Simple Word Flashcards
The Gallery Phase 2: Simple Words – Picture Word Cards
These flashcards are designed to teach you basic vocabulary. You’ll use these to form a vocabulary foundation in your target language that’s based upon pictures and personal connections with each word, rather than translations.
Before you start, you’ll need the following:
- A list of basic words that are easy to visualize (words like dog/chair/policeman, not to be/and/from). Generally, I recommend that people use my list of 625 basic words, translated into your target language. If you grab the alphabetical list, you can use the small dictionary in the back of a Lonely Planet phrasebook to quickly translate the whole thing. Otherwise, feel free to skim through your grammar book and pick out the easy-to-visualize words.
- Recordings of those words. I like to use Forvo.com.
- Pictures of those words. Search in your target language and use the translated version of Google Images.
- Personal associations for each word (If I’m going to learn ‘dog’, I’ll include my dog’s name, “Belle”)
- (Depending upon the language) The gender or counter word for each noun you learn.
- (Optional) International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) transcriptions of those words can occasionally be handy. You can sometimes get IPA transcriptions from Wiktionary.
- You should know how to add sound files and images to Anki flashcards. If you’re not confident at that, go to my tutorials on Anki.
Let’s start making these. You can either use this video tutorial, or follow the instructions that follow it:
Anki Tutorial 4: Learning Simple Words with the Model Deck
What the flashcards look like:
• Card 1: Comprehension (What’s this word mean? How do you pronounce it?)
• Card 2: Production (What’s the word for this picture/concept? Can you pronounce it?)
• Card 3 (optional): Spelling (How do you spell this word?)
Note: I find these cards extraordinarily useful in the first month or two of learning a language.
They focus your ear and train your eyes to handle spelling automatically. In my experience, after making and reviewing these optional cards for my first 100-300 words, they’ll suddenly become very easy (and boring). That’s your signal to stop making new ones.
How to make them
- Click the “Add” button on the top of your Anki window
- Click the button on the top left, next to where it says “Type.”
Select “2. Picture Words” from the list
And click “Choose” on the bottom right.
- Click the button on the top right, next to “Deck.”
Select “[Your deck name]::2.Everything Else” from the list and press “Choose”
(Note to advanced Anki users: I do this just for organization. Feel free to skip this step, as long as you’re not using the 1. Minimal Pairs deck – that deck has special settings that you won’t want here.)
- Now you can start making flashcards. To make the chien flashcards above, here’s how I filled out my flashcard info (click to magnify):
Note, I made flashcard #3 (the optional spelling flashcard) by filling out the “Test spelling?” field. If you don’t want that flashcard, leave that field blank
- Click the “Add” button on the bottom to make your flashcards.
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