One thing I haven’t done in a gazillion years is reviewing sentences. I think perhaps reviewing sentences has its merits but it has never worked for me. I am too focused on trying to remember unfamiliar vocabulary than the really pay attention to how the sentence is put together. In other words, I may remember the vocab and know how to read the sentence, but it doesn’t help me much with remembering/noticing what particle was used, for instance, or how to put the sentence together as a whole.
What it does do is take a lot of time.
OK, so it has never been promised that reviewing sentences in Anki passively would help with actively producing sentences (where I would need to know what particle goes there etc). However, reading and understanding sentences – I can do that by reading books. I can do that by reading manga. I can do that by reading websites, etc. I can even do that by reading textbooks. In other words, where was the source of the sentence? That’s where I can read it…
What is stopping me from reading it there? For me it is a lack of vocabulary. So, I need to work on vocab. Therefore, I review single words.
What are the advantages from reviewing sentences? Is it to check that you can understand a whole sentence, with each individual word in context? Sure. But… you can check that while you are reading the original source. If you don’t understand a sentence… why? Is it vocab? Is it grammar? Is it something else? That something is what you need to study, not all the extra information as well.
Simple Is Easy
Supermemo’s guide to formulating knowledge in learning is a great resource to look over when you are building your SRS deck. One point is that simple is easy. You learn faster with simple things because you only have to focus on one thing.
Another thing to think about is why Remembering the Kanji is such a popular method. It’s because it breaks learning the kanji down into baby steps. You learn how to write the kanji (with a simple idea of meaning) and nothing else. You then learn how to read and pronounce the kanji using other methods. By breaking down the process into small steps it is easier to climb the big mountain that is Japanese.
This is why I review vocab in my SRS.
Please share your thoughts in the comments!
Tagsanki, Remembering the Kanji, sentences, smart.fm, srs, vocabulary