Returning soon

The KSP project has been busy in the last two months with a major revision of the software, including some important bug fixes, new back-up facilities, and selection of Japanese keywords for the standard 2042 kanji in the KSP list.

A new version will be available very soon, and then posts and lessons will reappear here at the site.

I am also working on another language-learning project, which should allow users to design their own language-testing content and share it with others worldwide. The first two languages offered will be Japanese and English, and the idea will be that native speakers of each language will provide content (pictures and audio) for learners of that language. This will eventually link in to the 2042 Japanese keywords featured in KSP, so you optionally hear Japanese as you draw.

Thanks for your patience.

Android App To-do List

Progress has slowed in the last week because I have been busy with my day job…

Here’s a quick view of what needs to be done:

Complete the lessons. Currently at Kanji 878. A new batch of lessons will be added to the app when I hit Kanji 1000.

Provide images. All core kanji and primitives will have a default image provided, so that users can immediately start using picture hints if they like. Currently users have to add their own pictures. This has some advantages in terms of cementing the memories, but is too much work for many busy people.

Provide image tags. Currently, the grouping of strokes into primitives must be done by each user. Although this is a great way to review the structure of each kanji, it is labour-intensive and most users would prefer that the kanji were pre-digested into primitives.

Japanese keywords. Although I agree with Heisig that it is important to ‘divide and conquer’ the task of linking shapes with meanings and with readings, I have some sympathy for the view that kanji should be learned in context sooner rather than later. I am working on a compromise approach that progresses mature items to a Japanese prompt.

Responsiveness. The current version of the app has slow periods related to loading the dictionary and readings, and checking the stale status of items. This can be optimised. There is not much point checking for stale items during a session, for instance. This can be checked on resumption of using the app, on checking the progress graph, and so on.

The app will not be at its best until these issue shave been sorted out. Thanks for your patience while I work on them. Remember that, during this beta phase, all upgrades are free if you join the beta testing group.

Online lessons available to #663

Just a quick reminder… If anyone is running out of lessons and mnemonics in the Android app, remember that they are available online, here, as soon as I have finished writing them. A new version of the app will be released soon, with kanji mnemonics up to 1000, but for now kanji are covered in the app to ~#500 and here to #663. (The numbers refer to the KP sequence, not to Heisig frame numbers or to other sequences.)

The ultimate aim is to have lessons and mnemonics for more than 2000 kanji, with pictures provided for each radical, and standard combinations of radicals will be tagged within the mnemonics for automatic incorporation of images, for those who want them. I currently get images from Google Images, but I will be switching to my own photos to avoid copyright infringement, and of course these will be made available to everyone. The images won’t be bundled with the app, because this would make the package size excessive, but they can be downloaded and this can be automated.

The latest online lesson deals with the ‘wind’ radical.

Kanji for Wind

Shelf and Moreover

Some of the kanji numbers have changed with production of the last couple of lessons, mostly because I had a number of kanji marked as being dependent on ‘shelf’. These included ‘help’ (), ‘investigate’ (), ‘tatami mat’ () and ‘best regards’ (). Although these kanji do contain a radical often known as ‘shelf’, the appearance of that radical is usually the same as ‘moreover’ (), which is only reached as part of the second five-stroke core kanji lesson.

These kanji had been introduced prematurely because, confusingly, there is also kanji called ‘shelf’ (), which only needs ‘tree’ () and ‘moon’ ().

Moving the kanji around has changed the numbers, which will mean that the current version of the Android app will have slightly different numbers to the online lessons for now. The numbers will be reconciled with the next release.

Keyword Usefulness Test – Update

I am part way through scoring the vocabulary items found at the vocab link on this site. (See this previous post for details.) So far the results have been surprisingly reassuring. Given some of the criticisms of the Heisig approach that are floating around the internet, it would be easy to conclude that the Heisig keywords are arbitrary and largely useless. Instead, most of the words on the vocab list use kanji in a way that is consistent with their keyword meaning. There are many more scores of 5/5 and 4/5 than any other scores.

Once all the items have been scored, I’ll provide some quantitative analysis of the scores.

Let me know if you dispute any of the scores. The utility of a keyword is, of course, subjective, but if there is general disagreement with any of the scores I will change them