Highest level achieved through flashcards alone?

I now have to figure out how to move forward with the speaking piece for Russian

I’m also trying to concoct a little bit more practical approach, because it seems that at some point familiar words and expressions from R/L practice don’t affect fluency. The most accurate metaphor for me would be “I won’t become a guitarist without playing a guitar”. That said, I think that gigs or even jams are basically optional, but the actual guitar playing practice is unavoidable. And it’s probably gonna take a lot of time during the day so I have to think of something to maintain “vocabulary”, since the speaking practice will likely consist of simple practical parts of the language.

Look, there’s nothing stopping you from trying that. I think experimentation and “finding your own path” is great. HOWEVER…

Personally, I found the sentence selection at Glossika to be quite poor, having used it for Russian and Turkish. I much rather use Babbel (for grammar explanation and some vocabulary) and Duolingo (for grammar explanation and practicing with many different sentences) on the A1 and A2 levels, than use Glossika. Also, notice how overpriced Glossika is for what it provides: a bunch of sentences. Duolingo is free and it’s the same thing (a bunch of sentences), but with the sentences nicely grouped according to topic/grammar point, and with grammar explanations if you want them (in the desktop version).

If you want, you could even take sentences you find on Duolingo, Babbel, and other language learning apps, run the vocabulary you want to focus on through Tatoeba.org, and form your own Anki flashcards using the sentences you find there (that’s what I’ve been doing with Turkish lately).

In any case, as soon as I get some kind of base competency in a language, then I jump over to LingQ and reading/listening using other means (e.g. Language Reactor - which is free). That’s much cheaper, less boring, and all-around better than having thousands of random sentences shown to you for no apparent reason.

When I say “playing with” what I’m talking about within the context of lingq is the default version of vocabulary review – being quizzed about the words and phrases you selected in a variety of ways. I actually find that quite useful and more interesting than just quizzing yourself one way, as is usually the case with flashcards (either actively or passively). Outside of lingq, “playing” could involve looking up the word in various dictionaries, looking at examples of usage, making up your own sentences that best express when you yourself could imagine yourself using the phrase (and getting it corrected!!!) etc… and of course quizzing yourself with flashcards. Whatever causes you to pay attention to and actively “do something” with the vocabulary. Very little prep time is required for lingq “playing”, which is an advantage…

The difference between using a frequency list and what I’m suggesting above is that with a list you’d be missing that all-important context! When I’m playing with words and phrases, I always think of WHERE this piece of vocabulary came up for me and in what context it was used. In fact one “fault” I find with lingq is that it should easily link to the text in which the vocabulary appeared, so you can see the entire context along with the name of the text. As things stand, I can usually identify the context from memory, but not always, and when I can’t identify the context, I note that something is really lost for me.

I use tutors on italki and I always prep what I’m going to talk about in advance, writing the subjects in a document and then trying out verbally in advance what I would say about each.

I use a good language teaching book for detailed inspiration and only use the subjects I’m interested in and have something to say about. I also pick out photos and websites to illustrate what I’m talking about… For example, if I were presenting my family, I’d pick a photo about each family member I was talking about. In fact I’m kind of doing on-the-fly mini-presentations for my teacher.

In the beginning, I may just be saying words and trying to get together the simplest of sentences. In preparing, I may write down one or two words I’m going to use, but not whole sentences. If a particular subject feels quite difficult, I may turn it into a writing exercise and write a little text about it which I and my tutor will then correct together during the lesson.

All of the above works pretty well. Eight months into learning Hungarian and still only at the end of the A1 language book, I tried to take an online course for a little extra practice and I was level-tested for that…I was scored at a B1 level in speaking ability…


That is some awesome advice right there. Thank you.

Thanks for explaining what you mean by playing. Interesting. I’ll take a look at that.

I think that for sure context solidifies. I can remember a couple of contexts still for two specific words I suddenly understood while watching Spanish telenovelas years ago so for sure.

Thanks again for the discussion.

Just out of curiosity: what is hungarian like?
I think I read it’s not indo-european.

I was going to say almost exactly the same thing! Off the top of my head, I would have said that the threshold where learning vocabulary from a frequency list stops being the best approach may be around 500 words. Obviously it will depend on the the learner and what kind of language they are learning and there is no exact number you can give.

Yes, you’re right that Hungarian doesn’t belong to the indo-european language family and it is fundamentally very different from most European languages both in terms of vocabulary and structurally. So it does take a while to learn it…but it’s a good challenge and I’m having fun with it.

For more detail than you ever imagined, check out this video: MAGYAR NYELV! The Hungarian Language is MINDBLOWING - YouTube :slight_smile:

Thank you. LOL I get it. If it were possible I’d just spend the rest of my life doing the same thing as Steve Kaufman but I have to choose my battles. In an ideal world I’d like to do something like basque plus an obscure native american language or maybe an australian aboriginal one. Back in the real world, Mandarin is next for me then I think I might stop and consolidate all of them up to C1 or so.

But yeah thanks for the video, that definitely looks interesting from a historical perspective and it would sure be interesting to try it out if I didn’t have so much on my plate already.

Thanks again.

Interesting. You might be right, I can’t say. What I can say is from my experience is that a combination of learning at least 2,000 spoken words by drilling and then starting to watch youtube, those ALONE get me to a decent level of comprehension. I think my method tops out at low A2 unless you also take a look at grammar. I can’t tease out the confounding variables though.
If I hadn’t done lingQ or hadn’t watched some of the grammar about russian in russian would I have gotten as far? Maybe not.

What I can say is I’m satisfied with my progress vs the effort put in.