Anki is a spaced repetition system (SRS). It helps you remember things by intelligently scheduling flashcards, so that you can learn a lot of information with a minimum amount of effort. Here’s an intro video:
The following was borrowed from How to Japan: Using Anki with Smart.fm
“Where do I get good sentences to use with Anki?”
smart.fm is the answer. It has over 10,000 sentences with a picture and a sound file. It also has it’s own online learning system.
Take a look at the smart.fm plugin for Anki here:
With the latest Anki release, you can also download using Anki’s built in plugin manager. The plugin provides full control over what card types are created.
I’ve been experimenting with Anki and my LingQs, but so far I can only import them one-by-one. I’m trying to find a way to mass import them into the program. Does anyone have any experience with Anki?
The ‘Who is she?’ or ‘Eating Out’ series would be perfect to use with this method if you’re just starting out in a language:)
Wow great! I’ve just found smart.fm and I think it is a great site! But now that it can be hooked up to Anki, even better! Thanks David!
One of the pre-existing decks in Anki contains all the characters from Heisig’s Remembering the Hanzi 1;)
Yes, I know, thank you! I’ve just bought the book from ebay I need the little stories to really remember them! But of course to SRS them, I’ll use Anki. Thank you!
Unfortunately the pre-existing Anki deck only has English → Hanzi cards.
However, I just figured out how to export the decks as text files and so I’ve extracted the info from all the cards in neat columns and I’m going to input them into a new Anki deck Hanzi → English (to work on character recognition first) as I progress in the book.
Let me know if you want the text file and I’ll send it to you.
And check out this link to the ‘One picture, one Hanzi’ Project
From my own experience of using Anki and LingQ, I think Anki is more useful for beginners. Once you’re past the beginner stage and be ready for massive input, Anki is not as useful. The one big problem with Anki is that you must do your reps everyday, or else they will build up real quickly and it could become a nightmare.
Once you have shifted into high gear with LingQ, there is no way you can transfer all your LingQ’s to Anki. If you do, you could be easily looking at hundreds of reps each day. You need to be Superman to endure such a massive dose of reps day after day for any length of time. And if you’re learning more than one language and you have to do all those reps for each language everyday…
Since I joined LingQ in August, I have made over 3000 LingQ’s in French and also over 3000 LingQ’s in Spanish. There is no way I could have survived Anki style repetitions with all those LingQ’s. LingQ’s flashcard system, while not perfect, is good enough for me. What I have been doing, like Steve and Jeff have suggested, is doing the the daily flash cards just once and not be too eager to turn them into known words. I am just happy to know that in due course I’ll encounter those words again. Perhaps in theory this is not as efficient as an optimized spaced system, however it is more than made up for by the fact that I can spend the time reading meaningful content, which is more interesting than doing the reps. Also, I often encounter those words again naturally when I am reading and so the fact that I am not revising with theoretically the most optimized spaced intervals is not such a big deal.
Having said all that, I think there’s still a place for Anki for intermediate and advanced learners. You just have to be careful what you put into it. For example, Steve has mentioned that he had problems with Russian declensions. He’s come up with a way to deal with it with LingQ’s flashcards. If I were him, I’d have done that with Anki because of its superior spaced repetitions algorithm. There are also certain features of Anki that can be very useful. For example, you can highlight a word in colour. In Japanese, it is often difficult for a learner to know when to use the particle は and when to use the particle が. LingQ can’t help you much with this. You can’t create a LingQ with は or が multiple times. The best you can hope for is for things to become clear after a lot of reading. With Anki, you can input many example sentences with は and が and highlight these particles in a different color. Thus when you do the reps you know that it’s these particles you have to pay attention to. With sufficient reps, you’d have a better understanding of the the difference between は or が.
So basically what I am saying is I’d use Anki to deal with specific language issues/problems because of its superior spaced repetitions algorithm and features. For general learning, LingQ is sufficient.
I agree with you for the most part Desmond, and I’m not a big flashcard fan.
However, I do think that all learners can benefit from using Anki. Beginners and intermediate learners can benefit from Spaced Repetition Listening (see my other post here Spaced Repetition Listening - Language Forum @ LingQ), and advanced learners, as you said, can use it to target certain language issues and also to learn very specific vocabulary/jargon, just as a native speaker could use it to learn advanced words for the Scholastic Aptitude Test or something similar.
All of this, of course, should only ever be SUPPLEMENTARY to good ol’ fashioned listening and reading to things you enjoy, and even then only if you feel like it - I say this because I, personally, am a highly motivated lazy language learner. Sometimes I feel like it, sometimes I don’t. However, I have been trying to stick with my Spaced Repetition Listening, and it’s what allowed me to learn to understand and retain about 1000 words of Chinese in a month, although at that time I did it without Anki.
I simply post about these things to add to the pool of resources for those out there that don’t know about them, and who choose to use them, in the hope they they can reap some benefit.
The Spaced Repetition Listening is an interesting idea that I might try some time. Another thing is that if you are learning a non-LingQ language such as Yiddish, obviously you need a good SRS program to help you and in that case Anki would be a good choice.
Btw, Anki is not just a tool for learning languages. For example, if you are a law student who has to remember a lot of facts, then Anki would be an excellent tool to help you with your studies.
I believe that language learning is largely a personal journey of discovery, and that includes the discovery of the methods that we find the most pleasant and the most effective. This varies from person to person.
In my case, I do not use SRS systems much. When I first start out in a language, I am listening to limited content so often, and re-reading so often, that I tend to stay with listening and reading. Later on the saved words are too numerous to really study systematically in a spaced repetition system.
The only exception to this was when I studied Chinese characters where I developed my own SRS system for the first 1,000. After that I just learned from content.
To me the deliberate review of vocabulary is on a random basis. It is a kind of head massage. It helps me to notice certain things, just the way the occasional random grammar review helps me to notice certain things, I think.
When I review my LingQs, I do so once, quickly. I do a variety of things. I might put the endings in as the Hint, rather than the meaning. I think the act of cutting and pasting the ending is as useful a massage as reviewing them later.
If am confusing certain apparently similar words, I will “search” by a prefix or suffix in the Vocab section and then review them, in a list or in flash cards.
I will often do a sort, by Tag, or alphabetical or by importance and review them. All of these reviews are random. It makes more attentive when i read and see my old friends highlighted in yellow.
People should do whatever they find enjoyable, since that will motivated them to spend the time necessary to succeed.
Thanks David, I’ll need that! I’ll contact you when the time is right.
I personally believe that technology and science can help and can accelerate my language learning, that’s why I use Anki and other stuff. It helps me and I like to do things the most efficient way - and SRS is working. Full stop. But of course not everyone has to agree with that or even use one.
And I do agree with the fact that it can be boring after a while - that’s why I select the content very carefully! Like Cantotango said: it’s nearly impossible to SRS everything. I only SRS those stuff that I like/has effect on me. Reviewing cards doesn’t take more than 10-15 minutes per day. It is worth it.
Here’s a blog post I found talking about using technology in language learning, http://bit.ly/7w2Pvk. Some of you may want to chime in with your thoughts… and mention LingQ of course!
If you think it is efficient it is. If you think it is not efficient it is not. There is a lot emotion in learning.
I’ve just read that post!