I have recently been looking at a method pioneered by Professor James Heisig for Japanese Kanji and also taken further by Professor Alan Hoenig for Chinese characters. It basically uses memory building stories that do not concern themselves with being necessarily faithful to the original etymologies of the kanji/hanzi which simply offer ways for people learning Chinese symbols, for Japanese and Chinese respectively, to accelerate their learning of these hard-to-remember symbols.
Professor Hoenig has produced in his book snappily entitled “Chinese Characters: Learn & Remember 2,178 Characters and Their Meanings”, little apocryphal stories for enough characters to cover 95% of a typical text. If you want a taste of Hoenig, to coin a phrase, his website Eezychineezy.com, or something, offers bits of his book for free, but it is not expensive anyway, and there are copies available on Amazon, easy to find. In it, Hoenig freely acknowledges that he is building on foundations laid by Professor Heisig.
Professor Heisig, apart from his sterling work “Remembering the Kanji”, has also published “Remembering the Kana” but it only covers the Hiragana and Katakana. Strangely, it has been left to another professor, this time Professor Hulig (anov) to complete the work with “Remembering the Romaji”.
The work is seen below.
This letter stands for apple, and indeed it can be thought of as a rosy apple – the round part is the fruity bit, the bit at the bottom represents where the blossom was, but died, and the overhanging part at the top (not there in all fonts) represents the leaf you sometimes get with the apple if it was picked that way from the tree. In the capital form “A” you can see a ladder which is used to pick the apples from the tree. Read the rest of this entry