However, in cases where the reader may be easily confused or for difficult kanji, Heisig often provides a small story or hint. Feb 28, In their books, Remembering Traditional Hanzi and Remembering Simplified Hanzi, James W. Heisig and Timothy W. Richardson introduce the. Dec 11, This deck is designed to accompany Remembering Simplified Hanzi 1 (and book 2), and you will need those books in order to use this deck.

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Heisig and Timothy W. Richardson introduce the Chinese characters using mnemonic stories and a unique approach of ordering them. Yeisig objective is to offer a very fast method to learning how to read and write Chinese characters. Following the method described in this book, he learned nearly characters Kanji, i. For each character, he learned its key meaning, how to recognize it and how to write it from memory.

So where am I now? During that time, I learned the first characters in the book. I can report that I could significantly reduce the time I needed to memorize each character compared to the approach I used to learn simplified Chinese characters a few years ago. I also have almost heksig avoided confusing different characters interferenceor wondering how many strokes I needed to write.

How can you possibly memorize of them in a reasonable amount of time? How did Heisig do it? As you perhaps already know, Chinese characters are made of a limited number of simpler characters and components, so they are not just arbitrary collections of paintbrush strokes.

How does recall work?

Indeed, this helps a great deal to learn the meaning and writing of Chinese characters and avoid confusing them. Apart from Heisig, many people, including myself have to some degree employed this way to learn Chinese characters. This way, he automatically reviews previously learned characters. Only when he cannot come up with any additional useful characters using the already learned primitives, does he introduce a new primitive, allowing him to learn yet another set of characters. Why does this make a difference?

Common textbooks take character frequency into account when presenting them, and most commonly introduce them in two ways. Struggling to memorize the writing of all these characters, I also started quite early to dissect them with the aim of learning the meaning and writing of the components, and then somehow combining them into a mnemonic story that would help me to remember the meaning and writing of a character.


The problem I faced was that by learning characters in the order of frequency, I encountered a great variety of different components in every learning session. To learn just few characters, I had to research and learn all components contained in them. Just look at the first 20 characters above again.

Do you see what I mean? This is where the books by Heisig and Richardson significantly deviate from many conventional texts.

Chinese characters: Remember the Hanzi, a controversial method

However, they are learned in an order dictated heidig previously learned primitives, rather than frequency of appearance. You will know one meaning for each character, and how to write it which is great and a big hurdle for most learnersbut you still need to learn enough vocabulary and expressions. In other words, your still need to learn Chinese. The authors are sometimes criticized for not including the pronunciation of characters, and even advising people not to learn it at this stage.

Chinese characters: Remember the Hanzi, the most controversial method

Heisiy, I would experiment with adding the main pronunciation as dictated by the keyword to your flash cards.

I suggest using a computer flash card program such as Anki or Mnemosyne for your review and keeping track of your success. In a future post, I will introduce how I create flash cards to review the characters. Formal Chinese programs expect you to learn the characters in a different order. If you are following a school curriculum, you can still use the books to make use of the mnemonic stories, but you inevitably lose quite a bit of the efficiency provided by the different ordering and constant recycling of character components.

As I wrote in an earlier postI committed to learning the most common traditional Chinese characters at a leisurely pace. Single characters heixig introduced with writing exercises. The more frequent characters tend to be presented earlier.

New words, consisting of mostly one or two, but sometimes up to 4 characters are introduced in context.


Learning to Read and Write Chinese Characters the Heisig-Richardson Way

The student hdisig to recognize the words and their meaning and how to pronounce them. What is my experience with learning to read and write Chinese characters using the Heisig-Richardson way?

I have so far learned around traditional characters using the book.

I achieved this spending about half an hour a day for hanzo and new characters during the past heisif months. I find it much easier to learn the characters using this book, compared to the traditional, frequency based approach.

So far, I was able to avoid almost completely confusing the learned characters interferenceand besides, they stick a lot better. Using the Heisig way to learn Chinese characters is fun How am I adapting the book to my knowledge level and preferences?

I usually look up the main pronunciation of a character and learn it as well. For me, this is quite easy, as I have previously studied Chinese and helsig a decent vocabulary. I hazi not always know to write a word using the traditional characters, but I often know how to say that word.

Beisig the pronunciation and one or two words as examples when creating computer flash cards is not a big deal for me. If you are just beginning, you need to experiment a bit and decide whether you strictly want to adhere to the method outlined in the book.

I look up each character using a computer dictionary, and whenever I feel the book does not focus on the essential meaning or connotation, I add that meaning to my flash cards in a note section as well. I still keep the keyword suggested by the book as recall cue though, and would advise you to do that as well.

What the books were not designed to accomplish: I will keep you updated on my progress. Leave a Reply Cancel reply. Our website uses cookies to provide its services. By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies.

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