Anki Overload

Due to having neglected it for several days, when I checked Anki today, I had over 400 cards waiting for me. After some concentrated effort, that’s now down to 157. Well, it’s my own fault for creating so many cards all at once. Even 400 is a small fraction of the total number of cards I’ve stuffed in there since I began a couple weeks ago. Well, I’ve since slowed to a more manageable rate. I can’t remember hundreds of words a week anyway (probably). At the beginning I wasn’t learning entirely new words, but rather trying to catch up with what I had (to some extent) already known months back when I was originally compiling the list in my little Russian notebook.

By now I’ve inputted all unknown words among the first 1213 in my Russian frequency list. In my notebook I’d gone up to a bit over 1600. So I’m still a bit aways from that. Afterwards, I’d be fine with an average rate of, say, five new words a day, at least until I reach 2500 or so in the frequency list. (Of course, I won’t have to input all those words because I’ll already know many of them.) At that point, vocabulary will probably have ceased to be my bottleneck, and I’ll be able to concentrate on other aspects of learning Russian, probably extensive conversational practice and reading. At some point I may leave off somewhat of the frequency list and just input words that seem important as I encounter them, or more likely do both this and continue to go down the list.

Of course, that’s not the end of Anki. I input not only lexical items, but also sample sentences and phrases with grammatical structures that I want to know. This is different from vocabulary and would probably continue in parallel.

Meanwhile, incidentally, I’ve begun an Anki Yiddish, inputting various idioms, phrases, and vocabulary. I feel like I’ve hit a plateau in my Yiddish as well, and I hope this will be of assistance.

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3 Responses to “Anki Overload”

  1. julie Says:

    I’m a little confused. You seem to have reached a new stage of Anki… are you going to be inputting less Russian words now, and mostly be using the cards, then?

  2. boredstrakhirstatistiker Says:

    Not sure what you mean. I’m always using “the cards”; that’s what Anki is. It’s just that I’ve begun inputting less cards than before, for a few reasons:

    (1) That was an insane pace of inputting I couldn’t sustain (too much work)
    (2) It was too many new cards to have to go over. (Note that how many cards Anki throws at you a day is not directly correlated with the amount of cards in there. Even if there were 15,000 cards (10 times more than I have now), if I knew them all really well, so that Anki had 5 year intervals on each, I’d get an average of only 8 cards/day. It’s all about how many cards are in there that you don’t know well, and if you input lots of cards, then that’s a lot.)
    (3) I started with a major Russian vocabulary bottleneck. (A bottleneck is a single area where you’re doing so poorly that it’s enough to effectively halt your learning.) After only a couple of weeks, that bottleneck has subsided somewhat and I’m able to read and converse more and absorb words at that more leasurely natural pace, now that Anki has given me that boost. Anki is not the good, natural way to learn a language. I see it more as a Bandaid you can use to patch up parts of your language that for some reason you haven’t been getting regular exposure to. (For instance, I have to use it for Yiddish idioms only because most of the people I speak Yiddish with (not being native speakers) don’t use as many idioms as they should, so I don’t get exposed to them.) After learning a few more hundred words with Anki I’ll probably be able to absorb most of the rest of my new vocab through “natural” exposure.

  3. julie Says:

    Oh. I get it now. Thanks, some guy!

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