Just because I’ve been quiet doesn’t mean I have lost interest. And just because my title indicates such extreme opposites does not mean this post is going to discredit any previous opinions I had about Heisig – but I had to make you wonder, didn’t I? How else would I get you to read this post?
I’m still going at it – slowly, chipping away at every hanzi in my Heisig & Richardson book until I *think* I’ve got it stored in my memory.
As I incrementally add more and more chapters to my deck and test myself on yet more hanzi, I find there’s increased opportunity to forget what I’ve learned as well as get terribly confused. It’s all very exciting. With 1500 characters in the book I’m just over half-way through…
I am still loving it or rather nearly as much as I did when I wrote my first post – Small Victories: my progress in learning simplified characters with Heisig…. Frankly speaking though – it is a bit more challenging now. I’ll admit that there’s perhaps been a tinge of boredom – but then again, I get bored with stuff easily. I need variety – it’s the spice of life.
I’ve mentioned too in a previous post that the characters I struggle with would justify a post of their own – so I present – for your pleasure – a list of the little buggers (at least just some of them) that make me depressed, angry or just slightly peeved depending on how rough my day’s been ;D
#502: Formerly / 曾
Heisig’s story is simply no good for me and mine sucks even more – in fact I did not even dream up a story of my own. I kind of remember this one just because I remember it – there is absolutely no story aiding my memory. When I’m presented with the keyword ‘formerly’ this is what goes through my head “oh this character has that politician story that doesn’t work for me – it’s the character that looks like a little robot or insect” and then I just write it cause it’s in my visual memory anyway. Sorry Heisig no offense intended – I absolutely adore some of your other stories or visuals – in fact I love the pond one – brilliant… (508 / Water and scorpion primitives = a scorpion dripping venom drop by drop till there is a whole pond of the stuff. ) I love visuals like that – those are heavenly.
#511 Alone / 独 and Lonely / 寂
So easy to confuse these two, isn’t it? As I was writing this post I figured out what I needed to do to remember these two different characters.
Alone / 独
I kept Heisig’s story which is about a pack of wild dogs, starved, surrounding a poor insect – a sad image portraying what it feels like for the bug to be alone. I kind of think of one of those bug-eyed bugs in ‘A Bugs Life’ and the hyenas in ‘Lion King’ drooling over the bug (thanks Pixar and Disney), and then imagine how the little bug wishes that he wasn’t alone and that he had some help from another insect bug so that he could escape and see the light of another day.
Lonely / 寂
So you’ve got your uncle and the house / roof primitive above him. Well I imagine an imaginary uncle (he’s sort odd looking and unattractive) and he’s sitting at his dinner table feeling really sorry for himself singing that annoying song ‘Lonely I’m so lonely’.
I imagine that by bringing this annoying song into the story I’ll now be able to distinguish between these two characters.
#379 Stop 止 [zhǐ]
I have difficulty remembering the meaning of this character – but am sort of ok with remembering its primitive meaning of ‘footprint’ (even though I think this footprint looks like it should belong to E.T.) As I’m sitting here writing this post I’m actually thinking of a school patrol where one older (taller) kid is holding up the stop sign barrier while the smaller kid is waiting patiently behind the older kid before she is able to cross the street. So I guess I might go with this image because the character kind of suits this image. Not sure why I didn’t think of it before but it popped into my head again as I was writing about this. I think I should blog more about difficult hanzi… Am happy to hear your thoughts or ideas please though…
#384 Look forward to / 企
This one might not be much of a surprise really if you know I’ve had difficulties with #379 (stop). No real bright moments here from me on this one though – maybe I’ll get this one in future if I sort out 379 stop. Personally I can’t see myself looking forward to sitting under an umbrella and stopping everything I’m doing. I’d probably enjoy that kind of thing for 5 mins and then feel like I need to be doing something. Perhaps I’m too literal about it but seriously this character won’t stick in my mind.
#392 Transcend / 超 and #393 Surpass / 越
What a confusing mess these two have been. I’ve kept Heisig’s stories in both instances – and my visuals are right and they are very different but these two characters have been confusing for these two reasons:
- Both have the character for walk on the left.
- The meaning of these two characters both have the idea or connotation of “crossing” a certain point. So I’ve struggled with these and I’ve had them confused plenty of times and I’ll probably do it again.
Perhaps blogging about it will make the difference…#WishfulThinking
#598 Bring Up 提 and #395 Topic 题
As in ‘bring up an idea or topic for discussion’ with the primitive for fingers and the character for ‘be’. Easy enough as I think of a conference where you raise your finger to get the speaker’s attention thereby bringing up a topic for discussion. The problem though is that I confuse this character with #395 Topic 题. Both these stories have the word ‘topic’ in them – hence the common ground for confusion.
#568 Aspiration 志
When I think of a soldier’s heart I think of bravery – a very brave heart. Obviously everyone would aspire to have a brave heart but not everyone would aspire to be a soldier and so the meaning is a little out of whack with my natural line of thinking and every time I see this character I get it wrong. It’s not even like I can tell myself that I had aspirations to be a GI Jane when I was a kid cause I didn’t. I’m probably not making sense. Oh what to do …
I hope you enjoyed my list of difficult hanzi – if you have any tips or advice – do share – it’s always great to hear other people’s thoughts There is some comfort in knowing that other Mandarin learners have experienced similar issues and it’s only natural and expected that people would have similar experiences – but it’s great to be able to read about their experiences and see exactly which characters had been problematic too for them. If you’re interested, take a look at these two articles as they have been helpful to me too:
- Bill’s experiences here: ‘Difficult Hanzi’
- Mandarin Segments run by Greg – see ‘Reading (day 32) – bad week & bad mistakes’
Lastly, are you studying hanzi too? Do you have any posts I should read or would find interesting and what are your experiences? What tools do you use and what methods are you using? I’d be keen to hear so please leave a comment. Don’t be shy. I’m not…
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