Category: Learning Method

Okay, I have published a post wherein I speak of putting no English on my Japanese cards. Well, I decided that I should go into a little more detail..

First of all, if you can, buy a Kindle. It WILL make and allow you to read more Japanese [L2]. They are relatively cheap, and get the wifi version [its easier to get your reading from the computer anyways, less hassle, unless that is your fancy, get the 3G one]. Since it’s so much easier to get your hands on Japanese, you will automatically read more. Put a little more effort, maybe even join the 多読 thing.

Here is my process from start to finish.

Firefox + Peraperakun

Find an article in Japanese [L2]. Any article you wish, any blah of text.

In Japanese, if you already know all the kana [which you should learn first], you would then hover the mouse over the first kanji/kanji combo you see. Put the pronunciation on the back of your flashcard [SRS] and put the entire first paragraph on the front [or the paragraph with your selected word in it].

Highlight the kanji/kanji combo and put the pronunciation for whichever part you highlight [whether it be one kanji or more] on the back. Try to do these incrementally [eg. for 常用漢字, do one for the pronunciation for each kanji, and then one for the first pair, then one for the second pair, and THEN one for the whole thing.]

Repeat for every kanji [jus keep on going] until you get bored.

Use Instapaper to save that article, then send it to your free Kindle account [acct]. Read this article to see how much you can read [meaning doesnt really matter, it will come with much reading, plus you can get a gist of the meaning because perapera puts a definition along with the reading (pronunciation)]. Use the reading on your kindle as free time along with watching Japanese shows/movies and fun stuff.

Keep returning to article [as many times as necessary, point 5 in article] until article is completely MCD’d. Obviously you can skip kanji if you’d like, if you dont feel like doing certain ones, but at the beginning, you need to take as much as you can, and then once you get a lot, you can start being a little more choosy.

Again, always do something entertaining in Japanese when boredom tries to come in.

For writing competence, that will be another post.

Note: I know this may seem tiring, and a lot of work, but 1, it will even out later on, and 2, sorry. I dont get tired of MCDing at all. I have gone as much as three hours straight before I had to stop to do other things. Once you start reading and seeing the Kanji you just all of a sudden miraculously know how to read, you’ll get more into MCDing. I promise.


Right now, here is my daily studying ritual for Japanese.

1] MCD 1 news article, 1 ajatt article [or blog article], and 1 other random article [for a total of 3]

a]Catch every unknown kanji on the way, and known kanji if feeling and energy permits

2] Read Japanese in every spare moment, just to see how many kanji I can recognize

3] Listen to Japanese during both [1 & 2]

4] Watch Japanese when not doing any [1-3]

5] Repeat

I have seen and heard many people ask this question about certain parts of a language, and the answer to everyone is simple.

See more examples of it in a sentence.

There have been many times where I don’t exactly know what a word means, but a faint gist is enough to get me to use it correctly at the right time, with the right surrounding words.

With that said, you don’t ever have to know what any word means, definition-wise, but only when and how to use it. For example, can you explain “the”, “and”, and “a” to anyone? It’s very difficult, yet you know exactly when and how to use them, and what nuances they change in the meaning of a sentence.

Make it of utmost importance to get more examples. Expose yourselves to more of the troubling particle or word, and it will all become clear with time. Don’t worry about when or how, just expose yourself and all will become clear when it needs to be.

Happy Travels! [^.^]

If you haven’t already heard, MCDs are the best way to hack a language. If there were anything as powerful as it were effortless [and believe me, it is quite effortless] to learn a language with, I would like to know that way also. In the meantime however, we are now at the very crest of learning any language.

Now, for ideographic languages [any of the Chinese languages or Japanese, afaik] or languages [Arabic, Greek, Korean, etc] wherewith you do NOT yet know the very basic ruminations of the way of pronunciation, you will need to add an extra step in the listening department, but that on in another post [‘.’]

For now, I will be adding to a post by Khatzumoto from AJATT [+] referencing using MCDs to dominate Latin-Scripted [mostly European] languages.

My addition is small, but noteworthy, for, as in many of Khatz’s posts, his posts tend to come out I’m sure exactly as his thoughts come, which both is good for learning and entertainment [he’s quite the funny fellow!]. But after reading this post, I was left with a sort of, “now what?”

So, I paused my Japanese for a bit and actually started to make MCDs of French, along with some others, and here’s the kind of parts of speech I clozed out:

le, les, la, un, une, de, des, aux, ou, et, est, ser[ait], s’étaler[ont], etc…

Basically any particles, or any parts of words that change to change a nuance of meaning. Nouns, I believe, can be learned either purely through context, [I do not believe I have ever looked up “context” before ;)], or through a picture [what adjective do you think this picture represents? ] if that is not a possibility.

Also, I have a thought that you do not need to include English on these cards because context might take care of everything!

In the end, context is KING. That is what the MCDs are all about anyway, showing you how to use parts of a language through context.

Happy Travels!


Spanish SRS formats

For Spanish, I have opted to use three different formats of SRS cards:
1:Reading Card – Nothing serious, just a block of text to read for understanding.
Grading will be on how much of the card I understood w/o any english assistance, yet no assistance will ever be given in english, a ha ha!
2: Listening card – There will be two variations of this card, one with audio and text, and one without text, yet I have still counted this as one card.
Grading again will be based on how much I am able to understand, the more I understand, the better the grade.
3: And last but certainly not least, the all-powerful MCDs. – This will probably be my most frequent card, because, although not the easiest among the three, it is most certinly the most fun to make. This will also be my primary way, aside from reading an abhorrently large amount of text and listening to tens of thousands of hours of audio, to understand more of the language.
Grading stays consistent throughout



[Edit: I have changed my mind, and opted for only the very spectacular MCDs. My reading and listening will improve automatically as I continue to create and review my MCDs. Also, when I do begin to speak, I will be better off because of them as well!]