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What's the point of RtK (Remembering the Kanji) ?

#26
What it does is make the Kanji familiar to you. It makes them so familiar to you, that when you see them, you instinctively think, "I know that one," so when you encounter it, you may not know the reading in Japanese, but you feel familiar with it. It's hard to explain until you experience it, I guess.

I think of RTK1 as juggling 2,042 balls in the air so I can tag them with Japanese readings at my leisure. Having done RTK1, I can say that I can spot them in the air a LOT faster than I could than before I did it, just from getting familiar with the various "primitives" as Heisig calls them. It also makes it a lot easier to grab a wild kanji in the field and break it down.

It's the sort of thing you're either going to get an "Aha!" moment over or you're not, and you'll move on to something better suited to your learning style.

I'd recommend downloading the 125-page sample of the book and giving it a go, and seeing if you get it. If you don't, then you can save yourself $20.
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#27
I think of RtK as a very complicated form of spelling. Imagine not knowing the alphabet of completely foreign language that has 3007 common words. Instead of trying to memorize each word as a picture (kanji), you break it up into letters (primitives). By knowing all the primitives you can build words. Like any language, the letters must be put in the correct order for the word (kanji) to make sense.

However, after you can identify and write all the kanji, you will still need to learn how to read and pronounce them. After finishing RtK 1 the following kanji is a piece of cake to remember.

新聞記事 (しん-ぶん-き-じ) Newspaper Article
新 new 1502, 聞 hear 1626, 記 scribe 529, 事 matter 1156

To me, new+hear=newspaper, scribe+matter=article. I just learned to write a 4 character compound in 15 seconds. I know that しんぶん means newspaper, all I have to do is memorize that きじ means article. Doing this without RtK would take a lot of time.
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#28
Tobberoth Wrote:As everyone knows, RtK teaches you how to recognize and how to write kanji, but it doesn't teach you how to read them.
I've noticed this kind of post from a lot of RtK fans, however, have any of you guys actually looked at his 2nd book? It is all about the pronunciations for the kanji!

RtK does deliver this, you just have to continue from the first book to the second. Big Grin

The second book is divided into two sections, one for "on", and one for "kun" readings. Its a lot more work than his first book, and that is the only reason I assume people haven't done much with it.

However, my recommendation is that you should be learning vocabulary words that use the kanji you're learning as you go through book one. This makes things significantly easier, and the meanings do hold true to a lot of vocabulary. You can find these vocabulary words easily through dictionaries both online and hardback (kodansha's or guide to writing kanji & kana for example).

In my honest opinion kana sets should be learned first anyhow, so learning how to say things using the kanji you're learning should not be an issue. You'll also notice a pattern of sayings that fit to kanji as you do this, which makes Book 2 of RtK even easier!

So lets do our best to start applying sounds to kanji too!
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#29
mikotoneko Wrote:
Tobberoth Wrote:As everyone knows, RtK teaches you how to recognize and how to write kanji, but it doesn't teach you how to read them.
I've noticed this kind of post from a lot of RtK fans, however, have any of you guys actually looked at his 2nd book? It is all about the pronunciations for the kanji!
Well, I personally don't count RtK2 and 3 since I honestly don't really see the point.

RtK1 is Heisigs method to learn the jouyou kanji, awesome.
RtK2 is an addition, probably because he was critizised for not teaching readings. It has very little incommon with the first book, it should have been named "Remembering the Readings" or something like that IMO.
RtK3 is just... an expansion to RtK1. I don't really see any point to it, when you have completed RtK1 you shouldn't need a book to tell you how to learn kanji.
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#30
RTK3 is useful for the keywords, but that's about it. You can get the keyword list almost anywhere. It even skimps on the stroke order even when the order is vague. In addition the second half of the book has the same flaws as RTK2 since it's an extension of that.

RTK2 tries something novel (signal primitives), but it just is not worth the effort in my opinion. I think Memory palace and Movie Method surpasses it in effctiveness.

That said, I did get both books. I don't recommend them though.
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#31
The only reason I am doing RTK3 is because of this site. If I were to study alone, it would be more practical to learn new kanji as I encountered them. However, with the chance here to share stories, some of which are very memorable, it's an opportunity to pocket another 1,000 kanji with less effort than going it alone.
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#32
timcampbell Wrote:The only reason I am doing RTK3 is because of this site. If I were to study alone, it would be more practical to learn new kanji as I encountered them. However, with the chance here to share stories, some of which are very memorable, it's an opportunity to pocket another 1,000 kanji with less effort than going it alone.
Meh, anymore I don't even use mnemonics. If I want to remember a new kanji I take a sentence with it and make a card in Anki where I have to write it out. No problems so far with my super kanji-break-down abilities.
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#33
Nukemarine Wrote:RTK2 tries something novel (signal primitives)
Actually, I have a copy of 'The Study of Kanji' by Michael Pye (which was published in 1971 and thus predates Heisig) which takes a very similar approach. The kanji are arranged in groups which all "contain a common element of form"; where there are exceptions (ie kanji with the common element but without the same pronunciation) these are listed. So RTK2 isn't a completely new idea.

(Pye's book also has some interesting appendices including a complete translation of the Ministry of Education's official stroke-order recommendations, a list of all the Jouyou-sanctioned words with odd readings (ie where a kanji has a particular reading only for a particular word), and a summary of the changes made when kanji forms were simplified after the war.)
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#34
alyks Wrote:
timcampbell Wrote:The only reason I am doing RTK3 is because of this site. If I were to study alone, it would be more practical to learn new kanji as I encountered them. However, with the chance here to share stories, some of which are very memorable, it's an opportunity to pocket another 1,000 kanji with less effort than going it alone.
Meh, anymore I don't even use mnemonics. If I want to remember a new kanji I take a sentence with it and make a card in Anki where I have to write it out. No problems so far with my super kanji-break-down abilities.
I'm sorta testing this myself and it's working out remarkably well. For Japanese, I can write 凄く from memory without any problem without having it in any SRS system. I'm also skipping it for Mandarin (since I'm not very serious student of it) and I can still remember how to write all the kanji I analyze quite easily (as long as they use primitives from Heisig).
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#35
alyks Wrote:
timcampbell Wrote:The only reason I am doing RTK3 is because of this site. If I were to study alone, it would be more practical to learn new kanji as I encountered them. However, with the chance here to share stories, some of which are very memorable, it's an opportunity to pocket another 1,000 kanji with less effort than going it alone.
Meh, anymore I don't even use mnemonics. If I want to remember a new kanji I take a sentence with it and make a card in Anki where I have to write it out. No problems so far with my super kanji-break-down abilities.
I did this before even starting RTK with primitive combinations
ex: 騰 is easy when you know 勝 which is easy when you know 拳
or 縣 which is easy because it uses bits of 県 and 係 and has 心 at the bottom
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#36
Quote:What's the point of RtK (Remembering the Kanji) ?
The warm fuzzy feeling you get every time you write the most complex kanji with ease.
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#37
oregum Wrote:I think of RtK as a very complicated form of spelling. Imagine not knowing the alphabet of completely foreign language that has 3007 common words. Instead of trying to memorize each word as a picture (kanji), you break it up into letters (primitives). By knowing all the primitives you can build words. Like any language, the letters must be put in the correct order for the word (kanji) to make sense.

However, after you can identify and write all the kanji, you will still need to learn how to read and pronounce them. After finishing RtK 1 the following kanji is a piece of cake to remember.

新聞記事 (しん-ぶん-き-じ) Newspaper Article
新 new 1502, 聞 hear 1626, 記 scribe 529, 事 matter 1156

To me, new+hear=newspaper, scribe+matter=article. I just learned to write a 4 character compound in 15 seconds. I know that しんぶん means newspaper, all I have to do is memorize that きじ means article. Doing this without RtK would take a lot of time.
I think oregum nailed it here. If you don't do Rtk and somehow manage to learn Kanji compounds, easily remembering all of the primitives will be useful. Just like he said "understanding" the phrase will be easy because you already know the Kanji's that make it up and its meaning is not totally alien to the phrase meaning, at least not most of the times.

However I didn't need that much convincing to start with Heisig, I just read that it would take 3~4 months to learn 2045 Kanji and even if learning is just stroke order and meaning, 2045 in 3~4 months is an incredible feat.

Why complain? Give it a try, is only 3 months.

EDIT: Well I have 3 months and I still have 40% of the way ahead of me. However is still amazing that adding some complexity (Kanji stories and SRS) to a rather cumbersome task (repeating to learn) can bring down the total time spent in this (years) to a fraction. Heisig explained this in the prologue for the Rtk2.
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#38
Tobberoth Wrote:
mentat_kgs Wrote:- You will be able to study japanese from REAL sources, instead of just textbooks with furigana.
- You wont need to worry about the amount of kanji a book or a manga uses.
I agree with everything except those two points. As everyone knows, RtK teaches you how to recognize and how to write kanji, but it doesn't teach you how to read them. Thus, even if you recognize all the kanji you read in your "REAL source", you can't actually learn anything because the reading isn't written and you don't know what the word means. Is it easier to look up kanji you recognize? Well yeah, to some degree. If you can write them, you can use some electric dictionary which recognizes writing (most electric dictionaries do not). You can also use radical search more effectivly. But yeah, you will still have to look kanji up, just like you would if you didn't recognize them.
one word: Rikaichan.
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#39
two words: printed paper
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#40
Three words: Another thread revival!
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#41
Why do you guys keep saying that the keywords aren't important? Usually, the keyword is one of the meanings for the kanji, sometimes it differ, so when you finish RTK1 you'll be able to write and recognize 2042 kanji, and you'll know a meaning for most of them.
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#42
Quote:What's the point of RtK (Remembering the Kanji)?
It was written as a companion to this message board that was scheduled to follow at an undermined future date once the cyber-technology caught up. 30 years was a good incubation period I think.
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#43
undead_saif Wrote:Why do you guys keep saying that the keywords aren't important? Usually, the keyword is one of the meanings for the kanji, sometimes it differ, so when you finish RTK1 you'll be able to write and recognize 2042 kanji, and you'll know a meaning for most of them.
Nah, the keyword is extremely vague in most cases. It's helpful, but not important. I would never rely on it for meaning, but it is definitely useful when going for understanding of compounds.
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#44
I like to think of RTK as putting you in the same posistion as a Chinese person learning Japanese
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#45
For a language with countless homophones such as Japanese, reading in any other system than Kanji or similar, would undoubtedly be hell.
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#46
Tobberoth Wrote:
undead_saif Wrote:Why do you guys keep saying that the keywords aren't important? Usually, the keyword is one of the meanings for the kanji, sometimes it differ, so when you finish RTK1 you'll be able to write and recognize 2042 kanji, and you'll know a meaning for most of them.
Nah, the keyword is extremely vague in most cases. It's helpful, but not important. I would never rely on it for meaning, but it is definitely useful when going for understanding of compounds.
The keyword is only helpful if you know the Japanese word it relates to. When I want to use a Kanji I don't know, let's say, むずかしい、I know 難 is 'difficult', and can confidently use it thinking it's むずかしい. That being said, the keywords should really only be used to help you learn from RTK2.
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#47
stoked Wrote:
Quote:What's the point of RtK (Remembering the Kanji) ?
The warm fuzzy feeling you get every time you write the most complex kanji with ease.
Ain't that the truth. Even early on, the keyword "Dr." is a kanji that you can't imagine ever remembering if you just see it by itself. When you get to it in method, it's easy as pie. That's 12 strokes with tiny effort, remembered almost instantly. That's amazing for any field of study- imagine if an engineering student had a book to memorize a 12-part diagram the first time it was viewed. It's fantastic.

joe_bevis Wrote:I like to think of RTK as putting you in the same posistion as a Chinese person learning Japanese
Mentioned by the author, and very true. Learning Japanese starts to just look so much different when you go from pages and pages of squiggles to "hey, I actually recognize these". You don't really know how to read them yet, but once you recognize them, actually learning to read them seems completely trivial (well, compared to brute force memorization).
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#48
I still find a small flaw with RTK (I).
That is, now in text, I often seen Kanji and be like "What the *****? Did I forget it? How could that be?" and then I find out that it was not covered in RTK, sadly.
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#49
enerccio Wrote:I still find a small flaw with RTK (I).
That is, now in text, I often seen Kanji and be like "What the *****? Did I forget it? How could that be?" and then I find out that it was not covered in RTK, sadly.
Well, I guess depends on what type of text you are reading. If you read regular stuff (newspaper articles etc.) you should be fine with the RTK1 content, or at least you should be able to skip the unknown Kanji without loosing to much information.

Serious literature of course is a completely different matter, as Tanya Sienko, co-author of RTK3 points out in the introduction:

"Actually, it was not the technical prose... that was causing me the biggest headaches but ordinary Japanese novels. ... After a few chapters, my maiden voyage ended on the rocks. So much for "basic literacy", I thought to myself."

And so RTK3 came into existence. Smile
Edited: 2009-12-27, 6:15 pm
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#50
Omg, I had never though this! Due to a little ....ahrrrm... working accident... in October, I haven't looked at a Kanji, worked with Japanese, or even watched Japanese animé (felt too guilty) since then. Now, I felt like picking the language up again, and I actually remember ca 60 percent directly and perfectly (all in 6th, but not too many in 2nd..), and concerning those I have "forgotten", I only have to flip through the blue book to remember everything. Letting the fact that even Japanese people can have a hard time remembering their own letters, this is pretty impressive, and I can assure you this has nothing to to with my had, it's all the method. Yay Heisieg!!
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