Words of multiple meanings--What is the best way to memorize ?

2691264235's Avatar

2691264235

12 Dec, 2014 09:04 AM

I have always been memorizing words based on two objectives
Objective 1: The ability to recognize the word when I see it
Objective 2: The ability to produce the word when I need to express its meaning

In the process of learning with anki, I find it extremely difficult and tasking when I encounter multiple-meanings words with many different, and usually hardly interrelated meanings.
Experienced SRS users indicate we should always avoid enumerations and sets. But if I don’t enumerate these meanings, I somehow feel I’m not actually on the sure way of fully grasping the meaning of the word.

Here is an example word:
掛かる
Meanings:
1. hang
2. to take
3. to come into view
4. o come under (a contract, a tax)
5. to start (engines, motors)
6. to attend
7. to be caught in

this word掛かる actually has 14 meanings, way more than the 7 ones that I listed. Some of the meanings are closer but most of them are not.
The way I was learning this word was to create a note with “Cloze” note type. And apply cloze deletion on each one of the meaning. In anki editor, it will look like this:

Text Field:
掛かる
Meanings:
1. {{c1::hang}}
2. {{c2::to take}}
3. {{c3::to come into view}}
4. {{c4::to come under (a contract, a tax)}}

5. {{c5::to start (engines, motors)}}
6. {{c6::to attend}}
7. {{c7::to be caught in}}

Extra Field:
Example Sentences:
1.blah blah blah….
2….
3….
....
7….

As you can see, in each anki repetition for this word, I will have to recall one meaning out of the 7 ones. This process is very painstaking. But I’m not sure if there is a better way.

As to my second learning objective, which is to make myself being able to produce this word. I create the following anki card.

Cloze field:
Example Sentence1: blah blah blah….. {{c1::掛かる…}}… blah blah blah

Extra Field:
Meanings:
1. hang
2. to take
3. to come into view
4. to come under (a contract, a tax)

5. to start (engines, motors)
6. to attend
7. to be caught in

The logic is to learn to be able to produce the word in a contextual sentence. When checking the answer, I will skim through the list of meanings shown in the extra field to obtain a general sense of the word but will remember the only one meaning which correspond to the example sentence in text field.

My question or my doubt is if I can omit the objective 1 and only create cards that accomplish object 2. This assumption is based on the supposition that if I can produce the word, I certainly will be able to recognize the word.

Any thoughts on this perspective? Thanks in advance!

  1. 1 Posted by Vit on 15 Dec, 2014 03:35 PM

    Vit's Avatar

    I have always been memorizing words based on two objectives
    Objective 1: The ability to recognize the word ...
    Objective 2: The ability to produce the word ...

    Since you are a very beginner ( in Chinese ), try to work on the Recognition first; then - 'activate' the Card2 ( using the Optional Reverse Type ); and Suspend the Card1; the reason for suspention -- to eliminate the 'prompting effect' from Siblings.

    .... usually hardly interrelated meanings.

    Do not learn those until their time comes ( when you encounter the word in context ).

    Experienced users indicate we should {always} avoid enumerations and sets.

    There are NO rules without exceptions, obviously; and generalization is usually ... avoid details; and where is the Diablo ? - in details.

    But if I don’t enumerate these meanings, I ... I’m not ... fully grasping the meaning of the word.

    Do you mean 'meaning-s' ? Why would you try to learn ALL meanings at once ?
    Try to concentrate on the most common 2-3 meanings ( at the Recognition stage ).

    The way I was learning this word was to create a note with “Cloze” note type.

    I learn English as ESL; found the Cloze type to be almost useless ( for Vocabulary ) because : a) they have too many clues ; b) siblings are too close together -prompting effect; it is easy ( wasteful ) to answer; and using multiple choice is a child's play !! After trying all default Templates, i finally decided to try Multiple Cards ; i like it so far, even though they have 3 drawbacks:

    1.Can not Mark a Single card; but Ctrl+Studied_today will show ONE card ! 2.Can not Tag a single card ( my workaround work OK-ish )
    3. In Browser, they are often in the way - all of them show up; but 'filtering helps.
    I like them for x reasons:
    1.All meaning are together - u can Browse them in Browser, one after another; 2. You can design the Template in any way u want.
    3. You can spread them apart in the queue as far as u want, not just 1 day; and u do it for ALL cards of a Note at once.
    4. You can Bury or Suspend any note selectively.

    ... in each repetition for this word, I will have to Select one meaning out of the 7 ones. This process is very painstaking.

    as i said, it is wasteful ( to a large degree ), too.

    But I’m not sure if there is a better way.

    Yes, there is - from my standpoint ( 2years, 2500 Notes ) :

    1. Recognition first; after an 'x' number of Sucsessful ( without Lapses ) repetitions in the Review phase , switch to Production.
    2. Optional Reverse Template
    3. Only the most common 2-3 meanings
    4. Multiple cards Template.

    As to my second learning objective, .... Production ...

    I'd postpone learning the Production side.

    Example Sentence1: blah blah blah….. {{c1::掛かる…}}… blah blah blah

    This is still the Recognition stage, is it ? :-(

    My question or my doubt is if I can omit the objective 1 and only create cards that accomplish objective 2.

    I would not skip The Recognition phase - it will be a less productive process of learning FL.

    If you want to see my Templates - I will post a small deck for you; and we can discuss details...

    PS. If u want more suggestions from other users, the old Google forum has a few good posts.

  2. 2 Posted by 2691264235 on 17 Dec, 2014 02:33 AM

    2691264235's Avatar

    Hi Vit! Thanks for the detailed explanations!
    I totally got your ideas. I was way too greedy, trying to catch multiple rabbits at the same time.
    I still have one question, in Production learning phase, do you think it's a good idea to create a cloze on the new word in a sentence which contains that word? In other words, do you think the sentence could become an unwanted promoting effect? I do it in the hope that the sentence could serve as a real context.

    I would love to see your small deck! Please post. Thanks!

  3. 3 Posted by Vit on 18 Dec, 2014 09:34 PM

    Vit's Avatar

    Hi, xyz.
    ...in Production learning phase, do you think it's a good idea to create a cloze on the new word in a sentence which contains that word? In other words, do you think the sentence could become an unwanted promoting effect? I do it in the hope that the sentence could serve as a real context.

    If it is easy to recall -- it is a waste of time, imo. In my deck, u will see that i learn words ( Recogn or Product ) in baby-steps:

    1. Naked word; if failes,
    2. Show_Hint; if failed -
    3. Show Sentence_Fragment ( trimmed as much as poss; no grammar rules obeyed )

    Attached is 4 Notes deck. SOme cards are empty but the Conditional Replacement 'hide' empty cards; i fill them as i encounter the 'unusual' usage or a sentence structure which is 'foreign' to me as ESL learner.

    Any questions are welcomed.

  4. System closed this discussion on 22 Feb, 2016 11:42 PM.

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