Tamu Posted October 26, 2013 at 05:46 PM Report Share Posted October 26, 2013 at 05:46 PM My process for learning new words has really helped me improve my vocabulary and style of Chinese, but it's phenomenally time-consuming and I'd like to improve it.For most new words I come across, I learn not just the word, but also several sentences in which it's used. I find this has massively helped me to internalize the correct usage patterns and syntax for each word, and I'm then able to quickly and accurately use it with little conscious thought when I'm creating my own sentences. (I'm living in and only speak Chinese in my daily life.)So I'm happy with the result... but the time I spend on the process is brutal. I want to reduce the time I spend on the manual steps, but still keep the same great results from the learning.I've spent lots of time looking through different tools and apps, went through lots of online forums and reviews and guides to find others' ideas, but nothing I've found seems to fit, so I'd like to ask for any suggestions.Here are the details of how I'm learning the words and why it's so time-consuming:- New words come from conversation, printed material, or electronic text.- I note down the word and somehow get it into electronic form if it's not already. In conversations, either I scribble the pinyin onto a paper, or I ask the other person to write down the character either onto paper or on my phone (handwriting recognition). For printed material, I usually take a picture or write it down on paper and later handwrite it onto my phone to get it into usable form (I find handwriting it onto the phone to just be faster and easier than current technology of OCR systems I've tried).- I look up the word (electronic dictionary).- I find example sentences with English translations [i prefer to have an English translation as a starting point for understanding the word, but if I can't find any, I use Chinese-only sources]. I use lots of sources: dictionaries, learning resources, sites for Chinese students learning English, original Chinese-language texts (books, online articles, etc) which have reliable human-translations. I'd guess I've ended up using 50+ sources for sentences in the last month.- I look up any characters in the word which I don't already know. For those characters, I also look up example sentences. - For those characters which I didn't know, I also look up other words in which these characters are found. I check usage stats for these words and use cut-off thresholds so I don't add every possible word/character combo but instead focus on ones that are frequent enough. For words which make the cut-off, I look up example sentences for those additional words.- I make flashcards on Anki for everything I've looked up. I also include several example sentences on the flashcard for each word. Each flashcard has English, simplified characters, traditional, and pinyin (QuickPinyin is very handy) for all words and sentences.When I review the flashcards, I test myself on English-->Chinese: I look at the English word and sentences, then say and write the Chinese.I've seen apps that automate fairly well the process of auto-generating a flashcard from a dictionary-look-up. But they're limited to creating flashcards of the word itself and don't help auto-generate flashcards with example sentences. Since the example usages are the most important part for me, that kills the deal and I'm stuck with this manual process. There's a very small learning benefit to manually looking up all these things (words, characters, new words and example sentences), but it's so small that I don't think it's worth it. It feels like a major part of the time I spend learning Chinese is wasted doing all this manual work rather than learning the language.There has to be a better way. In an ideal word, I'd love to be able to just push a few buttons and be done with the whole process in under a minute. I realize that in the real-world, there have to be some manual steps involved... but still, I've gotta be missing something. I can't imagine my style of vocab acquisition is so unique that better processes haven't been developed for it.What tools could make this easier? What "rig" or combination of tools do you use? Thanks. 2 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
Join the conversation
You can post now and select your username and password later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.