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- Updated from beta 0.1 to stable release 1.0
- Feedback is welcome!
Kanjilish is a Firefox add-on that allows you to practice kanji while you read English (or other languages). It helps you learn the meaning of kanji. Since you have to read sometimes in your native language, you might as well practice kanji while you do it. What the program does is simple. It replaces the first letter of a word, or optionally the entire word, with a kanji of similar meaning. For example, the word "read" might appear as 読ead.
The strength of this add-on is that it lets you practice Japanese while you do something you would have to do anyhow, namely read in your own language.
The default installation includes three different profiles, Heisig RTK, Kanji In Context, and Kanjidic. The program replaces the first letter of words defined in the profile with the corresponding kanji (in the case of profiles in which one word can correspond to multiple kanji, one kanji is selected at random).
You can easily create your own profiles or modify the existing ones and add them through the options menu. If you wanted, you could easily create a Spanish version of the Heisig file. One user has already created a French version.
Kanji-lish has many limitations:
It doesn`t have any artificial intelligence in selecting word definitions. For example, it doesn't know how to tell the difference between all of the different forms of bow, like bow and arrow, bow on a present, bow of a ship, bow as in to your boss, etc., which would correspond to different kanji. Thus, it is only accurate on a per word level, not a per sentence level.
When browsing ajax intensive websites, you may need to manually re-enable the kanji-lish, for example when browsing to new mail messages in gmail. In this case, you can simply use a keyboard shortcut.
Although speed has been optimized, on some pages the program can take a while to execute, especially on pages that are very long.
This will help you learn the English meaning of kanji, which is helpful in recognizing kanji characters so you can get to the next step: the Japanese readings. However, it won't teach you kanji. Really, its strength is that it allows you to practice kanji while doing something you would have to do anyhow, namely reading in your own language.
Hopefully you will find the extension helpful in your quest to master Japanese.