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shengci.wojas.nl


Konrad

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Since I think it might be of use to many here, I'd like to make you aware of my Chinese vocabulary and flashcard website: http://shengci.wojas.nl/

On this site you will find vocabularies with both traditional and simplified characters for:

  • Integrated Chinese level 1 part 1+2
  • Crossing Paths
  • Shifting Tides
  • Language through Culture (reader at Leiden University in The Netherlands)
  • A New Text for a Modern China (only partly and in dutch)
  • HSK

A few things you can do with them:

  • Export them to Mnemosyne, a very useful digital flashcard program that uses the SM2 algorithm for repetition ( http://www.mnemosyne-proj.org/ )
  • Export to PDF flashcards (18 per page)
  • Print vocabulary lists
  • Export to CSV for your own creative uses
  • and a lot more

To quote Confucius: 學而時習之,不亦悅乎?

Konrad

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Konard, thanks for the very helpful site and database. If I may suggest, it's not really effective to memorize WORDS by a single word definition or a very limited definition. That is, if you go over the HSK words list, one cannot really learn or memorize the basic real meaning of the words or even note (at times) if they are only used as nouns or verbs etc. This might even be counter productive as without a minimal context a learner might memorize a word in an incorrect way. It would be very helpful to also add a definition/example from a dictionary to every word. There seem to be quite a few "free" Chinese-Chinese or basic Chinese-English dictionaries around; are you aware of any tool that might assist in extracting definitions for a list of words?

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Hi LaoLiang,

You are right. The HSK sets are a recent addition to my site, I haven't used them yet myself. For all the other vocabularies the lack of context is not really an issue, because I know the context from the lessons they appeared in. But still, having more context on those cards would help too.

I was thinking of ways to add sentences in which the words in question appear, but it's difficult to find a good database of sentences in which the words are used. I could use google and use some checks on sentence length etc to determine if they useful, I'll look into that in the future.

I was also thinking about using the dictionaries that can be downloaded for StarDict, an open source popup translator. This is already on my todo list. I'll keep you posted on the progress.

If anyone has any suggestions on how to solve this issue, I'd love to hear it!

Cheers,

Konrad

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  • 1 month later...

Hi Konrad, nice site.

I noticed that you had packaged the vocabularies into a mnemosyne database and included my HSK mnemosyne database as well. Good work, it's always nice to see such resources available to learners.

Just a comment on the usefulness of learning vocabulary from lists (such as the HSK vocabulary list). I think it has its uses, and I personally have made great improvements this way. Of course, learning the word this way is just the beginning (creating a "hook" in your memory), and you need to see it in context by reading, listening and using it in conversation in order to really understand all the aspects. It will take a lot of exposure to a word in different contexts before you've really internalised it, and some people find it useful to get a basic, relevant vocabulary under their belt this way, while at the same time trying their hand at reading. The more you see it, the clearer the meaning becomes.

But you can also use these decks to see which of the characters and words you still haven't learned, to measure your progress, etc. So I think that there are many uses for such a deck.

As for a tool for automatically extracting definitions, that's what I did when making the HSK database. I used CEDICT (the only free dictionary I'm aware of) and wrote a simple program to extract the first few definitions. Then I went through them by hand and corrected whatever duplicates and mistakes I could find. There are still probably errors in there, but you can't really avoid that in a database of almost 10,000 entries.

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This is killer! I was just about to get into HSK and I found your post on the Mnemosyne site.

I'm amazed, and even want to replace my old cards with ones with sentences, but there are too many to do that.

I was just wondering if you had any interest in making Anki-compatible version of your export program? I prefer Anki, so I've had to make the whole thing tab-spaced by importing into Mnemosyne, exporting into txt, and then making a few modifications.

I'm really loving this. The generator you made is really amazing, but what puts it above everything else is the sentences it collects!

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renzhe:

You're right, you cannot learn a language by only using flashcards, but I think it's an important part of it. I started using paper flashcards to drill all the vocabulary I learned from textbooks, because I just cannot learn from only vocabulary lists. At first I would just write down the characters, pinyin and definition and soon I started adding character definitions to the cards. Then I noticed that half the mistakes I made on tests were due to mistakes I made when writing the cards and I realized that it would have a huge advantage to have all these cards in digital form.

I decided to start by creating a user interface that allowed me to only enter toneless pinyin and would then use CEDICT to lookup all matches. With one click I could add the card with both traditional and simplified characters, pinyin and definition to my database, which was a huge improvement over having to copy all of them. I also used Unihan to automatically lookup character definitions for all characters in a word and a character frequency list to get a feeling of how often the characters occur. I also created a way to print these cards as paper flashcards. I think I've got about one meter of paper flashcards by now.

It was only a few months ago that I discovered Mnemosyne and the SM2 algorithm and this solved the problem I had in determining the scheduling of rehearsals and it satisfied my desire for keeping statistics on my progress. HSK was just a logical addition to the site and so were example sentences.

I also find it very useful to listen to BBC's daily ChinaReel podcasts and to ChinesePod. The best way to improve my kouyu and tingli is of course to and live in China. I'm going to Beijing for at least half a year in February and I'm going to try to find a Chinese roommate to share an apartment with.

Cheers,

Konrad

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Wonderfulx86:

I had a look at Anki, but it doesn't have a decent XML format to export cards to. Anki can import Mnemosyne .mem files quite well, so I suggest you use that for now.

I successfully imported my Mnemosyne database into Anki, but when I exported it to CSV, Anki wasn't able to reimport it claiming that the file is invalid. You might want to ask the developers to create an import plugin for the Mnemosyne XML format, which is quite easy to support.

Cheers,

Konrad

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Thanks for the prompt reply! I just have one other question since what you said about the .mem files is true: why does everyone use .xml as the file of choice on Mnemosyne when Mnemosyne uses .mem?

The import feature in Anki seems to be solid only with .txt files, but with all others (including .mem), there are hiccups sometimes.

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