Heisig Hate

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This topic contains 4 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Kanjipad Kanjipad 2 years, 5 months ago.

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  • #592
    Kanjipad
    Kanjipad
    Keymaster

    Just read an old thread over at Tae Kim’s Blog… If you are wondering if KSP Will be useful for you, read the comments…

    [See the full post at: Heisig Hate]

    #599

    tmasters
    Participant

    Reminded me of a thread I found a couple of months back…

    http://forum.koohii.com/viewtopic.php?id=2674&p=1

    #632
    Kanjipad
    Kanjipad
    Keymaster

    Hi Tom,

    Yes, I have seen similar threads. It appears to be a recurring theme in the online world. The psychology behind it is complex, but I think some people who have learned kanji the hard way are:

    1) resentful of those who have found an easier route to partial (Hesig style) kanji knowledge
    2) desperately keen for others to acknowledge that their own hard-won accomplishments are so much more impressive than ‘just’ knowing 2000+ kanji with one simplified meaning per kanji
    3) possibly concerned that English pronunciations for the kanji may displace or interfere with the acquisition of Japanese pronunciations.

    It’s as though, when a Heisig student claims to have learned 2000 kanji in a few weeks, the non-Heisig student takes it as a personal insult, and is worried that outsiders may confuse this lesser accomplishment with the much more substantial acquisition of written Japanese, so they feel obliged to point out the bleeding obvious.

    I have yet to hear anyone mount a plausible argument that knowing kanji in the Heisig sense is actually a barrier to subsequently learning them properly in the context of written Japanese – though it is theoretically possible that the English keyword could cause interference with the Japanese pronunciation when reading, there are so many other benefits from being familiar with the shape it is unlikely that the interference would really matter.

    It is like the concern in English-speaking primary schools that the names of letters (Ay, Bee, See, Dee) will interfere with the acquisition of phonetic understanding of the letters (most C’s, for instance, are hard C’s, unlike the S-sound in the name of the letter C). In theory, this could be a problem; in practice, it is not.

    I’m also yet to meet anyone who is seriously confused about the difference between Heisig-level knowledge and full knowledge of written Japanese. The student who brags about learning 2000 kanji in 3 weeks and thinks they can now read Japanese is pretty much a fictional straw man, but it is this caricature that is repeatedly attacked in threads like the one from Tae Kim.

    At some stage, I would like to conduct research on the effect of the Heisig approach on acquisition of kanji as used in real Japanese vocabulary. My suspicion is that the Heisig approach, when used properly, would greatly speed up the attainment of the more mature, rounded kanji knowledge that the Heisig critics rightly (and unnecessarily) point out is the necessary precursor to reading and writing Japanese.

    #633
    kat
    kat
    Participant

    In a similar vein… I was googling this issue and found this thread:

    http://thejapanesepage.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=14669

    One guy writes:

    Heisig is a very divisive subject. Some love him. Some hate him.
    I abhor, loathe, detest and abominate him and his process. I think it’s snake oil in a paperback binding.

    I think part of the problem is that the number of people who think it might be nice to learn kanji and get partway through Heisig is much larger than the number of people that follow through and learn Japanese, so the success rate is low. But how many of those people would have learned written Japanese the other way? And what’s wrong with learning kanji in the Heisig sense, just for the fun of it, without going on to become fluent in Japanese? Sure beats crosswords. I actually enjoy it.

    #671
    Kanjipad
    Kanjipad
    Keymaster

    Tae Kim has a follow-up post that is more measured… Worth a look if you are still not sure if a Heisig approach is right for you.

    http://www.guidetojapanese.org/blog/2008/01/31/final-thoughts-on-remembering-the-kanji/

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