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Shelley
4 hours ago, realmayo said:

Whenever I come across a 手榴弹

This had me laughing, wondered why you would come across hand grenades, but then I realised you meant in writing.

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realmayo

Ha Imron as I posted I was actually thinking back to all that too....

 

(Lucky I never deleted 手榴弹  from my SRS deck or else I might not have remembered the word when I did come across it :mrgreen::mrgreen:)

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9 minutes ago, realmayo said:

as I posted I was actually thinking back to all that too....

My post was a set up just for that.

 

@Publius, for context I was referring to a discussion realmayo and I had some time back (yikes, that was 5 years ago now).

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realmayo

Yes and no. I don't regret relying on SRS to boost my vocabulary to the level where I could start reading.

 

But now, although I don't delete whole decks, I do delete any word I get wrong twice once*.

(And I've deleted all the easy ones too).

 

So I am left with thousands of 'legacy' words which I've never got wrong over the last couple of years. They get a maximum interval of six months or a year. I guess it takes five minutes a day to keep them current. I think sacrificing five minutes of reading time is worth it to increase the chance of me being able to recall these words when I see them in books. But I know others will disagree!

 

* new or relearned words I treat a bit differently, they get a second chance if I forget them once.

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Publius

My English vocab size, according to this website, is at native level. Whether its methodology is sound enough, I'm happy with the result. :mrgreen:

 

On their blog they published some statistics, for example, the correlation between reading habits and vocabulary size for native speakers. The effect of reading is strikingly clear. And I don't see why it does not apply to foreign learners once they've learned the first few thousand words. :)

 

I'm strongly against vocab lists. I think their usefulness is limited to test preps where you want to make sure you have all the bases covered.

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I hear the word 手榴弹 quite regularly as a kindergarten teacher, as it's in the lyrics of a song about the 解放军 that the kids often sing. It is quite awesome because it has actions and for the hand grenade the kids act out pulling the pin out with their teeth and throwing the grenade. There are also verses for binoculars, pistols, and cannons, but the hand grenade verse is the coolest by far! ;)

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realmayo
5 minutes ago, Publius said:

I don't see why it does not apply to foreign learners once they've learned the first few thousand words

 

It's simply a question of reading speed. Someone with only a few thousand words will still be a beginner or intermediate learner and will necessarily have a slow reading speed. Part of the reason for a slow reading speed is because they'll encounter not just lots of unknown vocabulary, but too much to make sense of lots of sentences. Because of a slow reading speed, they won't be able to read extensively (because of time constraints). Because they're not able to read extensively, they're not going to build up a big vocabulary.

 

Well, eventually they will but vocabulary lists provide a way to speed up that process. Particularly if you've only got, say, an hour each day to study.

 

Edit: but this applies to a difficult reading language like Chinese. I assume it's much easier for a Chinese person to read English than vice versa.

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ha, i just asked my Chinese co-teacher the official name of the song because i wanted to find it on youku, but she said that it was from a melody that they had adapted with these words. Challenge accepted though, if i can't find it on youku i can definitely make a video of my students singing it. :D

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Publius
8 minutes ago, realmayo said:

Someone with only a few thousand words will still be a beginner or intermediate learner and will necessarily have a slow reading speed.

Well, that doesn't stop a 5-year-old native kid from reading. If you have to wait for a large enough vocab size to start reading, it will never be large enough.

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