October 7, 2010 3 Comments
My previous post was vague on how exactly I build my flashcards, and the following comment was left by darren:
I’ve used anki for awhile but i’m still not sure how people are tracking the number or words they know…do you have a deck just of words vs sentences vs mixed that you review to pull the stats? Does the number of vocab include characters and compounds or do you break that out at all? Would be really useful to know how you pull those stats out of anki to show progress etc.
Anki is definitely keeping track of this information, since it has charts which show the # of cards added and first reviewed.
So maybe someone out there has created an anki plugin that will export the date added and date first reviewed of each card in the deck. I tried quickly searching for some, but I didn’t find any. Maybe someone else can answer that question.
However, I use excelt to keep track of how many words I have added and reviewed each month. Mainly, I am doing this because I was already using excel to help import cards into Anki in the first place.
I carry around a small notebook with me when I know I am going to be doing a lot of practice. Everytime there is a word I wish I knew how to say in Cantonese, then I write it down in the notebook. Then when I get back home, I look them up in cantodict. Also if there is an example sentence which I find memorable, I add that to the card as well.
Then when I get several of them, I copy paste them into a text file and use Anki’s “File > Import…” menu to import them as a tab-separated file. I keep the same # of columns in my spreadsheet as I have in my card template:
So, I generate two cards for each word: a Cantonese -> English card and a English -> Cantonese card. In the previous post, I was actually counting words (2 cards), not cards.
I didn’t start learning Chinese characters until about 1.5 years after I started studying how to speak Cantonese, so my oldest cards don’t actually include characters. Also, I try to only have 1 new word per “fact” (a fact being the two “front” and “back” cards), so if an example sentence has several new words, I add cards for those words as well (and find new example sentences for them).
As for cards per character versus per compound, I count by compounds. A single character can be used in so many ways, I personally think it is more motivational for me when I see the number of new words I am learning, not just the number of characters. I did once have a character deck with one card per character. But I ended up not really learning the characters and their meanings as well, so I think it’s better to seem them in context. And for some characters with multiple pronuncations and multiple uses, there is just way too much information per character for a single card.
There are also a lot of great ideas about flashcard setup on the blog Thousand Mile Journey. He has made several posts on different types of Anki decks, and he links to them from this page: