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New Method of Learning

Have a textbook or grammar book that you find particularly helpful? What about a learning tip to share with others?

RE: New Method of Learning

Postby skrhgh3b » Wed 10.19.2005 4:30 pm

umm... uhh... well, i do have to admit, keeping your studying routine interesting and challenging is important in order to progress... so whatever you think helps you. different strokes for different folks. but, you know, i've been a lazy student in the past, and i just can't recomend it....
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RE: New Method of Learning

Postby Infidel » Wed 10.19.2005 7:36 pm

Don't stare at the chapter all day. Keep study time down to 30 minute increments. If you want to study agian a few hours later, thats fine. But only the first 30 mins of study count towards the majority of your retention, so the rest is pretty wasted. If you study for more than 30 mins make the rest a different subject. Thus, 30 mins of vocabulary then 30 mind of writing drills or something else different.
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RE: New Method of Learning

Postby Christian_ » Wed 10.19.2005 7:40 pm

I had a leadership class where the teacher just had us watch how to study videos. I do have to say it was boring but I do rember it saying its better to study in 15 minuite increments instead of 2 hour increments. Theres a lot to studing then you would think. Ive realized its easier to just look over a new kanji and its reading and then not freak out about it. I just come back every now and then to my books to see if I rembered it correctly, eventually I can recall all the readings and the meaning instantly. Hope that helps, maybe you wana try something like that.;)
Last edited by Christian_ on Wed 10.19.2005 7:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: New Method of Learning

Postby Infidel » Thu 10.20.2005 7:35 pm

One thing I can say with certianty. You are more likely to learn (remember) a kanji or word that you practice once a day for 20 days than you are if you practice it 100 times in a single day.
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RE: New Method of Learning

Postby nprz » Thu 10.20.2005 8:51 pm

I have bad retention of vocab and kanji. When I had to learn like 300 words in a week though, I carried my vocab list with me and just plugged through it, saying the word, the english meaning and making sure I could recognize the kanji of it. Writing wasn't important for it, but reading the kanji was.

I probably worked on 20 words for a few minutes repeating them a few times and then went on with what I was doing. I'd repeat this every 15-20 minutes and by the end of the day I had 70-80 words memorized. By the end of the week I had the entire list memorized. I was on vacation so it wasn't like I had other homework or things to study.

So spending the entire day staring at a chapter will NOT help you learn anything. If you have read it before, just read it once again and put it down. Come back to it later after you let your brain cool off. Repeat until you can understand everything without reference. This means it should be in some long term memory.

Other tips for memorizing words is to associate them with other pictures or words.
http://www.clutterless.org/Business/how_to_file.htm has more information about tips for remembering things (under the section "Don’t Just File It And Forget It" and then Memory by Association.)
Last edited by nprz on Thu 10.20.2005 8:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: New Method of Learning

Postby InsanityRanch » Thu 10.20.2005 11:22 pm

I've been tempted to do an article on this subject (I'd call it "sticky vocabulary") for awhile.

There are several dimensions to memorizing, I think. First is to get things safely moved from short-term to long term memory. Thing is, I can easily memorize a list by doing various tricks -- mnemonic devices. It often helps to mix senses, to make a picture out of a sound for instance. I remember learning 因みに, chinamini, meaning btw (a way of making a transition between one topic and another) by imagining a Chinese girl in a very short skirt. Pretty stupid, huh? Worked, though... Or I've been known to learn a list by going through stupid hand gestures. I remember learning a list of synonyms for the English catch-all term "to wear". "Haku" I'd mutter, drawing on an imaginary sock. "Kaburu!" as I jammed an imaginary hat on. "Maku", while winding a scarf... (Yes, I was doing this in public and collected odd looks. Maybe the embarrassment has to do with why I still remember that damn list!)

But these devices only get stuff into SHORT term memory. But short-term memory is, well, short term. (Duh). To get it into long-term memory, you gotta review just as you are about to forget the word. It needs to get shoved back into short term memory, this time with maybe a bit of annoyance at yourself for almost forgetting it attached. Some words seem to need several go-rounds to stick. I dunno why that is, that some words just slip into place easily and others persistently sit there just out of reach when you need them. I DO know that the little buggers that slip away need to be firmly recaptured, though. As often as bloody necessary.

Vocabulary needs to be sticky in another way, too. The fact is, words are attached to other words in all sorts of ways. If I come across the English word "grip", I have a wealth of associatiations with it. It is related in form and meaning to words like grasp and grab and grub and grapple. It rhymes with lip and hip and snip and... Get a grip. La grippe. The grip of death... And so on. Grip is "stuck to" a whole lot of other words and phrases in my private English lexicon.

I want that in Japanese, too. The way I've gone about getting it is to notice relationships whenever possible. There are all sorts of relationships. One is what words are used with the word I'm learning. I memorize verbs with their particles -- に乗る/と思う/がわかる/をおこす. I memorize nouns with their verbs -- 傘をさす/畳む. 化粧をする/落す/直す. I memorize bits that I come across in reading that seem to be a single expression, or at least frequently used together -- とべそをかく/許可なく/放心にしたように立ち尽くす...

Another sort of relationship (absolutely RAMPANT in Japanese) is homonyms. I find it's often best to deliberately hunt down homonyms for a new word and force myself to associate them. Seifuku is a school uniform, and also conquest. So I think of a conquering army all dressed in sailor skirts and droopy socks. Utsuru means to be photographed, to be reflected, to move to a new lodging. When I first came across that last utsuru, I made myself learn the other two.

I won't even get into the issue of near misses here -- of remembering the difference between chisiki and shikichi, or harahara (suru) vs. barabara (suru).

Well... you can see that I take a very cold-blooded view of this issue. I will admit to a certain annoyance with Japanese for being so DIFFICULT to memorize.

But recently a Japanese friend paid me the complement of saying I must know at least 10,000 words of Japanese compared to her 8,000 of English. I'm quite sure I don't know nearly as many words. But by using them in context (because I took pains to memorize them in context) I think I give the illusion of being much better informed than I actually am.

(Or maybe she was just being a nice Japanese person and buttering me up? Hmmm.....)

Shira
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RE: New Method of Learning

Postby Infidel » Thu 10.20.2005 11:27 pm

Wow! 300 words in 1 week!

Sugoi!
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RE: New Method of Learning

Postby InsanityRanch » Fri 10.21.2005 9:44 am

300 words in a week is possible. The trick is, can you remember them a month later?
"Give me a fruitful error any time, full of seeds, bursting with its own corrections. You can keep your sterile truth for yourself." -- Vilfredo Pareto
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RE: New Method of Learning

Postby mandolin » Fri 10.21.2005 10:40 am

When I took german in high school, we learned around 20 words a day. 5 days a week. So that was 100 words a week that we were expected to know a month later, and that was on top of all my other classwork, too.

I can totally understand learning 300 in a week if you've got the time and energy to devote to a single thing, and still retain it.

However, I don't think you could learn 300 kanji in a week.. and by learn, I mean how to read AND write them, as well as a couple jukugo that use them. :P
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RE: New Method of Learning

Postby InsanityRanch » Fri 10.21.2005 3:24 pm

mandolin wrote:
When I took german in high school, we learned around 20 words a day. 5 days a week. So that was 100 words a week that we were expected to know a month later, and that was on top of all my other classwork, too.

I can totally understand learning 300 in a week if you've got the time and energy to devote to a single thing, and still retain it.

However, I don't think you could learn 300 kanji in a week.. and by learn, I mean how to read AND write them, as well as a couple jukugo that use them. :P


The nice thing about German is there are cognates. Also, once you get the hang of it, pronunciation is a snap.

I don't know why, but Japanese and English are the WORST languages for figuring out how to pronounce a new word you encounter in print. Or how to write a word you hear in conversation. Oh, of course, educated native speakers do just fine, but in both languages "spelling" is a major hurdle for foreign learners.

Shira
"Give me a fruitful error any time, full of seeds, bursting with its own corrections. You can keep your sterile truth for yourself." -- Vilfredo Pareto
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