Taking the world less travelled

Remembering the Kanji

Posted by on Mar 27, 2007 in Language | 0 comments

Remembering the Kanji, a book by James W. Heisig, is just one of the many methods I use to… well, remember the Kanji.

I will talk about other methods some other time, but for now, let’s just talk about this method. I think it is fantastic. There are, however, some things I don’t agree with, only because it doesn’t suit my learning style.

You see, I like to do a bit of everything. Remember how I said I have many methods of studying Kanji. However, if you do Hesig’s method properly, his way is to learn all the characters with an English keyword, without knowing the ON and KUN readings. (If you don’t know what this means, I will talk about it in another post :) ) I can understand perfectly why he is saying this; in that many foreigners never learn the Kanji because there is so much information, so many of them. So he just strips them down to their simplest forms and you then learn how to read the kanji after you recognise them.

Which is all well and good, but I get bored. I think I learn more when I have more information. So I like to ix up my methods, learning both in context and with Heisig’s method.

More about Heisigs method. What he does is he doesn’t teach kanji from the most useful to the least. Instead, he teaches from the simplest and similar shapes to the more complex. What he does is breaks the kanji down into separate bits which he calls “primitives” and you string all the primitives in a particular kanji together and create a story. The story tells you how to draw the kanji itself as well as the keyword. You can get more information about this method from here, here. You can also download the first 100 pages (or maybe it’s characters, I forget :P ) from here. Try the method out for yourself, this pdf convinced me to buy the book. :)

And so, by the end of the book you should be able to recognise and write 2042 kanji, including all the Joyo Kanji. Yatta!


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