custom searches in google chrome for sentence mining

So the other day I finally started going through the second volume of Remembering the Kanji – this time it’s all about learning kanji readings.  Heisig groups the kanji as logically as possible, to make it easier to learn groups of characters at once, and provides example words for each reading.  I seem to do well with this sort of systematic approach, so after last month’s tadoku contest reminded me once again with great force how far I have still to go with the kanji readings, I decided it was high time to set this particular machine in motion.

Sentence mining in the usual manner is a bit of a shotgun approach – you never know what vocabulary you’ll get next.  Conversely, what I needed here was a way to quickly find example sentences for a particular word.  To do this most efficiently, I set up some custom search engines in Chrome.

To do this, go to your options, and pick “manage” beside the search dropdown menu in the “basics” tab.  This will bring up a list of search engines.  Click “Add” and you’ll get a little dialogue box that you can fill in like so:

Call it whatever you like.  The second line is the keyword that you’ll use in the omnibar, and the third line is the search URL itself.

I set up four searches, as follows:

Tatoeba, keyword “tato”;

http://tatoeba.org/sentences/search?from=jpn&to=eng&query=%s

Reading Tutor, keyword “rdt”;

http://www.google.com/search?ie=UTF-8&q=site:http://language.tiu.ac.jp/+%s

Aozora Bunko, keyword “azb”;

http://www.google.com/search?ie=UTF-8&q=site:aozora.gr.jp+%s

and Twitter, keyword “twt”;

http://twitter.com/#!/search/%s

You want the keywords not to be anything you’d actually search for, otherwise Chrome will autocomplete the search term instead.  To use these, just start typing the keyword into your address bar, hit tab to tell Chrome you want to use that search engine, and type your search term.  Like this:

Using these custom searches will give you a lot more focused results than a general Google search, and save a lot of time over going to each site.

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