Back

Best way to learn vocabulary?

#1
I've heard of many different ways to learn decent vocabulary. What do you guys do? Has your methods helped you? Thanks Smile
Reply
#2
(2017-04-16, 11:50 am)RayneXero Wrote: I've heard of many different ways to learn decent vocabulary. What do you guys do? Has your methods helped you? Thanks Smile

Scientifically, it just comes down to repetition. Many people do this through using an SRS with either a frequency based list or their own list created from material they have encountered themselves. Extensive reading has also been shown to be effective for vocabulary acquisition if you are reading a LOT and reading material that you can understand. The reason for this is that when you read, you naturally get repetition of words. Narrow reading (reading things from same series or author, or similar genre) is more effective at creating this repetition.
Reply
#3
You could look at one of the Core decks, if you haven't done that. After that, I think reading is the best way, since it's fun, teaches other things, and is motivating on its own. At what level are you at this point?
Reply
6-Month Challenge: Get 6-Month Premium for $66 or Premium PLUS for $166 (June 19th - 30th)
JapanesePod101
#4
Lately I realized how much listening a lot helps with vocabulary retention.
Listening and reading a lot is one of the best thing you can do in order to interiorize vocabulary.
Reply
#5
It's not my "favorite", but this is a technique I find effective. I use Memrise for vocabulary, grammar and drama immersion courses. All three of these have vocabulary sections and I treat each differently (there may even be overlap).

In vocabulary directly (example video here - https://youtu.be/_7oLYZysjZI ), there's two parts. The word part is basically repeating out loud, writing the word out by hand, and noting which yomi goes where if applicable. The example sentence part is simply listening, repeating, then typing out the sentence. As it's Memrise, I "auto-learn" the sentence to avoid the annoying 6 question repetition. This covers about 20 words/sentences in 40 minutes to an hour.

When these get reviewed later, vocabulary words are English -> Type out in Japanese. Sentences are Japanese Audio -> Japanese Text. In both, I'm repeating it like two or three times in addition to mentally imagining the word or scene of the sentence.

Both grammar and drama immersion vocabulary are much simpler. If I already covered it in my vocab deck (unless it's a verb), I ignore it. Beyond that, it's repeat and write down when I learn it, but I might "auto-learn" it as well. Reviewing is either English word -> Japanese multiple choice (grammar decks) or Japanese audio -> Japanese multiple choice (drama immersion). Lots of repeating plus in both of these cases, the words happen to be used at least once in the main sentences.

Personally, in the vocabulary decks, typing out the word to answer it in reviews has been a great change. It makes me much more aware of the correct pronunciation with regards to vowel length or slight differences between what kana is used and how it's pronounced (pitch accents, stress, etc).
Reply
#6
While I agree with the others that reading and listening a lot is key, I highly suggest using Anki (or Memrise, as suggested above, though I personally prefer Anki) in order to brute force a lot of common vocabulary with less bruteness of force than traditional methods. I also suggest using it to review words you find while reading (you'll get a feel for which words you should and shouldn't bother adding).

Reading will always be difficult when you first start, so having a good base of common vocab will help cut down the added frustration of looking up every other word.
Reply
#7
(2017-04-16, 11:50 am)RayneXero Wrote: Best way to learn vocabulary?

In context.
Reply
#8
You just do everything here: Anki initially when you find a word. Save it, and save the contextual sentence. You can just study the word by itself and have the sentence on the back as a reminder of when you learned it, or study the sentence itself with the word bolded. Or have both sentence cards and vocab cards for new words (I do this, since I like collecting the words separately from sentences, and I use different Anki settings for sentences than for words).

You Anki sentences and vocab, and you get comprehensible input for hours each day. Listening helps you really internalize words and hear them quickly and "acquire" them. I don't think you can ever get quick at understanding Japanese without going AJATT-mode and listening to Japanese for hours, since I've studied thousands of words in Anki and had them "known" for years, but now I actually have those words comprehensible as quickly as English words thanks to listening for like 4hrs/day over the past few months.

I don't think that learning words from english->japanese is that useful until you're closer to fluent at comprehension in Japanese, because you're going to have tons of synonyms that you don't really understand and can't differentiate, and you'll learn a lot of words incorrectly.

If you just listen a lot, what happens is this:

You start to master words as such: A scene happens in an anime or j-drama or podcast or something. The character experiences a "feeling" and says a word. You eventually stop translating and just feel what the word is, and don't even think about what it means. Then, when you go to speak, you speak based on that feeling, and because you're mimicing the Japanese you hear, it's correct.

tbh it's just Anki + AJATT.
Reply
#9
There is a heavy push on the internet in general towards massive input and SRS, which may be fine for many, but it does not work efficiently for me. Just not sticky enough. If I don't use the language, I don't remember it. I would recommend trying to speak with natives, have memorable experiences in which you use the language (I learn more useful speech in an izakaya than in Anki), and basically try to integrate what you learn into real life situations. Writing out sentences and (*GASP!*) doing textbook exercises seems to help for me as well.
Reply
#10
(2017-04-19, 9:32 am)johndoe2015 Wrote: There is a heavy push on the internet in general towards massive input and SRS, which may be fine for many, but it does not work efficiently for me. Just not sticky enough. If I don't use the language, I don't remember it. I would recommend trying to speak with natives, have memorable experiences in which you use the language (I learn more useful speech in an izakaya than in Anki), and basically try to integrate what you learn into real life situations. Writing out sentences and (*GASP!*) doing textbook exercises seems to help for me as well.

For me, in the early stages of learning Japanese I did a lot of written translation both into and out of Japanese.  That really helped me to learn a basic vocabulary.

Now reading a lot is helping increase my vocabulary.  Also studying prefixes and suffixes which can be used to form new words.
Edited: 2017-04-19, 11:24 am
Reply
#11
Repetition and patience.  Context, speaking, reading, listening, TV, etc., all good but it all comes down to repetition and patience.  This language is hard for English speakers and takes time.  I jumped into this thread because I was hoping to see some new ideas I hadn't tried too though but I'm pretty sure it doesn't exist haha.  Reading can be a pain especially with the the terrible writing system they use.  I'm finding the text to speech app for iOS Voice Dream helpful to get me reading more and faster.
Edited: 2017-04-19, 10:08 pm
Reply
#12
Repetition is very important because of how our memories work. But I feel how much attention you pay to new words can play a huge role.

I mentioned a while ago that I can only recall some words when I see them. For example, I know what 潜水艦 means (submarine), but I couldn't remember the pronunciation without seeing it. That's the kind of word I wouldn't be able to use in a conversation. In this case, it would be extremely helpful if I made an effort to remember what the word sounds like rather than figuring out the pronunciation based on the kanji when I see it. Whether or not I want to be able to use that word in conversation, my listening and reading comprehension would benefit from this.

There's also the chance you know exactly what a word sounds like, but can't always recall it when you see it. For instance, I know the word 駆逐 without reading it, but it's not the easiest one to read because I'm not used to the second kanji. Here, I think it pays off to take a closer look at the kanji. This is especially useful when there are 2 words with kanji that look similar and your brain tends to overlook these smaller differences and misread them.

There are also words that sound similar and you end up recalling the meaning of the other one. I've noticed that happens to me with 基板 (きばん) and 地盤 (じばん).

The ideal thing is when you hear the word and the meaning is clear to you, and when you read it, it's also obvious. Stuff like 大丈夫, 犬, 俺, お母さん, etc. What I'm trying to say is that if you want more quality, it's a good idea to work on the relationship between sound-meaning or reading-kanji.

I find less common words particularly frustrating because I usually just add them to anki without much of an effort to establish the link between sound and meaning before... so I don't feel that confident in my ability to understand these words when I watch anime. So yeah, that's a quality problem imo. I wish all words were as easy as 大丈夫, which I picked up without any effort before I even decided to study Japanese. So I think making a deliberate effort to work on these 2 aspects first (reading-kanji and especially sound-meaning) can make Anki a more efficient review tool.
Reply