So, as the title says, I am confused about how to actually approach the learning of the On-yomi readings. Am i supposed to make stories for this book as well? If so, wonīt it be confusing when learning characters with more than one reading.
Please help me find a good way to systematize my learning. I went through the first book at a pace of 60 kanji each day, so I was pretty satisfied. Being about 180 frames into the second book i feel uncertain of how to learn.
So far, i have somehow managed to remember all the 180 words and how to write them correctly at the same pace as before, 60/day. Even though i do remember those words, it still seems like my pretty decent memory will fail me in the following thousands of characters.
Another thing is that when i see a certain kanji from those compounds in a text, it usually takes some time before i can remember how it was read, which is obviously not a fluent way of reading. Not to mention the different ways a kanji can be read...
Has anyone here finished RTK2? If so, did it help a lot?
Last edited by darkruiner (2012 July 16, 4:53 am)
Some of the stuff about pure groups and signal primitives can help. Beyond that most people don't really find RTK2 to be all that useful or helpful. Learning readings through the context of words and sentences tends to be a better route. Something like Core, Kanji in Context, or Kanji Odyssey are what most people do these days.
RTK1 was very groundbreaking in how it went about systematically teaching kanji, and a lot of people saw efficiency gains from it. RTK2 tried to be that groundbreaking, but for the reading side of things. In the eyes of most people, that attempt is considered kind of a failure.
Last edited by erlog (2012 July 16, 9:44 am)
I see, so thatīs pretty much what Iīm doing. Guess Iīll be using the book as a reference guide. I still feel like i reading comprehension has improved, even though i have just started. I will probably continue to drill words from this book and study some of the systematization that is provided. Seems like a pity though, I was hoping for a nice and straightforward way to learn this hellish writing system.
I find RTK2 very useful and cleverly organized and I am slowly working through it.
I started coming out of RTK1 with the obvious great enthusiasm that I got from learning all those cute stories and from realizing how my understanding of kanji had greatly improved and my fear of them had gone.
I started with a lot of energy and went through chapter 1 and 2 very quickly, then up to semi-pure groups. Then I realized I had done it too quickly and only about half of the readings had stuck (nothing to complain about if I think about it). So I went back to pure groups and tried to devise some flashcard system that would group all the primitives with the same reading on the same flashcard. That was effective but it took too much time. So I stopped for a bit, essentially because I found learning this way a little boring (not hard, just boring). Oh, I tried kanji-chains too, but came up with lame stories and I was also breaking the symmetry of the pure groups, so I left them.
Now I am back and still looking for the ultimate idea. My current strategy is the following (nothing special, if anyone has better ideas I'd love to hear about them).
This is only for chapter 2, but I am rather confident that I will manage to use it for semi-pure groups too (chapter 3 is easy, 4 nothing, 6 easy, 8 easy and 9 and 10 don't look that bad either, so the problems for me seem to be pure, semi-pure and mixed groups only (kun-yomi will come at the end, I trust Dr Heisig)).
- I wrote in a very compact way all the signal primitives in groups of one hundred (ten lines of ten primitives each). I used different colors for primitives that correspond to four or more kanji, three kanji, two kanji.
- I learned the readings of the primitives (sometimes using dirty tricks like thinking of Yu the chinese butcher to remember 兪).
- I learned one word per primitive and wrote it down by looking at my group of primitives only.
- I learned the kanji corresponding to every primitive and again wrote them down by looking at my group of primitives only.
- I learned all the words corresponding to each primitive and wrote them down as above.
(I am using the past here but I am not completely done)
Once I know the on-yomi for all of the pure groups I will move on to review chapter 3, then try to apply the method to chapter 5. So far it works fine.
Heisig chose his words in a rather clever way so that if you know the pure groups very well the next chapters take far less effort, since he does use the on-yomi you already learnt a lot. This is probably why he insists that you stop at the end of chapter 2 and make sure that you learn everything very well before going on.
Also note that I find the vocabulary chosen by Heisig quite appropriate for my level (I just took JLPT N3 a couple of weeks ago), which may or may not be the case for others.
My impression is that if you are dedicated you can get through the book in a couple of months and learn all the readings (and maybe some vocabulary, but I am under the impression that that is not the point). After that you can go on to study vocabulary and grammar far more efficiently than before.
Last edited by cingo (2012 July 16, 2:18 pm)
Thank you for sharing your view on this.
How long have you been studying before passing N3? If i may ask.
The short answer is a little more than one year of serious study.
But it would have definitely taken less had I been a little more consistent in my studies. Years ago I took JLPT 4 and then 3, which were easy and I prepared in 3 months each (about two hours a day). But I did nothing between these two 3 month periods (a very bad idea of course). After JLPT 3 I just went on forgetting lots of stuff I learned and finally this year I started again after a very long hyatus. A couple of months were taken by just reviewing what I did years ago and another month by doing RTK1. I am bad at motivating myself for long periods of time and I am very very happy that I can take JLPT every six months now. I have a genuine passion for the Japanese language, but without some very concrete goals I find it difficult to keep studying for more than a few months (I have been studying mostly on my own so far).
What about you? What is your level now?
Oh and I just took JLPT N3, at the moment no one knows whether I passed it or not
About this topic of not being able to remember the meaning when you look at a kanji in any given random place. I've been looking through RTK2 and was wondering how to work through it also because it just wasn't sticking. Instead of looking at the characters, and then tacking on the onyomi, I realized that RTK2 has the dual purpose of forcing you to remember the keyword you learned RTK1 for the particular character because doing so gives you something more concrete the hook the onyomi to. The keyword is associated with a story which you know well already so there's background to the character. it's not just a bunch of strokes.
So for the people who like myself were worried about not being able to remember the meaning from the kanji, RTK2 should take care of that.
This is a very good point that I forgot to mention. It is indeed the case that you manage rather quickly to go from kanji to keyword once you start working through RTK2. Thanks for pointing it out!
I had contact with Japanese for about 6 month, but I didnīt actually study. I got into Japanese music and literature. Right now, Iīm about 2-3 months into serious study, I try to study it every waking moment of my life, everything I watch or listen to must be in Japanese
I have no idea about how the real thing is, but I did the 15-question samples of JLPT and i got 14 of them right at level 4. I hope that if I manage to sustain my dedication, I will be able to at least attempt to pass N2 in December.
You mentioned that you have trouble motivating yourself, try finding something cool that you want to do and that involves Japanese. My goal is to get into a Japanese University. Iīm starting my last year of high school now, so I donīd know if i will manage. But even if I fail, Iīll try again the next year. That gives me enough motivation to dedicate myself to studying ^^
Wow, yours is a very strong motivation!
I have to say that as you pass the boring beginner level and get to the end of the demanding intermediate level things definitely get easier. I am very close to being able to read novels and that is a good motivation for me.
I am not quite sure about JLPT N2, but if you don't yet know about zorlee you might find this thread quite inspirational: http://forum.koohii.com/viewtopic.php?id=8771
Interestingly, after writing my current method down I realized it is overkill. I do not need to write all those words from memory, after all I am only learning to read. I think I will modify it to reading only and use this version for the second pass of the book.
As usual, any ideas, comments or suggestions are most welcome.
itīs definitely easier to just learn to read the characters, but i also want to learn a bit of correct word composition. Sometimes the characters used in a word are perfectly logical, sometimes not, and sometimes there are more than one way to write things. Itīs pretty though....
I meant it is not necessary to memorize all those words, it is enough to be able to look at the words and read them (possibly knowing what they mean). (my method as described above involved learning all the words corresponding to a given primitive in Heisig by heart; effective but more time-consuming)
Last edited by cingo (2012 July 18, 3:03 am)
Time consuming indeed, but I donīt really mind, I just want to get this over with so that i will become able to read everyday stuff. Besides, some words are kind of random and fun to learn, for example: : : 之字形 or 流転, the latter being kind of useless hehe
I just started RTK2 in earnest and I am confident that it will be a very good way to learn. I had finished RTK1 a few months ago and was looking forward to moving on to grammar/vocab and not worrying about kanji anymore but I think that RTK1 is really just the first step - knowing how to read the kanji was the goal in the first place not how to draw them.
I'm doing it with flashcards (well a spaced repetition flashcard app on my iOS device). It goes like this:
I am giving myself a correct response on the app if I can read the kanji - I don't worry about the meaning of the word. I'm sure as I go through the deck some of the vocab will stick anyway. The key for me is remembering how to say the kanji. I've been doing it for a few days and it's working pretty well. A lot are sticking in my mind already. I think this is more effective than trying to remember pronunciations through vocabulary because you end up trying to learn too much at once in that case - often you're memorizing the readings of several kanji plus learning the word itself. It's a lot. And I've struggled with Chinese readings a lot I think because there's more than one kanji per word almost always whereas the Japanese readings it's generally just one kanji per word and my brain can absorb it much more easily. Or it seems to.
I suppose I'll be able to give better advice/feedback after I've progressed through at least half the book.
Oh as to my Japanese level - I would say about JPLT 4 about. I've been studying Japanese for a little over a year now and have taken 1 semester course at the local college.
Last edited by kraemder (2012 August 04, 11:08 am)