Goldlist – revisited

Well, I’ve been using the Goldlist method now for about a couple of months or so for both Japanese and Chinese. I’ve tried a different approach with each language some ideas have come from other people’s practices and some are from my own thoughts. Some of it has worked and some less so. Yet, the lack of success can easily be explained. It’s not a problem with the method but more my approach to it. Hey ho 🙂

photo 1
Chinese

As I’m only about four months into the language, so very much a beginner, I decided to take a two column but two line approach. As you can see in the picture, the first line pinyin-English the second line Hanzi-English. I would move from the English and recall the Chinese in both instances. I think  some people go from the target language to their own language. I chose this approach because when I photo 2often read Chinese I find it easier to give the English. So, I wanted the challenge and also the test of getting the tones correct as well (grr). I like the two line approach and two column method. It was easy to focus (to recall) just one element rather than trying two at the same time. I really think this helped in the recall process.
Japanese
Ah, there’s the rub. I’m much stronger in Japanese than Chinese yet this list proved the most difficult. There are a number of reasons for this. Firstly, I was using vocabulary I’ve hardly experienced before. With the Chinese list I feel I’m often coming across the vocabulary in texts as it is high-frequency vocabulary. The Japanese list is from my new N3 book (pictured below) and therefore has words I haven’t seen or used before. No doubt the more I throw myself into N3 material the greater this familiarity will increase. Nevertheless, this isn’t an excuse as the Goldlist method predicts a certain level of recall irrespective of vocabulary knowledge. Honestly I do think the greatest cause for my limited retention was the approach. I decided on a three column approach as I’d seen this approach used by other people. For me it was Kanji, Kana and English. photo 3
Result? I hardly retained anything. I think there is just too much information on a line to recall. In addition, it isn’t as rewarding as the two column approach because even if you remember the kana, if you haven’t retained the Kanji you still have to write it again. I think this is all psychologically demotivating. So, I’m going to re-do the lists. Two columns, two lines. I don’t want to leave out the Kanji in the same way I don’t leave out the Hanzi because I want to become familiar to the characters as a natural approach to my learning.
If you’ve had any experience with the method or have any tips about how I can improve my approach, please let me know 🙂
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2 comments on “Goldlist – revisited

  1. Japanese is more of a challenge because more frequently than in Chinese (unless you plan on learning three dialects simultaneously or some other iron-man approach to Chinese) you have a number of yomikata for each kanji. You have often at least one on-yomi and a kun-yomi. Sometimes the one or the other is missing and sometimes there are even more than one kun-yomi or a bunch of ateji readings, or about five or six different on-yomi. In addition to that there is the same problem as in Chinese that learning single kanji is all wekll and good but they are only really functional when you learn them with the other kanji or furigana that provides the whole word. In Chinese most words seem to be two characters deep but you also need colloquations which can mean learning a larger number of characters at a time, and in Japanese this is also the case.

    • Thanks for responding to my post 🙂 I must admit I’m often learning the Kanji as being part of word rather than the different readings. When I first started with Kanji I tried to learn the readings but I didn’t retain it and I don’t think it helped me to decide which reading was used where when confronted by them. So I suppose I’ve become more familiar with readings when learning vocabulary and notice particular patterns. I’m trying the list again, now, with just two columns, two rows (Kana-English, Kanji-English). I’m not sure what other people do. . In light of what you’ve said, the inherent difficulties of yomikata, maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on myself if my recall is low. I was so happy with the success of my Chinese lists – I’m getting results of about 60-80% of the list at each distillation. 🙂 Would love to be able to do this with the Japanese.

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