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Hiragana vs Kanji.....

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Re: Hiragana vs Kanji.....

Postby furrykef » Mon 11.02.2009 7:11 pm

Cillranchello wrote:"Sky Idea" being "fantasy" was a logical conclusion to me before I looked it up for the pronunciation. "Having one's head in the clouds" means to be daydreaming or fantasizing. I'm not preaching the method, and I realize all of this sounds like BS and rationalizing, but if the system works for me, well, I'll take my cake and eat it to.


Indeed, many words are easy to figure out this way. Like this one honorific kanji, "precious", which can be applied to a person by adding the kanji for -sama after it, which is itself honorific, so it must be high praise indeed. I think it's written 貴様.

Cillranchello wrote:You're saying addiction isn't a poison?


It's not that addiction isn't a poison so much as that poison isn't an addiction. Furthermore, calling it a poison would be making a very broad (if valid) metaphor. Normally, when people think of poison, they think of... well... poison.

In any case, taking 薬物中毒 and assuming it means "addiction" with this logic would strike me as something analogous to this:

Guy 1: Hey, the doctor just told me that I have this disease --
Guy 2: OH MY GOD YOU HAVE AIDS?!?
Guy 1: Uh, no, I just said "a disease"...
Guy 2: But AIDS is a disease!

See what we're saying? Remembering the meaning (or rather one of the meanings) of 薬物中毒 by the mnemonic "addiction = poison" is an entirely different thing from just seeing the kanji and thinking, "oh, this must mean 'addiction'", which I think would be preposterous even if you happened to be right.

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Re: Hiragana vs Kanji.....

Postby 血まみれ剣術師 » Mon 11.02.2009 7:33 pm

Just be glad you're not learning Chinese. :wink: I see nothing with the system. It's mainly because it's your second+ language. I guarantee if you lived in Japan it would be easier to retain the language since you'd be using it on a regular basis. :D
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Re: Hiragana vs Kanji.....

Postby Cillranchello » Mon 11.02.2009 7:49 pm

Going to the moon used to be impossible or preposterous, but now we're actually selling Real-estate on the moon.(Google it if you like, it's interesting.)

I'd like to point something out: You're still trying to quantify human ability concerning language. Language isn't a math problem, you can point out every little iota of data, but it doesn't negate the possibilities of another method being more efficient for some people.

The worst part? I've just taken you on a two page trip to illustrate the point, and you instantly took up arms to defend your own method and what you can immediately identify without further consideration.

To me, it's amazing. Intelligent people who, instead of giving consideration to a seperate method, immediately leap to crush down opposition. The fact that you've proved validity of the other method in certain cases, but still move to dismiss it on the whole? That's the special part. I'm not just talking about this little illustrative case either, the whole discussion about RTK vs Contextual has followed that pattern.

Perhaps now you'll understand my original post concerning the matter, but I warrant not. "You can lead a horse to water," after all.
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Re: Hiragana vs Kanji.....

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Mon 11.02.2009 7:58 pm

I don't even see what "method" you're espousing -- that you can't figure out meanings of words from the meanings of the kanji that make them up is a fact, not opinion, so what "method" are we attacking?

To be honest I'm a little unsure of where this thread has gone; RTK has nothing to do with guessing the meaning of compound words from meanings of kanji. RTK is about learning to write the characters and associate them with an English meaning as a foothold to developing actual reading skills; I don't think Heisig ever intended that the meanings would be used directly to try to read Japanese.
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Re: Hiragana vs Kanji.....

Postby lonelytraveler8 » Mon 11.02.2009 8:03 pm

Perhaps this thread should end. I haven't been participating and couldn't even hope to claim enough knowledge to contribute to a debate on the "best" method of anything in learning Japanese, but I feel a bit irritated for a couple of reasons that I'll keep to myself from just reading this last page.
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Re: Hiragana vs Kanji.....

Postby furrykef » Mon 11.02.2009 8:16 pm

I'm getting pretty annoyed with it, too, not least because I find Cillranchello's attitude pretty condescending (although I admittedly got a little too sarcastic with that 貴様 bit, myself). Especially for chiding us for arguing when he's pretty much the only one being particularly argumentative about it.

Sorry, Cillranchello, I don't mean anything personal. I just calls 'em as I sees 'em...
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Re: Hiragana vs Kanji.....

Postby phreadom » Mon 11.02.2009 8:36 pm

I agree about Cillranchello's attitude. I sense fingers hovering over "ban" keys in the shadows...

Something I was considering earlier in the thread was the idea that RTK seems to fail in the sense that it requires such an "up front" investment of time before you start getting any useful use of what you're learning.

Whereas the "in context" method lets you start using what you're learning essentially immediately. This matter of keeping your motivation up is a very vital point to consider when advocating one method over another, and while I have seen it mentioned before, it doesn't seem that anyone has touched on it at all in this thread.
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Re: Hiragana vs Kanji.....

Postby furrykef » Mon 11.02.2009 8:54 pm

A valid complaint. I did find RTK1 to be rather tough to stick through. However, I did manage to get through it eventually, and I have a notoriously bad habit of never finishing what I start, so if even I could do it, it probably still says something.

(RTK is also a lot easier to deal with when using kanji.koohii.com, which, unfortunately, I didn't start using until very late in the process. So, if you use that site, motivation should be less of a problem.)

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Re: Hiragana vs Kanji.....

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Mon 11.02.2009 8:55 pm

Of course, as far as motivation goes some people might find RTK more interesting than a context method (of course you use context after you finish RTK anyway).

However, my point stands that the RTK method is not about learning meanings in order to guess the meaning of words.
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Re: Hiragana vs Kanji.....

Postby Cillranchello » Mon 11.02.2009 8:58 pm

It only seems condescending because I built up an image of having a giant Epeen in order to try and make my point understood. A pointless venture I warrant, but I digress. Nothing personal either, Furrykef. Truth be told, given the whole two page run, I'm surprised I didn't get the banstick already.

I do think Phreadom hit the nail on the head, RTK requires investment prior to learning the Language, and most people want to to just learn the language. Both systems have merits which is why I believe using both methods instead of just one,(despite Heisig's statement of "don't do that.") Use one to cover the other's weakness.
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Re: Hiragana vs Kanji.....

Postby jcdoss » Mon 11.02.2009 10:19 pm

I can see Cillranchello's point fairly clearly. All he's saying is, "different strokes for different folks." The problem is some folks here seem to think either their strokes are the best, or everybody else's strokes are defective, take your pick. I can understand that too. No reason to go off banning people for such a silly reasons.

I've been trying out the RTK method (with the help of kanji.koohii.com) for a while and I just made it to #194. I don't know how well it's working yet, however I did want to make a general comment or inquiry about RTK. Someone expressed the notion that some of Heisig's keywords were inaccurate. I haven't researched any of these independently yet; at this point I'm just focusing on familiarizing myself with the writing and basic shapes of the kanji, but it would be a profound disappointment if I discover in a few weeks or months that the definitions I've been learning were bogus! I'll have to make a better effort at cross-checking the definitions I guess, unless someone not-so-religiously against RTK can chime in with a comment.

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Re: Hiragana vs Kanji.....

Postby lonelytraveler8 » Mon 11.02.2009 10:27 pm

jcdoss wrote:I can see Cillranchello's point fairly clearly. All he's saying is, "different strokes for different folks." The problem is some folks here seem to think either their strokes are the best, or everybody else's strokes are defective, take your pick. I can understand that too. No reason to go off banning people for such a silly reasons.


Well, my issues lay not only with Cillranchello, but the primary concern I had was the manner in which some people spoke to the other person. I don't recall any direct insults, but it was easy enough to read between the lines and see the aggression being expressed in several cases.

I've never even really looked at Heisig's material, so I can't really answer any of your questions. Sorry.
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Re: Hiragana vs Kanji.....

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Mon 11.02.2009 10:31 pm

jcdoss wrote:I've been trying out the RTK method (with the help of kanji.koohii.com) for a while and I just made it to #194. I don't know how well it's working yet, however I did want to make a general comment or inquiry about RTK. Someone expressed the notion that some of Heisig's keywords were inaccurate. I haven't researched any of these independently yet; at this point I'm just focusing on familiarizing myself with the writing and basic shapes of the kanji, but it would be a profound disappointment if I discover in a few weeks or months that the definitions I've been learning were bogus! I'll have to make a better effort at cross-checking the definitions I guess, unless someone not-so-religiously against RTK can chime in with a comment.


If you want help on RTK, a good resource is forum.koohii.com -- there was a thread on there recently about the inaccurate keywords.

Just to reiterate, my problem in this thread was not with RTK, it was with the idea that you can use kanji meanings to accurately guess the meanings of compound words (which once again, is not something that Heisig ever suggests doing in RTK.)
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Re: Hiragana vs Kanji.....

Postby Sairana » Mon 11.02.2009 10:54 pm

jcdoss wrote:Someone expressed the notion that some of Heisig's keywords were inaccurate. I haven't researched any of these independently yet; at this point I'm just focusing on familiarizing myself with the writing and basic shapes of the kanji, but it would be a profound disappointment if I discover in a few weeks or months that the definitions I've been learning were bogus! I'll have to make a better effort at cross-checking the definitions I guess, unless someone not-so-religiously against RTK can chime in with a comment.


I'm one who is often considered religiously against RTK, but I think I can answer the question anyway.

Many kanji share similar "meanings" in English as a primary meaning, so he has to use some other word for that kanji for the system to work. Heisig, in his intro, doesn't refer to the english words he uses as meanings, but keywords. A memory reference, if you will, to store that figure into. Sometimes, it has no etymological relationship to the kanji, but wherever possible, he attempted to make it at least marginally relevant.

Heisig's keywords aren't always meanings, so it's sort of accurate to say "some of his meanings are bogus". But they're not designed to help with understanding them, just mentally filing them away in your brain somewhere.

The confusion between heisig's keywords and kanji meanings is one of the biggest problems I have with RTK in general. People think they are meanings, and get confused when what Heisig says conflicts with, say, a dictionary, or at their first encounter with an alleged nonsensical compound.
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Re: Hiragana vs Kanji.....

Postby furrykef » Mon 11.02.2009 11:03 pm

jcdoss wrote:I can see Cillranchello's point fairly clearly. All he's saying is, "different strokes for different folks." The problem is some folks here seem to think either their strokes are the best, or everybody else's strokes are defective, take your pick. I can understand that too.


I don't think many of us disagree strongly with the "different strokes" aspect of it (though Yudan has rightly pointed out that just because two different methods both work doesn't mean that they're both equally efficient). Again, we just want to get to the bottom of the issue is all.

jcdoss wrote:No reason to go off banning people for such a silly reasons.


Nobody was getting on his case for making a "different strokes" argument. It was comments like this:

Never in my life have I seen intelligent people engage in a prick-waving fight.


I don't know how one could justify the use of "prick-waving fight" here as civil. Maybe if this were another forum, it'd slide by without notice, but people just don't bandy terms like that about in these parts.

There's also this post:

To me, it's amazing. Intelligent people who, instead of giving consideration to a seperate method, immediately leap to crush down opposition.


This accuses us of being close-minded. In fact, to me it reads more like: "Oh noes, they're making a counterpoint to my argument! They must hate my point of view! They must be trying to eradicate it!" It's not like that at all. When we point out a flaw in your argument, that is exactly what we're doing, nothing more. What are we supposed to do, just let it slide? That would be doing a disservice to everyone. This has nothing to do with "crushing down opposition"... if you make a point, you open yourself up to counterpoints. If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen.

Finally, taken together, these two snippets basically flat out accuse us of being childish, while at the same time being more childish (to my eyes, at least) than anything else I'd seen in this thread. There's something about the way the phrase "intelligent people" was used; it has a certain tone of condescension and contempt to it, like the phrase "grown men". ("I can't believe it, grown men arguing over who was better, Kirk or Picard!") And while I and the other people here are being insulted in this way, I've still yet to see what we were doing that was actually wrong.

I don't think Cillranchello's actions are ban-worthy, myself, but I think I'm quite justified in being a bit annoyed at the whole thing.


Sairana wrote:Heisig's keywords aren't always meanings, so it's sort of accurate to say "some of his meanings are bogus". But they're not designed to help with understanding them, just mentally filing them away in your brain somewhere.


Yep, that's exactly the point of RTK, and for the most part it has worked very well for me, even though sometimes I have no idea how exactly a particular kanji contributes meaning to a particular word.

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