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

Index » RtK Volume 1

 
konakona50
Member
From: florida
Registered: 2008-08-26
Posts: 103

is it just to memorize the writing steps for the kanji or is it for the single words given for them or is something completely different?

Last edited by konakona50 (2008 September 07, 12:05 am)

Mcjon01
Member
From: 大阪
Registered: 2007-04-09
Posts: 551

RTK1 is basically just for learning how to write all the jouyou kanji.  Some people will tell you that it is also for learning the meanings of the kanji.  This is an exaggeration, but that part of it was never that important anyways.

As for the point of doing RTK?  That's hard to explain to anyone that isn't already on the far side of it.  In my experience, people who haven't done it have as much trouble understanding its benefits as I have trouble relating to them when they complain about forgetting how to write a certain kanji, or that some kanji just look too similar to distinguish.

Although, I'm sure somebody out there is a more capable teacher than I, or at the very least is more able to paste a link to Heisig's introduction to RTK.  That person is pretty much bound to show up here later.

Last edited by Mcjon01 (2008 September 07, 12:19 am)

QuackingShoe
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2008-04-19
Posts: 721

In other words, you learn to write and recognize all of the jouyou kanji more or less perfectly, and you do it rapidly. And since you learned to write them with building blocks, you can apply these methods to future kanji with very little effort.

Anyway, intro is in the sample PDF:

http://nirc.nanzan-u.ac.jp/publications … sample.pdf

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konakona50
Member
From: florida
Registered: 2008-08-26
Posts: 103

hhmmm.....ic i that makes sense thanks everyone!

mentat_kgs
Member
From: Brasil
Registered: 2008-04-18
Posts: 1671
Website

If you care about the results:

- RTK will make you learn how to write 2042 general use kanji in ~3 months. It will also give you a keyword for that kanji, but it is not much important.

What RTK wont give to you:

- RTK wont give you any hability to read japanese.
- You have to learn how to read after doing RTK.

What RTK gives:

- RTK allows you to study japanese much more efficiently. You'll be able learn vocabulary for the kanji you already know.
- 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.
- You will LOVE kanji and see how logical and beautiful it is.
- Some time after doing the first 2042 kanjis you'll see they are actualy few and you'll want to learn more!

Who should try RTK:

- Anyone who wishes to atain full proficiency in reading and writing real japanese.

Ji_suss
Member
From: Toronto
Registered: 2008-08-22
Posts: 96

Mentat, that was a beautiful summary!

Tobberoth
Member
From: Sweden
Registered: 2008-08-25
Posts: 3364

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.

Zarxrax
Member
From: North Carolina
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 941

Actually, knowing the keywords that you learn through RTK is extremely helpful. The kanji give you hints as to what the word means. I'm playing through an RPG right now that doesn't use any kanji, and it's quite a pain, as you either know a word or you dont. With kanji, you might not be able to read what the word says, or even know exactly what it means, but it can still help you understand the general idea about whats going on in the sentence.

mentat_kgs
Member
From: Brasil
Registered: 2008-04-18
Posts: 1671
Website

@Toberoth, yes, you'll have to look it up. But this time you'll be remembering what you have looked up. Major difference.

Before RTK dictionaries were really scary, with all those weird huge kanjis.
After RTK, they turned into great resources for learning, with familiar kanjis everywhere.

One could never mine sentences without RTK. Well, it could, but 20-30 sentences a day, wich is very light after RTK, would be a hell.

@Zarxrax
I feel the same! Hiragana only seems so harder to understand!

cracky
Member
From: Las Vegas
Registered: 2007-06-25
Posts: 258

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.

You can just look the kanji up by keyword on this site or in kanjidic.

Transtic
Member
Registered: 2007-07-29
Posts: 201

mentat_kgs wrote:

- You will LOVE kanji and see how logical and beautiful it is.

(...)

Who should try RTK:

- Anyone who wishes to atain full proficiency in reading and writing real japanese.

If you let me add a little detail...



mentat_kgs wrote:

- You will LOVE kanji and see how logical, beautiful and fun it is.

(...)

Who should try RTK:

- Anyone who wishes to atain full proficiency in reading and writing real japanese, and get a lot of fun out of the process.

ところで、RTK (and RevTK, SRS, AJAT, i+1, SRS and a lot of other things I've known thanks to my personal Japanese studies) rules! =

Last edited by Transtic (2008 September 07, 10:53 pm)

kazelee
Rater Mode
From: ohlrite
Registered: 2008-06-18
Posts: 2132
Website

Zarxrax wrote:

Actually, knowing the keywords that you learn through RTK is extremely helpful. The kanji give you hints as to what the word means. I'm playing through an RPG right now that doesn't use any kanji, and it's quite a pain, as you either know a word or you dont. With kanji, you might not be able to read what the word says, or even know exactly what it means, but it can still help you understand the general idea about whats going on in the sentence.

Anki translated a sentence I inputed into kana. I read on AJATT that it's a good idea to go from kana  (question) to kanji (answer), so I did. Trying to read the resulting sentence was ungodly hard. I have read that Japanese prefer to read in kanji. I can, now, understand why?


That RPG wouldn't happen to be Soul Blader, would it? I tried the Japanese version. My head hurts.

decamer0n
Member
From: japan
Registered: 2006-12-06
Posts: 70

I am not sure I agree with the statement that RTK will not give you ANY ability to read Japanese.  It really depends on what you mean by "reading Japanese." 

--If you mean being able to pronounce the words you see, then certainly RTK1 will not give you that.

--If you mean being able to read fluently and accurately without further study, then certainly RTK will not give you that.

--But if you are willing to allow that being able to summarize the contents of some important document (your utility bills, tax bills, insurance notices, etc.), or sort out the meaning of signs posted in public places (directions, warnings, names, etc.) is SOME SORT of ability to read Japanese, then yes, RTK1 can deliver on that because it gives a touchstone to decipher meaning (the keywords) and trains your senses to be able to immediately see the kanji as distinct from one another (through writing them as compositions of their simpler components).

Having completed RTK1 increased my functional ability to live in Japan exponentially.

Tobberoth
Member
From: Sweden
Registered: 2008-08-25
Posts: 3364

decamer0n wrote:

--But if you are willing to allow that being able to summarize the contents of some important document (your utility bills, tax bills, insurance notices, etc.), or sort out the meaning of signs posted in public places (directions, warnings, names, etc.) is SOME SORT of ability to read Japanese, then yes, RTK1 can deliver on that because it gives a touchstone to decipher meaning (the keywords) and trains your senses to be able to immediately see the kanji as distinct from one another (through writing them as compositions of their simpler components).

While this is in generally true, one also has to remember that Heisig didn't pick his keywords to let people understand compounds. If you check a kanji on jisho.org and look for Heisigs keyword, you will see that it is certainly present, but far from the only one. Heisigs picked his keywords so that no keyword would be used twice, and so that it would be easy to remember them and make stories out of them. There are extremely many japanese compounds where the keywords Heisig picked really have no relevance to the actual meaning.

Still, I do agree. What I meant with reading Japanese though was to actually be able to pronounce it and understand it fully, so that I can read the word and then use it in conversation.

revenantkioku
Member
Registered: 2007-06-12
Posts: 103

I already knew a handful of Japanese before starting Heisig and after completing it my reading speed was so much faster.
Why? Well I'd imagine that having been exposed to all the kanji I was more comfortable with them and I didn't really need to stop as much going "What is that? Is that kanji what I think it is?" and the like.
There's a comfortability that has been given to me that I have trouble explaining, but it is there.

ファブリス
Administrator
From: Belgium
Registered: 2006-06-14
Posts: 3983
Website

I'm replacing the previously stickied "What is RtK????" thread with this one, which is much more to the point. Looks like everything has been said already. In any case, now that it's sticky'ed, please stay on topic ;-)

decamer0n
Member
From: japan
Registered: 2006-12-06
Posts: 70

Tobberoth wrote:

...one also has to remember that Heisig didn't pick his keywords to let people understand compounds. If you check a kanji on jisho.org and look for Heisigs keyword, you will see that it is certainly present, but far from the only one. Heisigs picked his keywords so that no keyword would be used twice, and so that it would be easy to remember them and make stories out of them. There are extremely many japanese compounds where the keywords Heisig picked really have no relevance to the actual meaning.

Ah, yes, this is very true, and in some cases, ridiculously true even.  However, there is a way to get a lot more mileage out of the keywords/meaning aspect of the Heisig method (if one is willing to expend some extra brain energy in the creating stories stage). 

Before I made a story for a kanji, I looked it up in Wakan to check out the first 10-20 compounds that it frequents.  That would give me a general idea of its common range of meanings, and I would abstract a common theme from there.  Then I would give my creative side a moment to reflect on the Heisig keyword and all the primitives (sometimes breaking up complex primitives if it worked out better for the story) and make sure the story was flavoured by all range of meanings I had seen in the common compounds. 

Of course I found it nearly impossible for a few of the really difficult kanji, but for the most part, it wasn't really that hard.  It probably took me longer to finish the book, but I still managed to finish in 6months, and I found that my retention was a lot better after I started putting all the effort up front into the story creation process.

With the range of real meanings locked into my stories, I have found that the keywords themselves are starting to fade away, but the core meanings have stayed.  The result is that I can look at my girlfriend's financial accounting texts and interpret the different accounts on the ledger; I can figure out what is going on from the Japanese subtitles when a movie switches to some 3rd language, and I can do some basic editing while coding bilingual websites.

Anyway, my point is that the Heisig method can deliver more than just learning to write the kanji and collecting a bunch of archaic and loosely associated keywords.  The core of the method is creating the stories, and what you put into that stage of the method is exactly what you will get out of it in the end.  If you work on getting the real flavour of the kanji's use in there, you may find picking up vocabulary much easier later on.

joeyjpm
New member
From: New York
Registered: 2008-07-15
Posts: 2

I'm on the earlier side of RtK, but here's how I would describe it to a complete newbie to Kanji:

A method that breaks down the Kanji down to it's simplest elements, applies meaning to those elements, and then recombines them in multiple ways into the kanji.  You use your imaginative memory to create stories to help you in recalling and writing the Kanji.

askayscha
Member
Registered: 2008-11-13
Posts: 63

You would be able to understand the context of the kanji you see in a sentence and be able to figure out the general idea of it.

But it won't really help you with reading anything aloud.
I think RtK2 is for that?

Dakoina
Member
From: Belgium
Registered: 2008-11-16
Posts: 68
Website

That's right, RtK1 & RtK2 go hand in hand, if that's correct what I read everywhere smile (just started with rtk myself). With RtK3 being a RtK1 & RtK2 for extra kanji?

mentat_kgs
Member
From: Brasil
Registered: 2008-04-18
Posts: 1671
Website

RtK2 is not as much adored as RTK1. RTK3 kanjis are not really "extra" as you'll need them eventually. RTK1 is more like the minimum passing line.

furrykef
Member
From: Oklahoma City
Registered: 2008-06-24
Posts: 191

mentat_kgs wrote:

RTK3 kanjis are not really "extra" as you'll need them eventually.

But on the other side of that coin, once you're done with RTK1, you'll be much more able to learn RTK3 kanji on your own.

Artem
Member
From: New Zealand
Registered: 2008-12-07
Posts: 11

So RTK doesn't teach you the meaning of the kanji? I am confused :p

QuackingShoe
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2008-04-19
Posts: 721

No, it teaches you a keyword that loosely corresponds to one particular usage of a kanji. This allows you to have something to drill the writing from (because you need something), and an added benefit of a loosely corresponding keyword that you can replace or at least evolve in time, which assists in vocabulary pick-up to some degree. At least in my opinion.

Last edited by QuackingShoe (2008 December 18, 5:55 pm)

mentat_kgs
Member
From: Brasil
Registered: 2008-04-18
Posts: 1671
Website

What we are trying to say is that RTK doesn't give you the real meaning of the kanji. It gives an aproximation for one of the meanings, in english.

After doing RTK you still have to learn japanese, afterall.