Tuesday, November 3, 2009

New Item Regularity

Here is my present system of regular item adding (And it seems to be working well):

Every full moon I must have 1,000 more items than the previous full moon. Since each full moon is about 30 days apart, I must create between 30-35 new flashcards a day (A reasonable amount).

This creates a simple, unchangeable deadline. And because there are no tests to cram for, the deadline is not as scary as a "finals week" deadline might be.

So each time the full moon comes around, it is a constant reminder that I am 1,000 items richer.

(Photo credit: countryfydgirl from Flickr)


  1. Hi, I don't know if this is really the best post for this comment, but thought it wouldn't hurt.

    I was really impressed by your recent-ish comment on AJATT about how you got past JLTP level 2 thanks largely to idioms and vocab-building flashcards.
    I'm a student of Japanese who's been following the 10,000 sentences method in a similar way, but I've found that even though it builds vocabulary painlessly and effectively it never really improved my ability to use particles correctly or to connect statements correctly and fluidly.
    In other words, the method hasn't really helped me much with the grammar and I was wondering if you had had similar problems and, if so, how you overcame them.
    I'm planning to alter my flashcards so that example sentences on the 'question' side have particles left out (with them left in on the 'answer' side of the card) and I'll experiment with one or two other things as well. But I just wanted to hear your thoughts on this issue.

  2. Yeah, I'll make that a subject of a post in the future. I ran into the same problem, and here was my basic solution. I would go to JGram.org (www.Jgram.org), find a grammar point that I couldn't use with fluency, then I would review and add example sentences from JGram until I could use that grammar point fluently. Here is an example:
    "ばかり" means something like "just happened," like "I JUST DID that!"

    Here is one example from JGram:

    I just bought that book

    So I would structure the flashcard as such:

    Q: その本を買った [Gram: JUST HAPPENED] だ。 I just bought that book
    A: ばかり。

    Or another "mama" after words means "as it is, leave as it is," etc. as in "Just leave the legos there AS IS, don't bother putting the model back together."

    Q: しばらくこの [Gram: As is, remain unchanged]お待ち下さい。 Hold on for a while, please.
    A: このまま

    Or you could use the entire example as the answer:

    Q: しばらくこの [Gram: As is, remain unchanged] お待ち下さい。 Hold on for a while, please.
    A: しばらくこのままお待ち下さい。

    But before you put flashcards into your SRS, you need to be able to use it with any combination you can think of (within your language abilities), not only with the example sentences you use. You should be able to say "I JUST saw that movie!" or "my friend JUST played that game," as long as you knew the words for "see, movie, friend, play, game, etc." You should be able to take an even limited vocabulary and plug in different words, creating sentences that make sense using a grammar pattern. Vocabulary will come in time (So you don't need to learn "watch" and "movie" just to use that grammar pattern, just use whatever you know). It's nice to have a Japanese friend or family that can verify some of your language guesses, as many times I've called my Japanese friends, asked "does blah-blah-blah-blah make sense?" They say, "Yes," and I say, "Thanks!" (The internet would work, I imagine. Actual people are good, though).

    Did that help?

  3. Yes! Thanks very much, that seems to be a very big missing part of the puzzle! =D

  4. That's great to hear! After a few weeks have gone by, please let me know if your retention has improved! :)

  5. It has, thanks =)

    My problem is really with the simple and most commonly used particles, which requires entering in very specific and lucid sentences and omitting certain particles.
    It will still be a while before I have such a well-reviewed archive of 'particle practice' sentences that I can consistently get Japanese grammar right, but at the end of the day this really seems the only way forward. I can only read so many well-intentioned but ultimately insufficiently helpful explanations of the difference between は and が, for example.

  6. Check this book out, I found it quite helpful in making sense of some weird aspects of Japanese: http://www.amazon.com/Making-Sense-Japanese-Textbooks-Kodanshas/dp/4770028024

    Although I hate "throwing books/money/resources at a problem," I really liked it.

  7. Thanks, I have it and will likely give it closer inspection soon.

  8. Why the comments seemed to disappear here, I do not know.