I was reading this forum for quite some time already with a very practical purpose: to find techniques that would help me with learning Japanese.
Below I will describe what I came up with so far.
- PAO for encoding hiragana (i.e. pronunciation of words).
103 PAO including “っ” (small version) and “empty PAO” for padding. Every person is a character from anime, whose name starts with corresponding hiragana (or ends, or otherwise related).
- Radicals to create mnemonics for kanji.
This quite common approach among many tutorials, so I won’t explain in details.
- Memory town for storing vocabulary.
I tried to build a new town using real Japanese buildings. Each building would be assigned to a particular kanji and store all words, that begin with that kanji (prioritized reading skill over speaking therefore did not use categorization by themes). I imagined that kanji somewhere outside the building, and would picture kun-yomi PAO on the left of a picture of the kanji and on-yomi readings on the right. Since most kanjis have no more than three hiragana for one reading there is no need to separate PAO.
- Basic mnemonics (stories) to encode meaning of words.
Again, pretty common thing, described many times.
After deciding on the approach above, I tried to implement it for some time and faced with a few issues:
- Apparently Japanese is more difficult to approach comparing to other language due to its writing system. Usually we need two images: one for meaning and one for sound. Here we need three: additional picture for kanji writing. In the end it is very difficult to picture everything together: a complex picture for kanji writing, then somehow connect it to picture with meaning (it is often easy to combine both into one) and then also PAO for pronunciation
- After learning a few dozens of kanji I realized that many of them share the same pronunciation, these are very common readings: し、しょ、しょう、こう、もう、ほう、きょ、きょう. As a result pictures for PAO get quite repetitive.
- Since PAO pictures usually difficult to tie to a picture of meaning/kanji it teands to wane quickly.
I tried to find help in “Moonwalking with Einstein”, and found this:
This might work, but I think they were training for speed, not long term retention of memories, so might be not applicable in this case.
I would appreciate any help for improving or completely redesigning this system