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Super-fast vocabulary learning techniques

 Language Learning Forum : Learning Techniques, Methods & Strategies Post Reply
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Senior Member
United States
Joined 6372 days ago

2365 posts - 3804 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Tagalog

 Message 129 of 255
27 March 2007 at 10:45am | IP Logged 
Zhuangzi wrote:

1) instant dictionary explanations
2) automatic and visible list of new words and phrases as you save them
3) highlighting of new words and phrases in texts as they reappear
4) statistics on new words, known words, learned words etc. which can be both useful and motivating
5) ability to focus on content that is optimized, not only for interest, but also for vocabulary.
6) automatic flash carding and printable lists of new vocabulary based on a variety of criteria
7) tagging of words for points of grammar,common roots or whatever.

There are several reading techniques mentioned earlier in this thread that you haven't covered in your short list, so I wonder if your program will be able to:

a) turn audio on or off (some may not want to hear audio all the time, to better simulate true reading)
b) play audio for highlighted text only
(to concentrate on one sentence, one word, one paragraph, etc)
c) show L1 text only; show L2 text only (some like to read the story in L1 before trying to read L2; some don't want to see L1 at all)
d) show isolated or highlighted pairs of L1 vs L2 sentences (some like to read one sentence at a time, comparing L1 & L2)
e) make audio flashcards (this hasn't been mentioned before here, but it's something I'd like)
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Bilingual Diglot
Senior Member
Joined 6497 days ago

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

 Message 130 of 255
27 March 2007 at 12:57pm | IP Logged 
Vinnie wrote:
              Slucido, how long did it take you to get to 80-90% reading ability with your method? Did you find it really difficult to begin with? And did you find that you assimilated the grammar by learning this way?


I can not answer with precision. When I began reading english webs, my goal was learning contents I need or like.

My english knowledge was very low and it was difficult to read. At first I used text dictionaryes and was a mistake. After I discovered online dictionaryes and that was the trick. I only remember to understand better and better. I did not study grammar. Sometimes only the few grammar from a little phrasebook. Only the basics.
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Language Program Publisher
Senior Member
Joined 6850 days ago

646 posts - 688 votes 
Speaks: English*, French, Japanese, Swedish, Mandarin, Cantonese, German, Italian, Spanish
Studies: Russian

 Message 131 of 255
27 March 2007 at 1:04pm | IP Logged 

We are The Linguist, which is at present a system for learning English. We have now rewritten the system with enhanced features, and to enable people to learn any language for which we have content. Content is typically natural conversations between people, podcasts, radio progams, audio books etc. The content for languages other than English will take a while to generate but the system essentially works for most languages. I am using it for Russian and my son for Japanese. There are a few issues with Asian languages that need to be worked on, but this will come later.

a) the audio can be streamed or downloaded. If streamed it can be turned off and on, or stopped or repeated.

b) the audio is for the specific text item you choose to study. In the English version we have over 1000 items. The learner can find texts which match his vocab level and maximize the occurrence of the words he is trying to learn.

It will take a while to build up a similar base in other languages. You can also load your own.

We do not synchronize the audio with the text and cannot match the sound to individual sentences. We may do this in the future. On the other hand it is easy enough to repeat the sound in areas you are having difficulty.

c)We do not offer L1 except in a very few cases. I do not favour showing L1. I believe that our system makes it easier to move ahead into L2 with appropriate content. The online dictionary is the only contact with L1.

d)No we do not do this. However, learners can save words and phrases. This automatically collects examples of other contexts where these words and phrases are used. The learner can enter whatever "hint" he wants for these terms and that could be the L1 translation of the phrase. I suspect few people will do so.

e)We will do this in version 2 using the sound tracks of the content.

We want to get our present version out and will add more features in the future.
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United States
Joined 6373 days ago

16 posts - 16 votes
Speaks: English*

 Message 132 of 255
30 March 2007 at 5:49am | IP Logged 
slucido wrote:

Right now I'm using wordreference, because is free.

They have a toolbar as well:

I am learning english, italian and french and it has the three languages. I don't know for japenese, mandarin or thai.

Do similar tools exist for English to German translation? Preferably free :)

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Andy E
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 6925 days ago

1651 posts - 1939 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish, French

 Message 133 of 255
30 March 2007 at 8:04am | IP Logged 
macdad wrote:
Do similar tools exist for English to
German translation? Preferably free :)

I have no idea if it's the best but this is the one I use for German :


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William Camden
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 6094 days ago

1936 posts - 2333 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, Spanish, Russian, Turkish, French

 Message 134 of 255
26 September 2007 at 6:53am | IP Logged 
I haven't read all the posts in this fascinating thread, so this might repeat what someone has written, but I am partial to frequency lists of foreign vocabulary (there is a good one of 10,000 words for Russian by Nicholas Brown). These, if available, take care to a large extent of the problem that you might slave to learn vocabulary that is actually infrequent.    
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Joined 6161 days ago

18 posts - 19 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: French, Dutch, German

 Message 135 of 255
27 September 2007 at 7:30pm | IP Logged 
Well, I haven't been at this for very long, but I do believe that, as in most things in life, you just start on a path, keep looking for new ideas, but as you go about it, you will discover what is working efficiently for you, and what is not. Here's what I've been doing:
In the evening I pick up a book or something to read, and everytime I come across a word I don't know I write it on a flashcard with the translation on the other side. If I find some interesting related word, or some catchy idiom for that word, I'll make a separate card for each of those. Sometimes I find some neat word that I want to learn somewhere on the same page in the dictionary, so I make a card for that too. In a short time I have dozens of new words to learn.
Before I go to bed I will drill myself L2 -> L1. If I didn't know it, I might just put it a few cards into the deck, and if I almost knew it, I'll put it a little farther into the deck. If I knew it right off, I'll put it at the back of the deck. That way I'm drilling the hard words more frequently and the easier words less frequently.
In the morning I will go through the stack... each word that I remembered I will put in a stack for L1 -> L2. Throughout the day I also work on these decks in those odd little moments. Sometimes when I am driving or something, these new words are coming into my head randomly and I feel like I then own them. If the word comes to mind and I can't remember the translation, but it's frustrating me, then I will immediately look it up if I can, because I know that if your brain thinks it's important enough to be wondering about it, then it's an opportune time to supply your brain with the answer at that moment.
One time I made a list of 200 common verbs from a verb conjugation book.... I thought it would be a great idea to learn these common verbs. But they hardly ever stick! But if I come across one of them in something I read, then the next day it clicks. (So I won't do this anymore.... only words seen in context!)
The next morning I go through the words L1 -> L2, and the ones that I know solid, I put in a pile for reviewing in 2 days (I mark the date to review them, and '2 days' on a little divider and I keep them in a small box like a little filing cabinet .... they don't all fit, so ones to review later I have bound with elastic).
In two days, the ones I still remember go behind a little divider marked for 1 week later..... then 2 weeks, 1 month, 2 month, 6 month.... ???farther and farther apart.
If I don't remember the answer, I put it back in my original L1 -> L2 pile, but there are only two or three that I miss anyways.
Every morning I 'test' myself L1->L2 , L2->L1 , and each 'pile' marked for that date. Every evening I read and make up more word cards.... some days I have time for more, and some days I have time for less.

Can any of you experienced language learners comment on what I am doing? I also use Rosetta Stone Dutch, Pimsleur Dutch (although pronunciation isn't an obstacle for me... I've been hearing Dutch conversations from infancy), and occasionally I browse through a Dutch grammar book. Today I wrote a letter to my cousin's 9-year old (in Dutch of course) and asked him to help me know some truck words (bulldozer, dump truck, etc.... I can't find them all in my dictionary and my 3-year old LOVES trucks). My plan is to capture as much vocab as possible (80% ?) this way, and then it'll be very rewarding to read, read, read, which I love to do in English already. I hope grammar will just be absorbed naturally this way, although I will do some work through a language course too.
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United States
Joined 6094 days ago

53 posts - 40 votes

 Message 136 of 255
27 September 2007 at 9:07pm | IP Logged 
When I was learning Spanish, I learned too much of the advanced words. So when I talked to people they would look at me and say, "what is he saying"? How do you learn all the basic words first? Anyway, I bet that only 20 out of 100 Spanish people know the words argot or rebajo.(:

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