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PMs TAC 2015 crazy? French course mission

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PeterMollenburg
Senior Member
AustraliaRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3876 days ago

821 posts - 1273 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: FrenchB1

 
 Message 289 of 451
21 February 2015 at 10:55am | IP Logged 
luke wrote:
I'm with you Peter. I've been asking myself whether flashcards are not really worthwhile
lately.

What have been the sources for the 10000 FCs?

I was driving in my car listening and shadowing some today and it dawned on me how many more words per
minute this exposes me to, and they are all in context.

When I've spent time listen/reading, I usually feel my French takes a leap after a few days. I never feel that
from FCs.

To your general question about reviewing old words, that circles back to my question about where the FCs
came from. I find it easiest to use denser sources and repeat them multiple times, rather than sparse
sources (like flashcards).

My current thinking is that if I write down defintions or translations for the few words on a page that seem new
or difficult, I get some benefit from that finite act. I also have the notes in my book when I come back to it.

I think this approach is really useful with books and also with an Assimil course if you have any of those in
your collection.

High level, I think about being able to listen to, read, repeat (shadow) the stuff in my corpus (the stuff I've
spent some time with). Reviewing something in the corpus generally takes less time when I come back to it.
The first time through Petit Nicholas, I probably listened to it all about 5 times, read along a few times, made
a google bilingual translation and tweaked that. Lets say I spent 50 hours on the 2 hour audio, book, putting
the google translation into a spreadsheet, and repeating the audio in various contexts. I remember a while
back when that book was challenging. I haven't read or listened to it in a few months. Sometime I will come
back to it. I think I'll be able to revise the whole thing in 2-4 hours (depending on whether I just listen to it, or
listen to it and later read it (or vice versa).

There is a feeling of accomplishment when the 50 hours to get to a certain point shows it's value when it
becomes just an exhilarating 2 hour review a year or two later.

Then the milestones of progress are the things that are added to the personal corpus. That doesn't preclude
doing things for fun, like watching a youtube video on an interesting topic and not really having plans to circle
back later.

P.S. thanks for the question. It's led me to my own answer. You know how compelling the answers we give
ourself are.


Hey Luke,

Thanks for sharing, I really appreciate it. It's somewhat of a relief to hear that someone else is experiencing a
similar situation to myself with the FC's. The source of my flashcards is always context. I add every single
new word (whether I recognise it or not) as I come across them from my coursework. I add a one word from
each extensive reading session. I add example sentences to as many new words as I can.

Desnser sources for learning new vocab and repeating these things (reading, course, whatever) seems like
an intelligent idea. I have noticed you like to go over things multiple times with a different approach each time
to how you utilise the material (well at least with your courses). I could do this, but I have that many courses it
would be unwise, i'm prob going to get as much exposure from doing each course once. Of course the harder
or more valuable courses (Assimil is fantastic) perhaps may be worthy of mutliple exposures although I
wouldn't necessarily make that a priority unless I was finding the material particularly challenging. All in all I
like what you have to say Luke and it makes perfect sense.

Part of the reason I thought FCs a great idea initially was to allow me to build a 'bank' of 'learned' words from
teh courses in particular that i'd used. This way I'd never need to be 'attached' to the courses and have to go
back over them as I'd have a bank of knowledge in the palm of my hand in the form of a smartphone FC app.
It seems this sounds great in theory. From memory I also wanted to know exactly how many words I roughly
knew.

My old methods of going through a course and writing out any unfamiliar words at the top of a page with
phonetics if necessary plus translation probably saw me not have to stop and start as much since it would be
too time consuming to do every single new word, thus I only applied this to words I didn't know at all or not
very well. It would be too time consuming back then to write out too many of them. Now that things have sped
up (inputing a word into a FC deck instead), i've managed to slow myself down with typing out examples and
entering every single word (even one's I was already familiar with or new roughly what they meant anyway)
into the deck.

It's time to stop wasting that time. Thanks Luke for your input again, your insights are very useful indeed.

PM
2 persons have voted this message useful



PeterMollenburg
Senior Member
AustraliaRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3876 days ago

821 posts - 1273 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: FrenchB1

 
 Message 290 of 451
21 February 2015 at 11:25am | IP Logged 
Serpent wrote:
Thanks for your nice PM, PM :) I'll reply here.
I'm on the opposite end right now. I ditched flashcards in 2012 to focus on the first Super Challenge and I've
never got back into them. I only use sentences and every card is special for me. I still try to save most things I
like/fave on facebook and twitter as flashcards (if they are short text posts, that is). My main problem is that I
can't let go of the old Portuguese and Spanish cards I'm attached to (and many Italian ones as well). I think
right now it would be most of all beneficial for my Swedish and Croatian (Dutch, Catalan, Romanian, Czech
are a lower priority).

I generally think it's best to use flashcards early if you are impatient to read or speak (writing and listening is
where you can't skip the actual input), and then later on for any words that you need despite not coming
across them often, or for any rare words that you don't need but still want to know.

Over the years on HTLAL, I've seen only one learner who genuinely seems to get more out of single word
flashcards (than sentence cards), and that's Evita. She's especially motivated by sharing her decks on the
Anki site. Most others either use only sentences, or work on a deck for a few months and abandon it. And
that's perfectly okay.

So yeah I'd recommend using flashcards in a limited fashion. They shouldn't steal your reading time or other
kinds of quality time. Use them when you have a few spare moments, but not enough time to get into the flow
of reading (or when you only have your smartphone/tablet/whatever but no books within reach).

I think you need to delete a
lot of cards from your current deck.
Both the ones that are too easy and some of those above your
level. Use your best judgement. Do you need the word? Do you like the word? (some words just feel strange
or awkward or unpleasant) Do you really understand how it's used or do you need more examples? (get
them) Are you going to read more on this topic? (helps not only with the specific words you come across
again but also with those that have some connection to them in your mind, especially if you think or write in
L2 about what you read)

Speaking of example sentences, they're often dry and boring. And they come without a larger context. For me
sentences from textbooks would be the first thing to drop.

Also, imo cloze deletion is useful and enjoyable but not a must. I use it mostly for grammar really.


Thanks for taking the time to get back to me Serpent,

It seems like all logical information. I think based on my general sense of how people have suggested to use
FC's together with your reply, Luke's, the way i'm feeling and remembering emk's discussions on FCs and
Jeffers reply to one of my earlier rants about FCs (and others replies too), I need to do as the consensus
states, which is stop entering every word. In fact only enter words rather infrequently. Still provide example
sentences and even consider now functioning only in L2 with the FCs, plus I need to delete. The FC program
I use has an 'exclude' option (ie I don't have to delete, but can exclude a card so that it remains but doesn't
disappear altogether- but then again perhaps I need to be harsher?)

I've decided on a new study routine of 4 hour rotation (may only get 2 or 3 hrs done in one day)

hour 1: Assimil NFWE
hour 2: Extensive reading
hour 3: another French course
hour 4: intensive reading with Bien-dire or Think French (these are 2 French language learning magazines
with a glossary of translated terms down the side of each article- no need to enter FC's, but i'd be running
through the word lists).

All in all I agree Serpent - delete/exclude a LOT of cards, use the FC deck only in spare moments that don't
take away from other activities and only add the occasional word (with examples)- words i'm not likely to learn
very easily from context or that will be rather useful to me.

Serpent do you translate your cards or only use L2?

PM
1 person has voted this message useful



fortheo
Senior Member
United States
Joined 3436 days ago

187 posts - 222 votes 
Studies: French

 
 Message 291 of 451
21 February 2015 at 11:30am | IP Logged 
I'm a little late but congrats on finishing pimsleur IV. It always feels good to finish a course.

In regards to flash cards, I don't do more than 100 a day. This means that I can't really add new words or
sentences to my deck that often, other wise my reviews would pile up. I set my deck to add five new
cards a day and if my reviews get over a hundred I simply lower the new cards for a few days. I don't like
to spend too much time on reviewing because a lot of newer materials that I use end out reinforcing what
I've previously learned.

Keep up the good work, your log is motivating.

Edited by fortheo on 21 February 2015 at 11:35am

2 persons have voted this message useful



luke
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 5605 days ago

3133 posts - 4350 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: Esperanto, French

 
 Message 292 of 451
21 February 2015 at 3:25pm | IP Logged 
PeterMollenburg wrote:
luke wrote:
High level, I think about being able to listen to, read, repeat (shadow) the stuff in my corpus (the stuff I've spent some time with). Reviewing something in the corpus generally takes less time when I come back to it. The first time through Petit Nicholas, let's say I spent 50 hours on the 2 hour audio, book, putting the google translation into a spreadsheet, and repeating the audio in various contexts. I think I'll be able to revise the whole thing in 2-4 hours (depending on whether I just listen to it, or listen to it and later read it (or vice versa).

There is a feeling of accomplishment when the 50 hours to get to a certain point shows it's value when it becomes just an exhilarating 2 hour review a year or two later.

Then the milestones of progress are the things that are added to the personal corpus.


Part of the reason I thought FCs a great idea initially was to allow me to build a 'bank' of 'learned' words from teh courses in particular that i'd used. This way I'd never need to be 'attached' to the courses and have to go back over them as I'd have a bank of knowledge in the palm of my hand in the form of a smartphone FC app. It seems this sounds great in theory. From memory I also wanted to know exactly how many words I roughly knew.


The 'banked' reasoning is also what's behind the "corpus" approach. We're just starting from different ends.

There are a lot of words to learn. Professor Arguelles has a video from the recent polyglot conference where he says something like, "words between 5000 and 10000 in a frequency distribution aren't rare words. Every native speaker knows them".

The question often is, how to get there? The Professor mostly uses a combination of listening and reading.   I not heard him hardly even mention flash cards. Basically, I don't think he's made extensive use of them.

I'm not an academic or a polyglot, but a lot of what Professor Arguelles says makes sense and I can understand how it works.

One other thing the Professor speaks of often is the continuous, target language in recordings. That's an important element in the courses he finds most useful. This too, I believe is part of the corpus idea.

Good luck in your studies today. Have fun. Bonne chance ! Au revoir !

2 persons have voted this message useful



Serpent
Octoglot
Senior Member
Russian Federation
serpent-849.livejour
Joined 4997 days ago

9753 posts - 15777 votes 
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Speaks: Russian*, English, FinnishC1, Latin, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese
Studies: Danish, Romanian, Polish, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Croatian, Slovenian, Catalan, Czech, Galician, Dutch, Swedish

 
 Message 293 of 451
21 February 2015 at 3:57pm | IP Logged 
PeterMollenburg wrote:
Serpent do you translate your cards or only use L2?

I'm not fussy about that, I don't wanna impose any unnecessary limits. If it's an unusual way to combine familiar words, I may leave the answer field blank or use a keyword to summarize the expression. Or sometimes just include any personal note/remark, even if it has zero linguistic value. If I look up in a monolingual dictionary I'll paste it, if I use a bilingual one I'm likely to look up the word in other languages I'm learning too, especially related ones. (if it's too different, I'll make a separate card)

Also kinda related.. if I do cloze deletion, the answer field should always contain the full sentence without a gap. (And usually with the word highlighted)

What software do you use? Is it even SRS or something more basic?
2 persons have voted this message useful



PeterMollenburg
Senior Member
AustraliaRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3876 days ago

821 posts - 1273 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: FrenchB1

 
 Message 294 of 451
22 February 2015 at 8:30am | IP Logged 
fortheo wrote:
I'm a little late but congrats on finishing pimsleur IV. It always feels good to finish a course.

In regards to flash cards, I don't do more than 100 a day. This means that I can't really add new words or
sentences to my deck that often, other wise my reviews would pile up. I set my deck to add five new
cards a day and if my reviews get over a hundred I simply lower the new cards for a few days. I don't like
to spend too much time on reviewing because a lot of newer materials that I use end out reinforcing what
I've previously learned.

Keep up the good work, your log is motivating.


Thanks fortheo,

Limiting new cards or reviews is certainly a logical solution. My program doesnt have that option, so instead
you stretch out the length of time until next time the card comes up again, which I've done. However I was
using a time method in which I'd study 15min of FCs per hour of study/reading no matter how many cards
due. That aside I think I just don't like FCs that much after over a year of perseverence. They seem too
abstract even with examples, but I think they will remain useful for some less frequent vocab when I have
spare moments.

Anyway, for me at this stage I feel like I really need to speed up the amount of material covered each day in a
similar amount of time to the study periods (time wise) I've used up to this point. By doing so I would come
across more words/ phrases within a day as compared to when using FCs excessively. Your method is one
way and a good one by the sound of it, but I think I'll just ditch them almost entirely in order to stop
interrupting my flow. As serpent suggests I will limit creating new cards, delete old, and review them outside
of time that I can spend doing other activities. I know you're not suggesting I stick with old methods at all, and
are actually sharing how you combat this issue (thanks fortheo) but I think it's time for more radical change.

PM


1 person has voted this message useful



Jeffers
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 3309 days ago

2151 posts - 3960 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Hindi, Ancient Greek, French, Sanskrit, German

 
 Message 295 of 451
23 February 2015 at 12:25am | IP Logged 
I'm a bit late to this discussion, because I haven't been on HTLAL at all this past week (too busy with 6wc work and other things). I've defendend flashcards in general, and single word flashcards in particular. But the funny thing is, I haven't touched mine more than a few minutes for about the past 4 weeks. I think they are useful for cramming in the most common words to prepare you for when you come across them, but there is obviously a limit to how many you need. I think Luke makes an interesting disctinction between dense sources (e.g. native materials) and sparse sources (e.g. flashcards). A lot of repitition of native materials has broader benefits: you learn the vocabulary, but you also repeat common structures, become aquainted with the native mindset, etc. Repeating flashcards only does one thing: help you learn whatever you've put on it.

When I started studying French (3 1/2 years ago?) I intended to ignore flashcards and use more "natural" methods of developing my vocab. But when I was 2/3 of the way through Assimil I found I couldn't read an A1 reader without looking up 5-6 words on each page, so I decided to get a frequency dictionary and start learning the vocabular. I am up to about 2400 words in the dictionary, and it really did do what I wanted. I was able to read the easy readers, and soon after Petit Nicolas and other native books, much more easily and without looking up too many words. The problem is diminishing returns, and at the vocabulary level I have I'm finding flashcards less and less useful. In actual fact, every new word I recently entered has still come up in native contexts one way or another, so it would still be useful to keep adding words. But I also learn as much, if not more, by reading loads and loads, and it is a heck of a lot more fun. The kindle popup dictionary has literally changed the way I learn. And like Luke, I like to have audiobooks of things I read and listen to them until I've worn them out.

I'll probably pick up my deck in a month or two, dust it off, work through the backlog, and maybe even add more words. My goal was to get at least to word 3000 in the dictionary, but it remains to be seen if I actually get there. There's no doubt that in a year or two I'd know all those words anyway (I probably already know at least 50% of the words between 2400-3000 that I haven't entered yet).

I am pretty sure that your vocabulary is at a higher level than mine, so I am positive that the laws of diminishing returns means that you could do better than learning new words from flashcards. But still there is the idea that your flashcards hold a lot of course revision for you. I think that idea still has a lot of merit. On the other hand, one of the valuable things about doing multiple courses is that each course is itself a review of all the others. If it turns out there is some point in one course that doesn't come up in others, then it is not very important.

All in all, I think the solution you have come to for yourself is the most sensible way to proceed.

Edited by Jeffers on 23 February 2015 at 12:34am

3 persons have voted this message useful



PeterMollenburg
Senior Member
AustraliaRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3876 days ago

821 posts - 1273 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: FrenchB1

 
 Message 296 of 451
23 February 2015 at 6:26am | IP Logged 
luke wrote:
PeterMollenburg wrote:
luke wrote:
High level, I think about being able to listen to,
read, repeat (shadow) the stuff in my corpus (the stuff I've spent some time with). Reviewing something in
the corpus generally takes less time when I come back to it. The first time through Petit Nicholas, let's say I
spent 50 hours on the 2 hour audio, book, putting the google translation into a spreadsheet, and repeating
the audio in various contexts. I think I'll be able to revise the whole thing in 2-4 hours (depending on whether
I just listen to it, or listen to it and later read it (or vice versa).

There is a feeling of accomplishment when the 50 hours to get to a certain point shows it's value when it
becomes just an exhilarating 2 hour review a year or two later.

Then the milestones of progress are the things that are added to the personal corpus.


Part of the reason I thought FCs a great idea initially was to allow me to build a 'bank' of 'learned' words from
teh courses in particular that i'd used. This way I'd never need to be 'attached' to the courses and have to go
back over them as I'd have a bank of knowledge in the palm of my hand in the form of a smartphone FC app.
It seems this sounds great in theory. From memory I also wanted to know exactly how many words I roughly
knew.


The 'banked' reasoning is also what's behind the "corpus" approach. We're just starting from different ends.

There are a lot of words to learn. Professor Arguelles has a video from the recent polyglot conference where
he says something like, "words between 5000 and 10000 in a frequency distribution aren't rare words.
Every native speaker knows them".

The question often is, how to get there? The Professor mostly uses a combination of listening and reading.   
I not heard him hardly even mention flash cards. Basically, I don't think he's made extensive use of them.

I'm not an academic or a polyglot, but a lot of what Professor Arguelles says makes sense and I can
understand how it works.

One other thing the Professor speaks of often is the continuous, target language in recordings. That's an
important element in the courses he finds most useful. This too, I believe is part of the corpus idea.

Good luck in your studies today. Have fun. Bonne chance ! Au revoir !


Thanks for sharing again luke, it's nice to have some 'back up' here from some experienced learners
including yourself. Tnx for the good luck wishes altho that day I didn't do any French! I was away and have
been out of my groove a bit lately in many way... working my way back again tho :) The next challenge will be
how to decide on which words are rare enough to start entering as flashcards... but that's for another day and
a long way off yet

PM


1 person has voted this message useful



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