As of last night, 11 days into the experiment, I have finished lesson 14 - taking me to a total of 336 characters. My recall is around 90% - although I'm going to do a full review session later today, so I'll get a better idea of whether I'm lying to myself.
On average I'm doing about 20 minutes a day, learning about 15 new characters every day.
Some of my technical observations from the last week are:
- Normally the best time for me is last thing before I go to sleep - because recall the next morning seems strongest.
- I found lesson 11 a bit 'abstract' so I was trying to be as visual as I could. Unfortunately, this was just before bed-time, and I spent the night dreaming about Chinese! In my dreams I was trying to memorise, trying to recall - and getting stressed. I woke up very tired!
- I'm finding the Heisig-method visualisations very powerful in differentiating between some hanzi which look very similar - like 犬 and 尤
- I'm learning not to deviate from the method! For example, this is the character for cry: 哭. I didn't bother constructing a "story" for this because I could see this looked like someone crying. Simple. Unfortunately, when I tried to recall it during a revision session, I was trying to remember the story that links the 'primitives' of the word - not remembering that I'd bypassed that part. OK, always use the story from now on!
- I already knew the character 高 (tall) - so I was a bit lazy in constructing the story. A couple of days later I realised I could not write it - even though I would easily be able to read it. Again, I'm learning that I shouldn't deviate from the formula.
- I twittered this a few days ago: "Going to try clarify in my mind difference between 'same', 'uniform' and 'equal' - so I don't confuse 同 匀 & 均 with my Heisig visualisations"
- I jogged past my local Chinese restaurant the other day, which I simply know as "Royal China". I had previously (a year ago?) tried to memorised the Chinese name (皇朝) - but I had zero recall. This time I immediately recognised the characters, the story, the meaning. Flawless.
- I went to MandMx where they have great cartoons in English & Chinese, and looked through the collection of food cartoons. From not being able to read much of anything a few weeks ago, to generally being able to follow the meaning (obviously there were holes in my comprehension) is a huge success. Feels great.
- Was looking through some old notes written in pinyin - and suddenly they looked so plain! Where were the Chinese characters ... tsk tsk. I guess this means there is no going back.
Don't forget to subscribe to Mandarin Segments, to keep an eye on my progress. And I look forward to some comments & suggestions from you.