Zettelkasten Forum


Zettels for language learning

Has someone here used the Zettelkasten for learning languages?
If so, how?

Comments

  • I have an idea that I never tried: Create a new Zettelkasten in the new language and process child books as if it was serious work.

    I am a Zettler

  • Here's a workflow I want to use for learning Japanese in the future:

    • Keeping working notes (see Andy Matuschak's take on it [1]) for learning materials and anything related to the language. I think it's okay to mix languages at this stage, but - no translation.
    • A normal learning process, a lot of reading and listening.
    • Gradually making working notes into a Zettelkasten on its own. The goal is to fully transition it to Japanese over time. Its purpose - writing practice, rather than general knowledge. Similar to @sfast's idea.
    • Integrating knowledge about the language into the main Zettelkasten. My main Zettelkasten is in English, so the Zettels would be in English.

    [1]: Similarities and differences between evergreen note-writing and Zettelkasten

  • Thanks for your inputs!

    I like the ideas, and have a few of my own, but I was really interested in
    something someone had already done.

    @sfast said:
    I have an idea that I never tried: Create a new Zettelkasten in the new language and process child books as if it was serious work.

    Why create a new Zettelkasten? Do you think that having more than one language in the Zettelkasten is bad?

    @sigod said:
    Here's a workflow I want to use for learning Japanese in the future:

    • Keeping working notes (see Andy Matuschak's take on it [1]) for learning materials and anything related to the language. I think it's okay to mix languages at this stage, but - no translation.
    • A normal learning process, a lot of reading and listening.
    • Gradually making working notes into a Zettelkasten on its own. The goal is to fully transition it to Japanese over time. Its purpose - writing practice, rather than general knowledge. Similar to @sfast's idea.

    Let me see if I get your idea straight.
    In your ordinary Zettelkasten, you will have the notes you use for study the language.
    Something that helps you with grammar or whatever.

    Also, you will have a new Zettelkasten in which you only write in Japanese, and you will translate the notes from one to the other as a way to practice your Japanese?

    I feel that flashcards and spaced repetition are really good for vocabulary building.
    Yet, I feel that some things I should write to understand, and that such things belong in the Zettelkasten.

  • Why create a new Zettelkasten? Do you think that having more than one language in the Zettelkasten is bad?

    I think I've seen it being discussed on the forum. Cannot find a link though. My take is that it generally not recommended.

    In your ordinary Zettelkasten, you will have the notes you use for study the language.

    Something that helps you with grammar or whatever.

    Yes. But first I should do the same with English :)

    Also, you will have a new Zettelkasten in which you only write in Japanese, and you will translate the notes from one to the other as a way to practice your Japanese?

    No, I don't plan to become a translator, so no reason to practice translation. Also, no reason to duplicate notes because:

    • Zettelkasten for Japanese is for practice not knowledge. For example, I'd use it if I want to post a message on a Japanese forum.
    • I want to allow unintrusive linking between both Zettelkastens, but I'm yet to set up such a system.
  • @na2th I actually attempted to use the Zettelkasten method for my first two semesters of Hebrew last year. I created Zettels and different structure notes following the outline of the grammar we used (utilizing the grammar-translation method, in contrast to immersion). However, I have not kept those notes as a part of my main archive (but do plan—now that I'm writing this!—to transfer my notes on syntax and grammar when I had to consult other scholarly resources for translation). The notes on the grammar were basically just my understanding of the section in my own words.

    But now that you got me thinking about it. Things I now plan to go back and include in my archive (in addition what I stated above) are the notes I took from the prof that was not in the grammar, or little hints and expansions that were discussed in tutoring sessions.

    What I found the most helpful was just the actual process of writing out what I understood and then checking my understanding. This process actually led to the creation of study charts because I was able to synthesize the information since I was constantly trying to simplify the learning and memorization process. And of course, it must be a daily exercise.

  • @na2th wrote:
    Why create a new Zettelkasten? Do you think that having more than one language in the Zettelkasten is bad?

    1. In my experience, yes. It is bad because you cannot search for one word to search for one concept but need to make sure to always search both languages.
    2. It was my original idea. The reasoning was that you pretend to process childrens books as if they are really important knowledge. So, I speculate, this could clutter the archive. I am careful in that manner because my Zettelkasten is truly my most essential tool for my work.

    I am a Zettler

  • @sigod,@Darryl, and @sfast: thanks for your comments.

    I will start adding some notes in english (the language of my zettelkasten)
    with my understanding of the German grammar.
    My purpose is to complement my practice with flashcards, as I am not at
    the point of trying to read something in German yet.

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