's like going from A to C by way of Z. You are simply taking the long way. To use language, you must be able to use it directly. If you keep using mnemonics, you are going to be stuck with a much longer, and lossier process of going from English -> look up mnemonic and convert -> Japanese, and vice versa (substitute native and target languages as appropriate) instead of already being where you want to be.


I think that this 'problem' of learning "A to C by way of Z" is exhagerated.

You have to learn "A to C" but that takes a lot of effort, so you learn "A to C by way of Z" which is easier but its not yet fully learned directly as "A to C".

People interpret this "not yet fully learned" as a roadblock, as if somehow Z is getting in the way of you learning fully.

I disagree that this is the case. The case is just that you have expended only part of the effort of learning directly "A to C" and as such you have learned only part of directly "A to C" and learning it fully will take more practice doing just that.

Whether it is actually a win or a loss, depends on what "A, C & Z" are.

In the case of vocab, words have very complex and different usage attributes in each language, which is what makes trying to learn them out of context by associating to words in another language a very shallow and lossy process.

In the case of kanji I think it's very different from vocab. There is not the same depth as words have. There's not going to be the interference of translation from another language, because one is not going to start trying to make up their own Japanese words from kanji. One can either read/write a Japanese word, or they can't.

In RTK there is a one-to-one connection between kanji & keywords, so strictly speaking there is no loss in translation, except if you make a mistake in this connection. Trying to skip the Japanese reading and go direct from keyword to comprehension would be very lossy, but then that would not be reading... it would be decoding.

This is the (early) process of reading a word for someone with RTK knowledge:

recognized kanji -> keyword (combined with current context & lookahead to other kanji or okurigana) -> Japanese word reading (combined with current context & grammar) -> comprehension.

In my own experience, since I finished RTK1 I read much of "Breaking into Japanese Literature" and some progressive readers, and I've been using the SRS sentence reading review method, and I definitely haven't found the keywords to be a roadblock to fast reading. They're helpful for learning new words, and after a bit of reading practice I read those words just as fast as any words I've learned traditionally.

In a way I think the keywords are very natural, I mean no matter how I learned a kanji I always formed and used some rough idea of what a kanji meant because it helped to make connections.
Last edited by HarakoMeshi on Thu 02.07.2008 1:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Recommended study plan for my learning process?

Postby nukemarine » Thu 02.07.2008 4:51 am

You know, not every thread has to boil down to the pros and cons of learning Kanji first. I think most agree we must learn Kanji eventually in our strive to gain fluency in Japanese. The method and the amount only seems to vary.

As for the A to C via Z, I can throw in a typewriter analogy. Trying to learn Japanese without the Kanji is akin to learning touch typing without knowing where the letters are arranged on the keyboard, while changing the position of your hands as you go along. It's a silly analogy like the A to C via Z, but some would fall for it.

Anyway, hope everyone who took the JLPT had good results.
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RE: Recommended study plan for my learning process?

Postby Wakannai » Thu 02.07.2008 5:17 am

But I certainly don't think you can say something like "inefficient by nature". That's such a close minded POV.


No it's a fact. Like 2+2=4. Closed minded is making ad-hominem and other examples of logical fallacies instead of arguing your point.

For example. This does not count as a counter argument.
Huh? I think you've got this backwards. Mnemonics can increase the efficiency of memorising certian things... its the whole reason for their existence.


First, you would need to show Mnemonics increase the efficiency of memorizing certian things. While you can show tha Mnenonics increase the ease of memorizing certain things, you will find it extremely difficult to show how it increases the efficiency.

Now, because mnemonics are by nature "illogical, arbitrary, and artistically flawed". I really shouldn't have to make this argument. But let me make it simple. 1 for 1 = 100% efficiency Thus if I use one unit of my brain to memorize one thing that is 100% efficient. If however I also have to memorize additional information, it is automatically less efficient. It's basic math. If I memorize that word + mnemonics = less efficient. The larger the mnemonic the less efficient it is. password = wdStcl2wbfctr. Mnemonic = Why did Sam the chicken look two ways before crossing the road. Pasword = 13 characters. Mnenonic = 62 efficiency 20%

cracking my passwords is an exercise in frustration. That of course isn't one of my passwords, but it is an example of how I come up with them.

Worse, people that overuse mnemonics mentally cripple themselves and others by creating a false perception of the difficulty of a task.
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RE: Recommended study plan for my learning process?

Postby nukemarine » Thu 02.07.2008 5:30 am

Wakannai wrote:
But I certainly don't think you can say something like "inefficient by nature". That's such a close minded POV.


No it's a fact. Like 2+2=4. Closed minded is making ad-hominem and other examples of logical fallacies instead of arguing your point.

For example. This does not count as a counter argument.
Huh? I think you've got this backwards. Mnemonics can increase the efficiency of memorising certian things... its the whole reason for their existence.


First, you would need to show Mnemonics increase the efficiency of memorizing certian things. While you can show tha Mnenonics increase the ease of memorizing certain things, you will find it extremely difficult to show how it increases the efficiency.

Now, because mnemonics are by nature "illogical, arbitrary, and artistically flawed". I really shouldn't have to make this argument. But let me make it simple. 1 for 1 = 100% efficiency Thus if I use one unit of my brain to memorize one thing that is 100% efficient. If however I also have to memorize additional information, it is automatically less efficient. It's basic math. If I memorize that word + mnemonics = less efficient. The larger the mnemonic the less efficient it is. password = wdStcl2wbfctr. Mnemonic = Why did Sam the chicken look two ways before crossing the road. Pasword = 13 characters. Mnenonic = 62 efficiency 20%

cracking my passwords is an exercise in frustration. That of course isn't one of my passwords, but it is an example of how I come up with them.

Worse, people that overuse mnemonics mentally cripple themselves and others by creating a false perception of the difficulty of a task.


Well then, seeing that Sara Lynne must look up stroke order, associated vocabulary, On and Kun pronunciations, I take it there's more than 1 item associated with memorizing with her method. Even more so, you then have to remember that your description only applies to items that you memorized THE VERY FIRST TIME. Now, if you have the stroke order and basic meaning of Kanji down the first time, then yes mnemonics are very inefficient FOR YOU. If on the other hand you take 30 minutes or more of effort for one kanji when a simple visual mnemomic nets you the same in 5 minutes, then isn't the mnemonic MORE EFFICIENT?

Look, I agree, Heisig's methods as outlined in RTK will not work for some people therefore it would be inefficient for them. The opposite also applies. For others and myself, we found a benefit with Heisig's method. It's not a 100% agreement across the board (if you peruse the RevTK forums, you'd see that time and again), but it's not meant to be AA where there's only one way.

Main point being, it's not being completely fair to call mnemonics inefficient when you compare it only to a perfect memorization. Sara Lynn offered a more fair statement on another valid method to learn Kanji (in context no less).
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RE: Recommended study plan for my learning process?

Postby furrykef » Thu 02.07.2008 7:26 am

It wouldn't be hard to set up a scientific study to see whether or not a heavy mnemonics-based approach is more efficient than a more traditional one. You just need an experimental group and a control group.

My own testimony is unscientific, but I do believe (and not entirely without evidence) that I learn the kanji+mnemonic combinations faster than I learn kanji alone. That would be "more efficient" by definition, would it not?

Now, because mnemonics are by nature "illogical, arbitrary, and artistically flawed". I really shouldn't have to make this argument. But let me make it simple. 1 for 1 = 100% efficiency Thus if I use one unit of my brain to memorize one thing that is 100% efficient. If however I also have to memorize additional information, it is automatically less efficient. It's basic math. If I memorize that word + mnemonics = less efficient. The larger the mnemonic the less efficient it is. password = wdStcl2wbfctr. Mnemonic = Why did Sam the chicken look two ways before crossing the road. Pasword = 13 characters. Mnenonic = 62 efficiency 20%


This argument is simple, easy, intuitive, but unscientific. Now, I'll freely admit that I use similarly-constructed arguments all the time, so I'm not gonna pretend that I'm always Mr. Science. But at the same time I think we should recognize what is and isn't science. It's also important to recognize that human intuition is often wrong, and just because your intuition uses mathematics doesn't change that.

You could easily use exactly the same sort of argument that studying, say, four years of French in school would have you speaking better French than one year of Esperanto and three years of French. You could use a simple and obvious mathematical argument: four years are better than three. But actual scientific studies actually tend to indicate that the latter produces better results. If learning Esperanto for a year can produce more efficient results than studying French an extra year, it's not so much of a stretch to believe that learning mnemonics in addition to your actual material an produce more efficient results than learning only your actual material. It certainly doesn't prove that it will, but it allows the possibility.

I think we all need to remember that, although we often spout our philosophies as though they're fact, they very often are not.

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