Kanjibox text & the consequences of isolated drilling

So I got my elite status on Kanjibox a few days ago, and it proved my worst fears come true. Ok, I’m exaggerating. I was expecting it.

I’m bad at context.

I’m so used to drilling every single word and kanji separately that when it comes to actually using it I have no idea where to start. I noticed this when I couldn’t properly link stuff during my lang8 posts, but I thought it was an output problem.

So let’s see an average (N3 level) drill on Kanjibox.

Kanjis: around 80% accuracy, and that’s because the quiz has kanjis I haven’t studied yet.

Reading: say 80% accuracy, with most mistakes due to not paying attention to some tentens.

Vocab: 80%+ accuracy, again with most mistakes due to lack of attention.

Text:…well, if I hit one out of 10 then I’m good. Let’s see why.

Now, I think the text drills are still in the works. Unlike the other drills which try to avoid the eternal “picking 1 out of x” mistakes by having all the options similar and putting together common mistakes to avoid educated guessing, you can have a go at educated guesses. Oh, I wonder if this text which needs something in a sentence about crossing the street requires the words actress, ingredients, jelliyfish or intersection.I’m sure this will be refined in time, though. Occasionally you do get sentences which are nigh impossible to guess or have two of the options could work. But I’m sure this will get fixed in time.

Let’s have a look see at a random text drill

I’m a big sucker for these kinds of quizzes since I’m very bad at words like すっかり、さっぱり、ぴったり,etc. I think it’s because they need context to get if you want to just remember them, and since most of my vocab drills don’t have that, well…you see the issue. This is a case where the word is pretty easy to guess without much trouble since the words don’t(contextually) go well with it.Still, I did have that moment of panic because I’m never sure if I remember things right.

Anyway, so you have a nice little sentence which tests your vocab but does challenge it slightly. Good for a drill.

But then you have.

…which is what I wanted to get at. I know 生徒、大きな、影響、与える、是席、教師、衛星 and the grammar points. At first I didn’t recognize 恨み, but I knew that one too. An educated guess would directly point to 教師, but I don’t want an educated guess, I want to understand what I’m talking about. I don’t see it as a sentence, but rather as a string of words.

A first glance offers me “The student is greatly influenced by X also”. Queue thinking that this is a post about alien kids influenced by sattelites. Still, I opt for the teacher because that makes sense. In my head that sounds like “Students are greatly influenced by their teachers.”

Wait what. Well, I’m going to have a blast spending time to analyze that. Which is good in a way, but it made me think abou this.

Maybe this is the disadvantage of the vocab drills. I’m so focused on learning words and kanjis and grammar points that I never bothered learning how to string them together. I’ll recognize a から。。。まで form but if I see a stand-alone then I’ll have to think a bit before realizing what it’s about. Sure, I will recognize them in a given sentence, I might even understand it, but make one out of the blue or complete it with a missing word? It’s extremely hard for me. I’ve been doing the sentence deck lately and I noticed that though I may be facing a sentence in which I know all the words and grammar points, I could still mess up the translation. Slight mistakes sometimes. Other times, what I think is “You don’t have any work tonight, right?” is actually “shouldn’t you be working?”. You would think that after so much exposure to negative verbs actually denoting positive course of action I’d get used to it, but nope.

So yeah. More sentence decks for me.


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