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To those who review words in isolation

#1
To those who review words in isolation: how do you answer to the question?

As an example, if 評価 pops up, what do you recall inside your head if you don't translate the word?
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#2
(2017-04-25, 4:05 pm)cophnia61 Wrote: To those who review words in isolation: how do you answer to the question?

As an example, if 評価 pops up, what do you recall inside your head if you don't translate the word?

I would be recalling an English definition.
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#3
I translate the word. If I can't translate the word (meaning and reading) I fail the card. If I'm trying to puzzle out the meaning and reading, I recall the rtk keywords and that usually jogs my memory where I can remember the meaning and reading. It's rare I don't remember the reading if I know the meaning unless it's one of the roughly 10% of words I confuse with other words.

To your example, I would answer "Valuation", or "Evaluate...Value...oh! Valuation"

I try to keep the answers on the back a simple one or two word answer. I'll use two words if the meaning is unclear, but I don't include multiple meanings if the word has them. Multiple meanings calls for multiple cards with one answer per card.

I hope that's what you are asking.
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JapanesePod101
#4
I translate the word into English in my head. Which I think gets at the heart of the weakness of this approach: unless you automatically remember a Japanese sentence using the word in context, you are basically forcing yourself to translate every time you review. Which is not a good idea.

I say this as someone who used only Japanese word --> Eng translation for many, many years. I have legacy cards that I still review this way. But someone long ago warned me that it wasn't the best way to review (I wasn't ready to hear that, then), and I think they were right. You want to move away from translation back into English as soon as you reasonably can, and unless you use all J-J definitions, this will probably mean reviewing sentences.
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#5
(2017-04-25, 4:05 pm)cophnia61 Wrote: To those who review words in isolation: how do you answer to the question?

As an example, if 評価 pops up, what do you recall inside your head if you don't translate the word?

For vocabulary, my questions are normally English meaning(s) -> Japanese (typed in answer). I also have vocabulary for grammar that's English -> Japanese but that's multiple choice. Drama immersion vocabulary is Japanese audio -> Japanese word (multiple choice). This obviously is translation but I'm saying the word in Japanese, typing in Japanese, then mimicking the audio one more time. A lot of times, the contextual sentence comes to mind.

Yep, almost all of these have one or more contextual sentences. For Vocabulary and Drama immersion, this is Japanese audio -> Japanese sentence (multiple choice). Those I prefer to visualize the scene the sentence evokes so it's more comprehension and less translation. Again, lots of repeating.

Obviously translation is not optimal. Image -> Japanese word would best, but that's nigh impossible for Memrise given how I set the courses there. Seems ok in the long run though given the steps I take.
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#6
(2017-04-25, 5:10 pm)Nukemarine Wrote: For vocabulary, my questions are normally English meaning(s) -> Japanese (typed in answer).

Could you give me an example? Heart
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#7
@cophnia61:
Why do you have to learn words without context? Is there any obligation?
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#8
(2017-04-25, 5:32 pm)pied2porc Wrote: @cophnia61:
Why do you have to learn words without context? Is there any obligation?

I was just curious because sometimes I read people sayng that they review vocabulary cards instead of sentence cards Tongue

to NukeMarine: I've just looked at you YouTube channel, cool!
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#9
The advantage of learning words in isolation is that you might form a stronger memory that can be used when the context is not helpful. However, I'm coming around to the view that nine times out of ten, a memory formed in context is more useful.

(The contrasting situation might be found in Greek or Latin, languages I study a lot, where it is not uncommon that because of a high degree of inflection, a word that you encounter in one form may turn up somewhere else in a form that looks very different. In that scenario, it can be an advantage to have learned the word in isolation, so that you can inflect it in multiple ways. But even in that case, I think that the case for learning meaning in-context has traditionally been underestimated.)
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#10
The japanese teacher I had, always told us to think in japanese, making up scenes/situations in your head and use only japanese...
I think it's a good advice.
I take much more time to translate something in my own language than to understand the meaning of a sentence.
But if you aim to be a translator, you cannot neglect the english part, which is not my case.

For 評価, what pops up in my head are previous discussion I had with japanese people, and japanese youtubers saying 高評価是非 which also helps me to not confuse with 評判
But I usually don't learn words seperately.
I have just started recently an excel sheet with words I choose sparingly (I don't want to build a deck because I want to limit my self to a thousand words). Those are the words I use in my everyday life, in french, and that I'd like to use in japanese, so when I speak I could sound more like myself...
I don't want to fill my head with words I would almost never use. I'm bad at remembering things out of context anyway  Big Grin
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#11
I avoid sentences because I memorize the sentence rather than the words. Pattern recognition, whoop! But like others have said, I want to know reading and rough English meaning, and I keep a sentence on there to understand context if I want to. I think sentences can be useful in some cases, though.
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#12
(2017-04-25, 4:05 pm)cophnia61 Wrote: To those who review words in isolation: how do you answer to the question?

As an example, if 評価 pops up, what do you recall inside your head if you don't translate the word?

I think ひょうか and get the idea of evaluation. If it were a newer word for which I didn't have a good grasp of the meaning yet, I'd try to get the idea and check with the example sentence (only time I don't have an example sentence is the occasional noun I added by hand).
The goal is to recognize without translating; while most of that progress happens while reading or listening, I try to reinforce it with my Anki reviews.

I test words, but I generally have a sentence with them (on the front of the card, but lower down, in a smaller font, and a less prominent color) to use as a quick reference or some context while I'm learning them; most of the ones I added myself are sentences I grabbed with Rikaisama from my reading.
Once the idea of the word is in my head, I only look at the sentence if I'm having trouble (which means I'll be hitting 'hard' or 'again').
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#13
I use single-word cards for readings only without regard for the meaning, though it's often necessary to have at least some idea of the meaning in cases where more than one reading is possible.

I also say each word out loud when answering as I find that the sound of my own voice and the feeling of it on the tongue provides an additional cue for recognition.

I only care about the word meanings in context (reading and listening). I find that the meanings tend to stick fairly readily for words that are already familiar from the reviews.

This approach tends to work best for words with difficult readings and easy meanings. Words with easy readings hardly get any reinforcement due to not really testing anything, but they tend to be less of a problem overall anyway.

Perhaps the main disadvantage is that it's easy to fall into the habit of guessing and end up with a lot of leeches. Reading single-word cards is also very much harder than reading words in context, which is not necessarily a good thing, though it's done wonders for my reading speed.
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#14
I learn words in isolation but in a different format. I also learn sentences but in mcd format.

it's either i'm testing the reading or doing the mcd format. don't make cards where you're asking yourself to recall too much info ie reading AND meaning.

front
___ラずり--「わすられた祝祭」の___を読んでいるうちに
校正用の印刷物.

back
the stuff in the blanks


front
針金 
 金属をひものように細長く延ばしたもの.

back
/ はりがね

I used to do what you did but i find it too taxing and i realized my recall rate is unacceptably bad.
Edited: 2017-04-25, 10:53 pm
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#15
(2017-04-25, 6:10 pm)nohika Wrote: I avoid sentences because I memorize the sentence rather than the words.

Huh If you ever want to have any production skills at all you should be memorizing sentences and not words.
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#16
(2017-04-25, 11:15 pm)tokyostyle Wrote:
(2017-04-25, 6:10 pm)nohika Wrote: I avoid sentences because I memorize the sentence rather than the words.

Huh If you ever want to have any production skills at all you should be memorizing sentences and not words.

This is my understanding of what nohika is saying (and what I feel is the downside of testing sentences only for vocabulary): rather than learning the word from the sentence, the sentence becomes a cue for the answer instead. Thus, if the word is used in any other sentence, there is no understanding of it.
[EDIT: to elaborate a bit more, I tried doing sentences before, and this is exactly what happened; it was easier to latch on to the sentence as a hook than it was to remember the word itself. I could have entered more sentences for the same word to combat this, but that's incredibly inefficient and would have made Anki even more of a chore; reading is more fun for that kind of exposure.]

This is why I test words with a sentence available (but out of the way) instead of testing a sentence with a target word in it. I mostly leave broad understanding and common patterns to recognition and production practice instead of Anki.
Edited: 2017-04-25, 11:45 pm
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#17
(2017-04-25, 11:40 pm)sholum Wrote: I tried doing sentences before, and this is exactly what happened; it was easier to latch on to the sentence as a hook than it was to remember the word itself.

This is exactly what you want to happen. This is exactly the kind of skill that is useful when listening to Japanese in real-time when you must process the information in the order it is presented to you.

(2017-04-25, 11:40 pm)sholum Wrote: I could have entered more sentences for the same word to combat this, but that's incredibly inefficient and would have made Anki even more of a chore; reading is more fun for that kind of exposure.

I also agree with this assertion. Anki is a terrible way to get massive exposure to something. It is however a great way to get a shaky idea of grammar and vocabulary in preparation for mass exposure.

Also, I do always highlight the word that I made the card for so that once it becomes trivial for me I can answer it in isolation. However I probably have less than 30% of my passive vocabulary in my Anki deck. It's just not necessary to put every single word in Anki especially if you have finished RTK and have that as a base for rapidly remembering the meaning of compounds.

If your only goal is to read written Japanese it probably doesn't matter at all how you study vocabulary because you have infinite time for comprehension. However after 10 years of seeing all of the production issues that arise from isolated vocabulary study it shocks me that people still bother to study this way.
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#18
Come on, having Anki deck with isolated words does not prevent you from also having a deck with sentences and from reading books / listening to something.
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#19
(2017-04-26, 12:44 am)tokyostyle Wrote:
(2017-04-25, 11:40 pm)sholum Wrote: I tried doing sentences before, and this is exactly what happened; it was easier to latch on to the sentence as a hook than it was to remember the word itself.

This is exactly what you want to happen. This is exactly the kind of skill that is useful when listening to Japanese in real-time when you must process the information in the order it is presented to you.

I must disagree. If you have a sentence as a question and are answering it with the pronunciation and/or definition of a word, you're not hooking the right bits together. Eventually (and for me, eventually came around quite quickly; usually after the first day or so), you'll recognize the beginning of the sentence and the answer will come to you before you even get to the word you're intending to test. Instead of recalling a word in context, the part being recalled is the context that the word was in.
The problem with this is that the meaning of the word is being hooked with an arbitrary string of words that appear before it instead of the word itself, so when the word appears with a different set of words, it's more difficult to remember.

I certainly don't suggest studying with no context available (as I said, I do keep a sentence available on the front of the card, to see if I can recognize it in context if I can't recognize it alone), but I think there needs to be a separation of the word and its context for testing purposes.

And here, you state that you do separate the word from the sentence (though differently than I do):
tokyostyle Wrote:Also, I do always highlight the word that I made the card for so that once it becomes trivial for me I can answer it in isolation.



tokyostyle Wrote:However after 10 years of seeing all of the production issues that arise from isolated vocabulary study it shocks me that people still bother to study this way.
To me, that sounds like saying you're shocked that people learn about road signs and driving laws after all the inexperienced teenage drivers you've seen on the road: two completely different tasks from the same subject.
Poor production (from my own experience) is a matter of not practicing production; I can read a lot better than I can speak, because I read a lot more than I speak. Just as it's foolish to think that one would be able to operate a machine or play a sport without trouble the first time just from reading about it, it's foolish to think that one can successfully speak or write a language just from having read and listened to it (or, in this case, studied vocabulary).

I think the general idea behind studying words is to give a base for, and later speed up, recognition. If one is studying in other ways in order to improve specific language tasks (reading, listening, writing, speaking), then vocabulary reviews are just a way to keep new words circulating in the brain long enough to remember them; a small part of a language learning whole.
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#20
Usually I translate the word. I'm strict about knowing the reading, but the meaning just has to be the right sort of idea (not exactly the word(s) on the answer side).

Unless a text is too difficult, I don't translate much when reading; so I don't think translating in Anki is a problem. I'm using Anki to get a vague idea of what the word is about, and form some sort of initial memory hook. Then I'll learn the word properly by reading it in many different contexts.

If I know a word well when it comes up for review, I might not translate it before flipping the card, but I know that I know it. I'm still mainly testing the reading.
Edited: 2017-04-26, 4:57 am
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#21
My 2 cents:

People get too caught up in how they are reviewing. Whether they are "translating" or not, how much "context" they need, and all this other BS.

At the end of the day, you aren't learning Japanese from an SRS. You are learning Japanese by seeing and hearing the same things repeatedly in a large number of different contexts. An SRS card, whether it's a single word or a full on sentence, is only giving you a single context, a single sliver of how a word or phrase can be used. To learn this card is not to learn the word.

The SRS is helping you to get familiar with the words so you can recall them a little more easily when you do come across them. We don't always just come across things at optimal intervals in real life. Especially when you are learning a language, its difficult to get massive input to the point that you see all of these words repeatedly. The SRS should be a crutch to help you walk, not the goal in itself.

Everyone should just review in whatever way works for them. Because believe it or not, both ways are going to work just fine.
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#22
Well, thank you all for you answers!

Zarxrax, I think the same as you Smile For me SRS is just a way to review words I already know, it's just to refresh my memory of them. I don't use SRS to study words, and when I review I want it to be as fast as possible.
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#23
(2017-04-25, 5:28 pm)cophnia61 Wrote:
(2017-04-25, 5:10 pm)Nukemarine Wrote: For vocabulary, my questions are normally English meaning(s) -> Japanese (typed in answer).

Could you give me an example? Heart

Not sure if you saw it, but here's a review from today that at 33m30s started vocabulary reviews. Around the 2h52m mark, I started studying new vocabulary if you want to see that process.


Edited: 2017-04-26, 8:09 am
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#24
to Nukemarine: cool! I'm watching it now Tongue

Have you ever faced difficulties with the "english word -> japanese word" method with synonims/quasi-synonims and abstract words?

I've seen the 鳴る example where your prompt is something like "to sing (birds singing)", to disambiguate with similar words (utau etc..). What about more abstract words? Do you use this method for all sort of words or only for the simplest and more concrete ones?
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#25
(2017-04-25, 11:40 pm)sholum Wrote: This is my understanding of what nohika is saying (and what I feel is the downside of testing sentences only for vocabulary): rather than learning the word from the sentence, the sentence becomes a cue for the answer instead. Thus, if the word is used in any other sentence, there is no understanding of it.
[EDIT: to elaborate a bit more, I tried doing sentences before, and this is exactly what happened; it was easier to latch on to the sentence as a hook than it was to remember the word itself. I could have entered more sentences for the same word to combat this, but that's incredibly inefficient and would have made Anki even more of a chore; reading is more fun for that kind of exposure.]

This is why I test words with a sentence available (but out of the way) instead of testing a sentence with a target word in it. I mostly leave broad understanding and common patterns to recognition and production practice instead of Anki.

Yup. I'm guessing that could be avoided eventually if you added enough sentences, but I think it's human nature for your eyes to start at the beginning of the sentence and if I've seen it enough, I know what it means by reading the first two-three words, especially if it's something simpler/shorter.

That being said, I think sentences are especially good for learning the various usages of words, their more colloquial meanings, etc. It's easy to take the definition literally and not be able to grasp the nuances or the other ways it's used. Especially for me, who takes everything overly literally and naturally sucks at learning how words can be used to mean other things (such as nomu being used for taking medicine, etc).
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