Tag: learning

Kanji Poster

This weekend, I started building a Python script to make a poster using the 2200 kanji included in jōyō kanji list as well as the extra kanji covered in [cached]WaniKani.

Kanji Poster

I'm still experimenting with different ways of ordering and coloring the kanji; for now I've ordered them according to how they appear in Heisig's Remembering the Kanji, and colored them by the log of their frequency in some texts I had.

You can find an example pdf in my github project.

Master one skill at a time instead of learning many at once

Every skill has both a cost to maintain and a cost to learn. Take the case of learning a language: You need to spend some time every day rehearsing vocabulary and grammar you already learned so you don't forget (maintain), then you can also study new words and grammar points (learn).

The maintenance is a fixed cost - you need to spend this time just to not forget what you already know. As you get better, this cost goes down. Either because you can integrate the skill in your normal routine - read news in foreign languages - or because it has become …

WaniKani on Anki

[cached]WaniKani has long been my favorite way of studying Kanji, but I've always disliked the need to type in every single reading and meaning. At 300 reviews a day that's a lot of typing!

Today I finally had enough. First I considered making a user script for WaniKani to make it work a bit more like Anki (where you don't type the answer at all, you simply indicate how well you knew it with one tap). But then I realized that I might as well just use Anki directly.

I quickly found [cached]wanikanitoanki.com, which is great to …

Taking Notes

I always thought taking notes was a waste of time. Surely you could just look back at the slides if you forgot something?

But I realized I might have had it backwards all this time. What if you take notes not to have something to refer to, but because it forces you to listen with greater attention and strengthens your memory?

To really take notes you need to understand the subject well enough to pick out the key phrases and concepts in real time, all while the lecturer is speaking on and on. It's similar to how actually doing the …

Reading Fluent Forever

After being tempted for a good while, I finally read Gabriel Wyner's [cached]Fluent Forever. It's a solid introduction to language learning and teaches you a lot of good techniques. While I knew most of it already in theory, I hadn't put everything into practice yet, so reading it was a good way to take a look at my own language learning and see what I could improve.

Introduction: Stab, Stab, Stab

Gabriel starts of with 3 basic keys to language learning: 1. Learn pronunciation fast 2. Don't translate 3. Use SRS

He then recommends to get a few books …

Beemind your Papers

If you've seen my post on motivation hacking then you know that I'm using Beeminder to track a wide variety of things. I try everything I can to automate the tracking - import learning data directly from Duolingo, have a custom script poll WaniKani for my current level, track how long I practice piano by reading midi output over USB, integrating with Runkeeper to track how often I run, etc.

Now I've also found a good way to track the papers I read: Every paper I'm interested in I add to [cached]Mendeley. Then once I've actually read it I can …

Motivation Hacking

After [cached]Anna recommended that I read [cached]The Motivation Hacker, I went down the rabbit hole. I had already discovered [cached]Beeminder the day before, and now I was truly motivated to set myself up with some goals.

You can see them on my public [cached]goal page, but for now they are primarily about keeping up my language studies, spending a bit more time on piano and making sure I go for a run regularly. I'm not sure if I actually care about the money betting features, but just seeing the steady line of past effort is quite …

Halfway There

Just recently, I passed an important milestone for my Japanese: 1000 Kanji learned. That's half the way to the official 2000 you supposedly need to read everyday newspapers, as well as other normal texts.

And indeed I have started to read Manga, Naruto and Death Note for now. It is still quite difficult to read, often I don't know what a sentence is supposed to mean, but luckily English translations are readily available on the Internet (I mostly use mangafox).

I've also built some [cached]dynamic grammar flashcards for Anki, though I have yet to use them. Oh the akrasia …

On Learning Languages

I've made an attempt at summarizing everything I know about learning languages into one page, also adding useful resources and books. It's both a personal reference and in the hopes that it will be useful to somebody else - it will certainly be nice to have when making recommendations to friends, be able to point them at a single resource.

Feel free to message me if I left out some essential book or grammar guide, I'll be happy to include them and use them myself!

Language Learning - An Update

It's been quite a while since my last post, two and a half months to be more precise. Back then, I mentioned I was heavily relying on Spaced-Repetition Systems (SRS) for learning and retention.

In the intermediate weeks I found that with increasing competency in a language - after reaching a basic comprehension of at least 5000 words - SRS become less and less effective. At this point, I've completely stopped using Anki for Spanish; instead I'm listening to random podcasts on my way to and from work, as well as watching TV shows in Spanish. My comprehension seems to have gotten …

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