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Has anybody tried the Gold List method?

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Kronos
Diglot
Senior Member
Germany
Joined 4382 days ago

186 posts - 452 votes 
Speaks: German*, English

 
 Message 209 of 222
01 February 2012 at 5:35pm | IP Logged 
I think the Goldlist method is a fascinating invention and might be a viable substitute or alternative to computerised spaced repetition systems like Anki. It has the advantage of being independent of computers and the added benefit of increasing one's attention by calmly writing things down.

I decided not to use it though, for two reasons. One being that I have some reservations about SRS-based systems in general, I prefer to use less abstract ways in acquiring vocabulary. It's simply not my style of learning. Apart from that the Goldlist method in its present form is still pretty cumbersome and the professed long-time learning effect too vague.

Anyway, while playing around with this system for a while, I found that it can be adapted to one's needs in various ways, and at any rate simplified. Here are my suggestions:

(1) Write the words down only once, and do the later repetitions mentally. I found that writing things down by hand indeed helps attention and memorisation, but it's no magic tool either. When you have already written down a set of words with your own hand and use this as a basis for later reviews, there is not much benefit in writing things down again and again compared to just looking at or mentally following what you yourself have already written.

(2) Review each word at least thrice, or even better: thrice in a row. Discarding a word from the list as 'learned' for life after just one successful retrieval, as is the case in the present system, seems at least hazy, if not to say fantastic to me, especially in a system that memorises words without using context. The distinction between long-term and short-term memory is nothing clear-cut, it is more of a scientific model, with many indeterminates that differ between persons and circumstances. Even for 'learned' words the long-time retention rate is considerably higher after a number of control reviews.

You can integrate these two alterations by changing the layout and introducing a system of notation. Write 20-30 entries and their translations in two colums on one single page and do all the review work on that page alone. Add two narrow columns at the right margin of the page. While reviewing vocabulary, mark each successful retrieval with a vertical line in the outermost column, and after three successful retrievals mark the word as learned with a cross in the column second from right. Or if you want to be more strict by getting it right not only thrice but rather thrice in succession, strike out the already existing lines with a diagonal or horizontal line after an unsuccessful retrieval and add fresh lines in successful further review sessions. Do this until you have three lines in a row, and then check with a cross, as in the first variation.

If you adapt the system as just described, you might also consider another change in format: Rather than writing a set of 20-30 words or phrases on one page in an A4 or A5 notebook, you could instead use a much smaller A6 notebook and write the target words on the left page and the translations on the right page, respectively. Such books have usually 22-25 lines per page, enough for about 20 entries on each double page. In that case you might add the column with the cross-marks on the left-hand side of the left page, and the column with the vertical review lines on the left-hand sides of the right page. Hence here you have two columns on each page, a narrow one for notification and a wider one containing the words to be learned and the translations, respectively.

In both these adapted systems, while doing reviews take the column with the cross-marks (you may optionally cover the words to be learned with your hand or a piece of paper) as a guide, simply ignoring the lines that are already crossed and just focussing on and reviewing the ones that are yet un-crossed. After a successful retrieval, draw a small vertical line, and after three such lines, mark the whole entry with a cross in the respective column. By this manner you save a lot of time.

Advantages: you save time and writing space as you do not write things down again and again. According to my calculations, you will save at least 40% of time and 65-75% of space compared to the original method. Using A6 notebooks have the further advantage that you can carry them around almost everywhere.

Drawbacks: You will have a tough time constructing your own sentences or fusing entries while distilling the list, though I am sure most people won't do that anyway. If you use an A4 or A5 notebook you can leave some lines empty on the bottom of the page and fill in your own constructions there during later reviews. One might also argue that it is better to write out words yet unlearned repeatedly; but it is also true that in systems like Anki you don't write down anything at all and for many people it works. The Goldlist and computerised SRS systems are two extremes in that respect.

Anyway, these are just some thoughts and suggestions for those who are attracted to the system but find it too clumsy in its present form. After experimenting with a number of adjustments as described above - which I guess may be valid though - I nevertheless abandoned both computerised SRS and the Goldlist as parts of my own language learning. I prefer to learn the words in close connection with texts, context and authentic material, not in such an abstract manner.

Edited by Kronos on 01 February 2012 at 11:46pm

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Sandman
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4529 days ago

168 posts - 389 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: Japanese

 
 Message 210 of 222
04 February 2012 at 9:32am | IP Logged 
I tend to be skeptical of any method that claims that through "spending a bit of time" with each word we can all easily learn 20+ words per day (and not have to look at it again for weeks/months until the next review) while realizing that if ANY man on these forums were to have SEX with 20 girls every day it would likely be a task of pure impossibility just to remember most of their names after a month (how's that for spending "time" with each "word"?).

If you want me to remember a definition (or a name) after a month delay (or whatever "delay" the goldlist finds convenient at this time ...), you better give me something a lot better than just writing it down and looking at it a few times before filing it away for a month. That "word" better be sending me flowers every weekend to keep it from being confused with the other 600 I've trivially observed that month ...

Give me an Anki program with a 20-30 minimum day delay on all new words and you'll make me an extremely happy man for 20-30 days, until I realize that all of the work finally just started, and that in another 20-30 days it'll even be worse.

Edited by Sandman on 04 February 2012 at 9:45am

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slucido
Bilingual Diglot
Senior Member
Spain
https://goo.gl/126Yv
Joined 5796 days ago

1296 posts - 1781 votes 
4 sounds
Speaks: Spanish*, Catalan*
Studies: English

 
 Message 211 of 222
04 February 2012 at 12:35pm | IP Logged 
Sandman wrote:
I tend to be skeptical of any method that claims that through "spending a bit of time" with each word we can all easily learn 20+ words per day (and not have to look at it again for weeks/months until the next review) while realizing that if ANY man on these forums were to have SEX with 20 girls every day it would likely be a task of pure impossibility just to remember most of their names after a month (how's that for spending "time" with each "word"?).


You are right. You only have to make sex with 20 words every day...and to make love with them over and over, but only every two months. It is easy.


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Victor Berrjod
Diglot
Groupie
Norway
no.vvb.no/
Joined 4230 days ago

62 posts - 110 votes 
Speaks: Norwegian*, English
Studies: Japanese, Korean, Ancient Greek, Biblical Hebrew, Mandarin, Cantonese

 
 Message 212 of 222
04 February 2012 at 1:01pm | IP Logged 
@Sandman: Being skeptical can be a good thing. However, to use your... analogy, if you had sex with 20 girls in one day, you probably wouldn't even care to listen to their names in the first place. However, lets say you did. After a month, it's not inconceivable that you could remember six of them. Of course, these things can't really be compared, for obvious reasons (writing words in a book in order to learn them vs having sex with several girls for the sake of it?).

I don't know what you mean by "or whatever 'delay' the goldlist finds convenient at this time ...". You are the one choosing the delay, not the Goldlist. As long as the delay is at least 14 days, the Goldlist will be happy no matter how long or short the delay is.

Yes, the 20-30 day Anki thing is just why the Goldlist is, in my opinion, superior to Anki. Not only does it incorporate handwriting into the process; it also only keeps you moving forward, since you won't review words that you already know. You will achieve a large passive vocabulary, which can be activated by spending a few days in an environment where you need to speak the target language.

I've been using the Goldlist for Mandarin, and it really does work wonders. Although my target was only around 1000 words (plus their readings), since I had the first exam before Christmas '11, before which I simply goldlisted the vocabulary, and then skimmed through the grammar we were going to be tested in, talked to Chinese friends and strangers I met around the city, and discussed other topics with a friend. Of course, I should have goldlisted the grammar too, but I still got 90.5% with very little effort. Sure, a test doesn't prove anything, but it's still a good indication that I retained what I learned.

When I start out, I usually do 4 pages, which is 100 words in one day. Do I remember 30 (or 32) of those after two weeks or a month? Yes. The Goldlist method gives me good results, and it's efficient and pleasant, so I use it. You could give it a fair chance and see; I was skeptical, but it worked well for me. Since you're studying Japanese, I recommend combining it with Heisig. For vocabulary, you could split the words into two lines when you don't know the reading (so you have one line with the reading, and one with the meaning). You can also goldlist grammar and example sentences.
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DreamCH
Tetraglot
Newbie
Switzerland
Joined 3785 days ago

18 posts - 25 votes
Speaks: German, Swiss-German*, French, English
Studies: Dutch

 
 Message 213 of 222
03 March 2012 at 12:03pm | IP Logged 
I`m still before my first review in Italian, but so far the method worked well for a list of a few English words I wrote down out of a book.

Instead of arguing against the usability, I tend to say that the method requires a structure/pattern for the memory, which would limit it to languages in the same family one speaks.




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montmorency
Diglot
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 3949 days ago

2371 posts - 3675 votes 
Speaks: English*, German
Studies: Danish, Welsh

 
 Message 214 of 222
15 October 2012 at 12:24am | IP Logged 
I'd seen references to the Goldlist method before, but never looked into it properly until a few weeks ago, inspired mainly by a posting by Kronos in another thread.

I found this thread and read it all (especially Huliganov's postings), and went and looked at his Youtube videos and his own website.

I've been experimenting (not as much as I originally intended - I got distracted by a computer problem and a few other things), but even without those sort of distractions, I don't expect to be able to "report back" for some time. I see this as a long-term method, and expecting quick results would be contradictory and without much point.

Before I discovered Goldlisting, my main previous method was Iversen's word lists, with the addition of writing them into a hardback notebook (with the possibility of later repetitions), once I had worn out the loose sheets of paper. I like the permanence of a hardback book, which was one reason why the Goldlist appealed to me. (I have also used physical flashcards which I make myself. I have never used Anki or anything similar).


Some days it seemed to take a long time to even write a single round of 25 words in my GL book, and some days I didn't seem to find that time, or have the energy, so I'd do some word listing instead, or occasionally flashcards. I've tried to keep the WL or FC words out of the GL books, in order not to confuse the methods, but it's possible that some "leakage" has occurred.

I'm currently active in German and Danish. My German words are coming mostly from novels and my Danish words almost exclusively from "Teach Yourself Complete Danish". (I thought I'd already extracted all the words from that in previous word listing exercises, but decided to go through theĀ English-Danish vocab at the end (having already done the Danish-English), and found that due to less than 100% overlap, there are some that I haven't met before, and of the ones I have met, a lot haven't stuck, so these are all candidates for the GL. I also get words and phrases from the grammar sections, which I am revising.


So that's my experience so far.


Would anybody like to give any updates or new experiences?


In the meantime, I've been doing a lot of searching and reading around memory issues.

Although I am not in the school of thought that says Huliganov should provide peered research to back up his method, or indeed the school of thought that splits hairs over whether it is a method or a methodology (a methodology is a method + kidology (joke)), I do worry slightly about Huliganov's use of the phrase "short-term memory".

Memory scientists don't always seem to agree, but one thing a lot seem to agree on is that "short-term memory" only lasts about 30 seconds.

So whatever it is that Huliganov thinks lasts around 2 weeks, it can't be what most modern scientists define as short-term memory.


Iversen also talks about short-term memory when discussing his word lists, and actually, I think he is nearer the mark. By delaying writing down the translation as long as possible (but almost certainly longer than 30 seconds) we can be sure that we aren't just pulling it out of that 30-second-life memory (I think Iversen actually calls it immediate memory).

Whatever you call it, I think there definitely is something like that, as I've certainly experienced using it (e.g. for phone numbers) and then have things disappear from it very quickly.


I think modern memory scientists talk about sensory, short-term, and long-term (and probably other sorts).

I think what Huliganov calls short-term is perhaps better thought of as medium term, and it could be that Iversen's methods are good at getting it into medium term, but they may also get it into long-term as well. (He does not claim they always go into long term, I am fairly sure).


I would say that the main difference between Iversen and Huliganov (apart from possibly differing views on what is short and what is long-term memory), is that Iversen has no problem with making an effort to remember, by whatever means.

Whereas Huliganov makes a virtue out of making no effort to remember whatsoever. He depends on letting the memory do its own thing. After just over 2 weeks (or longer, if you prefer), you just casually look down the list, eliminating those you clearly remember, and equally casually "distilling" the rest into the next part of the double-page, but without making any conscious effort to remember.


It is because of this conscious lack of effort, that I resist calling this a spaced-repetition system, as some people have referred to it, even Huliganov on occasion, unless I am mistaken. But it doesn't really matter what you call it (see above). The question is, does it work? (And how do you define "work"?).




Edited by montmorency on 15 October 2012 at 12:27am

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montmorency
Diglot
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 3949 days ago

2371 posts - 3675 votes 
Speaks: English*, German
Studies: Danish, Welsh

 
 Message 215 of 222
15 October 2012 at 1:02am | IP Logged 
I forgot the obligatory haiku:

Memory:
-------
remember the fifth
of november is what we
do in England - fog


Uncommon sense
--------------
It has nothing to
do with Huliganov it
is just common sense

Danish
------
Danish is Norsk with
pastry in the mouth yum yum
syllable swallow


2 persons have voted this message useful



montmorency
Diglot
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 3949 days ago

2371 posts - 3675 votes 
Speaks: English*, German
Studies: Danish, Welsh

 
 Message 216 of 222
15 October 2012 at 3:51pm | IP Logged 
To Kronos:

You said:
Quote:

I nevertheless abandoned both computerised SRS and the Goldlist as parts of my own language learning. I prefer to learn the words in close connection with texts, context and authentic material, not in such an abstract manner.



Do you keep a record in any form of the words learned in your context-based methods ?


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