Jump to content
Chinese-forums.com
Learn Chinese in China
  • Why you should look around

    Since 2003, Chinese-forums.com has been helping people learn Chinese faster and get to China sooner. Our members can recommend beginner textbooks, help you out with obscure classical vocabulary, and tell you where to get the best street food in Xi'an. And we're friendly about it too. 

    Have a look at what's going on, or search for something specific. We hope you'll join us. 
werewitt

I'm going to try "Cracking Chinese Puzzles"

Recommended Posts

werewitt

Will report how it goes, maybe in half a year. Initially I bought the abridged edition, but it's not really useful - all examples are dropped and the index is absent. So I went and ordered a full set. Hilariously it came with some sort of letter from author to the previous owner. A relic :mrgreen:

 

On the photos - the same characters as described in the abridged (a shorter version obviously) and the full editions. I'm thinking of sticking to 10 new chars a day.

IMG_6145.JPG

IMG_6144.JPG

IMG_6139.JPG

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Site Sponsors:
Pleco for iPhone / Android iPhone & Android Chinese dictionary: camera & hand- writing input, flashcards, audio.
Study Chinese in Kunming 1-1 classes, qualified teachers and unique teaching methods in the Spring City.
Learn Chinese Characters Learn 2289 Chinese Characters in 90 Days with a Unique Flash Card System.
Hacking Chinese Tips and strategies for how to learn Chinese more efficiently
Popup Chinese Translator Understand Chinese inside any Windows application, website or PDF.
Chinese Grammar Wiki All Chinese grammar, organised by level, all in one place.

werewitt

The first minor annoyance - looking specific characters up across the 4 volumes is a bit of a pain - he uses an obsolete variant (version 2 out of three maybe?) of the four-corner method. I've set up Pleco to show the 4-corner number from its Unihan dictionary (UNI), but that number doesn't always match his and I have to try numbers for components or (oh horror :D) actually apply his method to figure it out. Then again, looking up single characters is not a major task with that book, one can simply study it page by page.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
realmayo
10 hours ago, werewitt said:

The first minor annoyance - looking specific characters up across the 4 volumes is a bit of a pain

 

I'd like to put an editable version of that list up somewhere so if people still find TK Ann useful and want to correct some of my mistakes they can. But I don't think enough people are ever going to be that interested in following his books...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
dwq

So you bought it used in Australia?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
werewitt
On 2017-5-26 at 11:47 PM, dwq said:

So you bought it used in Australia?

Surprisingly yes, the cheapest was from a shop in Canberra. Around AUD300 for the whole 5 volumes. And it is practically new, only spines on dustjackets faded from sitting on the shelf for 30 years :) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
OneEye

That is some relic. Robin Hutcheon was editor of the South China Morning Post from 1967-1986.

 

As for the books, I can't say I recommend them. And I can't fathom spending that much money on the set. We have them in our office, and I'm almost positive we paid well under US$100 for them. I believe they're currently being used as a stand for one of our computer monitors, and probably haven't been cracked (pun fully intended, both on the title and on the quality of the analyses) open in years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
werewitt
36 minutes ago, OneEye said:

And I can't fathom spending that much money on the set.

I don't mind, I like books :D I'll probably even pay for your dictionary if it ever materialises. Heck, I already bought the demo addon, but in its current state I prefer Pleco's native decomposition plus this radical dictionary https://www.plecoforums.com/threads/radical-dictionary-flashcards-ios-android-tested.1149/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
OneEye

I'm all for books. That's not what I was getting at. It's the content of Cracking Chinese Puzzles that's lacking, not necessarily the format. But I guess if you keep in mind that the stories are really just mnemonics and don't reflect reality, it's workable. I'd recommend Harbaugh's book over Ann's though, and it's a fraction of the price.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
werewitt

I looked at a few "mnemonics" books (Heisig and whatnot) and found T.K. Ann's the least bad among them :) Re Harbaugh - I cannot push myself to buy his book because it seems to be just a printed copy of his website http://www.zhongwen.com/.

 

Anything in the book's content that's materially better than the website's? If it's like the website, it's a dictionary without any account for character's frequency and I was looking for something I can progress through towards a goal. Not a reference/research tool.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
OneEye

I don't think there's any material difference between the website and the book, apart from the medium. It's also much easier to look up characters in than TK Ann's book, due to using multiple types of index.

 

You could feasibly use a frequency list to decide on a learning order, and then look up what you need for each character in Harbaugh.

 

Actually, I led a group of people in creating an Anki deck from the info in the Harbaugh book once upon a time, maybe 7 years ago. It was a pretty big project. We essentially went through and typed the book in manually. Unfortunately, as far as I know, the Anki deck has long since disappeared. But just as well; it was a mess. Conceptually it was something of a precursor to the dictionary we're working on at Outlier. Or rather, I eventually wanted to take that core data and add more reliable etymological info to it, eventually expanding it into an authoritative resource on character etymology. But then when I met Ash (co-founder and CTO), he had already independently developed a much more sophisticated framework for a dictionary of character etymology, having done much more research on the subject and gotten a much clearer understanding of the complexity of the problem than I had at the time. So we basically went with his idea over mine.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
werewitt
2 hours ago, OneEye said:

Actually, I led a group of people in creating an Anki deck from the info in the Harbaugh book once upon a time, maybe 7 years ago. It was a pretty big project. We essentially went through and typed the book in manually.

Heh, creating an Anki deck as a first step to memorising a ton of words/characters/any unlinked facts is a totally obvious first step for an Anki addict :D 

For example, I've already imported @realmayo's list into Anki and put it through "Chinese Support" plugin. Considering whether it's worth re-typing Ann's book and which parts, but this sounds too boring :) Maybe I'll just add his bisyllabic examples or even simply tidy up definitions as I go (raw CC-CEDICT output is not a great material for memorising).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×