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10,000 Sentences = Dead?

Wed Feb 29 2012
Interesting times over at AJATT. I just read this article on a new method of learning Japanese. Before I dive into that, I'd like to bring something up. As I've mentioned in the past, AJATT is the foundation for my studies in Japanese. In fact, much of this site is based on or inspired by All Japanese All The Time. A big portion of this site that I've been working on lately is the 'sentences' series. For those of you who haven't read the series, it basically outlines things I've taken from the AJATT method, as well as my own modifications to that method. That being said, Khatz writes an article declaring the 10,000 sentences method as dead. If ya don't know, now ya know...

Just what does this mean, anyway?

Having read the article over at AJATT, it basically states that he's found a new method of learning Japanese that works better for him than the 'vanilla' 10k method. It's something known as MCDs, which means "Massive-Context Cloze Deletions" or "Massive Context Cloze-Deletion Cards".

What the hockey puck is a Cloze-Deletion, and why is it massive!? Is it like an MMO?

If you expect a yes to that last question, then... okay. Sure, we can with that, I guess. :) Anyway, cloze-deletion is best defined on a high level as a 'fill in the blank' card. Take, for example, the following card: card front: 私の___はトラビスです。 どうぞ宜しく。 card back: 名前; 私の名前はトラビスです。どうぞ宜しく。 Essentially, you're forced to use the context to figure out what the word is. In the process, you're reinforcing and learning the content of the context as well as the answer itself. In addition, it creates a single point of failure for the card. This is in direct contrast to the potential (and likelihood) of multiple points of failure that occurs when using an entire sentence as the question/answer. We get a single point of failure from the fact that the card is right/wrong based off a word or phrase, instead of an entire sentence. At some point, I'm going to write an entire article about cloze-deletion in general. That being said, I don't want to extend my explanation of it any further here since it's somewhat outside the scope of the topic at hand.

So what does that mean for the current site? Is the method changing?

I'll be 100% honest when I say that I don't know - yet. My methods constantly evolve and change as I continue my journey. That evolution is detailed here at allnihongo. That part will never change as long as I continue Japanese. For now, my method is not going to change - at least not immediately. However, I am going to give MCDs a trial run for a few months and see which method works better. It may be sentences, it may be MCDs. It may turn out to be that some combination of the two is ideal. As always, I'll post my findings and processes here for all to see. More on this topic coming soon.