Flash cards to activate vocabulary

Grablevskij

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I'd like to try flash cards. My level seems to be advanced. But I find my active vocabulary very weak.
That is why I'd like to use cards to convert words from pasive vocabulary to the active one.

This means mainly memorizing:
1. Translation.
2. Ethimology.
3. Phonetics.
4. Language constructions (example: abandon something to somebody/something) and pharses They had to abandon their lands to the invading forces.
5. Idioms.

Let the goal to be to activate Oxford 3000. Well, it is not that high a level. Maybe 3000 words is for itermediate level or something. So, this is not scary. I mean 3000 words.

But as far as I remember the principles of using flash cards, only one piece of information shold be on a card.
Well, combining translation, ethimology and phonetics seems ok for me. At least I don't mind that.

But it is reasonable to dedicate a whole card to each phrase. Reasonable because otherwise there will be a lot of hints for the phrase. And we don't want any hints. We want to be honest with onselves.

So, each phrase has a separate card. But we already have 3-4 phrases wor a word, plus a couple of idioms. We'll get at least 15 thousand flash cards.
Is this reasonable? Do you yourself practice such amount of cards?
 

emsr2d2

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I'd like to try flash cards. My level seems to be advanced. (What leads you to say this?) [STRIKE]But[/STRIKE] However, I [STRIKE]find[/STRIKE] think my active vocabulary is very weak.
That is why I'd like to use cards to convert words from passive vocabulary to [STRIKE]the[/STRIKE] active. [STRIKE]one.[/STRIKE]

This means mainly memorizing:

1. Translation.
2. [STRIKE]Ethimology[/STRIKE] Etymology.
3. Phonetics.
4. Language constructions (example: abandon something to somebody/something) and [STRIKE]pharses[/STRIKE] phrases. For example, "They had to abandon their lands to the invading forces."
5. Idioms.

[STRIKE]Let the[/STRIKE] My goal is to [STRIKE]be to[/STRIKE] [STRIKE]activate[/STRIKE] learn the Oxford 3000, [STRIKE]Well, it is not[/STRIKE] although I don't think that's that high a level. Maybe 3000 words is for intermediate level or something. So, [STRIKE]this[/STRIKE] for me, 3000 words is not scary. [STRIKE]I mean 3000 words.[/STRIKE]

But, as far as I [STRIKE]remember[/STRIKE] know, [STRIKE]the principles of using flash cards,[/STRIKE] only one piece of information should be on [STRIKE]a[/STRIKE] each card.
[STRIKE]Well,[/STRIKE] Combining the translation, [STRIKE]ethimology[/STRIKE] etymology and phonetics seems [STRIKE]ok[/STRIKE] OK [STRIKE]for[/STRIKE] to me. At least, I [STRIKE]don't[/STRIKE] wouldn't mind that.

[STRIKE]But[/STRIKE] It is reasonable to dedicate a whole card to each phrase - reasonable because otherwise there will be a lot of hints for the phrase. [STRIKE]And[/STRIKE] We don't want any hints. We want to be honest with [STRIKE]onselves[/STRIKE] ourselves. (Where did "we" suddenly come from? You were talking about yourself only until this point.)

So (no comma here) each phrase has a separate card. But we already have 3-4 phrases for a word, plus a couple of idioms. We'll get at least [STRIKE]15 thousand[/STRIKE] 15,000 flash cards.
Is this reasonable? Do you yourself practice with [STRIKE]such amount of[/STRIKE] so many cards?

Please note my multiple corrections above.

In all honesty, I'm not sure what you're trying to get at. Are you going to create and manufacture these 15,000 flashcards? Do you feel they should exist but they don't? Who are you referring to in the second half of the piece when you use "we"?
 

Grablevskij

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Please note my multiple corrections above.

In all honesty, I'm not sure what you're trying to get at. Are you going to create and manufacture these 15,000 flashcards? Do you feel they should exist but they don't? Who are you referring to in the second half of the piece when you use "we"?

I'm not a manufacturer.
My vocabulary just needs activation.
 

emsr2d2

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So where are these 15,000 flashcards that contain the information you think should appear on them?
 

Grablevskij

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They don't exist. What is wrong about that? Or you think that copy and paste 15 thousand phrases and translate them once is a too heave a job? When memorizing words I myself write everything by hand dozens of times.

Everybody makes their own flash cards. At lease it is more useful.
 

emsr2d2

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OK, perhaps "manufacture" was misleading in my original question. Am I correct in thinking, though, that you plan to create these flashcards yourself? Once you have done so, do you plan to be the only person who uses them?
I'm just struggling to understand what your purpose is.
 
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Grablevskij

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Flash cards are individual as shoes. At least I don't care who will use my shoes when I don't need them.
They contain comments, mnemonics, something which is important for me only etc. Why anybody should even try to use them?

Or do you think it is better to take a ready made deck. I tried them and was not happy. Anyway, it is absolutely another thing.

I am interested in individual flash cards. And I just can't catch your idea. It is a simple question. Have anybody here tried to make so many flash cards for themselves.

How many flash cards do people usually make? 100? What is the use of having 100 flash cards if it is not even a drop in the ocean?
 

emsr2d2

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They don't exist. What is wrong [STRIKE]about[/STRIKE] with that? Or do you think that copying and pasting [STRIKE]15 thousand[/STRIKE] 15,000 phrases and translating them [STRIKE]once[/STRIKE] is [STRIKE]a too heave[/STRIKE] too difficult a job? When memorizing words, I [STRIKE]myself[/STRIKE] write everything by hand dozens of times.

Everybody makes their own flash cards. Do they? At least it is more useful. The underlined part doesn't make sense.

Flash cards are as individual as shoes. At least I don't care who will use my shoes when I don't need them. (The underlined part doesn't make sense.)

They contain comments, mnemonics, [STRIKE]something[/STRIKE] things [STRIKE]which[/STRIKE] that [STRIKE]is[/STRIKE] are important only [STRIKE]for[/STRIKE] to me. [STRIKE]only etc.[/STRIKE] Why would anybody [STRIKE]should[/STRIKE] else even try to use them?

Or do you think it is better to [STRIKE]take[/STRIKE] use a ready made deck? I have tried [STRIKE]them[/STRIKE] some and was not happy. Anyway, [STRIKE]it[/STRIKE] that is [STRIKE]absolutely[/STRIKE] another thing.

I am interested in individual flash cards (no full stop here) and I just can't [STRIKE]catch[/STRIKE] understand your idea. It is a simple question. [STRIKE]Have[/STRIKE] Has anybody here tried to make so many flash cards for themselves?

How many flash cards do people usually make? 100? What is the use of having 100 flash cards if it is not even a drop in the ocean?

Please note my multiple corrections to your last two posts. You started this thread by saying that you believe your English is at an advanced level. Based on these errors, I would have to disagree. Perhaps instead of spending time making 15,000 flashcards for yourself, maybe you should spend time studying our comments and corrections and getting back to a few of the basics.

If you really do just want a simple answer to the question "Has anybody here tried to make so many flash cards for themelves?", my answer is "I haven't". I have never even made one flash card.
 

jutfrank

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No, you should definitely not attempt to write 15,000 flash cards. That's way too many. Even 3000 is far too many. I don't even understand how you came up with the number of 15,000 anyway.

But as far as I remember the principles of using flash cards, only one piece of information shold be on a card.

I disagree.

But it is reasonable to dedicate a whole card to each phrase. Reasonable because otherwise there will be a lot of hints for the phrase. And we don't want any hints. We want to be honest with onselves.

I don't understand what you're trying to say here.

We'll get at least 15 thousand flash cards.
Is this reasonable? Do you yourself practice such amount of cards?

No, it is not reasonable. And no, nobody here has ever bothered to make such an astronomical number of flash cards!

Before I advise you on what I think is a reasonable number, can I ask you how long you intend to use these cards for?
 

Skrej

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I see no reason why you can't put the word on the front of one side, and all five pieces of information (if you really feel you need all five). That still leaves you with 3,000 cards - too many to be effective.

I personally don't see the point in including an idiom, as idioms are a separate issue. The definition of an idiom includes a meaning that typically can't be guessed at or reasoned out from the component words, so it seems pointless. Are there even idioms involving each of those words?

I'm also not sure why you view the etymology as critical to activating vocabulary. I'm a native speaker, and while I like to think I have a larger-than-average vocabulary, I could maybe tell you the etymology of 1% of the words I know (on a good day) - and that includes educated guesses based on linguistics and foreign languages classes I've taken. I actually find etymology a fascinating subject, but the only time I've used it for vocabulary is to try and guess the meaning of a new word based off of Latin roots, not for recalling words I've already encountered.

I use flash cards (or their modern-day electronic equivalents) fairly often. I also make frequent use of them with students, and have my students make them, but we're talking a hundred or less (over the course of months). I find that students prefer to use some kind of app or program, but I feel like making hand-written ones gives a sense of value to the cards, plus the process of writing them out helps with memorization.

Regardless, rote memorization isn't the most effective way to introduce new vocabulary. There's a lot of debate and research on how many exposures it takes to fully activate vocabulary, but it takes somewhere between 10-20 exposures and double that for non-native speakers. Research also agrees it's about the variety and duration of exposure - you need to use it multiple ways (write it, speak it, hear it, read it, repeat it) multiple times over increasing periods of time. It's also about depth of knowledge, not just breadth. Most words have multiple meanings, and many can be used as several different parts of speech. Do you simply know just that one word, or can you recognize other forms of it, such as word families? Can you still recognize it with affixes, and do you know how those affixes change the meaning from the form you memorized?

Again, there's a lot of debate on how many words a day people can learn, but there's a big difference between learning a word and being able to recall it later. The average native speaker of English has about 15,000 words in their active vocabulary, with another 15,000-20,000 passive. College educated speakers will have roughly double that. However, that number drops to about 5,000 words that are used repeatedly in day-to-day spoken and written conversations.

My point about all this is that make sure the words you learn and fully memorize are words you'll likely encounter and actually need. Make sure you focus on how well you know them as much or more than how many you know.

Also, since I wasn't familiar with this Oxford 3,000 list I looked it up. It seems to include many function words such as 'a', 'and', 'the', etc. Do you really need a flashcard with all that information just to remember the word 'a', or similar tier one words?
 
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Glizdka

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No, it is not reasonable. And no, nobody here has ever bothered to make such an astronomical number of flash cards!

You underestimate me. ;-)

A better way to learn words is to read. Words without context are as useful and easy to remember as mathematical equations without context.
 

jutfrank

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You underestimate me. ;-)

I may underestimate the power of the Dark Side, but I don't underestimate you, Glizdka. ;-)
 

NamelessKing

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You underestimate me. ;-)

A better way to learn words is to read. Words without context are as useful and easy to remember as mathematical equations without context.

I still know Maxwell's equations in their integral form by heart, and I don't remember when was the last time I applied them. LOL
 

Tarheel

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Somebody already said this, but my advice is to learn words you will use. Also, when learning a new word use it in a sentence ten times. (Ten different sentences.) Don't bother with etymology. Focus on usage.
 
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Glizdka

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Also, when learning a new word, use it in a sentence ten times. (Ten different sentences.)
:-D

Or even better, write something coherent using a few different words you want to learn.
 

Tdol

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I knew a student who learnt fifty words a day, and was also able to contextualise them. I haven't met another like her with the raw memory skills to do that. I wouldn't underestimate memory skills because I have seen them, but such skills are very uncommon. I could learn fifty words in an evening, but I wouldn't remember them three weeks later without further work.
 

Glizdka

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I could learn fifty words in an evening, but I wouldn't remember them three weeks later without further work.

That looks like a perfect description of how "studying" for a test works out for many students. :-(
 

Tdol

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It does, but I got through tests that way, though I couldn't remember much a few weeks later.
 
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