In reply to this comment in my previous post:

maugrassia

Interesting. I wonder how we’d do it in Japanese?

Indeed, I had thought about this while typing up the previous post so I may as well get off my butt and write about it! Anyway..

Let’s take an entry like this:

♪004 WELCOME!♪

Welcome to MOTHER3 world

ノーウェア島

タツマイリ村

テリの森をこえた先

ヒナワの父 アレックの家

Source: http://book.geocities.jp/onnelist/mother3.html

Now, for me, I would actually take the entire entry and split it up based on the character I wanted to learn. But, let’s say for simplicity’s sake that I wanted to learn island 「島」.

Front:

♪004 WELCOME!♪

Welcome to MOTHER3 world

ノーウェア[#### island -or- 周囲が水で囲まれている陸地。-or- 海中或湖中被水圍繞的小陸地。]

Back:

しま【島/嶋】

http://dictionary.goo.ne.jp/leaf/jn2/100577/m0u/%E5%B3%B6/

So, for this kind of a card, I’ll have the keyword in either Japanese (if I’m ambitious enough!), Chinese or plain old English. Generally, I will opt for Chinese. As in the previous entry, I would do things for pronunciation as well like this:

Front:

♪004 WELCOME!♪

Welcome to MOTHER3 world

ノーウェア[しま#### island -or- 周囲が水で囲まれている陸地。-or- 海中或湖中被水圍繞的小陸地。]

Back:

しま【島/嶋】

http://dictionary.goo.ne.jp/leaf/jn2/100577/m0u/%E5%B3%B6/

If it’s a character I’m familiar with from Chinese, I probably won’t add much more information to it. If it’s a Japanese specific character, then I’ll try and find the Chinese equivalent to explain it.

At any rate, I’ve only got, like, two cards with this thing so I can’t speak much for results yet.

Another interesting method would be to apply Kendo’s lazy kanji method to this too, wherein you put your little story inside the deletion area.

[Now for a quick digression!]

I have found, though, as much as I enjoyed doing Heisig (ha! Typing up all those characters was a blassssst), and I do believe Heisig gives you a stronger sense of fluency than just jumping into the language with Genki books, it can just be a tad too impractical. I mean, it’s the same reason we don’t tend to use paper dictionaries, right? Now we’ve got to stumble through these characters and stories, and take the time to input them into the SRS. Now, if there’s anything I’ve learned from AJATT, it’s that we should be streamlining the process to make it fun and as stupidly easy to do as possible. I think Heisig kind of goes against that.

So, to me, why not kill two birds with one stone? Combine them with things you are probably reading in your immersion environment anyway. I mean, I have seen a lot of people say “hey, you know, I’m reading x book/x manga but only 100 characters into Heisig”. I say, you know, here’s a chance to learn it in context anyway. And I think, simple, basic, English translations are quick and easy to read and impress the character on you faster. Then, as you progress, you switch these into Japanese. Rather than having a bulky Heisig deck with a SRS sentences deck.. unify the whole thing! Then they come back as you do your usual reviews.

I mean, I hate switching between decks. If it’s all in one, it’s better for me. Simple. Straight. Easy. Plus, you can always look back on those old cards as a confidence booster on yourself (“Haha, I didn’t even know ISLAND back then. What a dunce!”) as they come back up in reviews.

Of course, this comes after having studied Chinese for so long that it’s easy to look back and see Heisig as not entirely necessary to learning kanji. But, as is most important, what do you think?