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Learned Words March 2, 2007

Posted by Edwin in French, Progress, Tools, Vocabulary.
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I committed to learn 168 French words in the month of February. Here is my February vocabulary list, and the chart below is my JMemorize progress as of the end of February.

jMemorize Progress as of February 2007

I added 315 words to my list, but how many did I really learn?

Well, how do I define a word as ‘learned’? I can learn a word quickly but forget it in a few days. Even if I can remember the word a year from now, I still cannot promise that I can remember it for the rest of my life.

As I was thinking about this month’s resolution, I realized that my past resolutions of ‘learning a certain amount of words’ were not really measurable goals. I myself prefer measurable goals so that I will know if they are achieved at the end.

What I could do is to define the meaning of a ‘learned word’. For example, I could say, “All words in deck 6 or above are considered learned”. But this would present another problem. Under the Leitner system that JMemorize implements, getting a word into a certain deck requires at least a fixed amount of days. With my linear schedule, it would be 25 days for deck 6. This means I need to have all the words loaded in deck 1 in the first week of the month. I would also need to prepare for more words than enough because I am expecting to relearn some of them during the process. For a certain number of words, I have to get them right without retrying all the way to deck 6. Otherwise, I cannot meet the quota. This gives me a tremendous pressure and it is obviously against the principle of using the Leitner system.

Remember, the Leitner system is not supposed to pressure the learners. I know that once a word is in the system, it will eventually reach deck 10. I don’t want to impose any time constraint. I should try to remember as many words as I can, knowing that many will be relearned again and again during the process.

Here is my monthly resolution for March: I commit to add 300 words to my vocabulary list for the month of March. I have no commitment to learn any of them! Instead, I will let them to flow up the Leitner decks naturally.

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