Best Combo of Anki and LingQ: ChatGPT

Yeah it would be good if some linguistics faculty picks this up and figures it out.


Good points.
And I’ve no idea why xxdb reads “Treasure Island” in Russian at this stage.
I love this novel, but for language learning at an IM level - with so much obsolete vocabulary (

Doesn’t make sense…

Thanks. Yeah.
I’m actually really excited to see if my experiment will work. It’s only been two days but my gut is telling me that not only is it working (because I’ve now had a similar experience to what I’ve had with Spanish) but also it seems logically sound to my analytical mind. I can’t pick holes in it because it just makes sense.

So the real question, is exactly how much extra lift will I get?
The efficiency of anki is ridiculously good for cognate type L2: you can hit 90% retention. With Russian I’m struggling hard to get 55% meaning that I’m barely progressing. It’s there but it’s taking a long time.

But if I can get it up to just 65% I should be hitting 1950 burned in words each month after two months so I should be “done done” after four months.

I’m optimistic because there are two clear examples of “hard” words thatI can remember “burning in” and are now associated with some kind of picture/story in my brain which is exactly what I remember happening with Spanish. I think I also increased my hit rate by about another 10 words as it was much easier to do my misremembered reviews that it was on other days. If that is all it is then my new retention rate will be at least 60% which means I will be “done done” by the end of the year.

And I’ve no idea why xxdb reads “Treasure Island” in Russian at this stage.
I’ve already read 4 books of the Narnia series so I already know the words for shit like “scabbard”, “sword”, “horse”, “galleon”, “bow and arrow”.

They are children’s books that I read when I was a kid. The other choice is Harry Potter or the Spiderwick chronicles for the level I’m at. Harry Potter just bores me to tears and the Spiderwick chronicles is somehow just too hard.
Narnia is barely above my level and Treasure Island is just slightly more above my level but it’s more “adult” in nature in the sense that it’s pretty raw so it’s entertaining.

I’m already drowning in dialogues, so I don’t need more AI-generated dialogues.
However, chatting with generative AIs could be a nice addition to my study routines…
Obviously I can’t speak for your method but for me, the generative AI is creating lingQ material every day that corresponds to my hard to remember words. I’m therefore in my head simulating what the English guy did when he was chatting with the Chinese friends. He would write down those words he had difficulty with when trying to speak Chinese and add those to his anki stack. I’m doing the opposite that: I’m finding written material with those words in it to practice when I have a hard time with them in anki. I’m hoping it will work.

“I don’t believe there have been many breakthroughs in language learning” @ejackson
Yes, most “revolutions” in SLA are evolutions - at best.

That said, generative AIs like ChatGPT are a completely different ball game. They don’t process language as humans do (neither as consciousness nor as communciation systems for coordinating behavior), but the text results based on mathematical / statistical models are pretty good (although often a bit generic).


Just to be clear, I’m not recommending focusing solely on oral comprehension. I mean acquiring the vocabulary and grammar used in oral conversation or spoken YouTube monologues. My main studying is importing YouTube videos or podcasts into LingQ and doing reading while listening. I just mean that vocabulary used in these podcasts and YouTube videos are more likely to be high/mid-frequency words unlike those words used in books, where you can encounter very rare words.

I have actually been trying just watching TV series in Italian with Italian subtitles and, I gotta say, I’m not convinced. It’s fun and easy to do, but I don’t think it’s a very efficient technique for increasing my vocabulary (one of my weak points) because I just can’t look up the words I don’t know on the Netflix app on my phone. I really need something like Language Reactor to have double subtitles or the ability to click to look up a word. Reading while listening on LingQ has the ability to look up unknown words instead of randomly guessing or having no idea what it means. I understand the whole story and what everyone is talking about generally, but there are many individual words, which I simply don’t know. So as a language learning technique, I would not call it efficient. If it was possible to use Language Reactor for showing dual subtitles and the ability to look up words, it would be great. Unfortunately, it’s not possible inside the Netflix app. Maybe I’ll try to play Netflix through my browser on my phone and see if it works.

As per the article @PeterBormann sent about a multi-modal approach, watching TV series or YouTube videos with subtitles and the ability to look up words has three or four modes: listening, reading Italian subtitles, scanning English subtitles sometimes, and visual cues.

“My main studying is importing YouTube videos or podcasts into LingQ and doing reading while listening.”
I’ve come to the identical conclusion.
That’s also my primary focus after the A1 / A2 phase.


How would the two compare: reading a book that is known but with not-always-useful vocabulary vs. reading new material with more useful vocabulary? What would you choose and why?

My guess would be it would depend on your level and your goals. For me I have chosen new material with more useful vocabulary. The reason is simply I don’t need to know the word ‘galleon’. I could be very comfortable at C1, understand very complex topics, and still not know the word ‘galleon’. I can’t remember the last time I’ve read/used that word in English. And ‘scabbard’ is definitely years.

I understand that you could consider knowing the story as almost a ‘mode’, but the word ‘scabbard’ is still not useful for me. Honestly, I just looked up the definition in English and I got it wrong. I knew it had something to do with a sword, but I couldn’t pinpoint the exact definition. For me, this is not useful vocabulary to learn. But, for you, perhaps these words are useful vocabulary, because of your work/interests, etc.

EDIT: Obviously, it’s not about the single one word of ‘scabbard’, but rather the collection of low- and very-low-frequency words.


I couldn’t start reading while listening until A2+/B1 simply because my vocabulary wasn’t high enough for the available material.

But speaking of modes, perhaps the Language Reactor with YouTube/Netflix is more efficient because of the three or four modes instead of just the two of reading while listening. What do you think? You can’t just use Language Reactor with YouTube/Netflix from A0, but during an intermediate phase, perhaps. Once you start bordering on the advanced phase, you have to go to books to acquire the new vocabulary. But in the late intermediate phase?

No, you and Peter are both right here. These books suck bones for vocabulary acquisition. That’s not why I’m reading them though. They are at my level and don’t put me to sleep.

My vocabulary acquisition isn’t done through word mining or sentence mining at all. I’m plowing through the frequency list in anki. I’m at 9,000 head words in audio.

Right now I think my problem isn’t words per se, although I definitely have a retention problem compared with Spanish or French (both of which I hit over 90% compared to Russian’s 50-55%). To get from intermediate (which I know with 100% certainty you can get to with just pure word memorization), you need more exposure to the whole language. It’s exposure to word forms, collocations and set phrases. The holding onto the vocabulary words isn’t the whole deal, though having them burned in will definitely not hurt. It’s a measure more than anything else but not a perfect measure.

That said, I’m no longer focusing on reading novels. I’m now doing chatGPT stories from my anki daily word list. I’m two days in to my new method and I feel like it’s working. Yeah feel hahahaha.

I don’t have any hard stats yet, though I seem to have edged up slightly already in conversions for “young” words. I’m also recognizing many, many, many more full phrases than before. As you would expect. Because they are constructed from my words of the day. But it’s anecdotal and early days yet. I won’t be able to tell for a while.


I guess the difference is you separate your vocabulary acquisition and your reading (and listening?) comprehension. Personally, for me, I do all of them at the same time with reading while listening. I know that if I encounter a word and click on its definition enough times, I will learn that word. For this reason, I don’t separate the activities. I just read while listening and click on words to see the definition (and then relisten to the episode many times to drill it in). I wouldn’t have believed it the other year, but it works. I mean, now I can literally watch TV series in Italian and, surprisingly, have a long but broken conversation in Italian.

[xxdb] “I think what happens is that you build a secondary language center which is eventually accessible by the subconscious mind.”
Yes, I think that’s true, and implies that all the grunt work of acquiring some minimum vocabulary and structure first is absolutely necessary. Until you do that, the conscious mind is powerful enough and the subconscious has no interest in getting involved.
I did that with Duolingo. I think I finished the first 5 major sections, whatever they call them. The exercises were initially useful, but then became a chore.

One other point. Reading a particular author or genre is useful for increasing the repetition of words and phrases, but it’s important to include other authors and genres. You mentioned earlier that that entails a lot of reading maybe millions of words. Yeah…it actually does, but, again, I don’t think there are any shortcuts. I think I’m approaching 1 million words from just reading NRK news every day and three novels. Something I do in English routinely as well.

“because of the three or four modes instead of just the two of reading while listening”
The problem I see is that “multi-tasking”, or rather in this context: " multi-switching between modes" (reading, listening, visual cues, etc.), is usually considered detrimental to our precious focused attention.

The benefits of reading while listening (especially at a faster pace from a B1/B1-B2 level upwards) outweigh the possible disadvantages of multitasking (we discussed this a few months ago in another LingQ thread about why there is no such thing as “passive” listening). However, I’m not sure if adding more and more modes really has a positive effect, or rather when the disadvantages start to outweigh the advantages.

Common sense from all sorts of fields (diets, sports, etc.) tells us that it’s a matter of “dosage” and that it’s wise to avoid extremes, but, in this particular SLA context, it would be nice to have access to more scientific literature, especially from neuroscience and cognitive psychology.

Definitely an interesting topic…

Chat GPT is a great tool but you can tell you don’t know how to use it properly. You won’t get very far with you method.

I have the shortcut you’re looking for. Ain’t giving it tho.

Are you five years old? Thanks for your comment.

Seriously, ChatGPT is known to make many mistakes.

Haha ok gotcha.
Well yes sure it isn’t factually correct and it says things that are a little bit less than common sense but it’s grammatically correct and uses the words I ask it to so it is fit for purpose.
In fact, the fact that it comes up with stupidity such as a priest giving a young man a painkiller for pain in his soul is so ridiculous that the image burned in my brain. Which is exactly what you want.
So on the contrary, while you are correct about it making mistakes - in this case the mistakes are helpful.

Not those kinds of mistakes. Many people say it makes grammatical mistakes, especially in Russian. I have also seen it say things that are gramatically correct but are not idiomatic so it ends up sounding unnatural.