Remember Vocabulary

A while back, Yannick talked about having trouble remembering how to pronounce vocabulary words, and I gave some advice.  (Always remember that my advice is free and is worth just as much as you paid for it.)

I’ve still been thinking about the question, though.  The problem, of course, is that, while kana are phonetic, Kanji aren’t.  So, what do you do?

First:  Use Memrise.

There are all kinds of free (ただ) courses on memrise, and many of them will say the words as they come up, so you hear the pronunciation one word at a time, and you can review the words (and how they sound) as often as you need to.

Second:  Say the words out loud as you learn or review them.

A few minutes ago, I was learning new words from Chapter 23 of みんなの日本語.  Memrise shows you new words 5 at a time.  First you see (and hear) the word.  Then you see (and hear) a second word.  Then you get questioned about the first word.  Then a third word is introduced, and so on until you get all five.

You will be given the translation and asked to find the word in a multiple choice list.  You will hear the word pronounced and have to type what you hear.  You will get the translation and have to listen to three words in Japanese and have to pick the right one.  You will hear the word spoken and have to type it in Japanese.

What I realized today was that I am repeating the word over and over again for each question.  If the computer speaks the word, I say it a couple of times before I select the answer, then I hear the word again and say it a couple of more times  Each word will pop up in at least 5 questions out of the set, so I am saying each word out loud at least 20 or 25 times as I learn it over the course of one exercise.  And I do the same thing each time a word pops up for review.  And, don’t forget, you can review any chapter any time you want to very easily.  Memrise is set up for that.

I love Anki, but it doesn’t give you the kind of repetition that memrise does.

I hope that helps!




4 thoughts on “Remember Vocabulary

  1. Your advices are totally worth it!
    I’m using memrise that work like a charm, i even talk about it to some colleagues and they took a shot at it to learn english and even morse code for one of them ^^ What’s fun is that you’ve got the leaderboard and see what they are doing and it’s pushing you to do your best ^^
    But since i keep my anki review going it’s hard for me to keep up, but i enjoy it 🙂
    memrise account : yanock (if someone wants to follow me)


    • Excellent! I know what you mean about making time for both Anki and Memrise, though! Right now I give memrise more time because the course I am doing goes along with my text.

      Since you mentioned morse code: I am a ham radio operator. I don’t do much with morse code, but there is a great (and free) program to help you learn:


      • In fact i have more or less the same deck in memrise and anki for vocabulary. Memrise is the first stepthat help me discover the word in kanji, its meaning in english and i try to do my best with kana association. But the problem is that if i’m right in english, i still could be wrong in japanese and it distorts the results. That’s why i keep anki which i use only from kanji to kana.


  2. Yeah, I know what you mean. Anki and Memrise and both excellent, but a combination of the two as it suits you is definitely best.


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