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Rapp’s Neutrino Log

  Tags: Spanish
 Language Learning Forum : Language Learning Log Post Reply
21 messages over 3 pages: 13  Next >>
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4279 days ago

129 posts - 204 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Esperanto, Spanish

 Message 9 of 21
23 December 2013 at 6:24pm | IP Logged 
Just a few comments on those stats.

I began this program on September 1st and today is December 23rd. That is 114 days, and according to the "long-term showupiness" section I have "shown up" (ie. logged into the neutrino site) every one of those days. And on 107 of those days, I've completed the day's point goal. I've never stuck with any language program that consistently, and with neutrino it has felt easy. I haven't felt like I had to push myself to do it.

The "rot" statistic is kind of the flip-side of the showupiness one. The points you earn from completing atoms rot when you are away from the neutrino site. If you are away from the site for 24 hours, that rot becomes permanent. So far in nearly 4 months, I've only lost 77 points to rot. And that was all on one day maybe 2 or 3 weeks into the program. I slept in too late on a Saturday morning and lost some points, and that has annoyed me (in a motivational way) ever since.

So, yay me. Stickin' with the program.
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Senior Member
United States
Joined 4279 days ago

129 posts - 204 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Esperanto, Spanish

 Message 10 of 21
23 December 2013 at 7:01pm | IP Logged 
Also, a couple of more general comments.

I've mentioned before the variety of atoms/tasks the program asks you to do. In any one day you get a good mixture of atoms asking you to do SRS reps, read various things, watch movies, listen to mp3s, etc. But now that I have a few months in the program, I can see that on longer timescales the program goes through phases where each of those things gets emphasized. So you go through weeks you're reading tons of stuff, and then the program will shift and ask to you do a whole bunch of SRS reps or whatever.

I think that really helps avoid burnout. All of those activities are important, but focusing on any one of them for too long will become boring. Personally, I only have so much willpower to make myself do boring things. Eventually I will burn out and just stop doing them completely. I'm finding that having a oonstant variety of tasks with a longer-term bias of sometimes doing more of this, other times more of that, to be much more sustainable.

You don't have to force yourself to do 100 SRS reps every day, beating yourself up for any failure to achieve that goal, in order to learn a language. No native Spanish speaker did anything remotely like that when they were learning the language, so why should I? I'm becoming more and more convinced that the formula for language learning success is: listen a lot, read a lot, study a little, but always have fun.
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United States
Joined 4080 days ago

2615 posts - 8805 votes 
Speaks: English*, FrenchB2
Studies: Spanish, Ancient Egyptian
Personal Language Map

 Message 11 of 21
23 December 2013 at 9:18pm | IP Logged 
I'm really enjoying your log, and your new-found mellow approach to Spanish. :-)

How are you feeling about MCDs so far? I've been running two experiments with cloze cards, and things have been going well so far:

1. "Half-word clozes." I take a word from a book I'm reading (with surrounding context), and cloze each half separately, giving me two cards. This has allowed me to get solid on all kinds of weird, difficult vocabulary with surprisingly little effort.

2. Hieroglyphic MCDs. All new cards in my Egyptian deck are now cloze cards. (Many use an Anki plugin that allows me to mask portions of images.) This is way easier and more pleasant than my old sentence cards, but at the same time, it forces to me to focus on small details sooner.

I really like the way that good cloze cards allow me to skim over harder material but still actively focus on the important stuff.
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Senior Member
United States
Joined 4279 days ago

129 posts - 204 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Esperanto, Spanish

 Message 12 of 21
24 December 2013 at 5:52pm | IP Logged 
I'm loving the MCD format.

I'm using Khatz's Surusu SRS system, which makes creating the cards very easy. On the front of the card I'm putting an L2 sentence followed by its L1 translation. Then Surusu has another field where you enter the words you want to have clozed. I usually just copy the whole L2 sentence into there.

I started off doing it that way just because that's how neutrino told me to do it, but I see some method to the madness now. Doing it that way ensures that you end up with cards that test you on all the little "connector" words - prepositions, articles and such. I have seen posts around here before asking questions like "why do you get _on_ a boat but _in_ a car", but making clozes out of every word in the sentence ensures you will be tested on such matters without really even having to be aware that they exist.

The biggest drawback I see to this method is that it leads to an explosion in the number of cards you create. I'm going to paste my Surusu stats down below, but in just under 4 months, I've already got over 16000 cards in my Spanish deck. That's a big motivation for being biased in favor of deleting cards. And the fact that Surusu is kind of dumb in how it creates the cards helps too.

What I mean kind of touches on your idea of half-clozes. If I enter a sentence like "Mañana vamos a España", Surusu will see that lone "a" sitting there and end up creating cards with the prompt "M_ñ_n_ v_mos _ Esp_ñ_". I typically delete those. I want to be tested on whether we vamos "a" or "al" or "en" or "de" or whatever España. I find all those other spurious clozes to just get in the way.

But, on the other hand, I think that purposefully done half-clozes could be valuable. At the very least it could be a good solution for cases where several synonyms could apply. For example, if I had the sentence "While watching The Exorcist I felt very _", that blank could be validly filled with "scared", "frightened", "terrified", etc and there's no indication which one is intended. Doing a half-cloze like "While watching The Exorcist I felt very fr_" gives you just enough of a prompt to be able to figure out the intended answer while still making you do the work of recalling the full word.

Anyway, here are my Surusu stats as of today. The deletecount is not accurate. It resets to zero whenever you empty your trashcan, which I've done several times. But 5039 total reps in 115 days is about 43 reps per day on average. Not a bad long-term average, I think. And a retention rate of almost 96% (retention rate is the percentage of cards I've scored as 3 or greater on a scale of 0 to 5) indicates that I really am recalling this info very well.


    Cardcount: 16014
    Deletecount: 106
    Repcount: 5039
        Mean: 0.3
        SD: 0.7
        CV: 210.8%
        Median: 0
        Max: 9
        Mean: 4.9 days
        SD: 13.4 days
        CV: 244%
        Median: 0 days
        Max: 6.5 months
    Coverage: 24.4% [=non-virgin cards]
    Retention: 95.8%
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Bilingual Triglot
Senior Member
Joined 2692 days ago

949 posts - 1686 votes 
Speaks: French*, English*, Spanish
Studies: Tagalog

 Message 13 of 21
24 December 2013 at 7:40pm | IP Logged 
Neutrino sounds really interesting! I tried to look at the site - but there were lots and lots of words, and very little
detail about how it actually looks in practice. I look forward to following your progress!
1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
United States
Joined 4279 days ago

129 posts - 204 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Esperanto, Spanish

 Message 14 of 21
09 March 2014 at 3:26pm | IP Logged 
I've slacked off a little on updating this log, but not on neutrino. In my last update I was at level 5 of the program, while now I'm more than halfway through level 7. Here are my latest stats:

In the past week...

    You've shown up 7 day(s)...
    You've earned 14,417 XP through personal awesomeness
    You've lost 0 XP due to absence (rot)

Over the past month...

    You've shown up 30 day(s)...
    You've earned 60,706 XP due to your awesomeness
    You've lost 0 XP due to absence (rot)

Long-Term Showupiness

    You've shown up a total of: 190 / 995 days
    You've earned: 174 Silver Stars = # of days shown up and completed (hit or exceeded 100% XP)
    Your median single-day score is: 2,018 XP
    Your mean single-day score is: 2,079 XP
    Your personal best single-day score is: 3,212 XP (achieved on 2013-10-09)

Level: 7=Little Egg | You're only -20,634 XP away from levelling up! | Hitcount: 4,203 | Kindacount: 176 | Skipcount: 61 | Phase: 3.3

Badges/Medals: Centurion | Trooperion | Trooperion | Trooperion | Millennion | Trooperion | Trooperion | Medallion of Honour | Trooperion | Trooperion | Trooperion | Trooperion | Medallion of Honour | Trooperion | Trooperion | Trooperion | Trooperion | Trooperion | Medallion of Honour | Trooperion | Trooperion | Trooperion | Trooperion | Medallion of Honour | Trooperion | Trooperion | Trooperion | Trooperion | Medallion of Honour | Trooperion | Trooperion
[Rot: -77] XP: 394,991 / 1,900,000
【★★★★★20.8%      & nbsp;         & nbsp;         & nbsp;         & nbsp;         & nbsp; 】

Hitcount: 24 | Kindacount: 0 | Skipcount: 1 | Skipstreak: 0
[Rot: 0] XP: 1,979 / 1,900
【★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★ ★★】★104.2%
Yo! Dewd! You're only -99 points away from meeting and beating your daily average! Competing against your past self. The only game (worth playing or watching) in town, baby!
BTW, you're currently batting at 61.6% of your personal best (PB). It's as though you were drenched in some form of sauce. A sauce made of...pure awesome?
1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
United States
Joined 4279 days ago

129 posts - 204 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Esperanto, Spanish

 Message 15 of 21
09 March 2014 at 4:07pm | IP Logged 
I'm still finding it very easy to stick with the program. I think I've mentioned before that I started this program on September 1, 2013, so today is 190 days later, and my stats show that I've "shown up" on all 190 days. I've failed to do the full day's workload on 16 of those days, but even that is not too bad because I've done at least half the work on each of those days. So I'm still getting a good "dose" of Spanish even on my bad days.

Anyway, I can tell you that my reading level has improved quite a bit so far. I started out reading children's picture books, then moved on to collections of newspaper comics (Gaturo, Mafalda, and such), then to comic books (Invencible is really good), and now I'm currently reading a Spanish translation of "The Secret Garden".

There's plenty of vocabulary in there that I don't know, but I'm understanding much more than just the gist of the story. I feel like I have a strong understanding of the story even with the unknown vocabulary. And I should mention that this is a story I've never read in English, so I'm really just reading and enjoying a significant story in not-dumbed-down Spanish.

Improvements in listening comprehension are harder to quantify, but do seem to be coming more slowly. It seems to vary considerably with the type of media I'm listening to, also. For example, many podcasts and television newscasts are easy to get the gist of, because they cover the same types of stories I hear about in English media. Those types of sources also tend to have slower speech, too. But when I watch a telenovela, it quickly becomes a blur of phonemes. I do have the sense that I am getting better at mentally parsing that blur into words and sentences, even if I don't know what they mean. And frequently if I pick out a sentence and think about it for a while I can figure out what it means, I just can't keep up in real time yet. But hey, I've got 805 more days to go in the neutrino program, so I've got plenty of time to get up to speed.

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United States
Joined 2207 days ago

23 posts - 28 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish

 Message 16 of 21
09 December 2014 at 5:18am | IP Logged 
Wow, this log is awesome. Thanks for including so much detail! I can see that the Neutrino program would definitely be worth taking a look at. I'm not sure how big of a stretch this is, considering the date of your last past, but since it has been over a year since you began the program, would you be able to give an update on your "end-game" stats and where you feel the program brought you in terms of language level?

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