Learn Chinese in China
werewitt

Skritter list (WAS Anki deck), words in an "easier to learn" order

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I made a deck that has 10k common words in an order that shows you components before compound chars they appear in and chars themselves before words they appear in. Pinyin and pronunciation generated from "Chinese support" plugin, translations are from a dictionary (same plugin, make sure to edit them as you need). Words are also in somewhat a frequency order, which (again somewhat) correlates with HSK. Deck made by taking several public datasets and fiddling with them.

 

If the deck had example sentences, I suppose it would have been awesome. I might later spend some time to figure out how to add sentences programmatically and republish it.

 

EDIT: removed the deck, because much whining :D

EDIT 2: Skritter list of only characters instead - https://skritter.com/vocablists/view/6019099368620032

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I've seen Japanese Core 2k/6k/10k decks optimized according to the "N+1" principle (only one new word/character introduced in a given sentence) and the Heisig kanji order, and find it a good idea.

However, I'm very skeptical about the usefulness of word lists without example sentences. And I'm not even talking about vocabulary learning strategies.

It's a very practical problem. There are too many homophones and synonyms, that testing your listening or productive abilities will be a nightmare. (More so I believe with Chinese, which is a predominantly disyllabic language.) I was using the original Core decks. And after a while I had to suspend all vocab cards for reviewing and only focus on the sentence cards.

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I'm with Publius on this one. The words just dont stick - or rather, require too much time and effort to stick - without context for me. Vocabulary lists might be okay to look over but SRSing them... it has to be sentences or nothing. And at a more 'advanced' level when learning vocabulary is easier and probably can just be done in lists, not knowing when and in what context to use words becomes problematic. You'll never know when to use them or how to use the language idiomatically, which I think is quite important. To take a basic example about idiomaticity, English speakers love to overuse 喜歡. If you said 我不喜歡碗碟碰撞的聲音 it's 'correct' but sounds strange to Chinese speakers. They would prefer to say 洗碗太吵了. You probably won't develop this sense by studying words. But you may by studying sentences or other forms of "whole speech"

 

Chinese was the first language I started learning and I think I wasted a lot of time and energy doing lists. Luckily I learnt from that. Since then I've also started learning Russian and Hindustani. I very quickly gave up putting new vocabulary into SRS on its own. As before it was hugely taxing for little gain. The problem with these languages isn't so much homophones, but their heavy inflection. Learning words in isolation for these languages is also a bad idea because they all change when used with other words. You can't learn their morphology by studying the words in isolation. So again, sentences above all else.

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10 hours ago, stapler said:

Chinese was the first language I started learning and I think I wasted a lot of time and energy doing lists. Luckily I learnt from that. Since then I've also started learning Russian and Hindustani.

 

@stapler I'm curious, how many languages did you learn to at least an "intermediate" level? Myself, I'm Russian - so I'd count 3-4+, not including a few dead ones. Plus a metric crapton of "beginner" ones (=had no motivation to study much beyond basics).

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On 16 April 2017 at 3:44 PM, Publius said:

 

I've seen Japanese Core 2k/6k/10k decks optimized according to the "N+1" principle (only one new word/character introduced in a given sentence

 

 

I wonder how a generic deck can be created like that.

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你好

你好吗

很好

我很好

And so on

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To werewitt: I regret adding to the criticism but it was in a helpful spirit (and I'm sure the others were too). I actually don't deserve to criticize anyone's method. Don't let anyone discourage you. Good luck. :-)

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7 hours ago, querido said:

Don't let anyone discourage you.

 

Trust me, I'm very difficult to discourage. Instead I created a 3500+ characters Skritter list based on the same principles https://skritter.com/vocablists/view/6019099368620032

 

It might be good for "advanced beginners" (people who are fluent in Chinese but cannot read).

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On 17/04/2017 at 8:12 PM, imron said:

And so on

 

I wonder complicated this would be to do programmatically.

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On 17/04/2017 at 5:18 PM, werewitt said:

@stapler I'm curious, how many languages did you learn to at least an "intermediate" level? Myself, I'm Russian - so I'd count 3-4+, not including a few dead ones. Plus a metric crapton of "beginner" ones (=had no motivation to study much beyond basics).

 

Maybe only Chinese to an intermediate level. Though I feel hesitant to use that as a description of my ability.

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Try one of those tests just for giggles. HSK5 would be a solid intermediate, provided you can speak :)

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On 16/04/2017 at 2:28 PM, werewitt said:

EDIT 2: Skritter list of only characters instead - https://skritter.com/vocablists/view/6019099368620032

 

An unexpected finding: I asked a (literate, ~4.5k chars according to hanzicraft) Chinese friend - he said he does not know off the top of his head what single chars mean if they usually occur only as parts of two-char words.

E.g. he easily recognises 及其, 及时, 普及, 及早 etc and can read the sound of 及, but in order to figure out what 及 stands for on its own he has to think a second.

So my conclusion is it is not extremely useful to cram meanings of single chars, only sounds, at best.

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You mean your literate (native?) Chinese friend does not know the meaning of 及 off the top of his/her head?  Has he/she gone through some years in a Chinese education system (PRC, Taiwan, Hong Kong, etc.)? 及 is used very often by itself in written Chinese.

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He knows it, but it's not something that pops into his head immediately. And yes, he's graduated from a PRC uni. In law.

PS I tend to trust him more wrt native's perception of Chinese language than random people (=no creds, and not native) on interweb forums :wink:

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That's even more interesting……

 

And you don't know my background……:wink:

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Yeah it's probably just me - I tend to think if people are cagey about their background, they don't have anything interesting to share. It's true in 95% cases, the rest I can deal with if I care enough.

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I wouldn't trust someone as an authority on the language if they had graduated with a law degree from a Chinese university without not knowing what 及 means instantly! That's just unbelievable... If what you say is correct, I feel you must have misunderstood what he said.... Do you mean to say that if you just say "ji2" aloud and out of context he has to think? Because seeing that character written down should be instantly recognisable...

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Native speakers are an authority on using their native language, at least from my point of view :)

PS the guy's not a legal bookworm, just your average Joe.

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I think treating native speakers as an authority is naive if you don't understand how to interpret what they're telling you. 

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On 4/17/2017 at 7:35 AM, stapler said:

I'm with Publius on this one. The words just dont stick - or rather, require too much time and effort to stick - without context for me. Vocabulary lists might be okay to look over but SRSing them... it has to be sentences or nothing. And at a more 'advanced' level when learning vocabulary is easier and probably can just be done in lists, not knowing when and in what context to use words becomes problematic. You'll never know when to use them or how to use the language idiomatically, which I think is quite important. To take a basic example about idiomaticity, English speakers love to overuse 喜歡. If you said 我不喜歡碗碟碰撞的聲音 it's 'correct' but sounds strange to Chinese speakers. They would prefer to say 洗碗太吵了. You probably won't develop this sense by studying words. But you may by studying sentences or other forms of "whole speech"

 

Chinese was the first language I started learning and I think I wasted a lot of time and energy doing lists. Luckily I learnt from that. Since then I've also started learning Russian and Hindustani. I very quickly gave up putting new vocabulary into SRS on its own. As before it was hugely taxing for little gain. The problem with these languages isn't so much homophones, but their heavy inflection. Learning words in isolation for these languages is also a bad idea because they all change when used with other words. You can't learn their morphology by studying the words in isolation. So again, sentences above all else.

 

 

My experience is the same as this, though I haven't started on any other new languages. I wasted a lot of time (think three years) of studying vocabulary in isolation. Once I started doing SRS and including sentences (not one or the other) my retention skyrocketed.

 

20 hours ago, werewitt said:

Native speakers are an authority on using their native language, at least from my point of view :)

PS the guy's not a legal bookworm, just your average Joe.

 

 

I think you're confusing opinion and authority. He has an opinion on the topic, but that doesn't make him an authority. People become an authority on a topic by studying it. The amount of times I have "taught" my native-chinese-speaker students new bits about their own language are not few. Just the other day, I explained 3rd tone sandhi to one of my students. He didn't know it ever existed. Being able to use a language and being sensitized to its nuance are very different things. This is one of the reasons why native speakers are not automatically teachers of their languages. It takes time and effort to understand the mechanics of your own language. To use the metaphor of driving a car; you don't have to know how it works to be able to drive it in much the same way that we can use a language without knowing how it works. In fact, this is also the conversation that is happening surrounding grammar and whether or not we should teach the mechanics of grammar to language learners or let them passively acquire it through context and repetition. Furthermore it takes time and vocabulary to describe nuance to another person, much in the same way emotional vocabulary is important to discuss emotions. 

 

All this said, an anecdote of one person explaining his opinion on single character is a great starting point, but far from a base to make your conclusion. Now that you have his opinion, how about asking more native speakers what they think? Even better, it's a great conversation to practice your Chinese with.

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