KanjiCard (Kazuko Nakajima)

System Requirements: CD-ROM drive; other requirements to be announced
Price: to be announced
Review by Cliff Darnall, Elk Grove High School (IL), first reviewed for ACTFL '92

is being revised for System 7. KanjiCard 1.0, the System 6 version, was a competitively priced, very useful multimedia aid for the learning of Japanese kanji characters. It allowed the reader to study 300 basic kanji which used 152 selected radicals and characters. Included were the 221 first and second year kanji from Japan, plus several others typically taught early to persons studying Japanese as a foreign language. The learner could locate a kanji he wished to study through one of five indexes: a kun-on sound index, an English meaning index, a radical index, a stroke number index, and a suggested learning sequence index. For each kanji, the student could access not only readings (in kana or romanized text) and compounds but also example phrases containing the kanji and compounds. All of these had clear, native speaker pronunciation available. The program provided animated stroke-order diagrams, isolated and identified the radical, and included printed, handwritten, and any classical forms of the character as well as the calligraphy-style example on the screen. What my high school students particularly enjoyed was the well-drawn, humorous animation which presented a mnemonic for each character. The program could also display a list of similar kanji from among the general use characters, and those which were in KanjiCard could be immediately referenced. For each kanji there was a "situation" selection typically showing the use of the kanji in a photograph of a building or an advertisement or another realia-based environment, often with a short cultural comment. Finally, there were self-testing options and a flash-card printing utility.
I hope that the new version will include more options for moving quickly from one kanji to another, including a browse mode and customized list creation. I do look forward in any case to the reintroduction of this useful and enjoyable program for helping students begin a study of kanji.

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