This has probably been discussed many times before but I was wondering how many words you guys had in your vocabulary list? I just hit 4000 the other day, but I don't delete anything from my lists.
pretzellogicAugust 15, 2013, 03:12 AM
I stopped adding new vocab on cpod at around 1200 words. I think using pleco i'm at around maybe 1000 words. Flashcard review isn't working for either set of cards, so i've gone to different processes for retaining words.
Yeah I've heard good things about Pleco, but I don't remember getting it to work. What I do is watch a program and then every word I don't know I add to my vocabulary list. Unfortunately, the speed in which words come in is faster than I can review them haha. What processes do you use?
No deep secret here, but developing processes around a daily habit of interacting with reading Chinese. Reading Harry Potter in Chinese, or reading China Daily in Chinese, or reading WSJ in Chinese. But the key is trying to create the daily habit, and also looking at more Chinese in the wild.
I also should have started writing in Chinese more. 我应该写多汉字。我觉得在 Cpod 写中文，可是还没有弄习惯写中文。(I doubt I wrote that correctly, I was trying to say that I still haven't created a habit of writing Chinese)
Yeah that's a good idea. What I've done to try to surround myself in Chinese is by making all my programs on my computer in Chinese haha. As long as you enjoy the material that you're reading then it's going to help I think. If you want to practice writing more you should sign up to lang-8.com. I really like this website, you've maybe already heard of it?
rootAugust 15, 2013, 04:46 AM
i add all vocab to a monthly list, then export to pleco at the end of the month. Estimating should end up with about 400 items per month, doing 5 UI lessons per week and adding all main vocab. Pleco flashcards are the awesomest, i am up to 65% recognition rate for July's vocab already...
one problem I have with CPod vocab management is that I want to create vocab lists associated with specific lessons, but whenever I click to add a word it checks to see if the word has already been added (to the total set of words) and will not put it at the top of the list (where I want it, grouped with other recently added words) so that I can create a new list for that particular lesson, or that particular topic.
I have not tried memrise, put I have exported several lists I created in CPod to Pleco (cumbersome process) and also selected some of them from within Skritter (much easier). Pleco's flashcard system is very good (I use it on my iPhone) and Skritter has no equal for learning how to write characters.
Pleco is an app for iOS and android, not available for windows right now afaik. They have many pre-made lists, and you can add your own. Right now I am studying new HSk 1-4, in addition to monthly CPod imports, and also just added Rick Harbaugh's genealogy of Chinese characters.
If you want desktop flashcards, anki is your thing. Even more powerful for flashcards, but without dictionary functionality.
Both apps have the "add little by little function". Even though my HSK list has 6000 total items, I can limit review sessions to 150 unlearnt items, so never have to feel overwhelmed. This way I dump all CPod vocab at 400 new items every month, and I can tell if that's too fast or too slow judging by how many make progress to "learnt" in the same month. Seems just right for me (at least this month, for some reason there's more motivation)
I think I tried Anki for my computer, but I can remember not liking it. Maybe I should try it again... Yeah, I get random spurts of inspiration too, I guess if you learn what triggers you you can be inspired more often.
Anki is rather intimidating, for me as well. I paid the $25 for the iOS version yet don't use it very much, because of the scary "too many settings" factor. That's why i like Pleco, it's just the right amount of convenience and flexibility for me.
alex186August 15, 2013, 07:10 AM
I personally do not use the Chinesepod flashcard system. I have found exporting my vocab lists from each lesson to memrise.com much better. If you haven't used memrise, I highly recommend it, it's free and it is powered by a very innovative algorithm. I listen to the lesson, learn the vocab on memrise.com, make sentences with each word in a notebook, review with a chinese friend, and finally do the task (i'm getting lazy with the task portion). I review by listening to the dialogue and always reviewing the flashcards. :) I'm also excited about ninchanese.com's launch...
It's a little complicated, yes, but I'll try to explain it the best I can.
Go to your dashbord/ homepage. On the left hand there is somewhat of a column, go to the bottom of that column and click "create list or course". On the next page, click the option "create a course". Select the category to be Chinese (in the category of "chinese" at the very bottom of the list is "chinese"). Then select the name of your course, usually I just put "my chinesepod words" or something.
Then, it will take you to the "levels editing" page, here is where you can add your Chinesepod words. For easy transfer, usually I copy and paste the Chinesepod words from the vocab list in the lesson to an excel spreadsheet, (copy special, don't just paste, right click and then select for basic text) flip the spreadsheet so the list from left to right reads: word, definition, pronunciation. I then delete the pronunciation and manually add it in (I like using numbers with pinyin much better, it's easier to type during a testing prompt). I then copy that entire excel spreadsheet, go back to my memrise tab and click the button that says "bulk entry" .
I then paste the excel spreadsheet, it loads. At the top, there is a tab that says "Test on word, prompt with definition" (click the pencil) I change this to "test on definition, prompt with word" After, I make a new level using the same vocab. I then change "test on word, prompt with definition" with "test on pronunciation, prompt with word". This way, I am practicing my pronunciation and tones while also practicing my character recognizance.
Finally, you can go back to your dashboard and click the name of your new, personally made course. If it is not there, click the "learning" tab and it will show you all the courses you have subscribed to/ made. To study, just click the button and begin. The algorithm remembers which ones you struggle with and which ones are easy for you and will prompt you to review accordingly, it's a good 3rd party to get you motivated about doing flashcards. I
Ah, wow, 4k! great job :D, I am not nearly that organized with my words... what I'd suggest is add like 25-100 per day (4 sets of 25). Once you add them, go to the level's testing page (the page where you click "start learning"). Instead of clicking "start learning" click "auto grow" and now you will only be asked to review these cards instead of having to relearn them (the website's learning mechanism is spot on by the way). Ideally, you could make those 4000 into a completely different section you can name "review" or something; then you can add all of your new flashcards into a separate lesson. :D
Yeah, there are a lot of words I really don't need to review, but it's just because I have been adding them since 2010. I guess I'm afraid I'll forget some of the words I learnt 3 years ago haha.
That sounds like a good idea. By the way, how do I edit my cards once I've added them? What I tend to do sometimes is add a lot of English translations to a Chinese word so I get a general feeling of the word as opposed to having a word for word correspondence. What you can probably guess is that when it came to testing the English translation last night, I couldn't remember if what I wrote for 摆设 was "to arrange, to set out, to decorate" or "to set out, decorate, to arrange" etc...
on the levels page, click on the level the word is in and then just double click on the english translation, you will be automatically be able to edit it without hitting any special buttons. you can also change the definition/ pronunciation of a word mid-test by clicking review "down arrow" button on the reveal part of the test. At the top there's an edit button (make sure you click the "more button so that this button pops up).
Hope this helps :D :D
adam_p_laxAugust 16, 2013, 12:53 AM
I personally feel that vocab lists after a while get kind of useless. They get filled up with so many words that you don't have time to review. Its like you off load your knowledge into card form.
I find a better way for learning vocabulary is to memorize sentences using that vocabulary. I try to find out how the words are used in context and try to memorize sentences. That's why I really like the dialogues and try to memorize them as much as I can. Also I like the lesson reviews for sentence portion and try to memorize them. Using and thinking about the words in context like that helps so much more to deeply learn words.
That's how I find words to learn. If I haven't seen them before when I watch a Chinese program, then I note it down, this way I automatically have context. But I have to admit, the only thing I think flashcards are good for are to jog your memory of words, but not really master them like you mention. But this isn't necessarily a bad thing, because when you come across another situation with that word, you already half understand it.
I always found the CPod vocabulary manager quite clunky. I have close to 80 decks, but never use CPod for reviewing flashcards. I export the CPod words to Pleco and review the cards on my iPhone in Pleco. The exporting process is also somewhat cumbersome but once done Pleco is very much more flexible in its flash card abilities and is more user friendly). CPod Podcasts, Pleco flashcard review on the go, and Skritter for writing practice are a great combination for me. Its very easy to add CPod lesson vocab to Skritter study because they are linked via an API so you can just look up the CPod lesson you want in Skritter. It would be cool if Pleco could do the same. That is, have a function where you could find the names of all the library of Cpod lessons and just click "import" to access the related vocabulary in a Pleco flashcard deck.
Yeah, the Innovative Language flashcard system is way better. I only use that website for Cantonese seeing as Praxis doesn't have it. They have the whole space out time thing as well as an option to look at example sentences (mind you sometimes the sample sentences can be a bit buggy, in the sense that the English and Cantonese don't match up sometimes) The problem with them as well is that there aren't many example sentences, that is probably due to the fact that Cantoneseclass101.com isn't as old as ChinesePod. I mean, I could look up example sentences on nciku or ChinesePod if I wanted, but it's more convenient to have a button ready for you to click.
Yea, I wish they would partner with a nice flashcard site. I've been using iKnow.jp for a couple of years, and they are very awesome, they have about 4500 sample sentences with audio. If I could transfer CPod lists API-style, and get even more sample sentences, I would be super-duper motivated, I imagine. Estimating quickly, CPod probably has 15000 sample sentences, now that would make an awesome flashcard platform!!
Yeah I know right! I even asked if I could use the software at Cantonese101.com for other things, but they rejected me as I expected. If we are lucky, ChinesePod staff might be reading this thread and might consider it haha.
chrisAugust 17, 2013, 01:26 AM
I have always used Anki. My flashcard decks are split between Chinesepod and the standard HSK1-4 custom deck available on Anki. All told, I'm up to about 10,000 words across all my decks (about 4000 CPod words and 6000 HSK words - although obviously a lot of cross over), but I must confess that I struggle to keep up with the daily SRS reviews which means it can get dispiriting when I open the app again, e.g. right now, I have 1133 reviews to do today, realistically I won't get a chance to do this (note that all the easy words under the SRS system very very rarely come up now, so I am stuck every day with the words that i really struggle with, over and over again, but that's how SRS is supposed to work). There is also the point alluded to above in that you end up kind of cheating - since your brain knows what's in the deck and can have a guess based on the general shape of the word rather than really "knowing" the character, if that makes sense. But on balance, I think flashcards are a good learning tool and ideal for those dead-times e.g. in taxis, flights, the few minutes before you drift off to sleep at night, etc.
Yeah I know what you mean by "cheating", for example sometimes there are one syllable words that come up like yán and I will be able to know what it is due to what group it's in, but I mean I guess it isn't really cheating as such because at the end of the day no can know exactly what yán it is without context. Being able to recognise the shape is at least a start, I tend do that a bit until I get to characters like 尘 and 尖. I learn words in groups of two anyway so it's not like I'm going to learn 灰尖 instead of 灰尘.
I think "cheating" is perfectly all right in language learning -- it just means you are getting the answer from context. As long as this context is reasonably prevalent in the real world, learning this way should be valuable. In my imagination this has always been CPod pedagogical approach, at least when articulated by the Ken Carrol.
Changing the context, and making mistakes because of it is the most effective way to improve memory strength, as for me. Doing tests, and seeing five very similar shape characters is extremely helpful. As far as I know, they are called 形近字 or 易混字, and I am looking for a dictionary that can find them automatically, would be very cool.
Also, I heard Ken Carrol is thinking of moving back to China, according to his blog, wonder if he can make a contribution here at CPod again... Still feels like the site lost some direction after he left.
I agree using context is how language acquisition naturally works, so its not necessarily cheating, although we don't want to be overloaded with "hints" either. I still think CPod is following the "top down" approach that Ken articulated. I doubt you will be seeing him back at CPod though. I think it was in all parties' mutual interest to make him seem to be completely distanced from CPod. Ah, those "humble beginnings" . . . I feel a bit nostalgic too.
"Still feels like the site lost some direction after he left."
Really? In what way?
The quality of the podcasts has definitely improved without Ken - he was a pretty hopeless teacher. And I might be wrong, but I don't think he was liked by his staff.
Ken was here in the early days so the site has improved since then and with that the podcasts. I totally disagree with you that he was a hopeless teacher. I thought he was great for beginner's and had a lot of personality. I don't know how you can make your last statement and why it is necessary.
It would be cool to have him come back just for a BST or something like that. Do you make those tests yourself? Maybe I should do something like that, because I'm quite bad at reading single characters by themselves.
Well, I am sort of making a correlation between things that happened while he was still at CPod and his influence. Those are, clearly articulated approach, engaging commentary in podcasts, super excellent "Quick Review" iPhone app. Most importantly, most of the website's favorite major features were already introduced during his time, afaik, including lesson/dialog/review mp3 breakdown, vocab, expansion and exercise sections. I still use these every day.
Since he left, the new things have, quite honestly, been all misses for my study habits -- tasks, new iOS apps (disastrous 1.0, and semi-working current), the horrible flashcard system. Even the grammar section, while very information-packed and well-organized, I don't find myself using. Because of this, it just feels that the direction has changed, there is still work being done, but it does not really improve my experience since 2010(?). All the new work is directed at someone else, a different type of user from me, that's the feeling now. Maybe I need to try a skype class, perhaps that's what will improve my impression.
Of course, I could be totally off on the timing of KC's departure, or the amount of contribution to the features of CPod that I do like, the only thing I can tell for sure is the English commentary quality (still not matched,btw, even close by any of the followup English speakers, imo)