Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles tagged with ‘SRS’

  1. Sensible Chinese character learning challenge 2014

    The 2014 sensible Chinese character learning challenge starts soon! This article introduces the challenge and how you join us. Apart from learning a lot of characters and improving the way you learn characters, you also get a discount and free extensions on Skritter, as well as a chance of winning character posters from Hanzi WallChart!

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  2. Sensible Chinese character learning revisited

    In a way, learning Chinese characters is very much like learning vocabulary in any foreign language and much of the efficient methods developed there works well for Chinese as well. However, characters are also fundamentally different from words in English and this influences how we should learn them as well. This article is a recap of how to learn Chinese characters in a sensible way. It is also a prologue for the upcoming character learning challenge.

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  3. Flashcard overflow: About card models and review directions

    The question of how to design flashcards is faced by all learners who use them. What should you put on the front? What should you put on the back? Should you add single characters or whole words? Or perhaps sentences are better? The general answer is that it depends and this article discusses some of the factors the answers depend on.

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  4. The get-back-up-to-speed summer challenge

    This is a challenge to encourage readers (and myself) to get more out of the remaining weeks of the summer. I have huge Anki and skritter queues and I plan to fight the down to zero before September 1st. You might need to study more vocabulary or you might have other things you want to complete this summer. Will you join the challenge?

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  5. If you think spaced repetition software is a panacea you are wrong

    Spaced repetition software (SRS) is widely discussed online, and generally speaking, there is a spectrum between people who think SRS is the holy grail of learning anything and those that think SRS is artificial, passive and just a waste of time. This article argues that this polarisation is a serious mistake, SRS is a tool and like any other tool, how we use it determines what we get from it.

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  6. You can’t learn Chinese characters by rote

    My conclusion after years of learning characters is that rote learning is useless. Spaced repetition software is good, but it’s still not enough. If adult foreigners are going to learn to write Chinese by hand, we really need another method. We need mnemonics, we need active processing, we need to quit rote learning and stop using SRS mechanically.

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  7. Measurable progress is a double-edged sword

    Spaced repetition software offers a great way of measuring progress, every step forward is recorded and clearly visible. However, this is also a trap, because even though SRS is useful, it’s just a tool, not a comprehensive strategy. Measurable progress is a great help, but only if you use it correctly.

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  8. Answer buttons and how to use SRS to study Chinese

    Spaced repetition is very powerful compared to massed repetition, which is why software utilising the spacing effect is growing ever more popular. In this article, I discuss how to review vocabulary using SRS, including how to use the various answer buttons and some other functions commonly available.

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  9. Dealing with tricky vocabulary: Killing leeches


    Leeches are words or characters that you keep forgetting and therefore consume much more time than other words or characters. Rather than trying to hammer these words into your brain, a specific strategy is needed to kill the leeches. This article deals with just that, how to handle difficult vocabulary you keep on forgetting.

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  10. Spaced repetition isn’t rote learning

    Spaced repetition might on the surface look like it’s rote learning, but I argue that it isn’t. Firstly, spaced repetition isn’t about learning as such. You’re supposed to use smarter methods to learn the words first and then simply review to keep the knowledge fresh. Secondly, spaced repetition won’t degenerate to rote learning if you are alert and avoid cramming of any kind.

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