MacSunrise Script 2000 (Stone Bridge Press)

System Requirements: 68030/25 MHz processor or higher; CD-ROM drive; ca. 5 MB hard disk space for controller programs; min. 3 MB free RAM (PowerPC w/ virtual memory on, 3602 w/ virtual memory off) or 4 MB free RAM (B/W mode), 5 MB free RAM (color mode) for non-PowerPCs; JLK not required for basic operation but necessary for readings if readings in kana are desired and for viewing of kanji lists outside the tutorial.
Price: $329 for Script 2000 (2000 kanji), $129 for Script 500 (500 kanji) (Includes KanjiTalk 6.07 for use with older machines)
Review by Cliff Darnall, Elk Grove High School (IL)

MacSunrise Script 2000 is a powerful and attractively formatted kanji study tool that is one part of what the developers intend to develop into an "integrated software system for learning Japanese" that also includes the versatile MacSunrise Kanji Dictionary (sold separately.) Script 2000 opens with a lesson commander that allows the user to choose between hiragana, katakana, and various sets of kanji (for example, a first set of 100 kanji, the next 100 kanji, or kanji #201-#500).Each character's card displays the character in a clear, very large (almost 2") font along with the important readings and meanings in a small font. Readings are in romanized text unless the JLK is installed, in which case kana readings can be substituted. Meanings can be displayed in English or in Spanish, Portuguese, German, French, Italian, or Hungarian. Characters, readings, or meanings can be masked, allowing the users to test their own recall while studying. Also appearing on the main card for each kanji are the Spitz & Hadamitzky, the Nelson, and the JIS numbers.

There are several buttons on the main card, and additional windows are available. One button calls forth an animated stroke order diagram (each stroke appears in sequence, with the stroke direction indicated by the placement of the stroke number at the beginning of the stroke). A second button opens a window which displays a handful of common compounds in an easy-to-read large font. Compounds are chosen using only characters the student has already encountered in the learning sequence, and the user can click on any kanji in those compounds in order easily to study or review that kanji. A third button allows the user to hear pronunciations of either all of the important readings of the kanji or of just selected readings. A fourth button allows the user to record his voice in order to compare it to the sound sample for the kanji. A final button allows the user to mark and unmark the kanji shown on the card for creation of personalized lists for further study.

Additional windows are also available. A browser window allows the user to select the next kanji, previous kanji, or a random kanji from the list for viewing. The browser can be automated, allowing for a rapid overview of the kanji with their pronunciations. The windows containing compounds for a kanji or the graphical information (graphemes and positions) of the kanji can also be browsed individually or in automated sequence. Users can enter notes into a characters/compounds field, a pronunciation field, and a meanings field.

Kanji can be searched for using grapheme (from the set of 80 used in the S&H dictionary.) Meaning and pronunciation-based searches allow for the entry of either/or parameters or wild cards. Other features include the ability to print flash cards of various sizes with various data enclosed.

MacSunrise 2000 is attractive and easy to use, especially if one is comfortable with the simplified grapheme system of the Spitz & Hadamitzky dictionary. The manual is easy to read and includes a discussion of the role of the various graphemes in determining the meaning and/or pronunciation of various characters; one slight omission was information on the voice recording). Having the important pronunciations of 2,000 characters instantly available is a strong point of the program. The voices speak rapidly but clearly, although the sound level was so high as to produce some muffling on my PowerMacintosh 5200/75. Earphones or external speakers might avoid the problem. The program would be even more effective if it included sample phrases for the kanji and compounds and included sound for them as well.

Most appropriate venues: SmGrp, CmpLb, RscRm, SlfSt