When I first thought to learn some Japanese, there were so many resources out there. Full on guides, actually. Opinionated Anki decks, plenty of learning apps, and even clever browser or media addons to help with making new cards a breeze.
The same could be said for most languages out there. With the top languages of the world, you can feel at ease with whatever defacto path advertised.
…Except for Chinese. There’s content out there, definitely, but I found myself having to stitch it together. A feeling of being lost, where to begin, is this the best way?
This isn’t to discredit or discount the resources already out there. Plenty of information out there! If you seek enough you’ll find the answers. I just found myself modifying my learning plan and then tripping up a lot and feeling like I’m probably missing a thing or two.
For those just wanting to get started, it’s pretty nice to have an Opinionated Way to follow and then tweak only when you’re further along. Even with Anki I found myself overwhelmed with all of the knobs you can turn to “optimize” your experience when it instead, at least for me, detracted from the task at hand. I was more worried about whether I’m learning this the correct way rather than just accomplishing the task: to learn Chinese!
What makes Chinese or Japanese especially difficult is having to learn all of the characters used. How they look, what they generally mean, pronunciations too. Once you build up a sizable knowledgebase of Hanzi, then you can actually begin to build up your intuition of using the language.
HanziHero is built with the hope of making that difficult part as painless as possible. You’re going to have to learn all of the hanzi sooner or later, and the sooner you do the better off you’ll be.
HanziHero is modeled after what I found to be the most effective path with Eastern languages, which is Remember the Hanzi & Remember the Kanji from James Heisig.
He introduced the mnemonic method of learning the characters. And mnemonics, I find, are the cheat codes to learning.
Unfortunately, the books from Heisig are a bit dated, and I found myself tripping up with some discrepancies, some inconsistencies.
It needed a refresh for the new century.
So, here’s HanziHero. Beta, specifically, as we haven’t fully finished the curriculum.
Making 3000+ mnemonics is no small feat. But we’re on our way there (2200 and counting), and wanted to share what we’ve made so far to get some feedback, make it more useful to others. So here’s the commemoratory beta blog post as a little announcement.
By the way: while in beta, HanziHero will be free to use. We don’t have a solid pricing plan yet in store.
HanziHero is what I wish I had when I first started to learn Eastern languages in general. Hopefully you’ll find it useful!