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.