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The Great Anki Wall Crumbles

#1
Nice. I guess it must've been exactly a year ago when I decided to try and reduce the amount of time I spent in anki each day. Here's a graph of my total anki reviews, by week, over the last year. You can see there's a big ole decline, and the peak is exactly 1 year ago:

[Image: Screen_Shot_2017-08-26_at_10.39.15_AM.png]

Since I started spending less time in anki, I've made it a point to spend more time watching anime (1 episode a week, usually) as well as spend more time reading (manga as well as more NHK easy). I've also been taking more lessons.

It seems to have paid off, with a large increase in my J-CAT score in the last year (145 -> 171).

How's everyone else's studying going? 

Anyone else with big changes going on recently? (And even better, with some measurable change they can point to as a result of the change?)
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#2
I hate Anki.  I only keep it on my laptop so I can use it as a database of vocabulary and kanji, when I want to look things up.  Or to export decks in order to make study lists in excel.

But do I use the flashcard SRS thing?   Ha ha ha ha ha NO!!  I have better things to do with my limited free time.
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#3
(2017-08-26, 5:00 pm)phil321 Wrote: I hate Anki.  I only keep it on my laptop so I can use it as a database of vocabulary and kanji, when I want to look things up.  Or to export decks in order to make study lists in excel.

But do I use the flashcard SRS thing?   Ha ha ha ha ha NO!!  I have better things to do with my limited free time.

So how do you retain information? If there's another, more natural way I'd love to hear about it.
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#4
(2017-08-26, 5:00 pm)phil321 Wrote: But do I use the flashcard SRS thing?   Ha ha ha ha ha NO!!  I have better things to do with my limited free time.

Like using romaji?
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#5
(2017-08-26, 6:19 pm)torisan Wrote:
(2017-08-26, 5:00 pm)phil321 Wrote: I hate Anki.  I only keep it on my laptop so I can use it as a database of vocabulary and kanji, when I want to look things up.  Or to export decks in order to make study lists in excel.

But do I use the flashcard SRS thing?   Ha ha ha ha ha NO!!  I have better things to do with my limited free time.

So how do you retain information? If there's another, more natural way I'd love to hear about it.

You could just let it go (i.e. just forget it). Of course, your vocabulary won't be as big but people can't see how big your vocabulary is anyway.  I think this is what most foreigners do in Japan.
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#6
most foreigners in japan also don't speak japanese to a professionally useful level.

i think outside of SRS, the only answer would be to read voraciously and live in the country. that way you're getting a tremendous amount of passive and active input that will act like an SRS of sorts by repeatedly forcing you to bump into these most frequent words over and over again. it's not as efficient as SRS but not as boring either.

the more I think about this the truer it seems...I've yet to meet anyone that speaks good japanese that doesn't 1) live in japan for 1x years, and 2) have a somewhat academic personality, reading a lot of books in japanese.
these people generally also have a japanese spouse.

and that's the way japanese study has been for decades or longer...
it's kind of amazing that in the last 10 years SRS programs come along, and motivated people can self-study from another country to a similar level of proficiency. I passed N1 in 3.5 years, and will be there in chinese in less than a years time. (4 years-ish).
people think i'm a magician but I just play with my phone for 3-4 hours every morning.
Edited: 2017-08-27, 12:50 pm
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#7
It depends heavily on what you read...for a "professionally useful level" it seems better to read boring papers or specialized magazines than novels/manga (and that would only tackle the vocabulary part).
Written and spoken japanese is often completely different.
Even better than reading would be to watch drama/movies/news, but again you have to vary your subject.
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#8
When I see discussions like this one, I can't help but to point people to this almost 10 years old article that appeared on Wired.
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#9
(2017-08-27, 9:08 pm)Inny Jan Wrote: When I see discussions like this one, I can't help but to point people to this almost 10 years old article that appeared on Wired.

Inneresting...

(2017-08-27, 1:00 pm)pied2porc Wrote: Written and spoken japanese is often completely different.

Yes.  I was saying to someone the other day that spoken Japanese has to be approached almost as if it were a different language from written Japanese.  You can't just study written Japanese and expect from that to be able to understand the spoken language.
Edited: 2017-08-27, 9:52 pm
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#10
(2017-08-27, 9:46 pm)phil321 Wrote: Yes.  I was saying to someone the other day that spoken Japanese has to be approached almost as if it were a different language from written Japanese.  You can't just study written Japanese and expect from that to be able to understand the spoken language.


Not so sure if I agree with that. If you can properly understand the written language it shouldn't be hard at all to adapt to the spoken language, it should only take a couple weeks to months of adjusting at most.
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#11
(2017-08-27, 10:19 pm)Nandemonai Wrote: Not so sure if I agree with that. If you can properly understand the written language it shouldn't be hard at all to adapt to the spoken language, it should only take a couple weeks to months of adjusting at most.

That is probably closer to the case with westerners learning western languages. 

Westerners learning social Japanese is a different kettle of fish. Office Japanese is yet another kettle of fish. . .
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#12
(2017-08-28, 12:00 am)scooter1 Wrote:
(2017-08-27, 10:19 pm)Nandemonai Wrote: Not so sure if I agree with that. If you can properly understand the written language it shouldn't be hard at all to adapt to the spoken language, it should only take a couple weeks to months of adjusting at most.

That is probably closer to the case with westerners learning western languages. 

Westerners learning social Japanese is a different kettle of fish. Office Japanese is yet another kettle of fish. . .
It was mostly true for me though. After I passed N1, I went from someone who always blanked out whenever I tried to speak Japanese, to someone who can speak fairly decently in the span of a few months, all because I started going to places where I could get speaking practice.
I admit that my keigo isn't the best, even though I can understand it, but I haven't had much chance to practice it compared with polite and casual Japanese.

A lot of things like manga and dialogue-heavy novels are a great help in figuring out phrases which may be too hard to catch when listening, so I believe it might be easier to go from reading to listening (once someone gets over the initial kanji hurdle) than the other way around. I say this as someone who initially tried to avoid kanji because I then thought I didn't like it, then did RTK and now really like kanji & reading in Japanese.
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#13
I wouldn't go as far as saying that it is two different languages.
You can certainly understand spoken from written japanese or even produce phrases, but I don't think you should rely on written language to teach you how to speak a proper and natural spoken japanese. You would certainly sound weird (unless it is mostly dialogue as mentioned above and you're aware of the differences between those two).
You could read novels all your life and still not being able to produce a natural spoken japanese.
To me massive reading is not the key to learn japanese or any language.
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#14
The 'two different languages' argument holds rather less water now than it did in 1850 or so, I think.
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#15
just for the record I don't think anyone was advocating for an all-reading study method.

I was saying that if you refuse to use SRS, how do you get a professionally useful level of japanese?
that was from LIVING IN COUNTRY and VORACIOUS READING... (and probably many more years than the seasoned SRSers on this forum).

the first component, LIVING IN COUNTRY seems to be getting lost in this discussion.

yes just reading alone will not help anyone speak naturally.
(it will give you 90% of all the difficult aspects of speaking well, but you have to do the easier stuff by just practicing speaking)
Edited: 2017-08-28, 11:48 am
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#16
It depends on what you do in the country.
Just by living in the country won't magically make your japanese fluent (especially Tokyo where everything is romanized and you interact more with machines than humans)
If I were living in Japan I wouldn't spend my time reading that much (not saying that reading is bad, it is necessary), but I will try to interact with native speakers more.
And for those who cannot or don't aspire to live in the country I don't think massive reading will get them fluency or is the best way to fluency.
I might be wrong, but this is my feeling.
I don't know where you get your 90% but I'm not able to quantify that thing, I just feel it is much less than that.
Also I don't understand the "easier stuff". It's not a matter of easy/hard things to do. It is just different. Something that you won't learn in books.
And anybody is welcome to disagree of course. Hope no one get offended.
Edited: 2017-08-28, 12:38 pm
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#17
I feel like people put too much faith in Anki and so I'd like to share some thoughts from the perspective of someone who's used it a lot but mostly done without. (currently using)

It seems to me that when used regularly Anki creates the impression that it is doing a lot more for you than it actually is. Any word that comes up regularly enough or holds enough significance to be "worth remembering" gets added to anki, so anki gets the credit, but these are exactly the words that would be remembered anyway. That's not to say that Anki didn't make the process quicker, more reliable and perhaps more enjoyable*, but the problem is that it makes Anki seem like it's doing more than that. It leads to users to believe "these are the words I added to anki and so remember. These are the words I didn't add and so don't remember."

The other side of this is whether or not you really do lose everything if you don't review in time. People assume that without anki you need massive exposure to make sure you keep seeing everything but this really isn't the case. It's been seven years since I started Japanese but most of that time I wasn't studying, and there were many periods of several months in which I did nothingat all in Japanese. I forgot a lot in these periods (though less than you might expect), but then I looked them up and remembered them again. It really is that simple. In fact these things now seem deeply ingrained due to review intervals of months and years. (Please don't take this to imply that I think inconsistency is good)

To reiterate I am currently using Anki and am not trying to discourage others from doing the same. I just think it gets overhyped and even viewed as "necessary".

*This says nothing about how Anki fares vs other methods of improving recall. E.g. I've been thinking recently that if I got good at making mnemonics it might take mere seconds to create a memory strong enough for the recall period to exceed intervals provided by natural exposure.
Edited: 2017-08-28, 4:23 pm
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#18
(2017-08-27, 9:46 pm)phil321 Wrote: I was saying to someone the other day that spoken Japanese has to be approached almost as if it were a different language from written Japanese. You can't just study written Japanese and expect from that to be able to understand the spoken language.

I hope no one actually takes this statement seriously. Just trust me: you won't be studying a different language, by choosing a method centered around reading. There's plenty of casually written Japanese out there, and even the literary form is still 99.9% the same ol' language.

You CAN in fact just study written Japanese and expect from that to be able to understand the spoken language. Same as with any other language. Japanese is not special in any significant way, in this regard. 

Phil probably just hasn't come across anything written after 1950 yet. That's about the year he seems to be stuck in, when it comes to Japanese study materials.
Edited: 2017-08-28, 8:24 pm
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#19
(2017-08-28, 8:23 pm)Stansfield123 Wrote: [quote pid='246726' dateline='1503888395']
You CAN in fact just study written Japanese and expect from that to be able to understand the spoken language. Same as with any other language. Japanese is not special in any significant way, in this regard. 

[/quote]

The above statement is absolutely untrue.  For example:

Written:  Tabete iru.  Spoken:  Tabeteru.

Written:  Tabete shimatta.  Spoken:  Tabechatta.

There are many other cases like the above.  You have to make a special study of these sorts of spoken contractions. As you will notice, the spoken, contracted forms are not predictable if you only know the written forms.
Edited: 2017-08-29, 9:18 am
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#20
phil321 Wrote:
Stansfield123 Wrote:
Quote:You CAN in fact just study written Japanese and expect from that to be able to understand the spoken language. Same as with any other language. Japanese is not special in any significant way, in this regard. 

The above statement is absolutely untrue.  For example:

Written:  Tabete iru.  Spoken:  Tabeteru.

Written:  Tabete shimatta.  Spoken:  Tabechatta.

There are many other cases like the above.  You have to make a special study of these sorts of spoken contractions.  As you will notice, the spoken, contracted forms are not predictable if you only know the written forms.

You're aware that if you read widely enough you will come across those spoken contractions in writing (books with a lot of spoken dialogue, shadowing books, blogs, twitter, etc), right?
Edited: 2017-08-29, 9:28 am
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#21
(2017-08-27, 12:45 pm)dtcamero Wrote: most foreigners in japan also don't speak japanese to a professionally useful level.

i think outside of SRS, the only answer would be to read voraciously and live in the country. that way you're getting a tremendous amount of passive and active input that will act like an SRS of sorts by repeatedly forcing you to bump into these most frequent words over and over again. it's not as efficient as SRS but not as boring either.

the more I think about this the truer it seems...I've yet to meet anyone that speaks good japanese that doesn't 1) live in japan for 1x years, and 2) have a somewhat academic personality, reading a lot of books in japanese.
these people generally also have a japanese spouse.

and that's the way japanese study has been for decades or longer...
it's kind of amazing that in  the last 10 years SRS programs come along, and motivated people can self-study from another country to a similar level of proficiency. I passed N1 in 3.5 years, and will be there in chinese in less than a years time. (4 years-ish).
people think i'm a magician but I just play with my phone for 3-4 hours every morning.

I remember a while back I made the comment that the hardest thing about learning Japanese is acquiring vocabulary, and someone on this forum jumped all over me and said "no it's not!  acquiring vocabulary is trivial!"  They used the word "trivial".  LOL.  If you're reading this, Mr. Trivial please respond!  (I won't hold my breath). I could probably go back and look and see who it was on this forum who disagreed with me for the sake of disagreeing but I can't be bothered.
Edited: 2017-08-29, 9:36 am
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#22
I read about this a while back, about not using flashcards to remember words:
https://huliganov.tv/goldlist-eu/
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#23
(2017-08-29, 9:28 am)sokino Wrote:
phil321 Wrote:
Stansfield123 Wrote:
Quote:You CAN in fact just study written Japanese and expect from that to be able to understand the spoken language. Same as with any other language. Japanese is not special in any significant way, in this regard. 

The above statement is absolutely untrue.  For example:

Written:  Tabete iru.  Spoken:  Tabeteru.

Written:  Tabete shimatta.  Spoken:  Tabechatta.

There are many other cases like the above.  You have to make a special study of these sorts of spoken contractions.  As you will notice, the spoken, contracted forms are not predictable if you only know the written forms.

You're aware that if you read widely enough you will come across those spoken contractions in writing (books with a lot of spoken dialogue, shadowing books, blogs, twitter, etc), right?

You're confusing the issue now.  You're basically suggesting that the spoken forms are really different forms of the written forms and they can be (e.g., if you're reading manga where the written forms mimic speech) but what I'm talking about is the standard written language that you learn from most textbooks. Learning the verbal contracted forms is more efficiently done by studying special lists created for that purpose; someone on this forum posted a link to such a list once. It's where I learned that te shimatta->chatta. Of course IF you read widely enough you might come across most of them but the fact that there are lists of these contractions available shows there is value in making a separate study of these spoken forms.

Some evidence of what I'm saying is that the footnotes in the JLPT study book I'm using keep glossing these sorts of verbal contractions for the benefit of the student who may be familiar the written forms (e.g., te shimatta) but not the spoken forms (e.g., chatta).
Edited: 2017-08-29, 9:56 am
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#24
Here it is: http://www.sljfaq.org/afaq/colloquial-contractions.html
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#25
(2017-08-29, 9:47 am)phil32 Wrote: Of course IF you read widely enough you might come across most of them but the fact that there are lists of these contractions available shows there is value in making a separate study of these spoken forms.  

Some evidence of what I'm saying is that the footnotes in the JLPT study book I'm using keep glossing these sorts of verbal contractions for the benefit of the student who may be familiar the written forms (e.g., te shimatta) but not the spoken forms (e.g., chatta).

Have you read anything outside of a textbook?
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