How Much to People Use Vocabulary Review?
"Will reading and listening really automatically lock in new vocabulary as effectively?" (cws)
Massive immersion can be a great help in this regard. Unfortunately, the progress we make is often less obvious than when using SRS or deliberate practice activities with direct feedback loops.
However, massive immersion has two downsides:
- In the beginning, it takes a long time for language learners to get a feel for implicit grammar structures. This is where "grammar light" approaches à la Michel Thomas come in handy because they present various basic sentence structures (with speaking / translation exercises).
- Massive immersion alone is simply too passive. So, it´s better to couple it with some active deliberate practice exercises. Example:
- Watching / listening to the news
- Writing short summaries about some news events
- Discussing those news events with native speakers / tutors by means of the written summaries.
In short, the more actively we engage with the content we digest, the better it´ll be remembered.
Personally, I've found marking "important" words and importing them to anki for study to be a very effective supplement to lingq.
I resort to SRS systems, esp. Anki or Memrise, in three use cases:
1) As a booster at the beginning of my language learning journey, by focusing on the 1000-2000 most frequent words embedded in various sentences.
Combining this SRS boost with Assimil (esp. volume 1) and "grammar light" approaches à la Michel Thomas, XYPod101, etc., which present various basic sentence patterns, makes the subsequent reading / listening experience by means of LingQ much more pleasant. This is especially the case when the distance between the new target language (in my case: Japanese) and my L1 (German) / my L2s, which I already know well, is huge.
So, for Hebrew (which is also one of my next language projects) I´ll start with
- Michel Thomas and HebrewPod101 (https://www.hebrewpod101.com/) for the variation of basic sentence structures (= "grammar light")
- Memrise for the most frequent 1000-2000 words
- some book / app on writing in Hebrew.
before resorting to LingQ as an AudioReader.
2) For learning collocations (typical word groups) at an intermediate and low advanced level
3) For specific vocabulary I want to learn (scientific / tech, etc. expressions, slang, certain TV dialogs, etc.) at intermediate and advanced levels.
The ultimate language learning combo for me then is in all languages:
- Massive immersion with or without AudioReaders
- SRS as a supplement
- deliberate practice activities, i.e. speaking and writing
I never use the lingQ SRS flashcards; I never liked flashcards; so based on Steve's advice, I do something I enjoy and read instead.
My problem at the stages A1 - A2 / B1: Most introductory texts like LingQ´s "Mini Stories", Assimil´s texts, graded readers for beginners, etc. bore me to death.
So, I don´t rely on "enjoyment" during these beginner stages. Instead, it´s enough for me to make "progress" and have a certain "content control". The fun usually comes later (from a B1-B2 level upwards) when content becomes more interesting and intellectually more challenging.
Für mich macht es keinen Sinn elenlange Wörterlisten durchzuarbeiten, weil ich mir da eh nur ganz wenig merken kann. Nur am Anfang meiner "Sprachenlernkarriere" habe ich das mal probiert. Ich habe für mich herausgefunden, das ich mir neue Vokabeln nur im Context mit Geschichten merken kann.
Und wenn man mal ein paar Vokabeln vergessen hat, dann lernt man sie halt neu. Oder nicht ? Liebe Grüße
I imported a huge chuck of my LingQs to Anki and use it daily. It's very time-consuming, but I think of it as a guaranteed way of re-encountering words that I noticed in my reading, as opposed to a pure memorization exercise.
What I find most helpful about it is that I'm still revisiting the word in context, which is always better than than looking at a word without any context. And, as I get more familiar with the word from encountering it elsewhere, I refine the definition -- often adding synonyms from my target language of French.
What's more, while reviewing my Anki cards, I tend to notice things about the words themselves that I might have missed while reading an article or story. I spot things about their prefixes or suffixes or roots, and that really helps me internalize them on a deeper level.
The intermediate wilderness
I have been making steady progress with lingq with 22k known words in Spanish..
But it seems to be taking me along time to reach a
I know that I have to try and keep myself motivated....
Just wanted to know if other people felt the same and what improvements did they make..
It just takes a long time. Looking at your LingQ stats you might try bumping up your reading and listening. They seem very low for your level, unless you've been doing a lot of reading/listening outside of LingQ and not recording it back in the stats.
I just use it once in a while when I´m tired of reading and need a change, but I honestly don´t feel I need it and I have 200K+ known words in LingQ after just under 2 years of using it. It is in languages I either knew to some degree before starting or languages similar to languages I was already fluent in, but it´s still a pretty significant amount of known words (word forms rather).
The user aronald made a great point about why you should rather just read than review translations of words.
I actually used to use ANKI daily for vocabulary. To be honest, there is no comparison now that I use LingQ daily. If you keep reading, lingqing and marking your words you basically do that same thing but in complete full immersion. I just leave it to my brain now. There are words easier to understand and others that I won't bother. My brain will decide when to learn them depending on the situation. Even more, everything is inside its context, so you learn grammar, interactions and lots of other stuff.
But I still use ANKI though, for now. Not for vocabulary per se but for remembering little grammar rules, or anecdotes or uses for a specific word. Some example phrases and so on. But not much, only what's really important or what I think it's important. But as I use more and more LingQ, ANKI tends to be less and less important.
I don't use the SRS LingQ has built in anymore.
Over the years my way of studying languages has changed a lot! :O
I feel exactly the same, although I don't used Anki. I'm now thinking about it as a place to keep notes such as Davide describes.
Thank you to everyone for their responses as I try to figure out the most efficient way to take in new vocabulary. I do frequently run into the problem of getting a day behind on Anki but when I do I prioritize listening and reading. And I also play to prioritize conversation. I have dramatically reduced adding new words to Anki and have thought about reducing it to nouns or adjectives and learning verbs differently.
It serves a purpose. SRS is a robust and proven technique, hard to see why learners wouldn't use it. A substantial amount of vocabulary occurs less frequently in texts, it is useful to be reminded of these words.
Hi jomearaX. How do you personally fit in SRS? What percentage of time do you use it? And how do you go about dealing with thousands of words, which I'm sure you have as unknown still? Is it just an occasional task you do?
My personal experience is that it seemed useful in the beginning, but quickly became too much time reviewing (if I were to review everything before moving on to other items). For example, I have 13,000 up for review right now! Granted, if I kept up with it it could be much smaller, but at the expense of reading and listening which I've personally felt has been much better at helping acquire vocabulary.
Your point about less frequent words is well taken, but still this is hundreds, if not thousands of words that you may see once in a blue moon, so it still seems like one would have a big backlog...and these likely aren't easy to remember words either so it may not be as quick as reviewing them a few times in Anki or other SRS.
Just some thoughts. I'm curious, your strategy in using it.
1. I do still use the vocabulary review that is sent out daily as an e-mail reminder, although not as much as previously.
2. When I am reading with LingQ I spend a fair amount of time on thinking about the translations, and will use the various resources that LingQ offers to help me improve my understanding of what a word actually means. Many words have multiple meanings or shades of meanings, and if you are reading a work of fiction the author will have put a lot of effort into word choice. Many of the default translations available as LingQ choices are not optimal, so it is worth investing some time and effort in better understanding the word in question. Contributing better quality translations that other LingQ users can benefit from is a useful contribution. My translations of Portuguese entries have been used by other users almost 180 000 times.
I find this helps me remember the target language terms since I am spending time with them.
A really good quality dictionary is very valuable. For Portuguese I use "Infopédia - Enciclopédia e Dictionários" from Porto Editora. It has monolingual and bilingual dictionaries (for English and other languages). In-depth learning requires more than Linguee, or Context Reverso. I used to use them a lot but they contain far fewer words than a full dictionary, although they are still useful supplements.
3. Language learning is longitudinal, cumulative, and repetitive, so I do not worry that there is always more to learn and review - that is just the reality of language learning.
Thinking about this question some more, it would be useful if LingQ could identify low-frequency words and make them available for review. These are the words that you are least likely to learn inductively since they are lower in frequency, even if you are a more advanced learner. Low exposure means that you are less likely to remember them robustly, degrading the improvement of reading comprehension. Hence SRS has a value to support learning in this area.
I was thinking the other day it would be interesting if there was a counter on the words that kept track of how many times you've encountered that word through reading or reviewing in LingQ. Not sure if it ultimately matters, but it would be interesting. There are words I've encountered over and over again and still cause me to trip up because they are similar in "look" to others, while others I can see just a couple times and I've got them memorized.
A frequency index of this type would be useful for the identifying purposes you mention, but more generally because it gives you information about token frequency. The opportunities for building custom review lists based on frequency or other criteria (the 'stubborn' words you mentioned) would be very attractive.
Learning a word isn't just about "knowing" its definition. I put "knowing" in quotes because there are nuances to words that you aren't going to understand from flashcards. You have to get a feel for the word instead of just being able to produce the translation that you've memorized. There is a huge difference there that you'll only truly understand when you learn words from reading and in context. BTW, "context" doesn't just mean seeing a word in a sentence. It also means understanding a paragraph that uses that word to get a more fuller understanding of the tone that is being used. When talking about true comprehension, these things shouldn't be underestimated. You can use flashcards to get away with learning nouns, but with verbs I'd stay away completely.
I used to do flashcards when I first started learning Russian (before I really knew anything about learning languages and was only used to high school Spanish). I was pretty good with flashcards and was learning into active memory 50 words per day. I got up to 1200+ cards and then the definitions of verbs started to get confusing because I'd have a few different options for words and I didn't know how the words were different. I could remember the definition, but I didn't feel that I actually knew the word. That's when I found LingQ and never looked back.
Language is a skill, not knowledge. If you want to get good at understanding (notice how I didn't say "understand", it's not binary) then you need to practice repetitively the thing that you're trying to get good at.
PS, now that I'm thinking back about those flashcard days, there was something really weird that would happen when I had gotten plenty of sleep and was in a good mental state. For lots of words I started to not only remember the definition of the word, but I'd also remember the weather and where I was when I learned the word. It got pretty annoying after a while when these images would pop into my head and I'm glad I've washed away most of those memories even though a few have been permanently burned into my brain. That's never happened to me outside of that serious flashcard stint (before or since).
"Learning a word isn't just about "knowing" its definition. I put "knowing" in quotes because there are nuances to words that you aren't going to understand from flashcards. You have to get a feel for the word instead of just being able to produce the translation that you've memorized. There is a huge difference there that you'll only truly understand when you learn words from reading and in context. "
-You summed this up very well sir
Caveat...I have not started from scratch at LingQ, but I was finishing up "A1" vocabulary and moving onto "A2"-ish level when I came to LingQ full time. I was using Memrise. So similar to Anki.
I have learned words MUCH MUCH faster through reading and listening than I did Memrise imo. For one thing once you get above 1000 or so words (YMMV) you spend a lot of time reviewing....at least you did with Memrise. You could set words to be ignored, but things still get very cumbersome. Even if you are able to keep up with things daily, your list of words you can't remember no matter what (or for whatever reason) are going to increase to a number that's not manageable.. If you take a day off, or a week off, you come back to a huge list of words you now have to review.
With reading and listening, you're not worried with all that, or trying to keep up with all your words. You are "reviewing" every time you read something. You'll see the words over and over again through listening and reading. Granted as you get further along you may not see some of these new words very frequently so it may seem like you have to give them extra practice. Well...what happens when you have thousands of these words? You run into the same issue above. Also, if they are infrequent you may not really have a big need to know them, and eventually once you gather enough words, you may be able to gather the meaning of these type of words from context at some later point.
The other, more beneficial thing about reading and listening is that you encounter these words in context. It helps you to remember them through the connection to other words and phrases. You don't get this with SRS or Anki, unless you're also adding in sentences to your Anki deck....and this takes time to create these type of decks. Time you could be spending reading and listening.
So, not to say that review or Anki or SRS is useless, but *maybe* it's better to just use it as an occasional thing to keep the fun of learning "fresh". Or do it 10 minutes a day, but read and listen 50 minutes of the day (or more, or whatever you can manage). SRS might be something that's easier to do for a quick moment while you're waiting in line at the grocery store.
By the way, one thing I've done from time to time is go back into a lesson where I still have some yellow words. Instead of reading the whole thing I'll jump to the yellow words and read the sentence the word is in, or the surrounding one or two sentences and "review" like that.
I'm not super experienced but from my experience the learning from listening and reading is more passive so it feels like you are learning slower than anki which is more conscious. I still use anki for nouns that i find funny/useful that arent used very often. Re-reading content and/or hunting for more easy content to go through would be my guess? But like many users will tell you that listening and reading sometimes feels like Daniel doing the house chores in the karate kid (wax on wax off) doesn't feel like karate but it is subconsciously teaching the patterns. Just my 2 sense. I'm curious to see what others will say.