December 25, 2012
I know I’ve seen a lot of websites extolling the virtues of SRS flashcard programs such as Anki or Mnemosyne for language study. In fact the use of SRS flashcards seems to be the de facto way to study vocabulary. The two programs I myself have used extensively have been Anki as well as Memrise and these kinds of programs work, as long as you stay on top of studying with them.
The idea is that the less you know a word the more frequently it shows up in your studies, and those you do know show up less frequently. This kind of repetition is supposed to help you get the vocabulary or whatever you happen to be studying to your long term memory as opposed to your short term memory, where all that vocab you studied 15 minutes before the test went. But if you don’t consistently stay with the studying, no program can help you study effectively.
That is what my problem is, I get all set up with creating a new study deck in Anki and by the time I finish making the cards I don’t feel like studying anymore. I think an important thing to remember is not to over do it. A lot of people are used to cramming for tests in school and that kind of nonstop studying isn’t very good for your motivation or for recall of the information that is being studied.
I’ve found the best way is to study with frequent breaks, maybe for every hour give yourself 10-20 minutes off just to let yourself and your brain relax. If you are like me, you may find that those 10-20 minutes have often turned into 1-2 hours of not studying and possibly even longer. Do not despair, if you can’t get yourself to go back to studying, then don’t force yourself. Forcing yourself to study makes the language learning process stressful and makes you less likely to want to study in the future.
Another thing that may help promote the motivation to study is Memrise gives users “points” as they complete different flashcard courses and shows how far you are in mastering a course through a growing flower. These kinds of things are nice for some who enjoy the achievement aspect of video games, you get to see actual progress from your studies, which may not otherwise be immediately evident. Another website with similar features is Duolingo, which offers Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and English as languages to learn. Some of those languages are newer offers from Duolingo and as such do not have as much to offer students.
There are a ton of SRS programs and websites available to use, although Anki seems to be the go to for Japanese study. If one doesn’t work for you, just try out another, chances are you will eventually find a program that fits your personal needs.
These programs are more efficient than the good old standby of writing out your own flashcards, and should definitely be looked into. Vocabulary is an important part of language learning, and SRS is a very good way to improve the number of words you can remember and read. That being said, these are not as good for things such a grammar. Some decks do include grammar points, but grammar points require more than just memorization of the point itself.
December 25, 2012
What I am attempting here is a pretty lofty goal for myself, so I’m going to think of it as an early New Year’s Resolution of sorts.I want to create a blog that is about learning languages, but not just about learning languages because I am sure there are a lot of blogs out there that can already do that much better than I am able to. No, I want to be there for the people who are like me, terrible procrastinators.
Learning a language requires a lot of time, effort and discipline and those things don’t always jive with the way a procrastinator works. Hopefully, I’ll be able keep myself motivated with this blog while at the same time helping others who also want to learn languages but have found the process a hard one. I’ve studied German for around seven years and Japanese for four in college, and this gives me absolutely no certification to try and help people but I’d like to give it a go anyway.
I will scour the internet for helpful sites, programs, videos and media in addition to blogging about language learning in general and maybe, just maybe I can learn to stay motivated in learning.