Spaced Repetition: How to improve your vocabulary set in a foreign language

September 6, 2020

ANKI : Memory Never dies

I know it sounds like a James Bond movie. That’s exactly why I‘ve chosen to share my experience with Anki.

As a Digital Learning Manager I often need to speak fluently and write properly in Shakespeare’s language.  So, considering that I’m fond of English culture, I can tell you right off the bat that it was a pleasure to test Anki on myself.

Here is a list of what I did before to improve my English:

  • Reading John Grisham’s book in its original version all night long: All right
  • Watching Netflix with English subtitles: All right too
  • Videoconference in English every-month with Indian partners: perfect for fluency

But I lack some vocabulary to be precise and to vary my dialogue. If you are not a native English speaker, I’m sure you preferentially use words that you have mastered too. Let’s choose the hard route and try it why don’t we?

Firstly, Anki is a free open-source memory-card software. It really goes further in terms of its efficiency in using the spaced repetition algorithm. Thus repeating the learning process in a more and more spaced rhythm which is a perfect leverage to fix it in our long-term memory.

Spaced Repetition with Anki

As soon as you’re about to forget a new word that you’ve learnt, Anki is there to help you remember it.  Anki is not as well-know as it should be in the French World of Education. That’s why I’ve decided to shine a spotlight on it.

It works with fields you fill in. For me, I focus this session on « physical appearance » to finally leave behind « small, tall, big » and other common words.

I created my own cards with a book classified by themes and fill in only the words unknown. For example « Stout » is a word I never heard before. It’s «corpulent» in French. That will be my first memory card. The cool thing is it works from English to French and vice-versa. And as the memory works in two ways, it’s perfect.

You can view the video above to see how easy it is to use Anki.   Special agent L. Piaton will be your guide!

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