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zedar

What to study after Heisig

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zedar

Greetings,

Im basically new to Mandarin, and on the advise of a few Japanese speaking friends decided a few months ago to start with the heisig simplified hanzi book.

The book teaches english keyword->chinese writing. No speaking, context or sentences.

Will soon finish the first volume of 1500 characters, it will take about 8 weeks total so im very happy with the progress so far. I am using mnemosyne to burn the keyword->mental image->written character in with one way flashcards. (The book recommends one way cards only)

Am now looking for advise/experience on the next steps after the book. I am hoping to read as soon as possible, and start adding words from simple books to mnemosyne.

I am thinking to:

1) gradually attach the pinyin and a sample audio file to the existing heisig cards.

2) add a reverse to the cards, this will create:

english word->character & pinyin & mental image & sound file

character->english word & pinyin & mental image & sound file

But im not sure how long this will take, or if its a good way to progress.

Anyone else using the book or similar study method have tips?

Thanks!

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HerrPetersen

I learned the Kanji version of the Heisig book, and applied it to the simplified hanzi. Making the transition from Heisig to reading stuff I did as follows:

Bought the "Assimil - Chinese with Ease I+II" course, typed it all into a spreadsheet and cut out audio-files for each sentence. Then I put the stuff in anki (mnemosyne for you) and have

a) the sentence read to me (I repeat + write it down check with the answer field if i wrote it right)

B) the sentence typed out in hanzi (I read it out - check pinyin in the answer/compare to reader speaking)

Now I have another book, from which I write out interesting sentences, which I have some Chinese buddies read out for me. In the sentences I have now exactly 900 hanzi which I am testing myself (I oftentimes can read stuff but not pronounce it) - here an extract from the cool "hanzi-counter"-plugin:

This deck contains 900 unique Hanzi.

HSK statistics (characters):

HSK Level

Basic (甲)

645 of 803

80.32%

Elementary (乙)

189 of 798

23.68%

Intermediate (丙)

34 of 589

5.77%

Advanced (丁)

17 of 670

2.54%

The whole process was a huge still ongoing learning experience (both learning chinese and how computers can help you in language learning (pinyin input, generate readings, ...)).

So I did not learn pronounciation of individual hanzi but rather learned how to read whole sentences.

Usually when I test myself on the hanzi (which I still do in anki) I already know the reading. So while I add pinyin for the hanzi in the answer field of the flashcards, I don't care if I know it or not when reviewing hanzi Heisig-style. Works for me. If you want to add sound, go ahead; but of course you will have to deal with multiple different readings for certain hanzi which might be a little troublesome - for me working with the above method seems just fine. Those "blank"-hanzi for which I only know the keyword-meaning are filling up just fine pronounciation-wise :).

PS Great to hear from another soon-to-be Heisig-graduate, who is learning Chinese!

Edited by HerrPetersen

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renzhe

Whatever you do, I'd recommend these two things:

- Continue reviewing the characters in Mnemosyne for quite a long time. You have learned the characters, but you will soon forget them until they are burnt into your long-term memory.

- Get a good textbook and start learning the language. You'll get words, sentences, context, and pronunciation, and will probably find it easier because you'll be familiar with most of the characters.

You probably know this already, but knowing the characters alone will not help you read anything. Knowing lots of words is better, but won't cut it either. You'll need to learn the language like any other language.

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roddy

What are your actual circumstances / aims? In, or any plans to spend time in, China? You say you want to start reading soon, but what about speaking and listening - are you happy to have an uneven skill set, or do you want to make steady progress across the board? Nothing wrong with concentrating on reading if that's what you want to do, but if you've planning to spend time in China it won't get you far.

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OneEye

I'm following the AJATT method more or less. If you're doing the same, you'll need to learn more hanzi before you begin the sentences. 1500 won't cut it. You could go to this site and learn all the hanzi you don't know (by the time you finish Heisig it should be no problem to do this). Or you could use Harbaugh's book (online here) and learn all of those (total of 4280 hanzi), making sure to learn the simplified version when listed.

After you're done learning characters (you'll never really be done, but good enough to last you a while), you'd move on to sentences. I like the idea HerrPetersen mentioned of using Assimil sentences for your first batch. You could even use the course as prescribed in the manual, and also add sentences to your SRS (I'd recommend that). Then you should be more or less ready for native material and monolingual dictionaries (resorting to bilingual dictionaries when necessary).

As roddy mentioned, speaking and listening are a concern. Just expose yourself to as much Chinese material as possible. Stuff aimed at learners is OK in the beginning but you should move to native-only ASAP, even if you don't understand it all, or even most of it. Exposure to the language is key if you want to progress.

Hope this helped!

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flameproof

For those not familiar, you can browse the Hanzi Heisig here:

http://www.nanzan-u.ac.jp/SHUBUNKEN/publications/miscPublications/pdf/RH/RH%20Simplified-sample.pdf

IMHO, it's a waste of time if you JUST look at Heisig as a beginner with zero knowledge. INMO it's for advanced learners that have already a good idea of, lets say, HSK1.

I would stop there right now and go on with something else. Yes, Assimil is quite good and I like their format too. I specially like that their CDs are English free. So if you can't find the English CD, get the French or German one. They are all the same.

At the same time I would go on and do something that associates the characters with sound. The Chinese Breeze books are very good IMHO, and they come with a CD too. They are well below 1500 characters (around 300 they claim), but that's good enough for a start.

PS: for those interested in Heisig's book, I find the Matthew book way better. It teaches the sounds too, and even hast stories to remember the sounds.

http://www.amazon.com/Tuttle-Learning-Chinese-Characters-Revolutionary/dp/080483816X

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Hedge

I did the Matthews book and a couple of hundred more characters after that (I know 1015 characters). I now do sentences from my text books and also from anime and movies I watch, manga/Chinese Breeze books I read.

I'm following the AJATT method more or less. If you're doing the same, you'll need to learn more hanzi before you begin the sentences. 1500 won't cut it.

I disagree with this, you should know most of the Hanzi that are in the beginner textbooks and you can always learn those you don't know. I do agree that at some point you should do a new batch of characters, following the Heisig/Matthews methods, but it definitely doesn't hurt getting exposed to the language with 1500 characters under your belt. It will also solidify the characters you have already learned.

I plan on finishing my two text books 基础汉语40课 1 and 2 and also my Modern Chinese Grammar book. Then I'll do a new batch of characters.

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OneEye
I disagree with this, you should know most of the Hanzi that are in the beginner textbooks and you can always learn those you don't know. I do agree that at some point you should do a new batch of characters, following the Heisig/Matthews methods, but it definitely doesn't hurt getting exposed to the language with 1500 characters under your belt. It will also solidify the characters you have already learned.

I plan on finishing my two text books 基础汉语40课 1 and 2 and also my Modern Chinese Grammar book. Then I'll do a new batch of characters.

I guess it depends on your preferences. There isn't a right or wrong way to do things. However, if you're following the AJATT method, you do learn the characters up front. In Japanese you learn the Joyo kanji before you start any sentences. It would only make sense to learn a comparable amount of hanzi for Chinese, and since Chinese is ALL hanzi and uses more of them, it would only make sense to learn a bigger chunk of characters (again, if you're following the AJATT method to the letter rather than just borrowing from it). This way you can move on to real, native material sooner rather than using textbooks.

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Hedge
However, if you're following the AJATT method, you do learn the characters up front. In Japanese you learn the Joyo kanji before you start any sentences. It would only make sense to learn a comparable amount of hanzi for Chinese, and since Chinese is ALL hanzi and uses more of them, it would only make sense to learn a bigger chunk of characters (again, if you're following the AJATT method to the letter rather than just borrowing from it).

Actually, Khatzumoto started learning sentences and doing characters at the same time after 2500 汉字 (in his Mandaring studies). In Japanese you also have RTK3, but most people start sentences after RTK1/2.

So yes, it is up to the individual to decide. It is wrong to say that if you are following the immersion method (or AJATT if you want to call it that) you have to do ALL the characters up front.

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OneEye
Actually, Khatzumoto started learning sentences and doing characters at the same time after 2500 汉字 (in his Mandaring studies). In Japanese you also have RTK3, but most people start sentences after RTK1/2.

Where did you read that? It doesn't really make sense to me. He had already learned all 4280 characters at zhongwen.com before starting Japanese, so why would he need to learn 2500 characters at all?

So yes, it is up to the individual to decide. It is wrong to say that if you are following the immersion method (or AJATT if you want to call it that) you have to do ALL the characters up front.

Maybe that's where I'm not communicating well. The immersion method is one thing, but AJATT is a very specific method that is laid out pretty clearly here. And this chart clearly separates the Kanji and Sentences phases.

phase.chart.png

But like I said, there's no right or wrong way. There are certainly different ways to do "immersion." AJATT is just one of those ways, and it's pretty specific about order. I'm not saying you can't adapt it and do it the way you mean, but that's what it is: an adaption.

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Hedge
khatzumoto said,

October 17, 2007 @ 7:47 pm

@Max

>Can I ask how long it took you to learn the 4280 characters you started with?

It took me a while. At about 2500-3000 I started learning sentences and doing characters at the same time.

Yes, for Japanese you should do the Kanji first, but that doesn't necessarily mean you have to do all the 汉字 first. At least Khatzumoto, who created "the AJATT method", did not. If you know 2500 of the most frequent 汉字 you have covered 98.5% usage. Thats more than enough to start learning sentences and the actual language and still be following the AJATT method:)

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OneEye
Yes, for Japanese you should do the Kanji first, but that doesn't necessarily mean you have to do all the 汉字 first. At least Khatzumoto, who created "the AJATT method", did not.

He learned 2500-3000 before he started learning sentences with Japanese. That's quite a bit more than the 2042 in Heisig's book.

If you know 2500 of the most frequent 汉字 you have covered 98.5% usage. Thats more than enough to start learning sentences and the actual language and still be following the AJATT method

Sure. The original point of contention was that the 1500 from Remembering Traditional/Simplified Hanzi was enough. I don't believe it is. I suggested learning more and mentioned one source that has 3000 and one that has 4280. You told me you disagreed. Now you're agreeing with me. :D Still, 2500 is quite a bit more than 1500 and that would do just fine.

But as we both mentioned, you would have to learn more characters later on. But I think the more you learn up front the better, so you can start pulling sentences from just about any native source without having to worry about there being so many characters you don't know yet.

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Hedge

Hehe I do agree with you that the more you know up front, the easier it is to learn vocabulary and sentences. But its easier to burn out if you aim to learn 4000+ characters before dipping your toe in learning to actually use the language (at least for me). Also, for me, I have been living in Shanghai for over a year now, so it was out of necessity that I started sentences earlier.

Anyways I think we agree on most points and that personal preference and circumstances will dictate how one utilizes immersion methods:)

Edited by Hedge

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OneEye

True. 4280 is pretty daunting. I'll probably do 3000 before sentences and then learn the rest on the side as I go.

PS - Back to your regularly scheduled thread. :mrgreen:

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renzhe

You'll be learning from a lot of strange sentences if you expect to need 4300 characters before you start.

I'd imagine that 3000 characters can cover everything you need for enough exposure you need to learn from context, and if you chose your corpus well, far less than that.

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HerrPetersen

I think doing RS/TH1 and then starting to add material until you have, say, words/sentences worth 1000+ hanzi or so under your belt and then going for the next 1500 in RS/TH 2 (or whatever other source you chose) is the way to go. With 1500 you can do already quiet some stuff and you have a chance to see that the Heisig-way actually does work for you and Chinese. Also, once you see the hanzi in action - they are really burned into your mind.

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zedar

Thanks everyone for the comments and interesting discussion, some great advise :)

Im now at about 1300/1500 for the first book, and still using mnemosyne every day. I plan to use it well into the future.

After about 1000, I noticed to could make reasonable sense of some areas of magazines and newspapers with pictures. I have started to circle and collect common words from the characters so far and might put them in another list in mnemo soon.

Have also started adding the reverse cards from the earlier chapters, and putting in the pronunciation.

For anyone considering the book, my experience so far has been:

- 6 weeks, ~10-12 hours study a week.

- 1300 characters

- study time spent revising characters from mnemo, and creating the 'stories' relating to new characters. some time in data entry to mnemo.

- mnemo averages about 100 characters a day, more after a large chapter

- Averaging 80% correct, 10% correct elements but wrong character layout, 10% no memory. Most wrong answers are easy to fix with some adjustment to the 'mental story'

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HerrPetersen

Great to hear, you are well on your way!

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anon6969

There is a second Remember The Simplified Hanzi book covering another 1500 characters (taking the total to 3000 for both books). However I can't find an Anki deck for the second book - can anybody help me?:help

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HerrPetersen

The 2nd book is not out yet and it probably still will take quiet some time to make. :(:cry:

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