- 10,000 Sentences Is Dead
- 10,000 Sentences is Dead. Let the MCD Revolution Begin!
- What is it about these MCDs? Part 2: The Awesomeness
- What is it about these MCDs? Part 3: The Format
- What is it about these MCDs? Part 4: The Active Output
- What is it about these MCDs? BONUS: The Easy Button
- 12 Free MCD Examples
- Protected: A New MCD Card Format for Japanese (Even Lazier and More Effective Than Before)
In the summer of 2010, I innocently started experimenting with a new SRS technique.
Easy, effortless and effective, the technique rapidly ballooned in scope, creatively destroying all that came before it.
It worked. Devastatingly well.
On October 18, 2010, my sentence deck breathed its final breath, and the “10,000 Sentences” method literally died, a happy victim of the very process that had brought it about: experimentation and discovery.
All the while, only a select group of people even knew this was all happening.
Despite — or perhaps because of — their massive impact and the implications for the future of getting used to languages, the technique — MCDs — remained a closely guarded secret.
And time wore on…
“MCD”. An enigma. Wrapped in a conundrum. Wrapped in a mystery. Wrapped in a cryptic acronym. Wrapped in….I dunno…my bad writing.
Only people in AJATT Plus (and, later, SilverSpoon) were allowed to know the whole truth and enjoy the benefits of this amazing technique.
Dude, WTF Are MCDs Anyway?
Language. In a word, “Massive-Context Cloze Deletions” or “Massive Context Cloze-Deletion Cards”.
So They All Have To Be Massive?
No, there is such a thing as miniMCDs or μMCDs (microMCDs).
Why Do You Keep Making Up New Acronyms?
To impress your mom? How do you expect me to even answer a question like that? Your mom and I love each other, okay? And that’s all there is to it. She deserves to be happy. She deserves to be with an acronymic man.
How Can You Do This To Us?! How Can We Ever Trust You Again? You Keep Effing Changing Methods!
Look. I know I’m young and thin and beautiful and handsome, okay? I know I have nice thighs and a perky butt, okay? I know I look like Michelangelo’s David, okay? Wait…pull back. But you know what? Even I’m not perfect. The so-called AJATT method not changing would mean that it was perfect when it came out. That simply isn’t the case. Don’t get me wrong. It’s an amazing method. But you know what? It can get even more amazing.
There is no AJATT “canon”, in my opinion. Or if there is, it’s an open canon.
To me, AJATT is more than a set of techniques, it’s a mindset, a meta-method. A method of methods. Method of methods in the sense that it’s the dog’s bollocks, but also method of methods in the sense that it’s an approach to method itself. The true “AJATT method”, the meta-method is: do what’s fun, do what works; answer to no one but the results.
The true “AJATT method”, the higher, deeper “AJATT method”, is not about being bound by tradition. Even your own tradition.
Do you think human history ended when fingers went to keyboard and the first five AJATT posts came out? Do you really think…oh my gosh, I just snorted ginger tea up my nose…where were we…ow…hot…yeah, no, but…I may have written the best word when it comes to getting used to languages 1, but I certainly didn’t write the last word.
Things change. Things evolve. Things get better. Things get faster. Things get easier.
Does This Mean That Ye Olde Sentence Method is Broken?
Well, was your cable connection “broken” when you switched to fiber optic?
Are mountain paths “broken” because stairs exist?
Are stairs “broken” because we have elevators?
No, you just moved on. You can still connect via cable; cable still works, but you use optical fiber now. ‘Coz it’s better. It’s faster.
That’s what’s happened here with MCDs.
How Can We Be Sure Whether This Shiz Works? I Need Guarantees!
Oh, please. Funnily enough, that’s exactly what people said about the so-called sentence method of AntiMoon. Indeed, it’s exactly what I thought: can it really be this easy?
I approached the whole sentences thing with intense skepticism. But I suspended my disbelief and just gave it a try.
I ran experiments.
That’s the scientific method (well, kinda), baby. We let the results speak for themselves. We let the results do the talking. Not authority. OK, “scientific” is a bit of a strong word to describe what we/I do. Probably the word we’re looking for is “empirical”. Be skeptical if you want, but don’t use skepticism as an excuse for stagnation and inaction. Be empirical 2. Be an empiricist about this.
So How Should I Go About Getting Into This MCD Thing?
Slow down, tiger. Chill, Winston. Whoa there, big boy. I only just got outta bed with your Mom. Relax. I’m gonna show and tell you how in a sec…
So Should I Delete All My Sentence Cards?
First of all, there is no “should” in AJATT (pedants, do me a favor here: don’t Google search “site: alljapaneseallthetime.com/blog should” and count the number of matches for the word “should” just to embarass me 😉 )
Mmmm…I mean, you could if you want.
But there’s no need to do anything that drastic right away unless you really want to.
What I would do is:
- Make a new, separate, MCD-only deck
- Fill it with stuff I love (as you’re going to learn how to do in “MCD Revolution”)
- Use Surusu’s custom functions (e.g. “Spinoff Card”) to convert some of your favorite and/or most problematic sentence cards into MCD cards.
But that’s just me.
Ultimately, there’s no reason that both methods can’t co-exist.
It’s not an either/or thing. I mean, I find MCDs to be awesome and better, and so do most people who taste the fruit of the MCD tree. I eventually made a total switch to the MCD way. And my entire sentence deck went the way of the dinosaurs (back in October 2010), resulting in the literal death of 10,000 sentences — actually about 15,0000 sentence cards died that day — in name and in form. But you might be that chick who only gets turned on by being kissed on her elbow [insert Mom joke], and that’s okay.
It’s been a long time since I started using MCDs for getting used to Japanese. It was a whole summer’s experimenting (back in 2010), and I didn’t say goodbye to my sentence deck until that Fall. Elite groups of AJATTeers have been using it with great success since about the same time. It takes me time to transition, and it may take you time as well. Probably less time than me, because I already done blazed a trail for you and all. But still.
Why The Motherloving Heckshizzle Did It Take You So Long To Tell The World About MCDs?
You’ve waited this long to announce [MCDs] on PORAB [The Plain Ol’ Regular AJATT Blog — i.e. outside AJATT Plus and other premium services]? Meaning everyone has been continuing with sentence decks this whole time?! That’s heartless!
Brityan, AJATT Pluser
New ideas and techniques are a privilege of AJATT Plus members. They get to see new things first because they have proven themselves worthy.
When you’re an AJATT Pluser, a member of AJATT Plus, you get to be privy to previews, to see things early. You get the latest and greatest. And you get freebies up the wazoo.
AJATT Plus is all rainbows and gumdrops 😛 . It cures cancer, obesity and acne.
But fear not, there are rainbows and gumdrops outside AJATT Plus, too. It just sometimes takes them a year or two to make it out 😀 , that’s all.
Does This Mean All The Sentence Packs You Done Sold Us Are Now Crapola?
Not at all. Absolutely not. Not by any means. Sentence packs work perfectly well with MCDs, and I’ll show you exactly how to make them work…
What’s In It For Me? What Are MCDs Going To Do For Me? How Do I Benefit? Why Should I Bother?
Dude. There are way too many reasons to list here, but since you asked, and since you deserve to know, I’ma give you a little snippet from MCD 101: 101 Reasons Why You Should Switch to MCDs — Learn About the Secret Technique That Has Killed, Pwned and Destroyed Sentences (All 10,000 of Them).
- MCDs teach good, adult reading skills — they teach you to use context but not become bogged down in it.
- MCDs allow you to access more fun, interesting and varied content.
- MCDs themselves are more fun, interesting and varied content.
- MCDs free you from the shackles, the crushingly unnatural brevity of short, near-context-less sentences. You don’t have to learn boring, disconnected stuff just because you’re a beginner. You don’t have to keep things short for the sake of quick reps even though you’re advanced.
- MCDs (ironically) also free you from the mental and physical burden of overly long sentence cards.
- MCDs work for all levels of language game — beginner, intermediate or advanced. They are sufficiently challenging for advanced players, but (paradoxically enough) also forgiving of the incomplete knowledge of early-stage players = beginners = noobs, because you only have to get the hidden text right.
- Because they give you a more powerful “workout” — deeper practice — MCDs build powerful predictive capabilities (“in this context, it’s most natural to say XYZ”), the sine qua non of fluency in a language. Lots of power going on here.
- MCDs are low-stress and easy to do reps on, because there is only a single point of comparison/failure (that point may be repeated within a single card, but it’s the same point). MCDs turn a mountain of learning into a flight of stairs, or, with Surusu’s automated card generation…an elevator journey.
- MCDs train both vocabulary and grammar, easily and virtually effortlessly — no need for you to make arbitrary — and perhaps even false — distinctions between the two any more.
- Says Kalek, an AJATT Pluser: “my understanding of both written text and speech has gone through the roof since beginning MCDs.” | Massive-Context Cloze-Deletion Cards (MCDs) | AJATT Blog Posts | Forum | AJATT Plus j.mp/hkpQ34
- MCDs are easy to make — especially in Surusu, where you can generate them automatically.
- The MCD technique is unique to AJATT. While it was inspired by SuperMemo and Daniel Coyle’s Talent Code, there’s nothing quite like it anywhere else — be it SuperMemo, AntiMoon or even WikiPedia. In fact, the examples in those sources would make very bad (difficult, ineffective) MCDs.
- MCDs are an embodiment of the AJATT principle of “engineered inevitably” — they enable you to memorize and internalize information speedily and effortlessly.
- MCDs are topic- and language-agnostic. They’ll work for Japanese, Chinese, ophthalmology exams, European languages…and impressing your Mom.
- Learning — which is to say, getting used to — a language used to be like climbing a mountain. With MCDs, it’s like taking a gentle flight of stairs. Everything becomes i+1, because we’re only ever handling one thing at a time.
What Has Other People’s Experience With MCDs Been?
Here’s just some of what AJATT Plusers and SilverSpooners have had to say about MCDs:
- ダンちゃん (Danchan): “SRS can be about engagement with the language, immersion if you will, rather than a break from it. It’s Krashen’s basic principle enhanced by the steroids of SRS.” [Emphasis added] | The Death of 10,000 Sentences | AJATT Blog Posts | Forum | AJATT Plus j.mp/y5Oyzo
- sargon: “MCDs have exposed a weakness with particles that I didn’t know I had. Doing normal sentence cards, I had been glossing over them and guessing the meaning, but with MCDs now I’m actually learning them. ナイス！” | SilverSpoon BigBoi Day 37 of 495 | AJATT SilverSpoon j.mp/wrk1Fr
- ダンちゃん (Danchan): “OK, so I’ve given MCD’s a try, and I have to say I really like them. The way the greater context combines with the cloze deletions seems to be a great way for me to dramatically improve my output in a relatively short time (especially written, I think).” | Massive-Context Cloze-Deletion Cards (MCDs) | AJATT Blog Posts | Forum | AJATT Plus http://j.mp/hkpQ34
- Amelia F: “I like the idea of “closing in” on a point you want to learn.” | How to Pwn Grammatically Complex European Languages Using MCDs | AJATT Plus j.mp/eSpznE
- 黒澤譲/David/CurryIsYummy: “I can see [MCDs] ending people’s problems with all kinds of prepositions/post-positions in all languages. When you think about it, that’s exactly what people who are even really good at languages, have the most trouble with. Most of my Japanese friends, they can use the right words almost all the time, but seem to always mess up things like “for”, “to”, “from”, “of”, “the”, “a”, etc. In Japanese we can, quite easily be rid of the issue of when to use は and が.” [Emphasis added] | How to Pwn Grammatically Complex European Languages Using MCDs | AJATT Plus j.mp/eSpznE
- nacest: “For some reason[,] I never tried using cloze deletion[s] before I started testing…MCDs. Now I’m all over it. Thanks, Khatz ” | Aren’t cloze deletions great? | SRS | Forum | AJATT Plus j.mp/s3OVYw
- Dani: “Takes better advantage of SRS by only testing me on one thing at a time.” | Dani’s Japanese Resources j.mp/yQPZw3
- Dani: “The ability to add sentences based purely on interest rather than having to turn away otherwise good sources because they are “too difficult” | Dani’s Japanese Resources http://j.mp/yQPZw3
- 安藤 (Ando): “I’m knowing which particles to use without even knowing why and it’s freaking me out.” | Massive-Context Cloze-Deletion Cards (MCDs) | AJATT Blog Posts | Forum | AJATT Plus http://j.mp/hkpQ34
Waitaminute! You Dirty, Brown, Effing Capitalist One Percenter Weasel! Isn’t This Just A SuperMemo Thing? Isn’t This Just Fill-In-The-Blanks?
Actually, no. While the idea was inspired in part by SM (SuperMemo — overlapping cloze deletions) 3, MCDs differ in significant ways from any other example of cloze deletions I have ever seen, be it by Dr. Wozniak (SM), Coyle, Ishii or even WikiPedia’s discussion of cloze deletions and their history. Every other example of cloze deletions I have seen, online or off, would make for a bad MCD, SRS boredom and significantly impaired “learning outcomes” (OMG, I love talking educationese; it’s like wiping your derrière with silk; I mean, I’ve never actually wiped my derrière with silk, but I can only imagine…mmmm).
In short, MCDs are a game-changer; MCDs are an evolution. They didn’t spring from nowhere, and they share “DNA” with other methods just like humans share DNA with chimpanzees. But ultimately, MCDs are fundamentally, qualitatively, quantitatively different from everything that has preceded them. That’s kinda why they have their own name. And kinda why they were incubated for so long. And kinda why a relatively big deal is being made about them. Because they are a big, new deal.
Hit Me With Your Knowledge Stick! I Want To Learn More About MCDs!
Your Mom wants to learn more about my knowledge stick. OK, stop. Stop. Enough. Um…Sure. Whatever. If you want more detail (that you can’t even find on AJATT Plus, actually), you’re welcome to join the revolution: you can
Pre-Order the MCD Revolution Kit, which includes:
- MCD 101: 101 Reasons Why You Should Switch to MCDs: Learn About the Secret Technique That Has Killed, Pwned and Destroyed Sentences (All 10,000 of Them)
- + free lifetime access to updates and extensions
- MCD 102: Real MCD Examples From The Very Decks of Khatzumoto
- + free lifetime access to updates and extensions
- MCD 150: 50 Tips and Pointers To Help You Get The Most Out of MCDs
- + free lifetime access to updates and extensions
- MCD 120: 20 Common Noob Questions And Answers About MCDs
- MCD 200: Beyond Japanese — Using MCDs for Other Languages and Topics
- 1 Free copy of ARES-3: The Science-Fiction Sentence Pack
- Because sentence packs are not dead. They’re just being reborn into a new world of MCD awesomeness.
- + free lifetime access to updates and extensions
- 1 Free month of AJATT Plus — premium multimedia AJATT content combined with access to the AJATT+ Forum: The Most Intelligent, Civilized and Trolless Forum in the Multiverse (for free!)
- For your convenience, your AJATT Plus membership will automatically renew after the free period, so you can keep getting awesome premium content, freebies and forum goodness.
- However, should you prefer, you can also easily cancel your membership at any time, online, 24 hours a day.
- Even if you were to cancel, you can still continue to enjoy your free month!
- 1 Free smile…at your Mom. No, but, seriously: she has needs.
- Smile needs.
There are only 100 pre-order slots available. Each comes with a 20% pre-order discount. The hard pre-order deadline is March 7. Pre-order ends at the deadline or when copies run out, whichever comes first. So, I doubt we’ll make it to March 7, kids. After March 7, you can just order the kit all regular like 😀
But I’m Not Playing With Japanese or Chinese! What About European Languages and Stuff?
I’ve already got you covered, homeslice 😀 . What, you didn’t think I was going to leave you hanging and not give you the hook-up, did you? I brings the hook-ups. 5 In terms of examples, the MCD Revolution Kit covers English, Japanese, Mandarin, Cantonese, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Swahili,
your Mom...it’s all in there.
Fo’ Shizzle Refund Guarantee
Hey. I’m only almost-perfect. Let’s say you get this kit, but due to an incredibly unlikely confluence of incredibly unlikely probabilities and circumstances, a literal Green Swan Event, you don’t like it? Just ask me for a full refund. And you’ll get a full refund. And I’ll even let you keep the kit 😀 . ‘Coz I rocks like that. All you need do is send an email to refund at ajatt dot com with the subject line: “I love you. You’re so good-looking. The MCD Revolution Kit and I just need some space right now. I promise I’ll be back.” Easy, breezy, fo’ sheezy…shizzle.
- I say this in all seriousness…I don’t think I have the best ideas, but the ideas on this website are easily among the best you will find written down. Many folk have great ideas, I would even venture that most people in the world have way better ideas than me — I spend most of my time thinking of your Mom — but few bother to try them out, and of those that try them out, fewer still bother to record, collect and share their ideas and results. AJATT is not the best that could be, but it is the best that is, the best you could find. Is Steve Pavlina the wisest man alive? No, but his is certainly the best PD writing you’re going to find online, period. ↩
- That…doesn’t sound like good English 😛 ↩
- (as well as learning examples found in Daniel Coyle’s Talent Code, ISHII Takashi’s One-Minute Learning Method and even the wooden dummies used for Wing Chun training as depicted in Donnie Yen’s Ip Man) ↩
- Certainly not your Mom, coz she’s totally not coming home tonight…what with “traffic” being what it is and all…Yeah. “Traffic”. With airquotes. ↩
- that sounds “street”, right? ↩