redundancy or reinforcement

I think I might be at the point where I have enough reference material.  What led to this revelation was reading about a book (Naoko Chino’s sentence pattern dictionary), getting all inspired to purchase it, and then realizing I already had it and it hadn’t been off the shelf in months, while I focused exclusively on kanji.  Le sigh.

That led to an idea though, which led to a question, which led to this post.  I am very new to the practice of SRS.  Mainly till now I’ve only used the SRS at, which manages itself mostly, and the RTK site which isn’t really an SRS at all.  Now I have downloaded my RTK progress to Anki, and also made a reverse deck with Heisig keywords for kanji recognition.  Also I have a good start on Tae Kim’s grammar deck.  So I have a good start, but that’s it.

So when I was looking through Chino’s book a little, I realized firstly that it was very neatly laid out for grammar study, in a way that would work nicely with the way I think about things; and secondly, that the example sentences were a great deal more realistic than Tae Kim’s, which are designed to convey the grammar point with an absolute minimum of vocabulary and no frills whatsoever.

Immediately then, I had the bright idea to study through this book and put most of the sentences into an SRS deck.  It might form the nucleus of my eventual main sentence deck, but most likely would stand on its own.  The doubt I have though, is, would this really be terribly useful?  I’d be covering more or less the exact same ground as Tae Kim’s.  Different sentences, and a simple rating of comprehension instead of production.  But pretty much the same thing.  It wouldn’t be a problem, I don’t think.  It might even work better doing both than just one.  Or it might be a waste of time and I should commence mining from non-didactic sources.

What say ye the collected wisdom?

7 responses to “redundancy or reinforcement

  1. I’ve been using a book for “sentence mining” for a while. It’s called “Japanese Sentence Patterns for Effective Communication.” And I got almost 1000 sentences out of it, and I am almost done, pretty sure it has around 1200 sentences in it. I’m not sure how much this would benefit me yet cause I haven’t been SRSing the sentences very long. I am sure that it will help reinforce my already “intermediate” Japanese, maybe it will be the foundation I need to jump up to the next level, hopefully. Good luck with your SRSing, the effects don’t immediately show and can quickly fade away if you don’t keep up with your reviews.

  2. I think that if you consider the principle of i 1 (add sentences that show you what you know plus one thing you don’t know such as a vocab word, a grammer point etc.) you shouldn’t have too much redundancy. If you enjoy reading this grammar book then go ahead and SRS the sentences just like you would any other source. If you start getting bored with it, then move on to something else. Another idea is try reading up on Japanese grammer IN Japanese. 🙂 As for reading two books about the same thing, I figure they are going to have different ways of explaining things so I don’t think that will hurt.

  3. I did the same thing with some books that were highlighting explicit grammar. I don’t think that there is a real problem with it, myself.

    Some grammar does need to be explicitly learned, and so it can really help yourself to have a few sentences demonstrating that grammar in your SRS. You also mention that a Japanese person wrote the book, so you have no need of worrying about the sentences there.

  4. Thank you gentlemen. As you probably inferred from the post I was already leaning toward going ahead with this; I just didn’t like the nagging feeling that something else – more natural sources – would be a better return on time invested. Well, then I shall start this. There’s fifty basic sentence patterns, and sixty-nine variations, each with three or four examples. So I should be able to get a nice 200-or-so sentence deck out of this covering almost any grammar pattern possible.

    Also my writing at one in the morning is really bad :S

  5. Definitely go ahead with it. If you get bored of the project you can drop it, but take advantage of that feeling of excitement you get when a new idea for a project starts. Harness it to learn some Japanese. If nothing else you will at least have some sentences in a deck, to which you can add stuff from another source later. At best you will have a pretty thorough deck covering grammar constructs and will be penning complex Japanese prose in your sleep before you know it.

    I find thinking of interesting new ways to approach study and make it more efficient equally as fun as learning the language itself!

  6. I know this is quite old already, but I wanted to say 1) that it’s definitely reinforcement and 2) that Blahah’s comment of starting new projects because new things are nice is very valid.

    Overlearning is never a bad thing, and will always increase your retention time for information, so going over grammar points like this is definitely worthwhile – I’ve been doing it for myself for a few weeks now, and it’s certainly helped.

    How’s it been going?

    • Thanks for your comment! The fact is since this, I ended up giving up on Tae Kim’s deck entirely – I just didn’t enjoy it and wasn’t making much progress. I started mining sentences from the book mentioned, and then the reading contest month started so I haven’t done much with it this month. I also ordered Chino’s other two related books though, and am confident that these three will provide a very good core for my sentence deck, covering pretty much all essential grammar. That reminds me, I wanted to order that book Aaron mentioned too …