Wasn’t there a study that showed that most SRS are similar in effectiveness (i.e. accuracy after x weeks, not efficiency)? As long as you have somewhat reasonable intervals. I feel I learn words with Anki just as well, even if it gives you way less reviews especially the first few days.
Non-back to back does feel harder, because you’re basically doing the review twice, the meaning/reading pair can fall out of short-term memory. But that doesn’t seem efficient to me, basically doing the same review twice in a short time span (minutes). You may remember slightly better for a while, because you’re doing it twice.
But I’ve been doing back to back for many months now and I don’t feel it’s impacting my learning and definitely not my accuracy.
I think that’s exactly where you want to be: a clean start in Japanese, rather that working your way past translating in your head.
And actually, in my case, that’s what I liked so much about consistent reading-then-meaning, which is why I’m really interested in your experiences, and your feelings about pairing. I’d love to do a formal study on this.
You ask good questions.* I’d love to read the results of such a study.
Long off-topic discussion
I strongly suspect that many Wanikaniers fail to create strong associations with the sounds and meanings of items. Instead, they form associations to the hiragana-via-romaji-IME-keystrokes and the English translations.
About the only advantage of my slow path (learning to read only decades after learning to speak a bit) is that I can’t help but hear the Japanese in my mind.
I’ve seen uncountable complaints along the lines of “I can read any Japanese novel you throw at me but struggle with any conversation more complex than ‘This is a red pencil’”. I strongly suspect that they are translating in their head rather than conversing in Japanese. Translating is far more difficult.
An English word isn’t the meaning of a vocabulary item. The English word is a translation, a single expression of a concept that’s distinct from the concept itself. This is a difficult meta-concept to explain! (I’m amazed by academic linguists that think about things like this all the time.)
I’ve recently begun trying English-meaning to Japanese-reading self-study drills for early-stage vocabulary. When I only have a few, I find it quite worthwhile, but I often go back to just reading/meaning drills for several reasons.
Sometimes I just have too many early stage vocab for my “pre-study”. Occasionally there are too many synonyms, even when restricting myself to newly introduced items (“field” and “clothes” bit me recently).
Even when I stick with it, though, it still feels like a two step process: English → concept → Japanese (though I don’t think there’s any solution to this, nor does it differ from Japanese → concept → English).
I hadn’t really thought about it until you brought it up, but WK did me a solid when they introduced the shake notification entering readings when they ask for meaning. I still do this all the time. I think I was on level 15 or so before I even noticed the white/black background hint.
I’ve even started using Breeze Dark with a special “review meaning background” to really make it extremely obvious when they are asking for meaning (it helped slightly, but I still start typing the reading about half the time).
The other direction (entering meaning when queried on reading) has happened to me on rare occasions, but it’s far less common, and the gobbledy-gook on my screen is usually enough to keep me from hitting the Enter key. (The even rarer occasion where typing English works with the IME is like an Easter egg and usually good for a laugh — “do” comes to mind.)
* Every PhD I’ve known has this annoying habit of asking startlingly simple questions (always with profoundly complex answers).
Two more thoughts after this morning’s reviews:
Because I’m in the habit of typing “f” to display the correct answer whenever I get it wrong, I sometimes unintentionally see both correct answers (reading and meaning) because the WK provided mnemonic includes both.
I’m far from perfect in associating concepts rather than the English words. I think I mentioned previously that I often remember just the first letter or syllable of the English word I’ve associated with the term (rather than the concept itself). This indicates I’m trying to recall the English word rather than the concept. I can’t think of any way to avoid this, though.
I do think translation is a problem initially, and I would favor any method that can steer you directly to thinking in Japanese instead of translating. But I do think the brain overcomes ‘translating’ naturally after a while. When you can think your way to a solution, typically the autonomous pattern recognition systems in your brain will eventually short-circuit much of the thinking, as long as there is a pattern to be recognized.
But the low-level systems of the brain are very… “verbatim”. They can only internalize what you specifically practice. For example, it’s easy to spell a word forwards in English, much more difficult to spell it backwards without practice, even though both directions require exactly the same skills.
Another example: A friend of mine is very good at playing piano from sheet music or chord sheets. She’s a skilled musician. I, on the other hand, can only play from memory, and am limited to what I have painstakingly translated from sheet music, figured out from listening, or simply made up. But she has said she envies my playing style because it sounds much more soulful and varied, whereas I envy her playing skills because she can actually work with other musicians to play music, and that’s just not remotely in my skill set.
I think a system that specifically trains you in Japanese thought patterns from the ground up would solve the conversation problem (both spoken and written) in the same way that a musician who studies Jazz chord progressions will become a dynamic player. (I’d love to study that someday, too, but there’s not enough time in one earthly lifetime to do everything I want to do).
The human brain never ceases to amaze. (I once learned to recite the alphabet backwards as a party trick: the odd thing is that once memorized you’re unlikely to ever forget.)
We are way off-topic for this thread, but I can’t resist pointing out the Venn diagram of linguistics, music, computer science, and games like go approaches a circle. An early hero was Larry Wall, the inventor of Perl — I was amazed to discover he was a linguist by training.
Re. reversing strings: I suspect that, like me, you also play guitar based on your stated discomfort with sheet music (me, too, but everyone knows guitarists can’t read). Guitarists think in fourths since that’s (mostly) how a guitar is tuned. Memorizing the left half of the Cycle of Fourths as “BEADGCF” is trivial for guitarists (the right half, Bb Eb Ab Db Gb/F# isn’t any harder). Most other musicians tend to think in fifths (the reverse direction), but FCGDAEB is still harder for me to instantly recall than the other way (without mnemonics!).
Speaking of Venn diagrams: we’ve got Japanese, embedded systems/semiconductors, programming, and I suspect guitar playing in common. If you also play Go we really should form a club with the one other person on the planet sharing the same interests.
Lol… Yes, I play guitar a little. I’m more of a finger-picker than a strummer.
I could sight-read fine when I played trumpet and french horn in Jr. High, but piano is way too many notes to sight-read without significant practice. And my memory is excellent, so I tended to memorize things before getting much practice at sight-reading.
This is a very minor thing, but if you’re open to requests, can I request that the Later button be moved to the left of the input box? As it is it partially overlaps the preexisting arrow button, and while I don’t generally press that manually, it makes sense from a design standpoint to have that side be the normal enter and the left side be a “do later.”
It’s possible that my setup has something others don’t that makes it look like this so I’m including a screenshot just for context.
There were changes to WaniKani some time ago that caused this overlap. This is now fixed.
I personally imagine the end of the review queue to be to the right, so to me it makes sense to have the button on the right side (in the direction to which I’m sending the item), but I can see why having the button on the left side would also make sense. For now I have made the left alignment optional but kept the right alignment as the default. To change this setting, you need WaniKani Open Framework installed.
A quick search didn’t turn up what I’m looking for, so here goes. Let me know if something’s already out there.
I’d like an extension that lets me choose the number of lessons per group from either the summary page before the lessons, or from the lessons page itself. I often find myself wanting to change between doing 3/5 vs 10 lessons per set, and it’s a bit annoying to have to go to the account settings every time.
The orange input box of the Lesson Filter script should do what you want. Minor side effect warning: you might have to hit enter a few times after finishing a batch until WK recognizes that the batch is done and offers to proceed to the lesson quiz.
Neato! Is there any upper limit to the number of lessons, like does it cap out at what you have it set to in the settings or could I do a batch of 20 lessons if I wanted to? Not that I’m saying it’s a good idea just curious if it’d work and I don’t have enough lessons right now to test that.