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Author Topic: flash-card programs to learn a new (human) language. What's the best?  (Read 10269 times)
urlwolf
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« on: May 29, 2008, 07:43:09 AM »

I'm considering using flash-card programs to learn a new (human) language, German in my case as I'm moving to Berlin.

I was very impressed by this article in Wired magazine:
Want to Remember Everything You'll Ever Learn? Surrender to This Algorithm

It talks about supermemo, a program that uses what we know about forgetting to help retention.

Do you use flash-card programs?
What's the best?

Any other hacks to learn a language?

Thanks
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superboyac
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« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2008, 11:56:36 AM »

FullRecall is the best.  I just used it for a math class and it worked great.  Fantastic program.
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tinjaw
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« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2008, 12:42:34 PM »

FullRecall - Software For Effective Memorization
"FullRecall is a software that can help you memorize the knowledge for lifelong periods with the minimum time investment. Underlying artificial neural network gradually grasps your forgetting curve to schedule optimal days for the reviews–i.e., days when you will be close to forgetting an information."
http://fullrecall.com/

It looks interesting.
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Dormouse
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« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2008, 04:54:57 PM »

Depending on your needs, I think supermemo has some advantages over fullrecall. It will be worth trying both.

Also worth looking at free alternatives such as Anki, Mnemosyne and Teach2000.
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superboyac
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« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2008, 06:29:23 PM »

Depending on your needs, I think supermemo has some advantages over fullrecall. It will be worth trying both.

Also worth looking at free alternatives such as Anki, Mnemosyne and Teach2000.
I know there was this discussion in another thread.  But I wouldn't go to Supermemo unless I strongly felt limited by Fullrecall.  If it's a question of learning vocabulary (just words+definitions) I would strongly recommend Fullrecall and not Supermemo.  Supermemo can do some very particular and very fancy things that Fullrecall can't, but I wouldn't even consider it unless I was going to do those fancy things.  Supermemo's interface is certifiably annoying, and Fullrecall's interface is huggably pleasant.
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tamasd
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« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2008, 08:29:09 PM »

I use both Supermemo and Fullrecall. (And tested many of the free alternatives, usually very shortly though.)

As for the algorithmical difference, I don't dare to go into what's better, nor most users would be interested in that anyway. Piotr Wozniak had some interesting thoughts on the shortcomings of neural network implementation...on the other hand David the FR author thinks neural network is better and more flexible and adjusting to your learning patterns. Fullrecall's algorithm is more "behind the curtain" while with SM you have more reporting and generally get better feel for what's going on behind the curtain.
Also FR aims for maximum retention, while Supermemo allows you to set certain percentage, so called forgetting index, which significantly influences the effectiveness of your learning (time spent on using the software).

Both are relatively strong cross-platform wise, but Fullrecall is much better in that aspect.

Fullrecall is better with Unicode. Supermemo improved recently, but it doesn't have complete Unicode support yet.

If you need to use sounds for example, SM has native player, while FR runs any player on the computer. I found that rather annoying (with FR) over time, but maybe I didn't configure it well, not sure....

SM is much more flexible, if you need to author something more complex than simple question and answer. Or make sure to check the incremental reading technique.

SM has cluttered interface that's target of ongoing complaints, but you can switch to Beginner or Basic level, which is OK for majority of users anyway.

Both require that you use them every day, and both have some provisions if you miss some longer time to avoid "messing the system".

FR uses XML files for database (secondary, natively it has own format) if you wish to manipulate db programmatically, SM uses own db format but can export to XML.

SM has much better reporting functions.

What's rather important for many: if you mark item that you don't know it in Fullrecall, it will schedule next repetition usually in X days (depends how far you are in the learning process, and what neural network learned so far). Whereas with SM, it will keep such item for daily review at the same day (so called final drill). Some people can't be without that, some people just ignore the final drill, your choice.

My choice:

Fullrecall for : cross-platform needs, languages like Japanese (Unicode), or just for plain amazed by having neural network learn your learning patterns (there was even some graphical report for that, sadly removed in recent versions), GUI simplicity.

Supermemo for : sounds, incremental reading, one platform without syncing needs, text formatting and richer authoring features, you more in control (eg. setting different forgetting index for some exam where you pass with 50% of points and different for a field where you need to remember 80-90%, will save you time)

My hacks to use foreign language using flashcards:
1) first learn the item, then enter it into flashcard software
2) don't use it for the easy items - keep your database as small as possible to maximize effectiveness, unless you have plenty of free time
3) use longer sentences, where words are in context, instead of just one word for question and one word for an answer
4) Visit the forum on www.how-to-learn-any-language.com for fantastic community with foreign language learning tips
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tamasd
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« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2008, 08:45:26 PM »

Btw. Supermemo has a relatively lively user group on Yahoo Groups.
Fullrecall used to have web forums, but they are not linked from the main website anymore for about two months already.
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tinjaw
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« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2008, 10:40:00 PM »

I'm going to bed and my sleeping pills are already kicking in, so just some links.

Mnemosyne | Nihongo Pera Pera (Fluent Japanese)
http://www.nihongoperapera.com/mnemosyne.html

Welcome to the Mnemosyne Project | The Mnemosyne Project
http://www.mnemosyne-proj.org/

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kartal
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« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2008, 11:37:16 PM »

I use

http://jmemorize.org/

It is simple and effective.
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mouser
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« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2008, 12:48:45 AM »

This is a cool thread.  Thanks especially to tamasd for the thoughtful comparison.
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urlwolf
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« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2008, 02:33:39 AM »

Yeah, thanks everybody.

I guess one other important topic is where to get flash-cards themselves.

I found:
http://www.flashcardexchange.com/tag/german

But you need to pay to download the stack. Any free alternatives?

http://how-to-learn-any-language.com is a great site, thanks for posting it.
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tomos
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« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2008, 03:47:26 AM »

I found:
http://www.flashcardexchange.com/tag/german

But you need to pay to download the stack. Any free alternatives?

http://how-to-learn-any-language.com is a great site, thanks for posting it.

I'm not sure what flash-cards are
but
just wanted to mention dict.cc for online german/english dictionary translation & you can add your new words to a vocabulary box which you can use to help you learn
http://www.dict.cc/
http://my.dict.cc/ for vocab trainer
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Tom
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« Reply #12 on: July 04, 2008, 02:00:21 AM »

Hello urlwolf ,
I will recommend you that German language is not very hard the difficulty is with things like German Grammar and Vocabulary.So learn German Grammar and Vocabulary in a very simplest form from http://www.learngermanreviews.com/ and you will see that it is not a hard language. They will provide you the book and software to learn German language and also audio and video cds.




Good Luck
« Last Edit: July 04, 2008, 02:03:06 AM by dickjones » Logged
tomos
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« Reply #13 on: July 04, 2008, 02:34:12 AM »

might be worth buying software all right.
Does probably work out much cheaper than doing an intensive course, but, if you have the time, doing an intensive course can be good fun.
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Tom
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« Reply #14 on: July 04, 2008, 07:27:19 AM »

dickjones: I didn't remove your post because even though it's spam, it's directly related to the matter on discussion.
But here on DC, you are requested to specifically mention when you are directly related with a company.

Given the fact that you've made a few posts on other forums with a very similar sintax to the one on that post, i suppose that is the case, thus, you're violating the rules of the forum.
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tinjaw
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« Reply #15 on: July 13, 2008, 10:26:50 AM »

I have a recently renewed interest in this thread as I have begun to (re)learn the Czech language.


I have discovered a free language flashcard system that is very good. I highly recommend it to anybody who is looking to use flashcards to (re)learn a language.

Before You Know It


The Lite version is free and all you need if you just want traditional flashcard functionality.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2008, 11:37:19 AM by tinjaw » Logged

 
kartal
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« Reply #16 on: July 13, 2008, 12:26:46 PM »


Before You Know It looks very nice. I would buy if there was a discount smiley
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tinjaw
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« Reply #17 on: August 09, 2008, 01:51:46 PM »

I recently purchased a Windows Mobile 6 PDA and would like to have a Leitner flashcard system that works, and is synchronized, between my PDA and my desktop. Anybody know of any such system?

I'm going to revisit all my desktop flashcard app bookmarks and see if any of them mention a pocket pc / windows mobile version.
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tinjaw
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« Reply #18 on: August 09, 2008, 04:33:11 PM »

I just found PrismaCards and it's Windows Mobile match MCards. You can make the cards with PrismaCards and then use the Leitner system with MCards.





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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #19 on: August 09, 2008, 07:45:11 PM »

I have been playing with PrismaCards and creating my own database. I would like to embed files (PDF etc) as described in the manual. Anyone get this to work - I drag and drop files as it say but the icons don't appear (just the file names) and when I run the cards in a test none of the additional info appears ?
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linguistixx
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« Reply #20 on: August 07, 2013, 11:16:07 AM »

What I can recommend from my personal experience is an Open Source project called mnemosyne. You can just simply google it and download it. You will also find lots of "already made" sets in specific languages like chinese, english, spanish and so on.

For learners of Chinese I can recommend the PLECO app. This is not per se a flashcard app, it is more of a dictionary app. However you can download a flashcard extension and it is really great, offering a lot of great features. You can also handwrite characters before displaying the answers etc.
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TaoPhoenix
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« Reply #21 on: August 07, 2013, 11:56:28 AM »

Heh Hooray for Zombie Threads!

So Urlwolf, whatever became of all this?
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Tinman57
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« Reply #22 on: August 07, 2013, 03:30:01 PM »


  When it comes to flashcards, I like it old-school, the paper type with nekkid girly pics on the back.....   Evil
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