Utilize spaced repetition to more effectively build your German vocabulary.
Learning German (or any language for that matter) in 2021 is easier now than ever before. Global advances in technology and the spread of the internet have opened up an incredible number of resources, many of which are free, to people virtually all over the world. One of these great new language learning apps is called Anki, which utilizes spaced repetition to help you more effectively build your vocabulary. You can read more about it below!
“Flashcards are boring! I’m falling asleep!” Why not relax with some German Youtube Channels | Beginner to Intermediate.
Anki is essentially a “smart” flashcard app that utilizes spaced repetition (see next section) to feed you vocabulary words when you are about to forget them. In a nutshell, it tracks how well you know the words in your deck and prioritizes words you struggle to remember. Anki is a tool that shines when used well and is ineffective when used poorly. How exactly should you incorporate this tool into your language learning routine?
Anki does a great job reinforcing the things you have learned, but it doesn’t do such a good job teaching you new things. This means, if you come across a new word with your teacher or in a book and add the word to your Anki deck, then Anki will help reinforce the word until you remember it (great!). It also means, if you don’t know any German and download the Deutsch: 4000 German Words by Frequency list, then you are probably going to have a bad time. In summary? If you are a beginner, you probably want to create your own deck and add new words as you learn them.
Link to Anki: Anki - powerful, intelligent flashcards.
“How am I going to learn a language if I just study boring flashcards?” You won’t! You also need to listen to things. Try Beginner Podcasts for Learning German.
Spaced repetition is a learning technique that has been shown to be an effective way for chess masters to memorize opening theory. Chessable, partnered with chess world champion Magnus Carlsen, is a good example of how spaced repetition is being utilized in the chess world. What was I writing about? Oh right - I think spaced repetition can best be explained by example, so...
Imagine a German flashcard deck containing only three words: Mutter, Vater, and häufig (mother, father, and frequent). You are probably going to remember the words “Mutter” and “Vater” before you remember the word häufig (at least if you speak English - and if you’re reading this, well). As a result, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to spend equal amounts of time on each of those words. Instead, you should spend more time on the words you don’t know than on the ones you know well.
That’s where Anki comes in and makes life easier for you. It determines how well you know each word and shows you the words you struggle with more often, saving you valuable time to do other things - a book, perhaps? Reading is one of the best ways to build your vocabulary after you’ve built a strong foundation. Put your newfound vocabulary to the test with something from our collection of the Best German Reading Resources (A1-B1).