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soaphiae

Hoenig - Chinese Characters

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soaphiae

Hi everyone,

I just came across this book 'Chinese Characters' by Alan Hoenig. It seems to be another book in the Heisig/Mathews mold, but covers 2,000 characters. A excerpt can be downloaded at http://ezchinesey.com/stuff/ChiMeaningsExcerpt.pdf.

Has anyone used this book? (I'm guessing not as the publication date is listed as September 2009). I'm tossing up between getting this book or Heisig's RTH to aid in my character studies. One of the advantages of this new book (for me) is that it includes pin yin, although it doesn't incorporate this into the mnemonics. However, RTK seems to have quite a following and is somewhat 'proven'.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

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AdamD

I had a quick look this week, and subsequently ordered it from Amazon.

It's very similar to RTH in terms of mnemonics, but the mnemonics themselves are different. That alone is useful to me (e.g. I couldn't remember 南 until I saw the mnemonic in this book).

It also covers more than 2,000 characters, which is more than any other mnemonic-based book I've seen. The author claims those 2,000 are the most common but, like RTH, it puts ease-of-learning ahead of utility (I prefer Learning Chinese Characters because it starts with the most common characters, giving you a wonderful sense of progress).

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AdamD

It came. The blurb claims the book is pioneering in its field, which is a bit of a slap in the face of Heisig and others who've been doing it for a while. Where it does eclipse Heisig is that it appears to offer a story for every character.

I doubt I'll ever use it sequentially or to completion, but it'll come in very handy with those abstract characters for which no other book can provide a good mnemonic.

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soaphiae

Sounds good. Not having a story for every character seems to be a common complaint re: Heisig's book. I think i'll buy Hoenig's and give it a try.

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xianhua
I doubt I'll ever use it sequentially

By this, can I assume that the book has an index of the featured characters listed alphabetically by Pinyin?

I could use an accompanying resource in helping to picture the character, but like you, wouldn't necessarily use it in accordance with the book's sequence.

If only I had a six-letter surname starting in 'H' and ending in 'ig', I could write my own book on the subject. :D

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querido

The mnemonics look unstrained and natural to me.

Pinyin included but not incorporated into the mnemonic- good.

Numerically indexed component graphic blocks- good.

Inclusion of some lower frequency chars, such as "small bird", because they are components in many of higher frequency- good.

No community? It will probably grow one.

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AdamD
By this, can I assume that the book has an index of the featured characters listed alphabetically by Pinyin?

Yep, and the same in English, but for some reason there's no character index.

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xianhua
Yep, and the same in English, but for some reason there's no character index.

I'm in - it's on my Amazon 'Wish List'.

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phyrex

Has anybody seen it online somewhere? Pay-for or otherwise? :)

Btw, to the poster above: It says right in the foreword, that it is 'inspired by Heisig'..

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phyrex

Thank you, OneEye. And now again for those that actually read my post and don't just go on assuming I can't google... has anybody seen it online (read: not a link to amazon or wherever where I can *order it* online) somewhere?

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OneEye

:roll:

You mean you want an online or digital copy of the text? You should be more clear and actually say that.

In that case, I don't know, but I doubt it since it's so new.

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phyrex

Yeah, that's what I meant. Reading over it again, my wording isn't as clear as it could be. Still, it's not *that* bad either :P - so be glad that I like your blog and will give you this one without further fight ;)

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M-Segments

I'm a fan of Heisig (1000 characters in 6 weeks with 90% retention), and having read through the free-download PDF, I remain a fan of Heisig. Nothing wrong with Heonig, seems neat enough.

I'm surprised people would be bothered by the fact that Heisig doesn't give stories for all characters. Once you get going (say, more than 500) you've created your own way of picturing things, and it's actually faster to build your own story than to try an reconcile the author's story with your own mind.

(Certainly, every now and then when things get messy, Heisig offers a story anyway.)

Finally, given the amount of experience Heisig has in this (literally decades) and the amount of feedback he must have received, somehow I think that the Hanzi books must have evolved into something solid - so that gives me additional faith in Heisig over Hoenig.

IMHO. YMMV.

Greg

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AdamD
I'm surprised people would be bothered by the fact that Heisig doesn't give stories for all characters. Once you get going (say, more than 500) you've created your own way of picturing things, and it's actually faster to build your own story than to try an reconcile the author's story with your own mind.

95% of the time that's true, but once or twice a week I'll come across a tricky character that just won't stick without some help.

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AdamD

This book fulfils its 2,178-character promise by counting a load of words that neither Heisig & Richardson nor Matthews & Matthews give a unique number to, e.g. 戊. Sometimes it greys the number to indicate it's just a component, but it gets it own number nevertheless.

This doesn't detract from the quality of the book, but people should be aware of it.

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freipole
I'm surprised people would be bothered by the fact that Heisig doesn't give stories for all characters. Once you get going (say, more than 500) you've created your own way of picturing things, and it's actually faster to build your own story than to try an reconcile the author's story with your own mind.

For me other people's stories carry an additional "surprise factor" - I did not invent them, so I didn't expect whatever is at the heart of this specific story: this turn of events, this association, this play of words (or this level of thinking dirty :) ) - and the surprise factor is often enough to make the story stick.

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