Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Well, considering you're still alive and well, I guess I'll just have to mutter under my breath instead. Respectively.

But seriously now - I love your method, but some of your primitive keywords are just plain retarded. I've really tried to roll with most of these, but lately I've been finding my face between both palms every other primitive I come by.

Come on. Kazoo? Spool? Mandala? I've coped up until now, but mandala was the straw that flattened the camel into a bloody, steaming pulp. It's just not a keyword I can see myself remembering, even if it's a concept I'm familiar with (I consider myself lucky for knowing its meaning; think of how many others who had to look up the definition), nor is it one I can see myself effectively working into a mnemonic.

As an example, 慢 (ridicule) is made up of state of mind and mandala. Now, could you honestly think up a short, simple mnemonic for ridicule using those two primitives? I sure couldn't. I try and keep mine as painlessly short and simple as possible (two lines or less in Anki), and "mandala" was, quite frankly, giving me a brain cramp trying to work around.

Therefore, I replaced its meaning with one far more effective, in my mind: hipster.

I think you can see where I'm going with this one.

Anyhow, due to the nature of this type of mnemonic learning, Heisig's primitive keywords won't always be effective, in which case it couldn't hurt to make up your own - just make certain your keyword won't later interfere or otherwise confuse you with another kanji's keyword; if you think about it, Heisig's are all named in this manner, so that it's pretty much impossible to mistake a kanji keyword with, say, sunglasses or fiesta. Follow his example, but by all means, use keywords that make sense to you.

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