Back to normal

I wanted to post and let those of you who are subscribed (a surprising number, considering my recent silence!) that things around here should be returning to normal. For those that don’t read my other blog, System 13, I’ve recently been busy studying for final exams and writing a term paper for one of my classes. The semester is now over, so I’ll have more time to do language stuff and post here.

I’ve been using Anki diligently, and am still enjoying the program far more than I ever enjoyed SuperMemo. However, I think I need to rethink my usage of it. I’ve mostly been putting in sentence items, based on the ideas presented at and All Japanese All The Time. However, I just came across this page on learning at the Anki website, which makes a fine case for more active recall items, rather than passive stuff. While I don’t have 10,000 items in Anki (AJATT puts forth the “10,000 sentences method”), I think I’ve made enough sentence items in SuperMemo and now Anki to see that they’re not making my production skills advance very much. When I abandoned SuperMemo I had about 600 items; I have about 300 in Anki. In both pieces of software, I was (or am) up to date on all of my reviews – in other words, I should “know” the words or whatever is of interest in each card. Did I in SuperMemo? Do I in Anki? No. I can understand the material, which is better than nothing, but I don’t think I could come close to producing even half of it if I needed to.

By |2007-12-24T12:26:02+00:00December 24th, 2007|Language Geek Site Updates, Language Learning|2 Comments


  1. GeoffB December 25, 2007 at 3:43 am - Reply

    Reading the Anki page you link, I think the program proposes an additional possibility: active production. Anki generates two sets of cards for every item – one from your language to the target and one from the target to your language. I have therefore done two things: 1) When drilling, if I get a card in English, I always pause and say the answer out loud before viewing the card and if I don’t come up with an answer that is either a) identical to the card or b) uses a structure I know is appropriate, I drop it in the mistake pile. 2) When I learn a sentence structure or form, I put in multiple sentences where all but one item (the subject, verb or object, usually) are identical.

    By using multiple items to reinforce structures and being sure to work out your answers from English to the target language, you can build your production skills. It takes a lot more items (I have nearly 1000 in one of my lists), but I’m having better luck with it than anything else of the sort that I’ve used before.

  2. Josh December 25, 2007 at 1:48 pm - Reply

    Geoff: Yes, it does. I’m using that model for many of my cards.

    That’s a good idea to use multiple sentences; I’ll have to give that a try.

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