Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Here it is!
I've been trying out Anki more seriously over the past few days. A few months ago I downloaded it once, tried it out for about a day and then got rid of it as I generally don't like using flash cards, but have decided to start using it as they fill a need that I have due to the large number of languages I know to partial fluency. The more languages you know to that level the more work you have to do every day to maintain them, and sometimes it's nice to just have a program do all the work for you.
What flash cards are good for: nouns, other words with fairly exact meanings.
What flash cards are not good for: function words, other words with a large number or very contextual meanings.
This makes them less than useful when first learning a language, but very good when you have a good command of grammar and know how the most frequently encountered function words work. If a beginner could be classified as 1 and a fluent speaker as 10, flash cards would be most useful for levels 3 to 8.
As for why Afrikaans: I downloaded a few ready-made decks but found nothing in Afrikaans, so I made one from this list. Since Afrikaans uses very few diacritics I was able to make a 2500+ word deck in just over a day.
Next up: maybe Occidental or Sambahsa? Going with the Icelandic wordlist on Wordgumbo would be nice, but since Icelandic uses a lot of diacritics and they are easiest to type using Abctajpu on Firefox, creating an Icelandic deck would mean a lot of copying and pasting, instead of Afrikaans where you can put the word list on one part of the screen and Anki on the other, and blaze through a full page by just hitting tab-tab-spacebar after each word to add it to the list. That's just as easy to do with Sambahsa and Occidental, not so much with Icelandic.
Since this is now the only Afrikaans wordlist on Anki online it'll be interesting to watch the number of downloads, as anyone interested in Afrikaans will have to go with this deck. I now have a monopoly on Afrikaans Anki decks.