sara_tanaquil: (bad kanji)
[personal profile] sara_tanaquil
I already did my chunk of academic writing today (dear god, I have no idea if any of this is any good), which means I get to kick back for a little while.

I don't think I had a chance to do this earlier, but I wanted to thank [livejournal.com profile] mangaroo for pointing me to the Core 2000/6000 Japanese decks that have images and pronunciation. She gave me the link a while ago, but a few weeks past, I finally got around to downloading it, and I've been adding it to my rotation (along with my long-standing decks that I never miss, namely my five-year-old "vocab" and "kanji" decks).

I really love two things about these decks:

It forces me to practice pronunciation. Since I started at the very beginning, I pretty much know all the words (although having to come up with them actively instead of by recognition, e.g. "to speak" --> "hanasu," is good practice - my default deck is recognition-based), but I'm trying to concentrate on getting the intonation right. Japanese words have pitch accent, which I have NEVER learned. For a plus, the cards also have full sentence examples also with audio, which is even more helpful. I have started to recognize all sorts of bad pronunciation habits I have (for instance, I routinely pause between words where a Japanese speaker would slur the two words together, and it appears that my pronunciation of both お and え have been off for years).

It's hard to know for sure yet how much difference this will make, but I swear that lately, when I listen to Japanese audio, it sounds clearer to me. I always suspected that my extreme difficulties with listening comprehension had something to do with my poor pronunciation, but it may have been affecting me even more than I knew.

The second thing I love is the pictures. I am more an audio/analytical learner, meaning that I rarely rely on images, but I've noticed how much easier a vivid image makes it for me to retain some things. As a result, I've systematically been going through and adding images (taken from a Google image search) to the vocab cards in my traditional deck that I have the most trouble with. Again, it's early to tell, but I think it's making a real difference.

On a final note, I've started playing around with my Nazotte oboeru no kanji renshuu DS software again. Sadly, it seems this is largely out of print (sadly, because my cartridge is showing signs of glitches), but I always found this to be the most fun way to practice drawing kanji. Plus, it uses a lot of unusual native-speaker idioms as practice, and while I used to find that frustrating, now I find it gives me a good opportunity to learn new vocabulary.

Date: 2014-03-09 03:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mangaroo.livejournal.com
Ironically, I didn't add the pictures to my anki folders because I didn't want to associate the vocabulary with a specific image. I'm already running into a problem where the English sentence (rather than the specific translation of the word) triggers my memory.

I do think that deck is great for pronunciation, though. I watch my anime subbed, but the voices just fly by me while I'm reading the subtitles. I don't really notice how they're saying specific words, even if I catch the word.

I just wish I were making more progress through the decks. Rolling out one new word a day is necessary to give me the time to learn new vocabulary without getting overwhelmed, but it's ridiculously slow.

Date: 2014-03-09 05:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sara-tanaquil.livejournal.com
I didn't want to associate the vocabulary with a specific image.

What kind of card template do you use? (Looking at my deck, I seem to be using an "English Translate" template - I can't remember if there were originally other options that I deleted, as I tend to work with only one card model at a time. I know I didn't make the template, since it is so complex I've had a tough time making even minor modifications.)

What I get on the front of a card is an English cue-word, a Japanese sentence with the Japanese keyword clozed out (), a picture, and an English sentence. Right now I am looking at the word "warm" and a picture of a guy in a puffy winter coat, and it wants me to come up with あたたかい.

I think I would worry more about the picture (or the other information) providing too much of a crutch if I were trying to look at the Japanese word and remember what it means in English. In that case, I might be looking at a guy in a coat and only then thinking "warm" when I see あたたかい or 暖かい, and it would be the picture and not the Japanese word I'm recognizing. But since I'm coming up with a word in Japanese, I figure I know it regardless of whether the trigger for atatakai was the word "warm" or the picture of the coat.

Using language in context (whether traveling or reading manga), you normally encounter words with a lot of contextual helping information, so I think it's only a problem if you think you simply wouldn't remember what あたたかい means the next time you see or hear it in context.

(Sorry if this completely misses the point you were making... I've wrestled a lot with the issue of studying vocabulary in and out of context, with or without extra clues.)

I just wish I were making more progress through the decks. Rolling out one new word a day is necessary to give me the time to learn new vocabulary without getting overwhelmed, but it's ridiculously slow.

I'd say whatever pace helps you to keep going is the best pace. One word a day is still 365 words a year, which is a whole lot better than the "none" giving up will get you. I've had to wrestle with the question of why some decks seem to stick with me (I have kept "jlpt (vocab)" and "kanji" going for years, but others have come and gone) and others not. And I find how many new words I can add at a time can change radically depending on the nature of the material, or how I feel about it, or just what stage I'm at.

The most important thing for me is that going through my review stack for the day should feel mildly challenging, but not daunting or outright depressing/discouraging, and finishing each one should make me feel like "that wasn't too bad!" The minute I start to feel too overwhelmed, I slow down the pace.

Thanks again for sending me the links!
Edited Date: 2014-03-09 05:18 pm (UTC)

Date: 2014-03-09 06:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wednesday-10-00.livejournal.com
I'm really impressed that you (you = you and Sara) keep up with your flashcards every day. I keep telling myself that I need to practice my kanji writing every day, but then I'll notice a week or two has gone by without touching it. I guess I need to work it into my daily schedule to make it stick; I just haven't found the best time for it yet.

Date: 2014-03-09 11:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sara-tanaquil.livejournal.com
I have found that Anki really works for me because of the built-in incentives (if I miss a day, it just makes the next day's review all the more unpleasant - not undoable, just annoying). I wish I could figure out how to extend my consistency in this area to other daily habits I'd like to develop.

I think we had a chat about this before, but what app has become your preferred one for kanji practice?

Date: 2014-03-10 12:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wednesday-10-00.livejournal.com
I don't know if I would call it "preferred," as it's the only one I've tried, but I use Kanji LS Touch. The other one I've looked at is Japanese My Way, which I'm thinking about downloading just to compare the two. If I ever do, I'll let you know the differences and which one I like better.

Date: 2014-03-10 02:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mangaroo.livejournal.com
the built-in incentives (if I miss a day, it just makes the next day's review all the more unpleasant - not undoable, just annoying).

Bingo. There was even a time when I was allowing the need to do daily reviews to disrupt good sleep habits, so I had to bring my tendency to procrastinate under control.

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