As some of you might remember, I made a thread about SRS and why I stopped doing it a while ago. After all the responses I got, I thought about it a whole lot and came to the conclusion that the thing that bothers me the most is that it all relies on rote learning which does not mirror how we encounter words in real life. Of course it’s fine for words that work isolated, but many words cannot really be learned by just repeating the dictionary definition.
We also heavily rely on patterns when doing SRS, so even if there’s an example sentence, it will always be the same example sentence and instead “figuring out” the sentence again, we start recalling it from our memories at some point.
But what if SRS worked a little differently? What if there was a different context each time? This would simulate how we actually encounter words in real life.
Now there are plenty of corpora out there. I theory, it would not be difficult to get a randomized sentence (or sentences) from an online (or offline) source every time. But this approach obviously comes with several limitations, too:
- the random sentences might contain unknown words, making it harder to figure them out
- the sentences might be dependent on a larger context and not work isolated
- searching for some words will yield false positives (especially short hiragana or single-kanji words)
- the same word might have multiple meanings in different contexts
If there was a “curated” corpus, this would be a different story, but that’s so much work that it’s absolutely not feasible.
I still think this is an interesting approach, so I was surprised to find no information on the internet about anyone trying this before. (Though I have found cases in which someone wanted to display one random example sentence out of several options. Too much work, though, if you ask me.)
I would like to hear thoughts on it. Do you think this approach might enhance the efficiency of SRS, in particular when it comes to learning “language”, not just “dictionary entries”? Or do you think it would slow down the repetition process so much it wouldn’t be worth it?