Learn Japanese with JapanesePod101.com

View topic - Heisig, RTK Experiment

Heisig, RTK Experiment

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

Re: Heisig, RTK Experiment

Postby furrykef » Wed 02.04.2009 2:21 pm

Jack W wrote:I am still somewhat cold on these "stories," though. I can buy into the keywords, and I can certainly see the usefulness of breaking down the kanji into "primitives" or radicals or whatever one should call them. But for now, I've decided to put the time I would have spent into writing the "stories," into learning the main readings of each kanji instead. If this makes it take a little longer, so be it.


I don't understand. You blamed your previous failure with RTK on this, and now you're going to do it again? Doing Heisig without stories may well take more than just "a little" longer, too...

Trust me, there is no value in memorizing the readings along with the kanji in isolation -- at least, not in the early stages. There are too many readings, too many exceptions. Besides, the point of RTK1 is to sort of build a sort of "index" of kanji in your mind -- to organize 'em, seperate 'em, make 'em easy to write and recognize. I have found it to be extremely effective at this. Learning readings does nothing to help you build that index.

- Kef
Founder of Learning Languages Through Video Games.
Also see my lang-8 journal, where you can help me practice Japanese (and Spanish, and Italian!)
User avatar
furrykef
 
Posts: 1572
Joined: Thu 01.10.2008 9:20 pm
Native language: Eggo (ワッフル語の方言)
Gender: Male

Re: Heisig, RTK Experiment

Postby Jack W » Wed 02.04.2009 3:56 pm

Well, this is why I'm posting here -- if I'm making mistakes, or in for some trouble, I might as well find out now.

Why am I focused on the readings? Because I thought that was too important to be put off much longer. I am very open to being persuaded otherwise.

I suppose I can live with writing "stories" as long as they don't have to be too long, or extremely stupid. At least, not too many that are extremely stupid. Though I suppose the strength of the stupid ones is that they sure make it easy to remember?

After all, I still remember six common dative verbs in German -- antworten, danken, folgen, glauben, helfen, schmecken -- because All Dumb Fish Gurgle Hysterically in Spaghetti. And it has been over 20 years since I've taken a German class.
Jack W
 
Posts: 76
Joined: Mon 05.09.2005 3:18 pm
Native language: English
Gender: Male

Re: Heisig, RTK Experiment

Postby Dustin » Wed 02.04.2009 4:42 pm

The main reason I did not choose to memorize readings as well, is because it is close to useless in isolation.

Sure I may be able to guess two or three possible readings for a compound based on them, but still not know the actual reading, or word meaning. I personally am great at remembering word to sound, and attaching it to the Kanji that I have already "indexed" in my mind.

I'd still have to learn the individual words to be able to use them at all, and I can easily remember the sounds then too.

This made the indexing process much faster, and I am having great results so far.

If you do decide to keep memorizing readings in isolation, let us know how it works for you, I don't think the way I do things is necessarily the one true method ( in fact there are MANY this is simply one possibility ) But I would be interested in seeing how this works for someone.

Good luck with your studies.

Dustin
User avatar
Dustin
 
Posts: 589
Joined: Sun 07.13.2008 9:41 pm
Native language: English
Gender: Male

Re: Heisig, RTK Experiment

Postby furrykef » Wed 02.04.2009 4:48 pm

Jack W wrote:I suppose I can live with writing "stories" as long as they don't have to be too long, or extremely stupid.


Well, Reviewing the Kanji has plenty of stories if you don't want to write your own.

Jack W wrote:At least, not too many that are extremely stupid. Though I suppose the strength of the stupid ones is that they sure make it easy to remember?


I've found that it really helps.

- Kef
Founder of Learning Languages Through Video Games.
Also see my lang-8 journal, where you can help me practice Japanese (and Spanish, and Italian!)
User avatar
furrykef
 
Posts: 1572
Joined: Thu 01.10.2008 9:20 pm
Native language: Eggo (ワッフル語の方言)
Gender: Male

Re: Heisig, RTK Experiment

Postby Jack W » Wed 02.04.2009 5:49 pm

Actually I just spent some time on the Reviewing the Kanji webpage -- and I think I'm finally beginning to get it. Sometimes it pays just to "follow the directions," and this may be one of those times. :)

I found it didn't hurt too much to make up my own stories for those of the first 70 kanji that I couldn't write correctly on the first try. They weren't even too long, and as for stupid, who cares? No one else has to read them but me. :)

Some of the kanji I missed were ones I'd already put in the on and/or kun readings for, instead of a story. When I replaced the readings with a story, I suddenly understood: How on earth can it possibly help me to know that 冒 "risk" can be pronounced ぼう, even if I know a word 冒険 that uses that kanji? When I'd be hard pressed to write the second kanji of that compound correctly? To say nothing of even coming up with a non-trivial sentence that uses that word?

My apologies, everyone. I guess it's ironic and well-deserved that 頑 is one of the kanji I've learned to write today. :lol:
Jack W
 
Posts: 76
Joined: Mon 05.09.2005 3:18 pm
Native language: English
Gender: Male

Re: Heisig, RTK Experiment

Postby welldone101 » Sat 02.28.2009 7:58 pm

Jack W wrote:頑 is one of the kanji I've learned to write today. :lol:


Hehe, thanks for that, it made me laugh as well. Personally I think I was lucky in that I've been studying Japanese without the benefit of the internet and discovered Heisig on my own about a year in. I didn't know it was all "controversial" until I was halfway through it! Since I lived in Japan a year before I started Heisid, studying Japanese and kanji, and am now experienceing life-after-half-the-book-done, I can say it's definitely worth it if you plan to learn kanji in context. I mean...:

Last year I was able to learn 2-5 kanji a week using flashcards (I use the WRP ones) and memorizing their on-kun, various readings, and several compounds and meanings. It involved quite a bit of time and of course, writing out the kanji several tens of times focusing intently on it. After that I could read it but most often not produce it by myself.

NOW even with only 1,000ish kanji indexed I can learn kanji in context just by sitting through my morning meeting. This week I've learned kanji for 10ish words I already knew how to speak but not write, plus a couple others I picked up by reading the meeting notes along with listening to the speaker. I was able to guess the compound's meanings by the keywords and context of the sentence. So now I know a reading for the compound, a vocab word for that compound (learned in context) and can produce it (via pencil and paper) on a whim with almost no effort and having only written it out probably 2-3 times ever (I review RTK by drawing them in my head, and then relying on muscle/visual memory for the ones I have issues remembering correctly). Definitely turned out to be the right method for me! I hope it works out for you too.

Just wanted to share my story so you know that it won't set you back not to learn the readings at the same time, since I'm actually experiencing the opposite affect of picking them up faster now that I have a solid kanji in my head to attach them too. The added benefit for me was that RTK was more like a game and kanji-traditional was more like work so I had tons more fun doing it this way. :)
welldone101
 
Posts: 15
Joined: Sat 02.28.2009 7:43 pm
Native language: English

Re: Heisig, RTK Experiment

Postby Sairana » Sun 03.01.2009 2:28 am

welldone101 wrote:Since I lived in Japan a year before I started Heisig

NOW even with only 1,000ish kanji indexed I can learn kanji in context just by sitting through my morning meeting.


This is half the reason it's so controversial. You're in a fantastic position to apply what you learn immediately to daily life, and to absorb things through matter of course.

The controversy isn't over people who have studied Japanese for quite a long time or who are living in Japan. It's over whether Mr. I-Just-Started-Studying-Japanese-and-How-Do-I-Learn-Kanji should be told to grab Heisig or not. It's over whether "I learned 500 kanji in like 2 weeks with Heisig!" is an accurate testimonial for someone looking to jump into the Japanese language. I think it creates false impressions, especially for the beginner who thinks Japanese proficiency is measured by the number of kanji one knows, and not the vocabulary and grammar they can put to use.

Do you think you'd have been as successful using Heisig before you had the vocabulary in Japanese to apply the kanji to?
Sairana
 
Posts: 709
Joined: Wed 02.27.2008 11:54 pm
Native language: (US) English
Gender: Female

Re: Heisig, RTK Experiment

Postby nukemarine » Sun 03.01.2009 6:29 pm

Sairana wrote:
welldone101 wrote:Since I lived in Japan a year before I started Heisig

NOW even with only 1,000ish kanji indexed I can learn kanji in context just by sitting through my morning meeting.


This is half the reason it's so controversial. You're in a fantastic position to apply what you learn immediately to daily life, and to absorb things through matter of course.

The controversy isn't over people who have studied Japanese for quite a long time or who are living in Japan. It's over whether Mr. I-Just-Started-Studying-Japanese-and-How-Do-I-Learn-Kanji should be told to grab Heisig or not. It's over whether "I learned 500 kanji in like 2 weeks with Heisig!" is an accurate testimonial for someone looking to jump into the Japanese language. I think it creates false impressions, especially for the beginner who thinks Japanese proficiency is measured by the number of kanji one knows, and not the vocabulary and grammar they can put to use.

Do you think you'd have been as successful using Heisig before you had the vocabulary in Japanese to apply the kanji to?


For your last question, it works very well for me. Knowing how to write and recognize and have a basic meaning of 2000 plus kanji has seriously sped up how I learn vocabulary (via iKnow in this case).

I do agree there's too many that say they "know" 1000 or so kanji, when in reality it's limited to knowing how to write, recognize and have a basic meaning of 1000 kanji. Still, for someone starting Japanese, that's a heck of a rush. You can write kanji ... correctly ... from memory. That mental high can help carry someone onto the language learning.

But as this experiment demonstrates, it's equally valuable to those that know Japanese to some extent. Recently, I've been likening learning Kanji via RTK or other methods to learning grammar rules. Now, you don't have to learn grammar rules to learn a language. You learned your native language just fine without it. However, as an adult, you can use your ability with abstract thought to use grammar rules as a short cut to get meanings out of a language faster than just immersion will do. Similarly, use the patterns in the kanji and your native language to get those things into your head.

The trick is don't get stuck on grammar, or kanji, or vocabulary. They are means to an end, which is to read and watch stuff in Japanese.

Anyway, this brings up my little experiment. I'm getting my ex-wife into learning Japanese via very controlled steps.

Step 1 - Learn RTK Lite via RevTK website and the greasemonkey script (RTK Lite is a list of JLPT2 kanji with supporting kanji)

Step 2 - Learn Kana via Remembering the Kana

Step 3 - Learn basic grammar via Tae Kim's and the sentence method. I also ran them through a Text to Speech program. This is about 180 sentences

Step 4 - Learn 400 basic vocabulary via iKnow core 1 and 2 list, but in Anki.

After that, I'll have her repeat steps for another 500 kanji, essential grammar, and 800 vocabulary. If that works, then round it out with last 500 kanji, special expressions, and 800 vocabulary.

So far, she's up to 150 kanji and just finish katakana in the first week. The tricky part will be teaching her how to do this over Skype when I'm in Africa. My ultimate goal is she'll be able to use the same steps to teach my daughter Japanese.
nukemarine
 
Posts: 200
Joined: Wed 10.10.2007 5:33 am

Re: Heisig, RTK Experiment

Postby welldone101 » Sun 03.01.2009 8:09 pm

Sairana wrote:Do you think you'd have been as successful using Heisig before you had the vocabulary in Japanese to apply the kanji to?


I've thought about this a lot actually since there are new Japanese learners I know who've just moved here and I'm recommending the book to them. I know that I do wish I had this completed either before I came to Japan or right away when I got here. However, I don't think that it would have been of any worth at that point. Basically I would have traded off 3 months of intensive Japanese immersion/study right when I arrived for the ability to distinguish between kanji. I think I was probably better off with the language. That said, if I'd started it part time I could have done it more easily over the last 14 months than trying to cram it in these last 3 as fast as I could to get back to the real language study.

So I guess in answer to your question, it's a waste of time if you aren't going to continue studying the language after you do Heisig. (Edit: actually I don't think it's a total waste cause you can navigate around Japan much easier, and if you study Chinese there's like 900 characters that are identical right off) If you are going to continue studying it.. then I don't think it really matters at what point you complete it, and the way I see it the sooner the better. However if you are on a deadline or have a finite amount of time in Japan then it becomes much more important to prioritize communication so that you don't waste your time here. Reading can be learnt in a vacuum, but daily access to conversation shouldn't be mottainai'ed as it were.
Last edited by welldone101 on Sun 03.01.2009 10:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
welldone101
 
Posts: 15
Joined: Sat 02.28.2009 7:43 pm
Native language: English

Re: Heisig, RTK Experiment

Postby furrykef » Sun 03.01.2009 8:17 pm

nukemarine wrote:The trick is don't get stuck on grammar, or kanji, or vocabulary. They are means to an end, which is to read and watch stuff in Japanese.


Speak for yourself. I like studying a language as an end in itself. :mrgreen:
Founder of Learning Languages Through Video Games.
Also see my lang-8 journal, where you can help me practice Japanese (and Spanish, and Italian!)
User avatar
furrykef
 
Posts: 1572
Joined: Thu 01.10.2008 9:20 pm
Native language: Eggo (ワッフル語の方言)
Gender: Male

Re: Heisig, RTK Experiment

Postby Jack W » Fri 04.24.2009 11:42 am

Sorry for the thread necromancy, but I just thought I'd mention that I'm still on the same "experiment" about which Dustin opened this thread, and at the moment am a little past the "halfway" point. I'll cross 1100 kanji indexed this weekend or early next week. I've had to slow down quite a bit with the end of the semester coming hard and fast here.

In spite of my initial skepticism, and indeed complete misunderstanding of the system, I've warmed pretty well to the idea of the "stories." I haven't "shared" any of them at the RevTK website as I consider them to be for my own personal use, with no reason to expect that anyone else would want to see them, or indeed even care about them. Indeed, I rarely make up my own stories, but mostly modify stories others have submitted already.

Of the 1100 or so kanji that I have indexed so far, there are a few percent that are really troublesome. In the end, though, it probably doesn't matter much if I can remember which one is "encourage" and which one is "exhort." Probably insofar as any one kanji "means" anything, 奨 and 励 are as similar in "meaning" as the English words are. The main thing for now is being able to write them correctly, with the "keywords" probably being helpful mostly just for now. If I continue on in the language, everyone says, the "keywords" will fade -- and I can believe that.

I also understand better than ever that, as I continue on with this method, and even if I "finish" by indexing all 2000+ kanji, the increase in my knowledge of the Japanese language as such will be exactly zero. As others have said, what this will do for me is save me the time later on that I would have used learning how to write the kanji as I encountered them. My guess is this will also help me write even the kana better, since of course they come from kanji and have many identical types of strokes. Assuming, again, that I continue on with learning Japanese.

And I also understand better than ever that this is exactly the point: assuming that I continue on with learning Japanese. Heisig detractors need not worry that I am deceived in the slightest on this point, or that I even think that I "know" these 1100-or-so kanji in any sense beyond being able to write them, and (for most of them) produce Heisig's keyword. Whether any of this will have been worth my time, remains to be seen in the as yet fairly long-term future. :)
Jack W
 
Posts: 76
Joined: Mon 05.09.2005 3:18 pm
Native language: English
Gender: Male

Re: Heisig, RTK Experiment

Postby nukemarine » Sat 04.25.2009 3:50 am

You don't have to look at it as zero knowledge in Japanese. It just gives you an advantage that's enjoyed by Chinese trying to learn Japanese.

In addition, if you use a SRS like Anki or using plug-ins for RevTK, you can make it more Japanese by doing the "Japanese Keyword" concept. That turns your knowledge into something many on these forum would be hard pressed to argue against. Mainly: given a Japanese word in kana, and that word used in a sentence, write out the kanji for it. Now, being able to do that for 2000 Japanese words is a good skill to have, no?

Guess I'm saying, as time goes on, you can add more to your studies to take account with further learning.
nukemarine
 
Posts: 200
Joined: Wed 10.10.2007 5:33 am

Re: Heisig, RTK Experiment

Postby Dustin » Sun 06.21.2009 4:08 am

Just a sidenote.

Unfortunately due to the economic conditions, and me moving at the WORST POSSIBLE TIME to a different city, all the study time I had got cut off abruptly with my nightshift schedule that I had to start working, I couldn't listen to an ipod at work, i slept during normal day hours, and when I was awake and not working I have twin 2 year old girls to take care of.

That being said shortly after completing this "experiment" minus the continual review afterwards my studies fell through the floor. Things have stabilized finally, I have a normal dayshift, normal weekends, and although I have much less free time than I enjoyed before, I am able to fit in studies once again.
******************

My Main Point ^_^

I Restarted RTK from the beginning expecting most of the characters to have slipped with the months of nonuse, but I knew how well it was going for me so i tried it again.
In 6 days, I have completed adding 514 KAnji to my SRS ( Spaced Repetition System - Algorithm for flashcards ) and I have more still to go tonight.
Overall my reviews have averaged about 98% retention, even on initial requizzes after doing a very quick skim through the notes.

The amount of material I was able to retain shows how strong a properly maintained SRS can be, and how well the system worked for me overall. I am looking forward to getting to the end of the book in the next 3-6 weeks, and once again moving on to "Real Studies" without the obstacle of forgetting the shapes of the kanji and how to write them from memory ^^

I just ordered the Grammar Dictionary set by Japan Times, as well as a few literary readers. Once I brush my grammar and vocab back up a bit I am sure they will be a great time :D
User avatar
Dustin
 
Posts: 589
Joined: Sun 07.13.2008 9:41 pm
Native language: English
Gender: Male

Re: Heisig, RTK Experiment

Postby furrykef » Sun 06.21.2009 7:42 am

Dustin_Calgary wrote:I am looking forward to getting to the end of the book in the next 3-6 weeks


3-6 weeks! Having to spend that much time on "remedial" RTK just sounds like way too much. What I'd do is just go ahead and add all 2042 cards at RevTK and just get through them in a week or so, much like I did when I joined that site (though in my case it was "only" 1827). In my experience with that, over the next year or so, sometimes reps will pile up very fast (e.g. 100 cards expiring per day), then drop off very abruptly (going to almost no cards expiring in a day). When the going gets too tough, usually what I do is only review a relatively small number of cards from the "four or more reviews" pile, though I try to clear reviews from the rest if I can.

On the other hand, if you think your schedule is going to stay very busy, then I guess that may not be a viable option for you. I'm just throwin' it out there, really...

- Kef
Founder of Learning Languages Through Video Games.
Also see my lang-8 journal, where you can help me practice Japanese (and Spanish, and Italian!)
User avatar
furrykef
 
Posts: 1572
Joined: Thu 01.10.2008 9:20 pm
Native language: Eggo (ワッフル語の方言)
Gender: Male

Re: Heisig, RTK Experiment

Postby Dustin » Sun 06.21.2009 12:31 pm

Well, my RTKing isn't taking up all my free time like it was before, this time around it is just an uber easy passive experience, and I don't want to have thousands of reviews clumped together either! I think I remember you trying to spread yours out a bit by only doing so many per day. My idea is along the same lines, I have the benefit of going through the book again ( so far 533 kanji in 6 days ) at a pretty decent clip, be able to give everything a quick review before adding it, and it's not an overwhelming exercise that will take up ALL my free time even if it is just for a month or so.

3 weeks is most realistic, I allowed for 6 in case I get REALLY lazy, or life gets in the way, but just an hour in the evening seems to be doing it so far for me to get my reviews done without interfering with other stuff I am doing as well. ^^

I do have a pretty busy schedule these days as well, so I try to use the time I do have wisely ;)

Where is your RTKing these days anyways?
User avatar
Dustin
 
Posts: 589
Joined: Sun 07.13.2008 9:41 pm
Native language: English
Gender: Male

PreviousNext

Return to Learning Materials Reviews & Language Learning tips

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests

cron