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Beta testers for Android kanji app

Torrential

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Hi there,

I am looking for beta testers for a new kanji-learning app, which lets you draw on the screen with your finger and coaches you on where you went wrong. It schedules items for revision based on how well you know them, and incorporates written and visual mnemonic aids.

At this stage, I only want one tester for each phone type. It was designed on an HTC One, but is completely untested on all other phones.


Register interest here: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/kanji-sketch-pad


Thanks,

Torrential.
 

Torrential

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The main mode of interaction is to see an English keyword and then draw the kanji, but it can be set to show Japanese prompts, with the kanji being tested masked. It is not intended for learning Japanese vocabulary, just acquiring 2050 kanji. The philosophy is similar to Heisig's Remembering the Kanji.
 

lanthas

 
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This seems like a nice app for practicing handwriting of kanji that you already know (if you're interested in being able to write kanji by hand). Though it seems like the intent is to learn and practice reading and writing kanji from scratch?

For reading kanji, there's no need to know how to write them by hand. Personally I barely write anything by hand even in my native language, so I'm not aiming to be able to write Japanese; as a result I can read and type e.g. 無 without problems, but I couldn't tell you how many vertical lines it has if you asked me, let alone the stroke order. That's extra information which I don't need to know for my purposes, so a lot of effort saved. It's hard enough as it is :)

And for remembering kanji, having only the meaning is not very useful. It doesn't bring you any closer to reading real words like 泥棒 (mud + pole = burglar) or 任天堂 (responsibility + heaven + hall = Nintendo). I tried RTK and quickly gave up; it doesn't list pronunciations or sample words, nor does it warn you about kanji that look alarmingly similar such as 感/惑, 何/伺 and the infamous 土/士/未/末. KanjiDamage worked a lot better for me since it does all of those.

So again, it looks like a nice application that people may find useful - if you change your target audience and present it as a handwriting practice tool rather than a general kanji learning tool.
 
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Torrential

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Hi lanthas,

I understand all that, and recognise it is not for everyone. Different people will want to tackle different aspects of learning kanji in different orders, and I personally like the Heisig idea of making kanji familiar and meaningful as symbols prior to actually learning the Japanese that uses those symbols. I know that some people can't stand the idea. The hand-writing aspect is primarily to encourage motor involvement in the learning process because it improves recall - multichoice is so much less engaging. Because the app replaces finger strokes with neat versions of the strokes, it does not actually require much care in terms of actual hand-writing. I used an early version of this app to learn about 500 kanji and didn't find that the stroke order presented any particular challenge. Once you know the basic principles of stroke order, the natural intuitive order is correct in most cases, so that becomes a side issue as well. You can also enter multi-stroke combinations via picture selection, so you don't have to trace out each stroke if you don't want to.

To use your example of 何 and 伺, I cannot imagine ever confusing them having drawn them both. Whatever tips you used for distinguishing them and other lookalikes can be entered in the mnemonic notes for each kanji, along with any other usage notes of interest, such as the material at KanjiDamage.

The main value of the app is that it makes it fairly easy to learn 2000 kanji in a few weeks, letting you get on with the rest of your learning. If you use Japanese prompts, instead of English keywords, you also pick up about 2000 words of vocab along the way, but that's a side benefit.

Cheers,

Torrential.
 

nekojita

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If the method is working for you, great. I do wish, though, that people wouldn't say things like "learn 2000 kanji in a few weeks", as if you go through Heisig and then that's it, no more kanji learning for you ever again. There's also an overemphasis on the joyo among many learners which imo does more harm than good, obsessing over one particular list which is neither necessary nor sufficient.

For comparison purposes, look at the way the 漢検 tests reading and writing of kanji. Much more applicable to actually using the language.
 

Torrential

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Hi there nekojita,

I think you will find that most people who use the phrase "learn 2000 kanji in a few weeks" are well aware of what this entails and does not entail. I've never met anyone who who actually thought it meant "that's it, no more kanji learning for you ever again," but I have met that straw-man caricature a few times.

If I told my Japanese friend he could learn the Roman alphabet in an evening, would you feel the need to rush in an explain that he would still be left with the much more daunting task of learning how to "actually use the language". Or would you regard that as too obvious to mention?

Cheers,

Torrential.
 

nekojita

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I have in fact seen many beginners think "learn kanji" means just going through the joyo once and getting it over and done with. Or memorising the readings and a "meaning" off flashcards and they'll be done. Or saying, optimistically, that they'll start reading when they're done with Heisig. Not to mention that the vast majority of people do not complete Heisig in a couple of weeks, and that the joyo are certainly not all you need to know.

Your actual claim was:
> The main value of the app is that it makes it fairly easy to learn 2000 kanji in a few weeks, letting you get on with the > rest of your learning.

But there is a great more deal to "learning kanji" than Heisig. "the rest of your learning" will certainly involve more study of those kanji, as well as other kanji not on the list. You're basically lowballing what it means to "learn" a kanji in order to make it sound like your app is going to speed everything up. And you yourself said you've learnt only 500 through your app, so has anybody actually gone through all 2000 in a couple of weeks? What percentage of your testers so far have learnt, even to the Heisig meaning, 2000 kanji through your app in a couple of weeks (define "a couple", also)? Or are you just assigning claims you've seen about Heisig elsewhere directly to your own software (which I would personally call false advertising)

Learning the alphabet is more akin to learning kana, which of course can be done in a much shorter time. In both cases I'd recommend using a system which gives you a few simple vocabulary words to associate letter/kana with pronunciation. I wouldn't, for example, suggest a Japanese person learning English start off by associating each letter of the alphabet with the katakana version of the NATO phonetic alphabet, before they learnt how to spell any English words.

Also, the government hasn't just come out with an updated list of the alphabet which still manages to miss off several commonly used letters while including a couple of obscure ones because they think kids should learn them in high school.

ところで、常用漢字は2136字に増えました。でも味噌の噌も醤油の醤も入っていません。さしすせその「せそ」ですよ。常用の調味料の5分の2が常用漢字で書けません。変でしょう?餅も、餡も、栗も、羊羹の羹も、茄子の茄も、みんな入っていません。常用漢字表は料理好きな人の敵です!

(革命はご飯の後にしましょう。)
 

posidodo

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Just another Kanji recognition app... I am using Kanji Recognizer and WWWJDIC on my Note 3 and Japanese on iPad. So why should I use your application? What makes it so special compared to those applictions I am using at the moment?
 
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