For those of you who don’t know, floflo.moe (wk thread) is a site meant to help with vocabulary acquisition from reading, which for most is a large problem given the massive quantity of words found in some light and visual novels, as well as regular novels.
This review of floflo is meant for people like me, those who want to increase their reading skill as fast as possible and get to reading the things they want to read. People who don’t focus primarily on reading are still welcome to hear my thoughts obviously, but just keep in mind that the things I say may not apply as much for you.
This is a long post so I’ll get right to the point and say: Using floflo may very well be one of the best decisions I have ever made (alongside choosing to use wk) on my path to being able to read, and I highly recommend it. If you want to learn to get reading as fast as possible, this is the way to go. I am extremely happy with the results and believe it has a lot to offer you as well.
Now for the why. Why is it so good?
In order to get better at reading, you have to read: Seems obvious, right? Learning words from a list like the 10k will expand your vocabulary quite a bit, sure. I even did it myself for a few months. The problem is that not all of those words will be very useful on your journey to reading. You can learn as many words as you want, but if they’re not used in whatever you’re reading, you’ll be just as lost and incapable of reading as before. I even used to add words as I would work my way through visual novels, but with that, there was no way of knowing how useful those words will be. Some of them, I have yet to ever see again after adding them. Meanwhile I probably didn’t add some words that I have encountered multiple times since then.
Floflo helps you with making sure that 100% of the words you learn are used in whatever it is you are trying to read. Furthermore you can choose to only learn words that appear often and skip the one-time-wonder words that you won’t be seeing again since floflo shows you how many times words appear in your book. All this amounts to being able to read much earlier/more and focus on any grammar weak points you may have. Not to mention its a lot easier to remember words after seeing them while reading ime.
All this sounds really nice, but how does it actually work in practice? Good question, Vanilla. I have been using floflo for exactly 2 months now and have just under 1200 words added so far. Those words nearly all coming from a light novel named OreShura. The amount of progress I have seen as a result of those 2 months were far beyond my expectations. Reading this light novel has become vastly easier and I’m only 1/13 of the way through the series (there are 13 volumes total). Towards the end of the first volume, during interesting parts I would read multiple pages without problem and completely forget to be adding words as I’m reading. Meanwhile, at the start of the novel, I couldn’t go a couple sentences without being lost due to my insufficient vocabulary. But don’t just take my word for it, take my word for it…in the form of a picture! Here are the first two full pages and second to last two (last page had a picture on it so I just went with the two before it). I have highlighted the words I didn’t know at the time of reading. See a difference?
If we are just learning the words for one book, what happens when you move onto a different book? You won’t be back to being lost. Depending on the two books in question, quite a bit of vocab will overlap. Obviously sequels will share the most, but actually, while about halfway through OreShura I went back to playing a VN I started up a couple months earlier. When I started it up, I had moderate difficulty reading it. After revisiting it (after using floflo for a month or so), I noticed a huge drop in difficulty. Far more vocab overlapped than I thought, and my reading speed had naturally increased. I think the only thing that tripped me up was them talking about the legal aspects of marriage and inheritance which certainly isn’t something I had come across before.
So whats the catch? Obviously not everything is perfect, and that goes for floflo as well. The imperfections are, however, fairly minor and go away after using it for some time. Misparses (where floflo doesn’t properly break down the words), do occur, but these are centered around more colloquial expressions or times when the author injects some extra っs or something. Ultimately, they become less and less frequent as you trash more and more words. This is solved by handparsing, which is available on one of the books and more to come afaik, so if you are really new and need the help with parsing words (which is a common problem for people just starting out), the option is there.
When should you use it? Honestly, I wish floflo was around a lot sooner. It’s not just something for level 60s who know a buncha kanji or whatever. I recommend reading asap, and I highly recommend floflo as being the tool that accompanies you from the start. There are quite a few beginner level books, and you can gradually work your way up. Furthermore, you can join the reading club here on the WK forums for extra buddies to help along the way as their books are added to floflo as well iirc.
Final thoughts: Ultimately, its fun to make progress and be able to see that progress, and if you want to make progress, floflo will deliver hands down. Furthermore it allows you to see that progress by seeing your remaining words shrink, the percentage of known words in the book increase, and actually allowing you to read and see the fruits of your labor. Nothing is more satisfying than reading something and having it make sense.
If you have any questions or thoughts, lay them on me. I’m not expecting there to be much discussion, but as floflo is quite new and consequently without any reviews by its users, I just want to spread the word of this new site that has a lot to offer imo.