Anki: Flashcard App
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How to use this site
Outlined here are some tips on how to use this site to study most efficiently and effectively.
This app is amazing for building your vocabulary – I mean it is a flashcard app.
But the reason it is so great is because it is built on the concept of spaced repetition and works with the fact that you’ll eventually forget things.
Depending on how well you felt you remembered the card, it will time the card to come up again in under a minute, in a couple of days, weeks or months.
The Anki program has a big community with shared flashcard decks. However, we recommend building your own cards. This way you can separate the cards into categories that make sense for you personally and also have it made up of words that you have encountered in context.
For example: I tried to explain why the sky is blue in Japanese. But I didn’t know the words refractive index, colour spectrum etc. so I made a deck that contained the words I would need to know if I were to explain why the sky is blue.
One thing I also recommend (if you don’t want to be an interpreter) is doing your best NOT to use your native language for the flip side of the card but rather use images and other related words!
Words are just verbal constructs that describe phenomena – a table is a table but you are a unique being with all sorts of different experiences that make up your concept of a table. Look on Google Images in Japanese テーブル can find the テーブル that seems the most tabley to you and add that to the underside of your cards.
Also, learning the words that you personally relate with the word “table” like: cutlery, feast, gather, family, wood, and big, or cup noodles, lonely, plastic, and small. And put them in the same deck or as a little note at the bottom of the underside of the flashcard. This will speed up you thinking in Japanese and increase your vocabulary ten fold!
Grammar points make for interesting cards. But I wouldn’t recommend making them with an English equivlent expression or even worse a long winded explaination of how it is used.
Learn in context: Find native-written sentences and learn that sentence fully. Make it easy to swap words in and out. For example: if you were learning particles (words with a similar function to English’s to, in, the, etc) 今日＿4時＿渋谷＿友達＿待ち合わせするよ。→ 今日の4時に渋谷で友達と待ち合わせするよ
Like this you can make little tests for yourself while easily remembering what means what without having to translate from Japanese to English and then back.
Of course, kanji make for great flashcards!
Similar to the vocabulary section – use images and related words rather than your native language – unless you want to be an interpreter.
Another great way to remember kanji is to make the back of the card the reading and a sentence with the word in context. That way you have words that relate to the kanji and also don’t get caught up in making unnatural connections because of your native language. For example: The word for situation in Japanese has a lot of translations but they are all context based and are quite different. 事情 is related to the self and reasons while 状況 has a much more objective feel, etc.
This is the only time I like downloading decks. You can make your own test questions – which can be good because you are definely learning what you need in the format of your test. But, having a broad base for testing by downloading other people’s desk can be a good way to prepare for trickier questions or ones that are outside of your textbook/program/regular study area.