Saturday, February 16, 2013


I finally finished Pimsleur Korean I, and I began moving onto Pimsleur Korean II when I realized something: Many Korean words sounded like they used Chinese characters. Although there were no transcripts provided, I could easily imagine the Chinese characters used for certain words. After some investigation, I found this web site: Hanja Dictionary. It is a dictionary of Hanja, or Chinese characters used for Korean. Rather than there being a search box, you paste a Korean reading or a Chinese character into the URL and it displays the character along with word combinations that use that character.

I have a friend that lives in Korea and he told me that although Korean doesn't use the Chinese characters with the same frequency as Japanese (Japanese is not a Hiragana-only language), many words in Korean are Chinese character combinations not unlike ON YOMI character combinations for Japanese. Thus, by memorizing the readings to Chinese characters in Korean, you can learn BUCKETS of words with very little effort.

Which leads to another project: Korea-Town, or location based chain stories, with a different location for each Korean character reading. The amount of time required to create such stories is very small, and the long-term payoff is quite large (As I have learned with Japanese and Chinese). While making a "Korea-Town" mnemonic system isn't high on my priority list, it is certainly there now. I think I will hold off on learning more Korean until I can get flesh out the "Korea Town" mnemonic system.

Once I am finished with my other projects, I will use the above dictionary to group Chinese-derived Korean characters (Hanja) by common reading, and think of a story to link them all together. If you are learning Korean, please give this a try, as I think it will be just as beneficial as the "Kanji Town" and "China Town" mnemonics have been.


  1. Can you talk a bit about your Chinese town? I remember reading something about it a long while ago, but I had no idea it was already being used & successfully. How many characters have you used it to memorize? How exactly does it work?

  2. I did it when I was doing RTK, based on other guy who did it using movies and called it "movie method", I learned all the on-yumi of all the kanjis in RTK, which certainly made the difference, sad the so few people know about it. The funny thing is that it took almost the same effort and time as learning them without the readings, because when you create the stories they already have places/themes attached to them, you are just giving them a meaning. This "place" doesn't need to be a movie or a town and you doesn't need to know it well, it can be anything that you can imagine, I learning them by grouping them, starting with the bigger groups and going to the minor ones, I used whole games and animes series for the big groups and single characters for the small ones.