When can one stop using flashcard system?

Discussion in 'Chinese Language' started by FrancoisTaipei, Jun 4, 2017.

  1. pdwalker

    pdwalker 榜眼

    Oops. I slipped a digit earlier. I upped mine to 512,000 not 51,200 (which is the default value)
    FrancoisTaipei likes this.
  2. Bawanglong

    Bawanglong Member

    Hi Francois,

    You are a very dedicated language learner! I think you set a high, yet attainable, goal for yourself: being as good at the language as a native speaker. Remember, it takes about 18 years for native speakers of Chinese to reach university level Chinese.

    As for stopping flashcards: you can stop using them when you don't really care too much if you remember a new word or not. For example, I'm a native speaker of English. I usually look up 2 - 3 English words per week, but I make no real effort to remember them. It might be years before I encounter those words again, so I make no effort to remember them. However, when I was preparing for the GRE (to get into grad school in the US) I looked up, wrote down, studied, and memorized lots of English words, and did quite well on the verbal section of the exam. I just don't bother with English words anymore, except for the rare word I want to add to my active vocabulary. So I would say maybe when you know the most frequently used 5,000 - 7,000? (8,000?) characters, and the 詞 in which they are used, you will see little additional utility in learning yet another Chinese word. It could be years before you would encounter that word again, and most native speakers will not know that character either.

    Here is some further food for thought: I noticed you said you like to read "tough" books, but you can only read a few pages before you need a break. Let me suggest that you try reading "easy" stuff instead. If you read easier material, you will be able to read much, much more. That means you will be exposing yourself to more Chinese. The quantity of material you will be able to read should more than make up for it being "easier." You will see the words you are learning more often because you may be reading 3 or 4 or even 5 times as many pages of "easy" Chinese as you were reading of "tough" Chinese. This, of course, assumes you can find "easier" reading material that interests you.

    This method might also help increase your reading speed. Reading speed increases with practice. You need more practice reading. How does one read more? Read easier material!


    Last edited: Aug 23, 2017
    Wan and FrancoisTaipei like this.
  3. hi @Bawanglong, you are right, I would probably read more and faster reading easier material...
    But I feel I would not improve that much if I kept reading easy books. I wouldn't add much new vocabulary.
    Sure, I would read more pages, but those pages wouldn't contain much vocabulary, so the reading speed is faster, but the new vocabulary is less. I am not sure what strategy is better here...

    I don't know if there are studies about that. That is an interesting topic.
    So I chose to focus on learning a lot of vocabulary as fast as I can, with the hope that soon enough I will have seen most of the common words to be able to read the same kind of books that I would read in my native language.

    It is very difficult to quantify which strategy is good. But I make some statistics every week, where I write how many new words I learned (based on pleco's statistics data) and what material I have read.

    If I could get the same kind of statistics from somebody else who keeps learning in a different way, that would be extremely interesting to compare.

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