Vocabulary Maintainance February 5, 2007Posted by Edwin in French, Vocabulary.
In a comment from my previous post about vocabulary building, Geoff the language addict asked me how much extra time is involved for me to maintain the vocabulary list. I have never timed the process, but I guess if I describe the steps involved, this could give a rough idea of the amount of time involved.
I have installed a web plug-in from WordLearner, which gives me an easy access to a French-English dictionary. I customized it to point to WordReference. Using the plug-in to look up a French word only requires 1 double click to select the word and 2 mouse-clicks to redirect to the dictionary. When I am reading a French article from the web, I would open up a notepad. Every time I encounter a new word, I would perform the 4-click maneuver to find the meaning in the dictionary. Then I would pick the appropriate definition and cut-and-paste it into the notepad. I estimate that each word would require less than 10 seconds.
After I finish the article, I would cut-and-paste all the new words from the notepad into my vocabulary spreadsheet. I would also need to tidy them up a bit. On average, this requires about 5 seconds for each word.
From the master spreadsheet, I could do a few things: I could make a csv file and import the new vocabulary to jMemorize, I could make an html file and update my French Vocabulary Builder page, or I could check for duplications.
I import the new vocabulary to jMemorize about once or twice a day. I already have a separate sheet to transform the master list into the csv format. An additional step is to copy-and-paste the cells into a text editor and remove the tab characters. I would then launch jMemorize and perform the import operation. This takes about 30 seconds each time, regardless of the number of words since the copy-and-paste, replacement and import operations are done at the file level.
I update my Vocabulary Builder page about twice a week. The operations are similar to the ones for the cvs file. Again, I need to copy-and-paste the cells into the text editor and remove the tab characters. Then I would cut-and-paste the resulting html segment into my page. This takes about 1 minute.
From time to time, I would make sure I don’t have duplications on my vocabulary list. I am not a spreadsheet expert, so I use a rather dumb way to achieve this. I copy all the words in my vocabulary onto a separate sheet, sort them alphabetically, and then use a spreadsheet function to check if a cell is the same as the one below it. The whole process takes about 1 to 2 minutes.
I run jMemorize several times a day to learn new words and relearn expired words. It takes me 1-5 minutes, depending on the amount of words need to be worked on.
I hope this gives a rough idea on how I maintain my vocabulary and how much time is involved. I posted this up not because I think I have the best approach, but rather, I would like people to give me suggestion on how to improve the process. I would appreciate if you can give me any feedback you have.