Clever title

Reflecting on: Anki for language learning

As I mentioned in previous posts, I am learning Japanese. One of my favorite tools for this has been Anki. I recently finished 1 of 6 decks for core Japanese vocabulary. I thought it would be nice to write a short explanation of how I use Anki for this.

Anki is a flashcard software that uses spaced repetition. Instead of just choosing between "yes/no" on whether I knew a card, Anki lets me choose between "Again/Hard/Good/Easy." When I first started using Anki, I would only select "Good" or "Again." This is fine to get started, but it's suboptimal for spaced repetition. Selecting Hard will make the card show up sooner than Good, and selecting Easy will make it show up later than Good.

There is some conversation online on which to pick and why, and you may also alter the impact of each choice. Below is the system I use:

Choice Reason
Easy I immediately knew the answer and got it right on my first try of the day.
Good I paused before the answer on my first try of the day, or I got it right on my second attempt of the day.
Hard I confused this word with something else earlier (such as 持つ vs 待つ), I answered it mostly correctly but some mispronunciation or wrong participle, or I got it right on my third+ attempt of the day.
Again Any other mistake.

This has been a good system for me that compliments spaced repetition. Anki tags any card I get repeatedly wrong as leeches, which essentially means that Anki isn't helping me learn those. Selecting Hard instead of Good or Easy means I will see that card multiple times again that day, giving me a chance to solidify it. This is very helpful for learning the differences between similar looking kanji, because some portion of my review for each day is spent comparing 持 and 待 until I can tell the difference.

#anki #japanese

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