Back

Thoughts on using images instead of the English translation in Anki?

#1
I know a lot of people like to use images instead of the English word for nouns in Anki. I don't know how effective this is since it's saying that our perception of an entire object can be simplified to one image. There are millions of different senses and experiences that play into our understanding of these things. That's just what I think, though. Does the method work?

(2017-04-19, 11:35 am)weab00 Wrote: Just to clarify, not for verbs or anything
Edited: 2017-04-19, 11:37 am
Reply
#2
I have thought of this, but while I'm sure it works really well for concrete things like nouns, I imagine it doesn't work too well for abstract words like adverbs and adjectives. It just happens that I find abstract words the hardest to memorize, so I never even bothered as it takes a lot of extra time to find appropriate images for each card.
Reply
#3
Personally, I'd go with keywords all the way. A smart keyword not only will cover the main meaning of a kanji (which will help when learning vocabulary) but will also trigger a certain story in your mind (the best stories are those that center around the keyword directly, NOT the primitives). Also, keywords allow for puns many times, which also trigger certain stories in my mind. And yes, I've changed at least 25% of the keywords given by Heisig to something better (for me, at least).
Reply
6-Month Challenge: Get 6-Month Premium for $66 or Premium PLUS for $166 (June 19th - 30th)
JapanesePod101
#4
I assume OP is talking about vocabulary, not RTK.
Reply
#5
(2017-04-19, 4:37 pm)yogert909 Wrote: I assume OP is talking about vocabulary, not RTK.

It can work with either truth be told. Not 100% since there are some concepts that cannot be demonstrated with images, but a large number can work.

(2017-04-19, 11:35 am)weab00 Wrote: I know a lot of people like to use images instead of the English word for nouns in Anki. I don't know how effective this is since it's saying that our perception of an entire object can be simplified to one image. There are millions of different senses and experiences that play into our understanding of these things. That's just what I think, though. Does the method work?

(2017-04-19, 11:35 am)weab00 Wrote: Just to clarify, not for verbs or anything

Images work amazingly well. If you follow the YouTube series Japanese in a Year, you'll see he uses images and/or target language text in his question fields. While he uses English to learn the concept and help shape the question, beyond that English is removed from that review card. 

Just note that this is not easy. You pretty much have to customize each card which can be time consuming. The result though is you have review cards that are "Concept" -> Japanese. By the way, this works with nouns, verbs, adjectives, and sentences.
Edited: 2017-04-19, 7:24 pm
Reply
#6
I use images where the Japanese definition would be ultra long or annoyingly complex. Think of words like rope, tangled, wooden stake, etc. Also just any nouns for very specific objects that are hard to describe or Japan-specific (such as food items, vegetation, animals, school objects, etc)

But most of the time I use definitions, much perfering Japanese ones. My thought is that i will experience the words outside of Anki and everything will be reinforced through enjoying native materials. Also I just like Japanese definitions since they reinforce Japanese comprehension (as it drives you to not learn just how to read Japanese but to understand it).

It does help get a jump on getting English out of your head for sure.

YMMV, I am sure there are a lot of people out there who love image decks and have great success with it.
Reply
#7
(2017-04-19, 7:19 pm)Nukemarine Wrote: Images work amazingly well. If you follow the YouTube series Japanese in a Year, you'll see he uses images and/or target language text in his question fields. While he uses English to learn the concept and help shape the question, beyond that English is removed from that review card. 

Just note that this is not easy. You pretty much have to customize each card which can be time consuming. The result though is you have review cards that are "Concept" -> Japanese. By the way, this works with nouns, verbs, adjectives, and sentences.
Is there any sort of plugin that puts an image in based on the English word? I tried creating an image deck once, and it took 4x as long than if I had just used the English translation. I don't think I have that much devotion to my Anki decks. The Japanese in a year channel is what got me interested in this method, actually.

(2017-04-19, 9:25 pm)uchuu Wrote: I use images where the Japanese definition would be ultra long or annoyingly complex. Think of words like rope, tangled, wooden stake, etc. Also just any nouns for very specific objects that are hard to describe or Japan-specific (such as food items, vegetation, animals, school objects, etc)

But most of the time I use definitions, much perfering Japanese ones. My thought is that i will experience the words outside of Anki and everything will be reinforced through enjoying native materials. Also I just like Japanese definitions since they reinforce Japanese comprehension (as it drives you to not learn just how to read Japanese but to understand it).

It does help get a jump on getting English out of your head for sure.

YMMV, I am sure there are a lot of people out there who love image decks and have great success with it.
I'm not at the level where I can understand Japanese dictionary definitions yet.
Edited: 2017-04-19, 11:43 pm
Reply
#8
You've hit the nail on the head. Images work just fine, but there's no good automated tools for them and they take a ton of time to build good decks.

I've considered searching out images for certain terms in a mixed deck, mostly for terms where the English translation doesn't give me a precise image. (Ie, 紫陽花 = Hydrangea... but what's a hydrangea? It's one or another of the flowering bushes in my grandmother's garden... I think... unless those were all azaleas?)

But, meh, I've gotten this far reading in English just knowing it's a flowering bush. The same in Japanese should be fine.

For other more common terms (cat, dog, mouse, rose, daisy, oak, pine, etc, etc.) I do have a perfectly good image in my head if I read the English translation, and for more abstract terms and pretty much anything that isn't a noun finding images gets even rougher.


As far as Japanese definitions go, I've passed JLPT1, I read novels and watch raw anime all the time for pleasure, and I still don't use them much. Of course I can read a J-J dictionary and I use Japanese definitions when there's no J-E entry, but I've never seen much point in J-J cards. By the time you can easily read them, you should also be able to fluidly code-switch between Japanese and English on the fly so the 'staying in Japanese' benefit is lost, and if you can't easily read them then it's going to put a serious crimp in your reps.

Plus I'm a big believer in the idea that SRS reps should always be a minority of your studies. Close to half as a beginner, sure, but supplemented with a ton of textbook reading or graded readers, and steadily giving way to time with native materials and become less and less of your regimen over time. Native language definitions will be much quicker to read and let you get to 'other studies' faster pretty much forever, at least until the point that SRS is an insignificant portion of your studies.

I guess if you study for a long time with just or mostly learning materials and SRS, it could be helpful to be more 'pure Japanese' in your SRS time, but I don't think that's a great idea.
Reply
#9
(2017-04-20, 12:30 am)SomeCallMeChris Wrote: You've hit the nail on the head. Images work just fine, but there's no good automated tools for them and they take a ton of time to build good decks.

I've considered searching out images for certain terms in a mixed deck, mostly for terms where the English translation doesn't give me a precise image. (Ie, 紫陽花 = Hydrangea... but what's a hydrangea? It's one or another of the flowering bushes in my grandmother's garden... I think... unless those were all azaleas?)

But, meh, I've gotten this far reading in English just knowing it's a flowering bush. The same in Japanese should be fine.

For other more common terms (cat, dog, mouse, rose, daisy, oak, pine, etc, etc.) I do have a perfectly good image in my head if I read the English translation, and for more abstract terms and pretty much anything that isn't a noun finding images gets even rougher.


As far as Japanese definitions go, I've passed JLPT1, I read novels and watch raw anime all the time for pleasure, and I still don't use them much. Of course I can read a J-J dictionary and I use Japanese definitions when there's no J-E entry, but I've never seen much point in J-J cards. By the time you can easily read them, you should also be able to fluidly code-switch between Japanese and English on the fly so the 'staying in Japanese' benefit is lost, and if you can't easily read them then it's going to put a serious crimp in your reps.

Plus I'm a big believer in the idea that SRS reps should always be a minority of your studies. Close to half as a beginner, sure, but supplemented with a ton of textbook reading or graded readers, and steadily giving way to time with native materials and become less and less of your regimen over time. Native language definitions will be much quicker to read and let you get to 'other studies' faster pretty much forever, at least until the point that SRS is an insignificant portion of your studies.

I guess if you study for a long time with just or mostly  learning materials and SRS, it could be helpful to be more 'pure Japanese' in your SRS time, but I don't think that's a great idea.

When you were a relative beginner (maybe a bit past N5), what did you do for listening practice? That's the area that I'm struggling with the most in my studies.
Reply
#10
It starts out great with "apple" but then you hit words like "decay" or "decadence" and then you spend 20 minutes trying to find the "right" image to get the meaning across, and you could have knocked out 100 vocab cards in the mean time. >_>a

It gets worse when you try to match up words with TV series, or animated GIFs. Animated GIFs can be really useful for verbs, but finding the right one (that isn't the size of a postage stamp) can drive you insane.

And I did mention that in the same time, you could have knocked out another 100 cards, right?

I'm not pooping all over the idea, because I do like it, but I'm pointing out my own experience with it. It's frustrating, because technically, it's the right way to do it. But implementing it is a huge time sink that isn't studying Japanese.

We need a E2A for images. I don't know what that is, though. :\
Edited: 2017-04-20, 11:01 am
Reply
#11
(2017-04-20, 2:20 am)weab00 Wrote: When you were a relative beginner (maybe a bit past N5), what did you do for listening practice? That's the area that I'm struggling with the most in my studies.

Read along with / repeat listen to Erin's dialogs,
https://www.erin.ne.jp/en/

Read along with / repeat listen to JoI teacher's blogs,
http://www.japonin.com/free-learning-too...-blog.html

If you notice yourself mishearing a certain mora (it's written が but you heard な, it's written ら but you heard だ, it's written as けっ but you heard けい, etc.) try repeating that section a few times (the individual lines in the script pages on Erin's Challenge are good for this. Jpod101 has a similar tool if you're subscribed.)

You can do the same with Jpod101, but it requires a subscription, and with NHK News Easy but it's an artificial voice. (I had saved a bunch of dialogs while subscribed to Jpod101.)

If you feel like you're read to up the challenge you can do the same with hukumusume's 童話・昔話 recordings, or with the Harry Potter audio books, or scripts and audio of an anime or dramas that you like. (That's more of an intermediate goal, but you might get there sooner than you think.)

If you have a long commute or a long break, etc., you can also play just the audio for anything you've previously read along with during that time. Even if you don't have that opportunity, it's a good idea to relisten without reading along to strengthen your listening.

When you can listen to previously read material with good comprehension, you can start trying to listen first and read afterwards.

I only had a couple of skype calls with a language exchange partner, but of course, having conversations with a tutor or language exchange partner is also a good way to practice both speaking and listening. Naturally, if you listen to Japanese music you should read through the lyrics for your favorites; that's doubles your recreation into practice, plus the music is (usually) more enjoyable if you can understand what's being sung.
Reply
#12
(2017-04-20, 2:20 am)weab00 Wrote: When you were a relative beginner (maybe a bit past N5), what did you do for listening practice? That's the area that I'm struggling with the most in my studies.

I've been recommending japanese pod101 lately because it's graded so you can always find a level that you can understand. You can also download vocabulary lists for entire seasons, download transcripts of the dialogs, and/or follow along with their line-by-line audio feature.
Reply
#13
(2017-04-20, 2:20 am)weab00 Wrote: When you were a relative beginner (maybe a bit past N5), what did you do for listening practice? That's the area that I'm struggling with the most in my studies.

LingQ is really good for this. They have a ton of material sorted by grades, all with transcript and accompanying audio. It costs a subcription fee to get unfettered access and to download materials, but it was worth it when I was just starting out.
Reply
#14
(2017-04-20, 10:59 am)rich_f Wrote: It starts out great with "apple" but then you hit words like "decay" or "decadence" and then you spend 20 minutes trying to find the "right" image to get the meaning across, and you could have knocked out 100 vocab cards in the mean time. >_>a

It gets worse when you try to match up words with TV series, or animated GIFs. Animated GIFs can be really useful for verbs, but finding the right one (that isn't the size of a postage stamp) can drive you insane.

And I did mention that in the same time, you could have knocked out another 100 cards, right?

I'm not pooping all over the idea, because I do like it, but I'm pointing out my own experience with it. It's frustrating, because technically, it's the right way to do it. But implementing it is a huge time sink that isn't studying Japanese.

We need a E2A for images. I don't know what that is, though. :\

I'd argue that if it gets too difficult to not use your main language, then use the main language especially for more abstract concepts. If it's a timesink, then something is wrong because there's way too much to learn to be wasting time. However, if first page results from Google bring an obvious picture then use that.
Reply
#15
Use both. And use Japanese definitions whenever possible, since it helps contextualize scenarios.

I read a study (I can't recall it, now) about how a definition + an image is better than an image or text definition alone. In my experience, you wind up getting the best of both worlds - the visual and textual precision. So, you don't get confused about what aspect of the image you're looking at, and they just complement each other.
Reply
#16
(2017-04-19, 11:35 am)weab00 Wrote: I know a lot of people like to use images instead of the English word for nouns in Anki. I don't know how effective this is since it's saying that our perception of an entire object can be simplified to one image. There are millions of different senses and experiences that play into our understanding of these things. That's just what I think, though. Does the method work?
I would imagine so. As long as you keep it to concrete, common words.

And concrete, common words are the only ones worth studying in isolation, out of context, anyway.
Reply
#17
(2017-04-20, 2:20 am)weab00 Wrote:
(2017-04-20, 12:30 am)SomeCallMeChris Wrote: You've hit the nail on the head. Images work just fine, but there's no good automated tools for them and they take a ton of time to build good decks.

I've considered searching out images for certain terms in a mixed deck, mostly for terms where the English translation doesn't give me a precise image. (Ie, 紫陽花 = Hydrangea... but what's a hydrangea? It's one or another of the flowering bushes in my grandmother's garden... I think... unless those were all azaleas?)

But, meh, I've gotten this far reading in English just knowing it's a flowering bush. The same in Japanese should be fine.

For other more common terms (cat, dog, mouse, rose, daisy, oak, pine, etc, etc.) I do have a perfectly good image in my head if I read the English translation, and for more abstract terms and pretty much anything that isn't a noun finding images gets even rougher.


As far as Japanese definitions go, I've passed JLPT1, I read novels and watch raw anime all the time for pleasure, and I still don't use them much. Of course I can read a J-J dictionary and I use Japanese definitions when there's no J-E entry, but I've never seen much point in J-J cards. By the time you can easily read them, you should also be able to fluidly code-switch between Japanese and English on the fly so the 'staying in Japanese' benefit is lost, and if you can't easily read them then it's going to put a serious crimp in your reps.

Plus I'm a big believer in the idea that SRS reps should always be a minority of your studies. Close to half as a beginner, sure, but supplemented with a ton of textbook reading or graded readers, and steadily giving way to time with native materials and become less and less of your regimen over time. Native language definitions will be much quicker to read and let you get to 'other studies' faster pretty much forever, at least until the point that SRS is an insignificant portion of your studies.

I guess if you study for a long time with just or mostly  learning materials and SRS, it could be helpful to be more 'pure Japanese' in your SRS time, but I don't think that's a great idea.

When you were a relative beginner (maybe a bit past N5), what did you do for listening practice? That's the area that I'm struggling with the most in my studies.

I would recommend getting enrolled in some sort of Japanese language class where there is NO English. I learned lots of grammar at my local community college courses from a Japanese teacher but he just switched to English whenever people didn't understand or he thought they wouldn't understand. And his teaching method involved tons of Japanese to English translation. Basically, my listening skill an were crap although my grammar was about an N3 level (really pretty good grammar - I liked the class) 

Then I took some online classes at JOI. I took N3 level classes and learned a little grammar but mostly got good review and learned how to listen to and understand a class conducted in Japanese. They do copy and paste English definitions and explanations into the chat unfortunately but they only spoke japanese. It was invaluable.  Also stressful. Being pressured to understand because you need to give a correct response is the fastest way to increase listening comprehension in my experience.
Reply