Learning a highly inflected language, specifically Czech

I wonder if anyone else studying a Slavonic language has found a satisfactory way to solve the following problem. In Czech, each noun has, at least in theory, 14 variant forms because of the use of cases. These 14 forms are treated as individual words in Lingq.

In a text, one will only come across the nominative singular every so often. Lingq will create a term from whatever form occurs in the text being studied, and this can cause problems for the learner, who will not always be able to derive the other forms reliably because the basic form has not been stored.

For instance, let’s imagine that we have come across the word ‘oken’. We find that it means window. But the form is the genitive plural, meaning ‘of the windows’. The nominative could in theory be either ‘okno’ or ‘okna’, depending upon the gender. The dictionary look-up will tell me that ‘okno’ is the correct form and this is the form I need to learn. The ending -o makes it clear that the word is neuter and I can then confidently derive all the other forms correctly. But lingq will not be storing the word ‘okno’ it will store the word ‘oken’ and that’s what I will see on all the flashcards and other exercises. If I have not learned ‘okno’ as the basic form, I run the risk of forgetting that the gender is neuter and coming up with non-existent forms such as ‘oknách’ ‘oknám’ ‘oknami’ and messing up adjectival agreements too.

I wondered whether there might be a way of amending the term found in the text so that nouns are all stored as nominative singular. I did think that it might be possible to use the Export facility, amend the list of terms as desired and then re-import the results into lingq (and delete the original terms). Unfortunately, the export file was unintelligible because all the characters with diacritical marks became garbled in the process.

(Later addition - it is in fact possible to export without corruption. See later post)

So I wondered how other students of highly inflected languages cope with this situation. I’ve been very excited to come across lingq and view it as a potentially very valuable tool. If I were learning English or a similarly ‘isolating’ language, I’d be on cloud 9 - but I’m not sure that the system really supports inflected languages in a way that makes them easy to learn.

All suggestions welcome (polite ones, at least!).

A polite explanation for you:

There are quite a few people here learning Slavic languages, and other tongues that are even more inflected. Many have reached a very high level. I myself have learned Russian on Lingq. After that, I’ve been to Russia several times, socialised with Russian speakers, engaged in recreational activities, and even helped teach courses in Russian. And no, I don’t usually make mistakes of gender or case.
The usual method is to just forget about putting all nouns into nominative and just read/listen and get used to the form of the words as you encounter them. Pay attention to what role each word play in the sentence. Make sure to have a grammar guide handy and browse it sometimes to refresh your memory about how declensions work but don’t try to learn it by heart, just get familiar with the system. If you are grammatically inclined, stop sometimes when you find a strange form and check from which noun it comes or what some other form it might be. You can add part of the info to your lingq either in the text or as a tag.
Nothing of this is indispensable by any means but it can help, provided that it doesn’t interfere to much with your reading/listening which is, by far the most important part. I do research some words from time to time but I don’t annotate the lingqs.
As for the flashcard system, I don’t even use it and neither do many other learners. If you enjoy it, just do as above: review the forms as you encounter them. One way or another everything will become clear as you get exposed to the language.

[Edit] So, be on cloud 9! You’re going to learn Czech here

Something else: if you insist on using flashcards and worry about learning the gender: ling phrases and review those, or even sentences. The more context you provide the better. Also tag those lingqs as “phrase” or something similar so you can select them when you want to review them. “Sentence/phrase mining” is a superior way to do flashcarding, if you are going to do it at all.

Thanks for the very swift and detailed answer. I probably should have made it clear in my post that I’m already at an advanced stage and have come here in an attempt to boost my active vocabulary. We all learn differently, but my preferred style leans heavily on grammer, as you guessed. For me, it seems more efficient to learn the word in its basic form. I know the system well enough to derive the other forms from that.

On the other hand, I would have to admit that cramming lots of words in meaningless lists is a boring and not very accurate way to learn. Although I wrote about flashcards earlier, I prefer the cloze exercises that this site provides. The fact that this site stores the original sentence in which the new vocabulary was used is a real bonus. My ideal would be to have the term stored in its most basic form, its use being illustrated by that accompanying context.

Having not been on this system for long, there are surely other useful techniques that I have yet to discover. So I’ll keep exploring!

I should update this information so that I don’t put off others. I can actually use the system precisely as I would wish to, although it’s a bit more effort. I found an Export option which works without a problem - it’s on the Vocabulary page, under ‘More options’. From there, I can download the lingqs, make adjustments to the basic term and import back into lingq without difficulty using the ‘Import vocabulary’ option on the same page.

I can understand that not everyone would want to do this extra work, but the results suit my way of learning and I did not want to leave the impression that the system was inflexible.

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Just keep reading en mass instead of studying flashcards. You will increase your chances of encountering words in all its forms. Dont overthink it. Wikislovnik can always help if you need to czech on something.

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