Heisig

From Heisig to Vocab – A Test of Keywords

I have just added a vocab list consisting of 669 entries, which has been recommended for the introductory level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT).

Over the next couple of weeks, I will be scoring each of the entries according to how well the English keyword associated with each kanji would prepare a beginner for the meaning of the actual Japanese word using that kanji. Scores will range from 0/5 (the keyword is no help at all) to 5/5 (a student armed with nothing but the keyword would guess the correct meaning). An example of a 5/5 entry is ‘‘, meaning ‘blue’, which is exactly what the keyword would lead us to expect. An example of a 4/5 entry is ‘‘, meaning ‘afterwards’, which is related to the keyword ‘behind’ but not quite the same.

I’ll publish the results here, for people who are wondering how well a Heisig-style approach will prepare them for learning real vocabulary.