Darius Spaced Out Save

Vocab drill using parallel corpora, plus classic spaced-repetition drill

Project README

Some crude hacking on memory-training software.

deck-player/: SuperMemo-2 algorithm on a deck in Anki import format

deck-builder/: Tries to build a good deck automatically out of an aligned parallel corpus. Germ of a more specialized language-learning tool which maybe I'll tackle someday.

Notes:

What's great about Anki:

  • Useful learning in 10 minutes/day with no special effort. Beats TV!

Shortcomings of Anki:

  • I tend not to learn a card well enough in its session, because it's taken out of the rotation as soon as I recall it at all. So then by the time it next comes up, I've forgotten it, instead of almost forgotten it. Wozniak's scheme seems better.
  • 'Flat' sessions (e.g. consider what happens if you try learning 200 new cards/session).
  • Contributed decks are often ill-structured ('ashtray' first instead of the most frequent & useful words).
  • Flashcards aren't much like the real-world tasks you're training for. I don't know if this is a shortcoming, in net -- maybe the greater focus of practice makes up for the greater abstraction -- but other more contextual schemes seem worth a try.
  • It has no way of knowing when I tend to confuse two words. In such cases, I could use focused practice on distinguishing them.
  • Next showings 'in N hours' probably not useful, compared to daily sessions.
  • Lumpy schedules -- later repetitions should get spread out over a few days.
  • Not obviously well-engineered. (E.g. a huge directory of backups of DB files. Thousands of lines of Python, not counting the UI. It's hard to find the core logic in all that code.)
  • Someone has to build the decks.
  • It'd be helpful if it could notice when you're going about learning in a suboptimal way, and advise you. For a start, it could extrapolate your performance to your expected items/year per minute/day, and compare to a benchmark. Likewise for forgetting rate.

http://www.mail-archive.com/[email protected]/msg00243.html So can we test this theory? E.g. how much Spanish vocab could I learn in 4 hours by adapting sm2.py and my parallel-corpus deck? Then what's needed for retention?

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1603562 http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2007/11/07/how-to-learn-but-not-master-any-language-in-1-hour-plus-a-favor/

~/prama/python/darius/guesslanguage/parallel-corpora/leipzig/unpacked/se100k/words.txt

http://llt.msu.edu/vol5num3/pdf/stjohn.pdf

I'd like to see a program or website for learning a reading knowledge of French (or whatever), assuming you've previously learned a different foreign language like Spanish and don't need elaborately-structured lessons -- where you just allocate it, say, 15 minutes a day, and it grows your vocabulary, etc., adaptively according to the time you give it, starting with the roughly most important stuff so you can get some benefit no matter how far you take it. Have you seen anything like that via your class? You could make a start at this sort of thing with a corpus of French text to get word frequencies, plus a French-English dictionary and an adaptive flashcard program. Of course that leaves out grammar and idioms and conversation.

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