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How can I scale my vocab learning?


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On 4/29/2023 at 5:14 PM, SteadyCamel said:

If I set aside the 2,600, they will steadily fade… Keep in mind that the vast majority of time I spend on my current 2,600 is on the 20% that are in some sort of gray area that requires review to become learned.


This is true, but only to the extent that you do not see those words again (if flashcards are your only source of vocabulary review, and you stop using flashcards). Once you learn to read, however, the way you use flashcards should change. When you first start learning (up to 2,500ish words or so until you can read a novel without too much pain) flashcards are used to both learn and retain new words. After you learn to read novels, you no longer need flashcards to retain vocabulary, reading will do that for you. That is why you don't need to maintain a huge review list. Once the word is initially learned, you should no longer need the card.


Personally, after I hit around 3,000 words, I started learning in 1,000 words "blocks", meaning I would add new words every day until I hit 1,000 new words, then I would transfer those words to an inactive list, stop reviewing them and start over with another 1,000. I have found this to work well since.


Also, in terms of the 20% you keep forgetting. I found this to be a problem with flashcards but not with those same words in context. Some words are hard to remember in a vacuum, but in the context of a sentence they are much easier to recall. I wouldn't worry to much about making those stick. If they're common enough you'll see them in novels frequently enough to reinforce them sufficiently.

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@SteadyCamel If you are using Pleco to study flashcards I feel using a non-SRS method may be better. I also want to "scale my vocabulary". I am just about to finish the HSK 4 deck/category and only have 20 or so cards left. In other categories I have like 2 words left. But using SRS won't really show those missing words so fast.  Of course I could learn those 20 + 2 words in a single day and knock out two categories of studying.  That would feel like an achievement. But I don't really think you can just force study the few words you still are not getting shown. You get the words when the SRS system chooses to show them to you.  


So I will try to learn in smaller batches using Shun's random sequential system.  To me it is not about "forgetting" a word or not. I would like to say I gave myself the opportunity to consume a word in several ways using flashcards. In real life, people forget whatever content they learned shortly after an exam. To me flashcards function like a test. Having a working understanding of the word before I encounter it in a text is what I aim to achieve.



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