Friday, January 2, 2009

Destroy All Dreamers

Enter: the vocabulary deck
Today, I loaded up my sentence deck, prepared to add today's 30 new entries when I was greeted with over one hundred review cards - yikes. So much for those new entries for now.
It then occurred to me that the majority of these obviously weren't sentences, but the slew of vocabulary I've been adding over the past few days. At that very moment, I made the decision to make another deck, dedicated to vocabulary only. Yeah, I'm creating even more work for myself, but hey - it would also be a good opportunity to organize things, and give my Anki decks a bit of a tune-up, if you will.

It took a little over an hour to mine all 200 words (plus dictation on the answer side, because why not?) from step 1 of iKnow's core 2000. In fact, I employed time boxing for most of that time, which helped me keep the pace and ignited my desire to break my last record at all costs! The first 30 minute timeboxing segment resulted in exactly 75 words mined, and the following 30 minute segment resulted in exactly 80 - not too shabby. I plan to mine step 2's 200 words next, after a little break, and then I should be good to go until next 金曜日 when I'll repeat the mining process with step 3, and so on. Theoretically, mining all of a step's vocabulary in advance should fare better than doing so as I'm reviewing, but we'll see how it goes.

Anki ratings
One thing I've been considering is how I rate sentences in Anki. For those not in the know, Anki's current build has four rating buttons for reviews: Again (fail the card and it'll show it to you again about 10 minutes later), Hard (12~ hours later or so for a new card), Good (3~ days for a new card) and Easy (9~ days). What I've been doing for sentences is something like this:

Again if:
  • there are one or more words that I don't understand
  • and/or if I can't comprehend the sentence's meaning
Hard if:
  • I can comprehend the sentence's full meaning accurately, but can't recall the reading of one or more words
Good if:
  • I can both comprehend and read the complete sentence, knowing the full meaning and pronunciations
Easy if:
  • Same as Good, but I can do so very quickly and naturally
Some may argue that a card shouldn't be passed at all unless you can do what I outlined in Good, but I found very early on that it simply takes too much rote to do so through sentences alone. Of course, the same could be said for separate vocabulary, but ahh well - this is how I'd like to try things for now. Less frustration = more goodness.

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