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 🙂
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 often 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.
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.
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 🙂