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Anki with sentences

#1
I've been seriously studying Japanese for ~7 months now, and I recently learned that I've been inefficiently using Anki this entire time. Humans retain words much better within context than on an isolated vocab list. I'd like to make the switch, but how should I design the card? Should the sentence be on the front with the target word blanked out, and have the back say the word?

e.g. 今朝、7時30に起きて、自転車で学校に行きなきゃいけなかったので、歯を______
and have the back say "磨けなかった"

Is that example sentence too long? I'm new to the sentence thing, so sorry for the novice question.
Edited: 2017-04-17, 6:13 pm
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#2
Go to the wiki and look at the core 10k optimized for rtk. I really like the way it's setup. The only thing I added was a text box to type the answers in.
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#3
For my sentence cards, I simply have the Japanese sentence on the front with and the english translation on the back. I simply need to understand the sentence for a pass.

Other people like to call out the target word by bolding it or repeating above or below the sentence. In that case, you read the sentence and the answer would be the definition of the target word.
Edited: 2017-04-17, 6:21 pm
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#4
(2017-04-17, 6:14 pm)theadamie Wrote: Go to the wiki and look at the core 10k optimized for rtk.  I really like the way it's setup.  The only thing I added was a text box to type the answers in.

I hear the core 2/6/10k decks are good, but I'm trying to optimize this for Genki II.
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#5
(2017-04-17, 6:12 pm)weab00 Wrote: I've been seriously studying Japanese for ~7 months now, and I recently learned that I've been inefficiently using Anki this entire time. Humans retain words much better within context than on an isolated vocab list. I'd like to make the switch, but how should I design the card? Should the sentence be on the front with the target word blanked out, and have the back say the word?
That's one way, but think about your sentence. You may need hints, or just the English translation of the sentence if more than one word can go in the blank... and it usually can.

The way I do it is have one card with highlighted kana for the key term (need to get the meaning to pass), and one card with the highlighted kanji for the key term (need to type the reading exactly and not be far off from the meaning to pass).

Quote:e.g. 今朝、7時30に起きて、自転車で学校に行きなきゃいけなかったので、歯を______
and have the back say "磨けなかった"

Is that example sentence too long? I'm new to the sentence thing, so sorry for the novice question.

I avoid sentences that are that long personally, but it's within my acceptable range if it were the best sentence I could find for the key term.

On the back, I always put the dictionary form of the word, the reading, and the definition (usually but not always the English definition, depends on what dictionary entry I like).
Edited: 2017-04-17, 6:46 pm
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#6
(2017-04-17, 6:45 pm)SomeCallMeChris Wrote:
(2017-04-17, 6:12 pm)weab00 Wrote: I've been seriously studying Japanese for ~7 months now, and I recently learned that I've been inefficiently using Anki this entire time. Humans retain words much better within context than on an isolated vocab list. I'd like to make the switch, but how should I design the card? Should the sentence be on the front with the target word blanked out, and have the back say the word?
That's one way, but think about your sentence. You may need hints, or just the English translation of the sentence if more than one word can go in the blank... and it usually can.

The way I do it is have one card with highlighted kana for the key term (need to get the meaning to pass), and one card with the highlighted kanji for the key term (need to type the reading exactly and not be far off from the meaning to pass).

Quote:e.g. 今朝、7時30に起きて、自転車で学校に行きなきゃいけなかったので、歯を______
and have the back say "磨けなかった"

Is that example sentence too long? I'm new to the sentence thing, so sorry for the novice question.

I avoid sentences that are that long personally, but it's within my acceptable range if it were the best sentence I could find for the key term.

On the back, I always put the dictionary form of the word, the reading, and the definition (usually but not always the English definition, depends on what dictionary entry I like).
How long does it take to make decks generally? Because Genki has around 60 words per chapter.
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#7
I don't like sentences because I learn to recognize the sentences themselves rather than actually learning the content. If I see the word in another context I don't know it. I prefer word cards to sentences in that regard.
But the best of all I think, are short collocations of usually 3 or 4 words, with an English prompt.

Front: お風呂に___  Take a bath
Back: お風呂に入る

In the example above, you can make 3 different clozes out of the same content.
Or you can just do a recognition card with the phrase on front and English on back.
Edited: 2017-04-17, 7:15 pm
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#8
(2017-04-17, 7:14 pm)Zarxrax Wrote: I don't like sentences because I learn to recognize the sentences themselves rather than actually learning the content. If I see the word in another context I don't know it. I prefer word cards to sentences in that regard.
But the best of all I think, are short collocations of usually 3 or 4 words, with an English prompt.

Front: お風呂に___  Take a bath
Back: お風呂に入る

In the example above, you can make 3 different clozes out of the same content.
Or you can just do a recognition card with the phrase on front and English on back.

What about single verbs, that aren't a noun paired with a verb, like さそう? Would just writing "パティーをさそった" work?
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#9
(2017-04-17, 7:41 pm)weab00 Wrote: What about single verbs, that aren't a noun paired with a verb, like さそう? Would just writing "パティーをさそった" work?

Yea, any noun that can go with it is fine.
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#10
Personally I just do Japanese sentence on the front, reading and definition of word taught with that card on the back. Sentances are kept short for fast review as I read my cards out loud. My first 1000 cards had English  definitions but all the rest are in Japanese.

I find I can produce just fine but obviously I forget words and grammar structures, but you're going to do that with lots of production cards too. Watching tv, listening to things and reading helps with this.

A sample card might look like:

Front: お金をたくさ稼ぐかどうかではない
Back: Reading (provided by a reading/furigana generator plugin in Anki)
Definition : 稼ぐ:働いてお金を得る

(2017-04-17, 7:14 pm)Zarxrax Wrote: I don't like sentences because I learn to recognize the sentences themselves rather than actually learning the content. If I see the word in another context I don't know it. I prefer word cards to sentences in that regard. 

I thought this would be a problem too but it honestly goes away when you read a lot. The first few times you won't recognize it but after that you're golden. 

YMMV as I found word only cards to be incredibly frustrating to use and I do use context if I'm having trouble with a card. I do memorize cards but not as much as I thought I would.
Edited: 2017-04-17, 9:42 pm
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#11
(2017-04-17, 7:13 pm)weab00 Wrote: How long does it take to make decks generally? Because Genki has around 60 words per chapter.

It takes me maybe 2 minutes to add each card for the average card (well, key term which creates a kana card always, and another card for each kanji spelling that I include, so usually 1 kana and 1 kanji card), but most of that time is looking up the word and picking out a sentence, then I just use rikai-sama's Anki integration to fill in 90% of what I want on the card. (I guess I'm gonna have to learn how to use yomi to do the same thing soon.) Actual card creation is far less than a minute.

Going from Genki... it depends on if you already have an electronic version of the sentences, how fast you type, etc. On the one hand you're probably manually typing but on the other hand you'll never hit a poor dictionary entry and have to go searching around the web for an example. I think three minutes per card would be a leisurely pace with plenty of time to double check mistakes, you could probably go twice that fast if you're an accurate typist and get accustomed to the field order on your cards.

If you have all the sentences already in a spreadsheet, you could do it a whole lot faster. Typing all the data into a spreadsheet first and then importing it is actually probably faster than filling in the fields inside Anki.


(2017-04-17, 7:14 pm)Zarxrax Wrote: I don't like sentences because I learn to recognize the sentences themselves rather than actually learning the content. If I see the word in another context I don't know it. I prefer word cards to sentences in that regard.
But the best of all I think, are short collocations of usually 3 or 4 words, with an English prompt.
I used to worry about this, but I came to realize two things:
First, that I really just can't apply what I learn from single-word cards. I can answer it in isolation as a quiz question, but I can't read it in context. (What ends up happening is I go to type the word I learned in isolation into a dictionary... and now that it's out of the sentence and I'm looking at in isolation I recognize it and don't even have to search it.)

And then... so what if you learn the sentence? If you can recite the entire sentence from beginning to end the moment that you see the first word and roughly the length of the sentence (which I can for some of my sentences) ... well, then, you've got that word in your memory somewhere obviously because you've got the sentence in both languages memorized!

It turns out though that over a long time and a large deck that sentence memorization happens less and less. The further apart reviews get the less fresh the sentence is in your memory, and the more sentences you add, the more similar sentences you have making it less obvious which sentence you're reading until you actually read the whole thing.

In practice, I'm much more likely to correctly read in context in native materials my 'sentence' words than my 'isolated' words.

I do prefer shorter sentences as too much context can create sentences that practically define the word for you even if you've completely forgotten it, but that's a different issue from the memorized sentence problem. Also easily avoided by not picking sentences with a large amount of redundancy. (For the OPs purpose that shouldn't be a problem. Textbook sentences are generally pretty concise.)
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#12
(2017-04-17, 9:16 pm)SomeCallMeChris Wrote: And then... so what if you learn the sentence? If you can recite the entire sentence from beginning to end the moment that you see the first word and roughly the length of the sentence (which I can for some of my sentences) ... well, then, you've got that word in your memory somewhere obviously because you've got the sentence in both languages memorized!

The thing is, I wasn't learning the sentences. I would just see a word or two plus the vague shape of the sentence and then recall whatever the answer was supposed to be.  I think that tended to be the case more with kanji-heavy sentences though. Anyways, that's my experience.
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#13
I used to worry a lot about learning in context forming weak memories, too, and learned the bulk of all my vocabulary in isolated-word format. But as I get more practice learning words in context, I agree that the words I've learned in context are ones I understand much better and they stick longer. In fact, learning a word out of context can lead to imagining that it's used in way that it isn't (especially if you are using an English definition on the other side of the card), which is hard to un-learn. I think it's part of the reason my reading speed is still very low compared to the number of words I supposedly know.

When you see a word in the wild, unless it's in a word list or a quiz, it will always be with context. So you might as well learn them that way.

If you can possibly manage it, shorter sentences are much easier and quicker to review than long ones, and help you focus on the point to be learned better. I do prefer to have the word highlighted in the sentence rather than to do cloze-sytle, but whatever works for you. I find cloze incredibly slow and frustrating.
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#14
I don't think there is one perfect method for everyone. You might benefit from experimentation and figuring out what kind of learner you are. I've tried various ways, and I find using core6k optimized and reading the whole sentence helps not only the target word, but reenforces the grammar. It then becomes easier to swap adjectives, pronouns, or verbs when I'm trying to construct a sentence on the spot when speaking, since I have a template.

Sometimes when I don't feel super motived I just blast through my reviews without reading the sentence, I think that is ok sometimes too.
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#15
I've flip flopped back and forth so many times between using sentence flashcards vs words but with a sentence on side 2 just to give a little more information.  A big problem you'll find with sentence flashcards, especially if you're making flashcards from sentences you find and not from a textbook, is that it may have more than one word you don't know and or you don't completely grasp the meaning of the sentence - just maybe the gist.  Another problem is that getting through your reviews when you're tired or not in the mood is a pain and sentence flashcards take longer.  And then there's the whole school of thought where you don't know if you're even learning the word at all or just associating the answer with the sentence itself (IE the other words in the sentence whose meaning you DO know.)   Anyway.  Here is a fantastic website for getting example sentences if you don't already know about it.  I was blown away.

http://yourei.jp/
Edited: 2017-04-19, 7:46 am
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#16
(2017-04-17, 6:35 pm)weab00 Wrote:
(2017-04-17, 6:14 pm)theadamie Wrote: Go to the wiki and look at the core 10k optimized for rtk.  I really like the way it's setup.  The only thing I added was a text box to type the answers in.

I hear the core 2/6/10k decks are good, but I'm trying to optimize this for Genki II.

This deck isn't the standard Core.  It's MUCH more well organized.
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