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Overdose of context?

  Tags: Burn-out
 Language Learning Forum : Advice Center Post Reply
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 Message 1 of 6
27 September 2015 at 5:08pm | IP Logged 
Hi. I'm going through Harry Potter et le prisonnier d'Azkaban. I mark every unknown word
and add it with whole sentence, or part of it if it makes sense, to anki. I bold unknown
word and in second side of cart I have translation. While reviewing I feel that I know
meaning of word only from context not because I know word. Is it possible to have to much
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 Message 2 of 6
27 September 2015 at 11:03pm | IP Logged 
I can only speak about my own experiences, which might be different from yours. But here goes:

1. You definitely don't need to learn every unknown word in a Harry Potter book. On any given page, you might run into a word that won't see for the next 5,000 pages. So it's OK to let plenty of words slip through your grasp.

2. Words which you do need to know will appear soon enough, in a different (and maybe better) context. And if they don't, then you didn't really need to know them any time soon. :-)

3. In my experience, only knowing a word from context is OK. Sometimes that enough that I'll be able to guess the meaning the next time I see it in a real book, and a few more exposures will cement it. If it's not enough, then I'm not ready to learn that word anyway.

4. If you see an Anki card, and think, "Oh, no, not that card again," then just delete it! Pruning your Anki deck with a bit of aggressive deletion makes reviews much faster and more enjoyable, so that you can get back to reading real books again sooner. If you don't delete, Anki can become a torture that leaches all the joy out of your studies very quickly.
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 Message 3 of 6
27 September 2015 at 11:21pm | IP Logged 
Well, you can definitely spend too much time on context and too little on single words. The opposite is of course also posiible, but here you have to remember that there are a small number of very common words with many shades of meaning and many idiomatic uses. You can't learn the use of those words just from a dictionary. But most words are quite rare and have very specific meanings, and for those a precise definition may be all you need.

In between there are words which mostly are used in more or less standardardized expressions. If you use them without knowing those expressions you'll still be understood, but you will be expressing yourself in an unidiomatic way. Here context is important, but you learn more from it if you already know the precise meanings of the core words before you bury yourself in concrete contexts with all their random and mostly irrelevant information. You write that you copy whole sentences... why? If the information you need is in one part of the sentence then you only need to note that part down. Less information, but more focus.

If I followed your method I would reserve it for one page max in any one session (with more emphasis on words than on context) - and then read extensively the rest of the time (i.e. without trying to understand each and every word).

Edited by Iversen on 28 September 2015 at 10:06am

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 Message 4 of 6
22 October 2015 at 5:20pm | IP Logged 
I add only irresistable sentences to Anki, if even them. I type many of my cards by hand, so the most basic test is whether I even want to type the sentence. If not, then it's not good enough for me.

You may also consider suspending those new cards for now. Wait a few months, especially if you *don't* plan to read HP4 next. As time passes, some of the cards will be too easy, some pointless and/or difficult, and some just right. (feel free to keep the easy cards if you enjoy them, and feel free to suspend rather than delete the difficult cards)

Have you also read HP 1-2 in French btw?
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 Message 5 of 6
22 October 2015 at 7:20pm | IP Logged 
I don't even use srs at all. There's nothing wrong with doing srs. It can be a valuable tool in your tool box but it shouldn't be the most important or the defining tool. You only know a word from context...that's fine. Read more books. Get more context. Don't expect miracles overnight. It takes time, more exposure, using and getting involved with the language on a long term basis.

Edited by iguanamon on 22 October 2015 at 9:28pm

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 Message 6 of 6
27 October 2015 at 9:18pm | IP Logged 
Thank all of you guys for answers.
Serpent - yes, I read them, but I felt that I didn't understand enough to learn or enjoy.
I understood gist of it, but there were to much interesting things that I misunderstood.

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