How to Use Anki to Learn Languages?

This is how to use Anki to learn a language:

1. Look up what are the most common words.

E.g. Google “most common Japanese words.” Language researchers often ask this question and will outline 1000 or 2000 most common or basic words. This is basically the linguistic version of Pareto’s principle – 20% of the effort that gets us 80% of the result.

Image of Japanese Kanji

2. Premade language decks

Once in Anki check out “Get Shared“. Popular language categories include: ArabicChineseEnglishFrenchGermanHebrewJapaneseKoreanRussianSpanish

3. Include pronunciations of the words in Anki.

E.g. Google “how to pronounce ohayo.” There are many free resources (google search being one of’em) that give you a sound file for pronouncing a word.

4. Immerse in the environment of the language.

Immerse yourself in the environment of that language. E.g. visit Japan, watch Japanese movies, and find someone to practice the language with. Read books by native speakers.

5. Keep learning enjoyable.

Do not study 1000 words in a day just because you can. At a certain point, you will hit diminishing returns. Your motivation will waiver so take a break.

6. Mind the specifics of how to study effectively.

Follow the research-supported ideas of how to study effectively.

7. Increase the number of reviews per day.

Go Options under the Gear icon. The default new reviews per day are 20 cards. This is great for getting started but I find that I like 50-100 per day more.

8. Use multiple Anki card types such as cloze, basic, and reversed.

Language is very dynamic. Words do not exist only in 1 sided linear relationships. Words can be played with creatively and you want to challenge your brain to think that way as well. Therefore, it is a good habit to practice with different card types to make your comprehension of a word deeper.

9. Anki is cross-platform compatible.

You can build your Anki deck within the comfort of your laptop and later study while traveling with your smartphone.

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