Dear Prof. Heisig…

This is a post from my old blog, from May 2011. It’s part of a series of resurrected older posts that I still think are useful for language learners. This particular post has been heavily edited for clarity and brevity.

Chinese ≠ Japanese

Perhaps 90% of Chinese characters are composed of both a radical and a phonetic. For Japanese learners, ignoring this phonetic component when learning characters is fine – the radical-phonetic link is not apparent until a large volume of Chinese loan-words have been encountered. Furthermore, characters are commonly loaned for native Japanese words irrespective of pronunciation. Thus, for some characters, it may take a lot of time and frustration to identify the radical-phonetic link, so Prof. Heisig’s method of using sophisticated mnemonics to remember seemingly-randomly composed characters is appropriate.

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L2IR Karaoke

This is a post from my old blog, from 2011. It’s part of a series of resurrected older posts that I still think are useful for language learning. This particular post has been edited for clarity and brevity.

Ages ago I wrote about using an SRS for learning L2 songs.  I’d been elaborately chopping up songs and pasting the audio into SRS cards along with lyrics snippets.

And you know what?  It worked really well.  I learnt quite a few Cantonese songs that way.  The only problems were that splicing and dicing the audio using Audacity took too long and that forcibly listening to the 10-12 second audio clips grated a little after a while.

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Incremental Reading

This is a post from my old blog, from 2011. It’s part of a series of resurrected older posts that I still think are useful for language learning. This post is almost identical to the original.

Something I’ve been trying recently is a variant on what SuperMemo calls ‘incremental reading’, and which I arbitrarily name ‘L2IR’ (second language incremental reading). Essentially, rather than simply adding sentences to my SRS ‘blind’ (i.e. there’s no extra information in the card anywhere about the context), I’ve been using an extra field to copy-pasta the passage it came from.

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