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Remembering the Kanji (Books 1 and 2) new ed (Size: 6.9 MB)
Books 1 and 2; zipped pdf. thanks to original uploader...
The aim of this book is to provide the student of Japanese with a simple method for correlating the writing and the meaning of Japanese characters in such a way as to make them both easy to remember. It is intended not only for the beginner, but also for the more advanced student looking for some relief from the constant frustration of how to write the kanji and some way to systematize what he or she already knows. The author begins with writing because--contrary to first impressions--it is in fact the simpler of the two. He abandons the traditional method of ordering the kanji according to their frequency of use and organizes them according to their component parts or "primitive elements." Assigning each of these parts a distinct meaning with its own distinct image, the student is led to harness the powers of "imaginative memory" to learn the various combinations that result. In addition, each kanji is given its own key word to represent the meaning, or one of the principal meanings, of that character. These key words provide the setting for a particular kanji's "story," whose protagonists are the primitive elements.
In this way, students are able to complete in a few short months a task that would otherwise take years. Armed with the same skills as Chinese or Korean students, who know the meaning and writing of the kanji but not their pronunciation in Japanese, they are now in a much better position to learn to read (which is treated in a separate volume).
Paperback: 460 pages
Publisher: University of Hawaii Press; 5 edition (May 2007)
Following the first volume of Remembering the Kanji, the present work takes up the pronunciation of characters and provides students with helpful tools for memorizing them. Behind the notorious inconsistencies in the way the Japanese language has come to pronounce the characters it received from China lie several coherent patterns. Identifying these patterns and arranging them in logical order can reduce dramatically the amount of time spent in the brute memorization of sounds unrelated to written forms.
Many of the "primitive elements," or building blocks, used in the drawing of the characters also serve to indicate the "Chinese reading" that particular kanji use, chiefly in compound terms. By learning one of the kanji that uses such a "signal primitive," one can learn the entire group at the same time. In this way, Remembering the Kanji 2 lays out the varieties of phonetic patterns and offers helpful hints for learning readings, which might otherwise appear completely random, in an efficient and rational way. A parallel system of pronouncing the kanji, their "Japanese readings," uses native Japanese words assigned to particular Chinese characters. Although these are more easily learned because of the association of the meaning to a single word, Heisig creates a kind of phonetic alphabet of single-syllable words, each connected to a simple Japanese word, and shows how they can be combined to help memorize particularly troublesome vocabulary.
Unlike Volume 1, which proceeds step-by-step in a series of lessons, Volume 2 is organized in such as way that one can study individual chapters or use it as a reference for pronunciation problems as they arise. Individual frames cross-reference the kanji to alternate readings and to the frame in Volume 1 in which the meaning and writing of the kanji was first introduced.
Paperback: 397 pages
Publisher: University of Hawaii Press (January 2008)