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What to study after Heisig


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thanks, sending the code helped me.

I think I misunderstood something. I was hoping for a list of Heisig keywords and possibly the stories to these keywords. I must have been a little bit sleepy, when I read your explanations.


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  • 7 months later...
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Great threat - exactly what I am looking for. :D

I made it through the first 504 simplified hanzi (leasson 1-19) during the past 28 days, so I am confident to finish the first book by the end of January. I am using the German version, but would have no issues to switch to the English version for volume 2. At the end its the order of hanzi that makes this method so efficient. But my hopes to see it published in January 2010 are low...

So I am very greatful for this threat - "how to continue after Heisig volume 1"

@HerrPetersen & Ole:

Excellent work, but all in traditional hanzi, if I am not mistaken. Any suggestions for simplified hanzi? :help

http://zhongwen.com/ also looks very nice, but is sorted by traditional hanzi, too. :-?

Thanks a lot!

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@Patrick - iKnow (now smartfm) is changing its layout every now and then. Unfortunatly (mostly) not in a good way. But the content stays pretty much the same and the last time the anki-input plugin offered both simplified and traditional charachter import-.

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Thanks for the hint. Importing via the smart.fm Anki plug-in worked fine and I was very happy to see that there are tradional and simplified characters present.

Unfortunatly both are shown in the expression field:

trad: 6號超過了所有的選手。

hans: 6号超过了所有的选手。

Is there a more simple way than going via Excel to split them into seperate expression fields?

Is there a tool to show me how many of these I do already know? Or is this also best handled in Excel?

Thanks a lot for your advice.

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Do look at the threads at this site, which are somewhat in parallel to this site. The "Any news when the second book will be published?" thread is tracking Heisig's progress (慢慢走). There's even a "Hanzi beyond RTH" thread parallel to this one. They are planning an online site for an SRS for RTH/RSH but it is not ready yet (the site has an SRS for the Kanji book).

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After I get through both volumes of Heisig, I'm going to work through Richard Harbaugh's Chinese dictionary, which has the characters arranged by their structure, similar to how Heisig arranges and introduces them in his books. That way, knowing all the primitives, I'll be able to get my character count up to 4280 or so. Then I'll probably go through TK Ann's Cracking the Chinese Puzzles and get the numbers up to around 6000.

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I am really interested to see that people are so *exclusive* in their studies. In this context, they learn ONLY from Heisig, planning to only then start sentences, and then audio, etc. Or only audio, but no pinyin or hanzi.

I find that by learning using multiple streams [Heisig] [podcasts] [flashcards] [reading], each one actually supports the other in a way that one method can't do itself.

For example, I had been using flashcards, but retention was frustratingly low. As soon as I started Heisig, and there were overlaps on words I had seen in flashcards, things just 'clicked'. My retention of flashcards shot up, and even the Heisig learning I had been doing, I noticed my memorisation was faster and recall was higher in relation to words that had come up previously in flashcards.

So, having now finished book 1 in around 3 months at half an hour a day (from pretty much zero ability to read before that -> which I've blogged about), my recommendation is don't be too exclusive - try mix things up a bit.

Good luck


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  • 1 year later...

I'll ditto the above to say that it is interesting to see people working in this way. As this seems to have all happened a fair few years ago I'd also be interested to hear from any posters that are still around on the forum how the progression from knowing hanzi in the Heisig method (which I still find quite peculiar and have as yet steered clear of mnemonics for characters..) to learning Chinese proper actually worked out.

Personally as for me hanzi came after some Chinese knowledge it has really helped to lock in the character, meaning and pinyin/audio all at the same time - so a word becomes a solid unit of all these things, which I believe it to be for Chinese using their language and the long-term goal of language learners. That said, it's interesting to see some people switching to this method already part way into study so if it's a win-win that's great all round!

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  • 9 years later...
On 4/8/2009 at 3:33 AM, imron said:

To improve my reading speed, what I do is select a passage of text - this can be anything from 100 characters to a few thousand characters. Make sure it is something that is at your Chinese level. Nothing slows reading down like not understanding something. Go over the passage slowly, making sure you understand the meaning of every word and sentence, looking up and learning the ones you don't know - obviously you want to keep this to a minimum, hence the importance of selecting the right text. If you find the text is above your level, then you need to find a different passage. Now get a stopwatch (most mobile phones have them). Time yourself reading the same passage again at your normal reading speed. Calculate your reading speed in characters per minute (cpm = characters / seconds * 60). Let's say it came out to 100 cpm. Set yourself a target goal of 110 cpm and now read the same passage again but purposefully try to read it faster. Note any places that you got stuck on, or slowed you down and go over them closely until you are sure that they won't slow you down the next time. Repeat the process until you can read the passage at your target speed. Once you can do that, switch to a new passage of text and repeat the process. Once you can reach your target level on a new passage of text the first time you read it, set your target higher (say 120 cpm), and begin everything again.


I really struggle with slow reading speed [maybe 800-1000 words per hour if I am focused]. I read the old posts on this forum.

I wonder why you @imron recommended reading the same passage over and over until you reach your target speed. With familiar texts, is it not obvious that you get faster to the point where your brain can anticipated the next sentence? Why would this translate into overall improvement in reading speed?

  • Good question! 1
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1 hour ago, Jan Finster said:

Is it not obvious that you get faster to the point where your brain can anticipated the next sentence?

Reading fast involves more things than just knowing the words. In order to train those other skills you need to practice on things you already know, because not knowing things slows you down.

You want to get to a point where all those other skills are automatic reflexes that don’t require you to exert any brainpower, and those skills will then carry across all your reading. 


Being able to anticipate words in advance is one of those skills.


Once you get to the point where you are doing that you can move on to a new text, and drill it until you can anticipate the words, and then move on to a new text and drill it, and then so on until you can start to anticipate words in previously unseen texts without slowing down and without any effort because you are so familiar with common collocations.

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