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Mnemosyne

A few months ago, I wrote about a learning program called Mnemosyne that I found and I am now ready to write a little review about it.

Since I am always on the computer working or procrastinating anyway, I found this program quite useful because it makes reviewing new kanji and vocabulary very easy.

Although there are some places where you can download word lists for various languages (I will tell you where later), the strength of the program really shows when you make your own flash card deck. Making a “deck” is time consuming, but later on it really pays off.

After creating a card, the program asks you to give each one a rank from 0 to 5. A rank 0 card means that it is something you have never seen before while a rank 5 means that you more or less know the information cold. Items that are ranked as 5 will show up every now and then while lower ranked cards will pop up either daily,  a few times a week, or once a week. The goal is to have the information you want to keep show up just when you are on the verge of forgetting it, so applying the proper rank is important.

As I mentioned before, I found this program really helpful for learning vocabulary and kanji. I made a grammar deck, but it didn’t work out because many grammar items depend on context so much, writing the “meaning” wasn’t especially useful. Many times, translating those items ito English was useless because although two points may have the same meaning on the surface, the usage was sometimes way different. English tended to oversimplify things and gloss over the nuances I need to be able to delineate on the test or when reading something.

My final verdict is that I am going to continue using the program because it makes things so easy for me. If anyone else out there is using the program and would like to trade data lists, please tell me.

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Now that things are calming down a little, I found some time to post. I wanted to tell everyone about www.manythings.org/japanese.

Here, you can find literally hundreds of quizzes from the basics all the way up to JLPT 1. A few quizzes I found useful: 260 commonly used ii-type adjectives, and Japanese newspaper words that use no kanji (a lot of tricky, grammar point type words pop up). There is also an abundance of straight up kanji practice.

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This is a very cool site for a Japanese magazine.

It also has very cool navigation controls when you access the site.

Lots of very professional and cool photos in the site.

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JLPT Kanji Project

http://www.jlpt-kanji.com/

This is a nice website for learning Japanese kanji according to the JLPT level. One thing that makes this site nice is that once you have logged in, you can save the kanji that you want to study under your user name and print flashcards. Another handy thing is that in the definition, it provides not only the meaning and examples of the kanji where it’s various readings are applied, but also has other characters that are very similar like 先 and 洗, or 未 and 末.

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My first post!

Hello everyone (especially Henry and Angeline)! My first post to the Dojo has actually not come from any Japanese study, though today’s session was wonderful.

I was watching Dave Eggers talk over at ted.com where he describes a volunteer after school English enrichment program that he started. I found his talk particularly interesting because I started a Spanish enrichment program in university and am currently teaching my daughter and other children to read. I have been looking for the source, but one of the statistics he threw out was that a kid needed about 40 hours of one on one reading practice to go up about one grade level. If this is true and applies to people such as myself who would like to raise our reading skills in Japanese or any other language, then cramming is impossible. If I were to have a reading coach and devote one focused hour a week to studying Japanese, then it would take at least 10 months to raise our level. This is assuming live in a Japanese environment where I do EVERYTHING in Japanese, which I obviously don’t. Look at this blog!

The good news is that since I’m already literate and have the tools to teach myself, I don’t need all of that one on one time that a kid needs; however, I still have to not only study test questions, but read in Japanese for fun and do a wide variety of things in Japanese. Having a Japanese OS and spouse go a long way in helping me accomplish that.

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Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!

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