The podcast about learning Japanese.

Episode 6 – Words, Words, Words

Posted March 25th, 2009 by Enrico in Podcast Episodes

In this episode, we talk about how to start learning and retaining Japanese vocabulary. Vocabulary is a crucial part of any language learning process.  It gives you the “what” to say where grammar is the “how.”  Acquiring a full vocabulary in another language is a long journey, but one which can be very rewarding.

Cast: Enrico Bianco, Kimberly Fraser, Mary Kita, Mike Oetlinger

Related links:
http://ichi2.net/anki 
(Anki, the spaced-repetition review software)
http://smart.fm/ (Formerly known as “iKnow”. Combines study and review with social networking aspects.)
http://www.kantango.com/ (Create lists of vocabulary words that can be turned into flash cards and written quizzes)
http://buna.yorku.ca/japanese/voc.html (From York University’s Japanese language programme; vocabulary lists broken down into categories)

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  1. 4 Responses to “Episode 6 – Words, Words, Words”

  2. By David Morgan on Mar 28, 2009

    I have enjoyed your podcast and listened to the words, words, words episode right away. Per your request at the end, I came to tell you about smart.fm. I see that the word is getting out there. I also see that you have it i the links above and found that this came up in the comment thread of the kanji episode.

    I have been using the smart.fm site every day since I found it in early February. I have been trying to learn Japanese for many years and study a little bit here. I have also been a basic subscriber to japanesepo101.com pretty much since it started.

    smart.fm works better for me for learning new words more than anything that I have ever used. The more I use it and figure out how this site works, I am more impressed with what it can do to help me improve my Nihongo.

    I have been telling everyone I know to check it out. I think that the listeners of your podcast would love to hear what you think about it.

    It has some features of a facebook type of site where you can communicate with other users and others can see your progress.
    Example:
    http://smart.fm/users/dcmorgan

    I love how the site remembers where you are and helps you with much of the administrative tasks of keeping track of what you need to work on next.

    Basically, you study “lists” which contain “items.” Items can be words, kanji, kana, pictures and even sentences. The site has made a katakana list, a hiragana list, a series of lists called Japanese Core 2000 which you can study the most common 2000 words in Japanese in 200 word chunks (10 lists in total). For even more, Japanese Core 6000 is words 2001-6000. You can make your own lists or use 100’s of other users lists. You study the lists through several web based apps. Right now they have iknow, dictation and brain speed. The iknow app is the main study tool that is a high tech flash card tool that shows the “item”, the translation, a sample sentence, stroke order of the kanji and allows you to type in japanese kana (no asia software installation needed). Then the iknow app rotates the words and keeps track of what your strengths and weaknesses are. If you already know the items, you can progress quickly, if you do not, you have the chance to get better as the site will keep track of your progress over time. I can’t beleive how well this works for me. There is some impressive science behind this app in regards to memory and how it it important to study again just before you forget a word as opposed to when it is fresh in your mind or after you forgot. The dictation app is a strickly listening and typing tool. I find this very helpful. The brain speed app is really useful as you get far enough into the “list” where you have studied all of the items in the list at least once (or sooner if you like). Brain speed is bascially a quiz where you select one of two choices and as as you move through the quiz, it gets faster and faster. The more you play, the faster and more automatic your response becomes.

    There will always be something to work on. If you don’t find what you are looking to study, you can create your own lists and the the above apps will pull in your items in your list to study.

    Thank you for your podcast. I look forward to more tips from you. Might you do an episode on the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test)?

  3. By Enrico on Mar 28, 2009

    Thanks for the feedback! I’m glad that you’re enjoying the show. =)

    I need to spend some more time with smart.fm but I thought I’d post the link in this episode just in case it could help listeners. Your description of the site has actually helped me to understand how I can possibly leverage the site for my Japanese study. I really appreciate it!

    As for doing an episode on the JLPT: I’ve been wanting to do an episode on proficiency tests (the JLPT isn’t the only game in town) but it has been difficult to get speakers together for it. I’ll find some way to make it happen, preferably well before the JLPT so that listeners can make use of our study tips and tricks.

  4. By Quinn on Apr 2, 2009

    Hi! I just recently found your podcast and think it’s amazing. One problem I’m having is that the RSS feed only goes back to episode 3, and I would like to download episodes 0-2, since I like listening to podcasts on my iPod. Is there any easy way to achieve this?

    Thanks!

  5. By Enrico on Apr 2, 2009

    @Quinn: I investigated this and it was an issue with the iTunes feed, which I’ve hopefully fixed now. Try updating the podcast in iTunes or, if that doesn’t work, re-subscribing.

    Details about that are in this post: iTunes Feed Fixed

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