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Heisig, RTK Experiment

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Re: Heisig, RTK Experiment

Postby Dustin » Wed 01.14.2009 3:12 am

Could this argument PLEASE be migrated to another thread, this is supposed to be about my experience running through the Remembering the Kanji book, which I was not too sure about to begin with, now it is full of posts about people arguing about their opinions on learning methods which was not the point of this thread at all.

I have no problem with people speaking their mind about what they think, and their opinions, but this is not the thread to do it on. Just please either cease and desist, or simply open a new thread so that I can continue my experience thread instead of having any of my information lost in all the mess.

Thanks
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Re: Heisig, RTK Experiment

Postby Christine Tham » Wed 01.14.2009 4:14 am

Dustin_Calgary wrote:Could this argument PLEASE be migrated to another thread, this is supposed to be about my experience running through the Remembering the Kanji book, which I was not too sure about to begin with, now it is full of posts about people arguing about their opinions on learning methods which was not the point of this thread at all.


Sorry.

Where are you up to now?

Have you considered trying my suggestion (in terms of sources for stories)?

You also said you weren't too sure at the beginning. Are you more sure now?
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Re: Heisig, RTK Experiment

Postby Dustin » Wed 01.14.2009 5:38 am

Christine Tham wrote:Where are you up to now?


I have just gotten past the 1600 mark in the book, getting close to finishing it :D

Christine Tham wrote:Have you considered trying my suggestion (in terms of sources for stories)?


As far as stories go, If a really obvious story is not possible, I try to look for somethig that can stick in my mind and be useful, resources for this that I have at my disposal include the NTC New Japanese-English Character Dictionary. It is a fairly in depth resource that I am glad I have. I also have Henshall's guide which has some good information on etymology of the kanji.
Some of the Kanji however, will have primitives renamed to something more memorable, since there are so many "person" or "hand/finger" primitives it is best for this program to distinguish these.
Some of these that are more memorable include Spiderman, for the thread primitive, and Mr. T for the person primitive, such as in 休 of course some characters like this are easier and need no real explanation, just the memorable story that you achieve helps it to stick in your head, only as a way of remembering the primitive components.

I realize that this goes against the Japanese way of thinking, but my worst area of kanji learning seems to be differentiating similar kanji, and remembering how to properly write them out. Over time as I use my SRS drilling the Kanji, I will be replacing the english "keywords" and instead putting in compounds that the kanji are actually used in.

The memory process for me, stories are the first thing I forget, that is a very short term thing, after a few drills I remember the primitive components and the order that they go in, and eventually just be able to quickly write the kanji with no reference to these ridicioulous stories or characters whatsoever.

At this point I will be learning kanji compounds ( vocab ) that they ae used in, and as I look these up i will get more use out of the Huge Tome sitting on my bookshelf, and all the information that it provides.

I hope to get into a monolingual dictionary as quickly as possible at this point, learning Japanese IN Japanese is obviously more efficient, and you get to "think" more like someone who speaks Japanese rather than having it all translated into English, just for it to be used in Japanese, rather inefficient I must say.

I will definitely learn a lot of the more important information that goes with kanji, right now with this book I am simply using it so that I can tell similar kanji apart, and remember how to write the characters as well, sort of as an index. A page of Japanese text sure is a lot less daunting to look at now :D Kanji lookups are super easy now as well. ( though both of my dictionaries use the SKIP pattern, by chance but my monolingual will use the traditional method )

Christine Tham wrote:You also said you weren't too sure at the beginning. Are you more sure now?


I will definitely say a few things about the book I wasn't sure about.

For what it is, it's a great resource. That being said, it is only great as a means to quickly get more comfortable both looking at, recognizing, and writing the kanji. I have many pages filled with kanji now, and it is much less daunting to think about writing in the Japanese language once I have a better idea of what I am doing with the language.

English keywords, as the author made an attempt to affix appropriate words based on at least one meaning of the character, are more there to differentiate them rather than to use as any kind of definition. Some are absolutely pulled out of thin air, others are close, but have the wrong nuance, or situation attached to them. It is important not to linger with these words too long so that they do not have an effect on where you try to use them in Japanese!

I underestimated the book as far as the time I'd have to put into it. 2000 of anything is a lot. It takes a lot of work and dedication to get through the book. I am close to the end, and I come away with a feeling of achievement, a small step on my long journey. To put a book on the shelf and have it worn down, ratted up and say, I finished that, and it was not easy, it feels good.

The next step I am taking is back into my textbook I was using, only this time the Kanji I come across are very easy to remember compared to a few monsters I have come across. This helped me get past what is personally my biggest obstacle. Compounds don't scare me, in fact I am having fun putting together kanji that I have already seen into vocab I already know.

How many Kanji do I know? Zero

I can tell you a couple handfuls that I know a reading or two for from some vocab, and that's about it. The next step will prove much more challenging, but I am looking forward to it.

This method may not be for everyone, but "SO FAR" is working for me. I have always learned things outside the typical manner. That being said, I have heard a few people on these boards claim they have yet to see someone use RTK as a starting point for Kanji go all the way. Probably mainly because they get so disheartened with their progress after the fact and useg the book as a shortcut at first to expedite the process, using it in a way they did not fully understand and then failed. I do know of a few people that have done it, but not many, so I am hoping to provide a first hand encounter of that process myself, for anyone that sticks around long enough to see me try 8)
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Re: Heisig, RTK Experiment

Postby Christine Tham » Wed 01.14.2009 6:06 am

Dustin_Calgary wrote:I have just gotten past the 1600 mark in the book, getting close to finishing it :D


Congratulations. You sound like you have made a lot of progress in a very short time. I'm sure you will be able to complete it.

A warning about Henshall: I have a copy and no longer recommend it (even though he is a fellow Australian).

The problem is that his prose is academic and rather dense, he wastes a lot of time talking about possible etymological derivations, rather than focusing on just the most likely explanation (and putting other possibilities in a footnote or something).

And on top of that, his explanations are often wrong. One of my teachers warned me about that, and since then I have been able to confirm that quite a few of them are wrong through cross checking with a Japanese text.

One of my teachers recommended Heisig RTK1 to our class. I don't like it myself, but it obviously works for some people (such as yourself). I think you are also very realistic in terms of what you will learn from it.

I did use RTK1 for a few weeks to try it out, just like you. However I gave up, mainly because I was bored with all the reviews. I remember after three weeks, one day I woke up and there were literally hundreds of characters due for review, and I said "No thanks." I've grown to dislike spaced repetition, it makes learning really tedious and boring for me, so I never do reviews, ever. I'll rather pick up a new textbook (at the same level) and read it from cover to cover as "review" rather than read the same textbook again.

Oh - one final thing. Get an electronic dictionary - forget paper ones. SKIP is okay as a lookup method, but handwriting the character on a touchscreen or stylus pad of a dictionary is so much more efficient (plus, it's practice for writing the character!).

I don't think reading a J-J dictionary is possible for a beginner unless you have an electronic dictionary (because it allows you to lookup words in a definition).
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Re: Heisig, RTK Experiment

Postby Dustin » Wed 01.14.2009 6:12 am

Christine Tham wrote:
Oh - one final thing. Get an electronic dictionary - forget paper ones. SKIP is okay as a lookup method, but handwriting the character on a touchscreen or stylus pad of a dictionary is so much more efficient (plus, it's practice for writing the character!).

I don't think reading a J-J dictionary is possible for a beginner unless you have an electronic dictionary (because it allows you to lookup words in a definition).


I am looking at the Casio XD GDP 9700 :D Once I am at the level that I will be able to get good use from this thing, I will have worked hard enough to prove the large purchase worthwhile.

I have that DS Kanji dictionary everyone knows about, it is severely lacking but for beginner stuff, it works, and it's a lot better than a paper dictionary in terms of efficiency.

BTW Thanks for the note on Henshall, for how much people say his stuff concentrates too much on etymology, to hear that a lot of it is not even correct, I'm glad i know. At least it was not an expensive book :D
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Re: Heisig, RTK Experiment

Postby jcdietz03 » Thu 01.15.2009 7:01 pm

When I am reviewing, my most common problem is I can't remember the kanji at all, or I can't remember a certain primitive.
How many Kanji do I know? Zero

You can't seriously mean that. You must know one or two kanji at the very least. That's not zero. It is a pretty small drop in the bucket though.

Half-learned: You know either the Chinese or Japanese reading and one word in which said reading is used.
Learned: You know both the Chinese and Japanese reading and one word in which each of the readings are used.
There are irregular readings, but I count it as learned if you know the regular one only.

Some kanji don't have a Chinese reading and others don't have a Japanese reading. I don't know enough to know which ones these are.
One of my teachers recommended Heisig RTK1 to our class.
That's quite interesting because Heisig's forward says the book is not well suited to classroom learning.
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Re: Heisig, RTK Experiment

Postby Dustin » Thu 01.15.2009 11:32 pm

jcdietz03 wrote:
How many Kanji do I know? Zero

You can't seriously mean that. You must know one or two kanji at the very least. That's not zero. It is a pretty small drop in the bucket though.

Half-learned: You know either the Chinese or Japanese reading and one word in which said reading is used.
Learned: You know both the Chinese and Japanese reading and one word in which each of the readings are used.
There are irregular readings, but I count it as learned if you know the regular one only.


Alright maybe I know a few, but not too many :D
Though that will change soon, once I am finished with RTK I am going to be going compound crazy :D
( Plus the good stuff like grammar of course )
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Re: Heisig, RTK Experiment

Postby Christine Tham » Fri 01.16.2009 6:57 pm

jcdietz03 wrote:
How many Kanji do I know? Zero

You can't seriously mean that. You must know one or two kanji at the very least. That's not zero. It is a pretty small drop in the bucket though.


Actually, I understand what Dustin means by that. When people ask me how many kanji I know, I'm very tempted to say "zero." :-)

I believe it's not really possible to "know" a kanji unless you have studied it exhaustively - you know the etymology, the majority of compound words using it, and all the readings (not just the ones in Jouyou, even the seldom used ones and exceptions).

On that basis, I would say very few people "know" a lot of kanji.

If you define "know" as "can write it and use it without thinking, know all the common readings and compound words", then I think yes, it's possible to know quite a few kanji. Even then, I would say on this definition I know significantly less than 1000, probably less than 500.

jcdietz03 wrote:Half-learned: You know either the Chinese or Japanese reading and one word in which said reading is used.
Learned: You know both the Chinese and Japanese reading and one word in which each of the readings are used.
There are irregular readings, but I count it as learned if you know the regular one only.


If I only knew one word for each reading, I wouldn't be brave enough to say I "know" the kanji. There are conventions associated with the readings that only come when you know lots of compound words, not just one.

Take 子 for example. When it is used in a compound with the reading こ, it carries a semantic association with "little" or "child". When it is used in a compound with the reading し as in 帽子, it does NOT carry a semantic association with "little" or "child" - it's purely a phonetic reading. At least, according to one textbook I have read. Some readings you cannot use at the beginning of a word, some you cannot use at the end.

All this is explained in the textbook for which I provided an ISBN number to earlier.

jcdietz03 wrote:
One of my teachers recommended Heisig RTK1 to our class.
That's quite interesting because Heisig's forward says the book is not well suited to classroom learning.


It's one of the reasons why I dislike Heisig - a lot of the things he says in the forward just does not make sense to me (with the benefit of hindsight - I used to believe his comments, now I believe otherwise).

I do think RTK1 is quite useful for someone who has already progressed into their studies but have real difficulty trying to remember how to write Kanji. I think my teacher recommended it on that basis.

Having said that, I don't believe anyone in the class actually decided to use RTK1 after that advice. Some have used it before and didn't like it (me), others looked at it and decided it wasn't for them, and I'm sure many ignored the advice altogether.
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Re: Heisig, RTK Experiment

Postby Dustin » Sun 01.18.2009 12:52 am

Currently I am at #1733 I've been getting through the last part of the book fairly quickly. This has not come without a price however. Since I am so eager to get this done, I am being punished with a LOT of reviews in my SRS but that is ok, it will die down after a while once I know them well enough.

I will probably post next when I am finished!
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Re: Heisig, RTK Experiment

Postby two_heads_talking » Mon 01.19.2009 10:53 am

Dustin_Calgary wrote:Could this argument PLEASE be migrated to another thread, this is supposed to be about my experience running through the Remembering the Kanji book, which I was not too sure about to begin with, now it is full of posts about people arguing about their opinions on learning methods which was not the point of this thread at all.

I have no problem with people speaking their mind about what they think, and their opinions, but this is not the thread to do it on. Just please either cease and desist, or simply open a new thread so that I can continue my experience thread instead of having any of my information lost in all the mess.

Thanks


Honestly, if you don't like the feedback, just do a blog. otherwise, on a forum, you are going to get people who agree, disagree, and quite frankly just want to argue with you. The only way for you to retain complete control with no input, is to blog it..
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Re: Heisig, RTK Experiment

Postby Dustin » Mon 01.19.2009 1:41 pm

two_heads_talking wrote:Honestly, if you don't like the feedback, just do a blog. otherwise, on a forum, you are going to get people who agree, disagree, and quite frankly just want to argue with you. The only way for you to retain complete control with no input, is to blog it..


I have no problem with the input, I was just talking about the tangent argument that seemed to be taking place, after a while it seemed to be going off too fat from the OP so I just asked if it could stay on topic, and people seem to not mind that.

EDIT: Perhaps in that post you quoted I should have been a little more specific, I like input, but that specific argument was getting pretty long, and as I said, on a tangent to what it was about in the first place.

Input is fine, as long as it is staying in the original scope of the thread :D

No harm in asking right?

Plus, nobody would read a blog I made anyways :D
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Re: Heisig, RTK Experiment

Postby two_heads_talking » Mon 01.19.2009 2:24 pm

Dustin_Calgary wrote:
EDIT: Perhaps in that post you quoted I should have been a little more specific, I like input, but that specific argument was getting pretty long, and as I said, on a tangent to what it was about in the first place.

Input is fine, as long as it is staying in the original scope of the thread :D

No harm in asking right?

Plus, nobody would read a blog I made anyways :D


I understand your position. But that's what happens with forums and threads. Thread drift is something everyone has to deal with. And don't sell yourself short, if they are reading this, they just might read a blog.

I've found it interesting enough to follow it through all its crazy curves and dead ends..
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Re: Heisig, RTK Experiment

Postby jcdietz03 » Mon 01.19.2009 5:08 pm

Well, there's no real point in changing now, seeing as how you're almost done with RTK.
Maybe you could consider a blog for your sentence project you say is coming next?
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Re: Heisig, RTK Experiment

Postby Dustin » Mon 01.19.2009 7:34 pm

jcdietz03 wrote:Well, there's no real point in changing now, seeing as how you're almost done with RTK.
Maybe you could consider a blog for your sentence project you say is coming next?


I may try that, but we'll see, a random sentence project is less interesting that the RTK, simply because it will be more vague now. A blog may be better suited towards that.

Main reason I put this thread up was to try to get through it, see how it was, despite the knocks that the book typically gets. Most stuff about it seems to be mainly arguing one way or another without a lot of information about getting through the process and then continuing.

I am fairly new to this stuff and have never really blogged so it will be definitely a learning experience for me.
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Re: Heisig, RTK Experiment

Postby becki_kanou » Mon 01.19.2009 9:44 pm

Dustin_Calgary wrote:Plus, nobody would read a blog I made anyways :D


Hey! I'd read it, and I think a few others here would as well! (As long as you promise to read mine too. :lol: )
そうだ、嬉しいんだ、生きる喜び!
例え胸の傷が痛んでも。
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