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Which method for Kanji

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RE: Which method for Kanji

Postby AJBryant » Mon 08.20.2007 4:48 pm

I mean it puts it LATER than basic language learning, actually moving it farther along the stepping process, thereby creating that artificial separation of learning kanji from the language.

Learning kanji as you learn words keeps everything together and in context.

(Admittedly, Japanese students in Japan deal with this, but they are surrounded by the language and are learning it and working with it and hearing it and speaking it ALL their lives -- actual foreign language classrooms need to function differently as they have different goals.)
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RE: Which method for Kanji

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Mon 08.20.2007 5:22 pm

I guess the argument for it would be that the language *is* separate from kanji -- that spoken language and the written form are two different things and should be approached separately. This is a pretty controversial issue in language pedagogy and there are good arguments on both sides. OSU, where I'm a TA, is firmly on the "spoken language first" side of the argument with the Japanese: The Spoken Language series of textbooks. But, there's more than one way to do things.

Because of the pedagogical beliefs that the designers of OSU's program had, there is no choice but to significantly delay the introduction of the writing systems (katakana start about week 4 of J101, hiragana start midway through J102, and kanji near the beginning of J103 (these are 10 week quarters)). I know this probably seems horrible to a lot of people but I think it actually works pretty well. I'm certainly not saying the "everything first" methods are wrong, though.
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Re: Which method for Kanji

Postby robrave » Wed 07.02.2008 8:38 am

A lot of people misunderstand Heisig. Anyway, we are all free to use the method we think are working for us.
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Re: Which method for Kanji

Postby becki_kanou » Wed 07.02.2008 9:41 am

Please check the date on posts before replying. This thread has been dead for almost 1 year.
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Re: Which method for Kanji

Postby AJBryant » Wed 07.02.2008 1:10 pm

As necroposts go, it's not even this week's record -- but it's a good effort. :twisted:

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Re: Which method for Kanji

Postby hyperconjugated » Wed 07.02.2008 2:13 pm

With the help of Heisig method, you can recall tons of kanji but not a simple timestamp.
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Re: Which method for Kanji

Postby nukemarine » Mon 07.07.2008 6:41 am

I believe the general rule of thumb on this forum is 1 month for a thread to be considered dead if you feel the need to reply to it? How long should a thread be dormant before starting a new thread on an old topic with (hopefully) a new take on the matter?

For what it's worth, I'm in the "Heisig's RTK should be done first" camp. Being distracted by the Japanese specific aspects of kanji does slow you down in learning a basic meaning, advanced recognition and writing of kanji.

But don't take my word for it because: Kanji are TOO hard, native Japanese don't use all the kanji, nor can they write them all out. In fact, Japanese is too hard so take comfort in your Japanese class and basic grasp of the language for that is all a foreigner can expect. Did I get all the excuses out of the way or am I missing a few that get regurgitated around hear about a language 2 year olds can grasp?
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Re: Which method for Kanji

Postby furrykef » Mon 07.07.2008 7:18 am

nukemarine wrote:But don't take my word for it because: Kanji are TOO hard, native Japanese don't use all the kanji, nor can they write them all out. In fact, Japanese is too hard so take comfort in your Japanese class and basic grasp of the language for that is all a foreigner can expect. Did I get all the excuses out of the way or am I missing a few that get regurgitated around hear about a language 2 year olds can grasp?


Actually, pretty much nobody says things like that around here, even the people who disagree with Heisig. Most people around here believe that kanji should be learned in context. Me, I like Heisig mostly because it helps keep very similar kanji separate better than most other systems do, I think.

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Re: Which method for Kanji

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Mon 07.07.2008 8:16 am

nukemarine wrote:But don't take my word for it because: Kanji are TOO hard, native Japanese don't use all the kanji, nor can they write them all out. In fact, Japanese is too hard so take comfort in your Japanese class and basic grasp of the language for that is all a foreigner can expect. Did I get all the excuses out of the way or am I missing a few that get regurgitated around hear about a language 2 year olds can grasp?


One of the most frustrating things in discussions with Heisigites is that they seem to have extreme difficulty in understanding the difference between "You shouldn't use Heisig" and "You shouldn't learn kanji at all" (or put another way, "You shouldn't learn how to write 2000 kanji before doing anything else" vs. "You should never learn 2000 kanji".)

Incidentally, children learn all languages equally well -- the fact that Japanese is a hard language for a native English speaker to learn is irrelevant to how a child learns the language. Also incidentally, child language acquisition is unrelated to kanji -- a 3 or 4 year old may be able to speak Japanese, but normally they won't be able to read more than a few kanji.)
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Re: Which method for Kanji

Postby nukemarine » Mon 07.07.2008 9:25 am

Yudan Taiteki wrote:
nukemarine wrote:But don't take my word for it because: Kanji are TOO hard, native Japanese don't use all the kanji, nor can they write them all out. In fact, Japanese is too hard so take comfort in your Japanese class and basic grasp of the language for that is all a foreigner can expect. Did I get all the excuses out of the way or am I missing a few that get regurgitated around hear about a language 2 year olds can grasp?


One of the most frustrating things in discussions with Heisigites is that they seem to have extreme difficulty in understanding the difference between "You shouldn't use Heisig" and "You shouldn't learn kanji at all" (or put another way, "You shouldn't learn how to write 2000 kanji before doing anything else" vs. "You should never learn 2000 kanji".)

Incidentally, children learn all languages equally well -- the fact that Japanese is a hard language for a native English speaker to learn is irrelevant to how a child learns the language. Also incidentally, child language acquisition is unrelated to kanji -- a 3 or 4 year old may be able to speak Japanese, but normally they won't be able to read more than a few kanji.)


I was not quoting a legitimate reason to not do Heisig as prescribed (all 1945 joyo kanji before anything else). However, I concede that others have made that argument. However, I have seen the above stated "excuses" about Japanese in relation to not only kanji but the language itself.

As for your statement about children, well, it could boil down to them not having a choice in the matter. When it comes to survival, you'll be surprised at what humans accomplish. Still, it brings up the point if children learn differently than adults, why insist on training kanji to adults like they (Japanese school system) teach it to children?

YMMV, I just prefer fluency coupled with literacy. I'll advocate methods that appear to achieve that goal with efficiency. In addition, I'm open to any reasonable discussion on the matter.
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Re: Which method for Kanji

Postby Feba » Mon 07.07.2008 11:01 am

Yudan Taiteki wrote:Incidentally, children learn all languages equally well -- the fact that Japanese is a hard language for a native English speaker to learn is irrelevant to how a child learns the language.


I submit: http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/7.08 ... .html?pg=8

The fact that what was likely only a single speaker (albeit, a parent) in a child's life was able to make them reasonably fluent in the language is pretty impressive. Even if they grew to dislike the language.

nukemarine wrote:As for your statement about children, well, it could boil down to them not having a choice in the matter. When it comes to survival, you'll be surprised at what humans accomplish. Still, it brings up the point if children learn differently than adults, why insist on training kanji to adults like they (Japanese school system) teach it to children?


You're making a logical fallacy yourself. Well, three, actually. First of all, you're claiming that Yudan is insisting that the best way to teach is to follow the native school system; which is a strawman argument. Secondly, you're equating the decision to do the same thing as a decision to copy. Thirdly, you're saying that because adults and children learn things differently, adults should distance their education as far as possible from that of children.
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Re: Which method for Kanji

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Mon 07.07.2008 1:04 pm

nukemarine wrote:I was not quoting a legitimate reason to not do Heisig as prescribed (all 1945 joyo kanji before anything else). However, I concede that others have made that argument. However, I have seen the above stated "excuses" about Japanese in relation to not only kanji but the language itself.


I have never seen anyone argue against Heisig by saying that kanji are too hard, or that Japanese learners should avoid learning kanji. I personally have argued that it's unnecessary to use the divide and conquer approach in the way Heisig does, and that it's better to use a system that gets you into reading Japanese as quickly as possible. One argument that I have made for this is that you can do quite extensive reading with a fairly limited number of kanji (800-1000 or even less) provided that you have a good understanding of Japanese grammar and sentence structure. However, I have *never* said that 800-1000 is all that you need to ever learn.

As for your statement about children, well, it could boil down to them not having a choice in the matter. When it comes to survival, you'll be surprised at what humans accomplish. Still, it brings up the point if children learn differently than adults, why insist on training kanji to adults like they (Japanese school system) teach it to children?


The child language acquisition only applies to language, not writing systems.

I think if people truly learned kanji like Japanese children do, it would be fine. But remember that the process a child goes through in learning kanji is the following:
1. Become fluent in the spoken language, at least with respect to what a child can say and understand (which is considerable)
2. Learn kanji slowly (80 in the first year, around 200 in the second)
3. Connect the kanji to words you already know from your spoken language knowledge
4. Have constant reinforcement in your daily life, and in your other school subjects

Of course every step of this is either impractical or inefficient for an adult learner.

Shirasagi said this either earlier in this thread or in another one, but a common myth is that Japanese children primarily learn kanji through writing them over and over again -- in my experience in Japanese elementary school, this is not the case. A lot of what they do involves sentences with hiragana words in them that the kids have to write the kanji for. Of course they do some copying, but it's not excessive.

YMMV, I just prefer fluency coupled with literacy.


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Re: Which method for Kanji

Postby two_heads_talking » Mon 07.07.2008 1:38 pm

nukemarine wrote:I believe the general rule of thumb on this forum is 1 month for a thread to be considered dead if you feel the need to reply to it? How long should a thread be dormant before starting a new thread on an old topic with (hopefully) a new take on the matter?


This is one of those things that TJP hasn't really clearly defined. If one ressurects a dead thread to add something of importance to it, no one should get all bent out of shape (although there are a distinct few that would get offended just because).. However if one ressurects a thread to say something stupid, or to add nothing to it, then one would be in violation of bringing back a dead thread.

This could also be handled by allowing inactive threads (ones not replied to within 2 months or so) to be moved to a dead pool where the information could be accessed, but not replied to. This might take some time to set up, as I have no idea how hard or easy this would be to set up, but on many other forums that I frequent, that is the way it's handled. The time in which a thread becomes inactive could be whatever the admin determines as the above 2 months was only used as an example.
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Re: Which method for Kanji

Postby Sairana » Mon 07.07.2008 3:16 pm

nukemarine wrote:YMMV, I just prefer fluency coupled with literacy. I'll advocate methods that appear to achieve that goal with efficiency. In addition, I'm open to any reasonable discussion on the matter.


I just don't see the efficiency part of Heisig.

It doesn't teach you how to read Japanese. The keywords aren't meanings. You come away from RTK1 knowing the stroke order for 1000 kanji. Average Heisig completion time (based on his intro) is 6 months. 3 months if you're diligent, up to a year if you're casual.

OK, so after Heisig, you still have to learn vocabulary and grammar the same way non-Heisig students do.

Takes me, on average, 30 seconds to look up a kanji in my book (Kanji & Kana, by Hadamitzky/Spahn). But let's be generous and say it takes me two minutes. Assuming that I need to look up EVERY kanji to figure out the stroke order, I will put in a grand total of approximately 33 hours looking up stroke order by the time I reach 1000 kanji.

Let's assume my study program takes 2 years to cover enough vocabulary to use 1000 kanji total. Assume also that the Heisig student, after finishing the book, is going to do the same study program. (For instance, I think that between two Genki books, you learn a little over 1000 kanji, each one meant to cover a scholastic year).

Over the 2 years, the Heisig student has saved himself an extra 33 hours of study time due to already being able to write each kanji he encountered, at the cost of 3-12 months using RTK.

Seems like a time deficit to me.
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Re: Which method for Kanji

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Mon 07.07.2008 3:31 pm

Heisig covers 2000 kanji, not 1000.
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