February 24, 2006

Multiple ON yomi Kanji - What To Do?

As someone commented in a recent post, what about kanji with multiple ON yomi? "For example, the Kanji for "celebrate" has two readings: SHUKU and SHUU. How do you account for these? Do you put this Kanji into two different Kanji-Town locations, and if so, does it cause confusion later?"

Here is what you do: "Create" the memorable element(the kanji) in one location (Which corresponds to only ONE reading), and then you take that same element, and place it in another location, making sure you're aware that the element/kanji is in more than one spot. Then when you see the kanji in an unknown word, hopefully you'll remember that there are two ways of pronouncing the kanji, and hopefully you'll choose the right one. If you forget the reading, go back and recall what role the kanji played in a particular location, always doing your best to associate the particular atmosphere of the location with the kanji. You're not going to forget the reading for quite some time (Location is a strong memory aid), but make sure you somehow review that kanji and reading some time in the future and enforce the memory aid, otherwise you will forget the connection like you would anything else you don't review.

If you choose the wrong reading (Meaning you knew both of the readings, but chose the wrong one), all I've done is make sure I know the correct pronunciation of the word, then review it several days later. If I recall the reading of the word several days later, it's a nice 成功 (せいこう) :)

Let's take the example of "祝." This corresponds to しゅく and しゅ. I know that in しゅ (The location which corresponds roughly to a war-zone), that teenagers gather around a certain location and celebrate the fun they are having in the battlezone. I see that image in my mind, and then I recall that in しゅく (The location which corresponds to an elaborate amusement park ride) is where a group of teenagers go to celebrate their being on vacation (Assuming that's why they are at such an amusement park). The manner in which the teenagers celebrate in the amusement park has to look very similar to those in the war zone. I'll compare the two images and "look" closely at what the kids are doing. The kids in the war zone are shooting their guns in the air because they're so happy, similar to how the kids in the amusement park throw their hats and such in the air. If I "created" the amusement park location first, I would make sure that what happened in the warzone mirrored what happened in the amusement park. Once this is done, all you need to do is remember this connection a few more times and you're one step closer to Japanese literacy!

If you have further questions, comments, etc. feel free to ask in the comments section :)

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear LittleFish,

Thanks a lot! Your advice is very helpful. You should publish some of your ideas in a of book or something. Maybe even contact Professor Heisig and propose a revision to his second volume to incorporate Kanji-Town.

I for one would definitely buy it if it were revised as such!

Thanks again,
James

10:46 AM  
Blogger LittleFish said...

I'm eventually going to contact Professor Heisig about this method, but I have don't really have any intentions of publishing KanjiTown in a book. If I did (And wanted to take up a lot of pages), I would include my own stories. This would negate the whole point of making something that "works for the user" so I could make a few bucks. As nice as it sounds (How awesome would that be, to actually publish a book about studying Japanese), with the advent of the internet this method can be accessable to many people, and hopefully with the aid of things such as message boards and the overall ease of communication that such advances allow for, like-minded people interested in learning can communicate with one another and come up with ideas, methods of learning, etc. that can benefit present and future language learners (A sort of 'language study think tank,' if you will).

If you feel that I have done the above in any way, then my goal for making this blog and "publishing" these findings has been accomplished. Thanks :)

2:19 PM  
Blogger asynchro said...

In the same boat as you and the previous commenter - I went all out with volume 1, took about 10 weeks, but hit a wall when trying to learn the readings. There just wasn't anything as systematic and effective as the volume 1 method. (I find it ironic that in volume 2 he tells you to learn the readings through essentially the same brute force technique he denounces in volume 1)

As a result, I've spent more than a year dawdling and learning readings ad-hoc, just learning them as I see them, and naturally the more common kanji become naturally engrained. It's still fairly effective, enough that I was able to pass JLPT level 2 on the strength of my kanji alone, but I imagine if I had used this method from the outset, JLPT level 1 might have been in my sights. (the kanji/vocab portion anyway)

This is very similar to the kanji-chain paper I read a while back, but just never got motivated to try. Reading your kaku post got me motivated and while I already know about 10 of the 18 readings through my aforementioned ad-hoc methods, I think I just learned the remaining 8 in a fraction of the time. (like one year versus a day!)

Thanks a lot, and I look forward to reading more about your progress!

11:13 PM  

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