A funny thing happened on the way to my email:
I’m currently using my SRS to practice sentences, but I’m having trouble keeping up with the workload. In your recommendations you say you should be able to write (copy out) each sentence.
Do you recommend copying out the sentence every time it shows up in your SRS? Or just the first time, or every time you miss it? Whats your stance on this. I’d be interested to know because at about 1 minute per card writing everything out, I tend to burn out pretty fast. Sorry if you’ve answered this somewhere on your site already, I couldn’t find it if you have.
Thanks for your time,
Great question. I’d been meaning to address this at some point 🙂 . This is of course all assuming you’re doing the “classic”/”original”/”vanilla”/”recognition”-type sentences, where you are to read aloud and understand a sentence written in actual Japanese. For Japanese, I continue to use this type of sentence card myself because it’s so time-cheap. Anyway, to the point:
Writing out the sentence (or some part of it, e.g. the part you got wrong) each time you miss it is enough*. In fact, it’s ideal, I think. It’s the perfect balance between thinking (“which ones should I write?”) and effort (“I need to sit up with pen and paper and write this shizzle!”) and gain (“I know stuff!”).
Indeed, you may often find, as I do, that there is a strong correlation between ability to write out the sentence and ability to read it correctly. There may always be things you can read but not write, but there will be few/none that you can write but not read. For whatever reason or reasons, the act of writing out the parts you get wrong will impress them upon your memory a lot more than merely seeing them. Maybe it’s because the writing out forces you to focus a bit.
Anyway, have fun. If anyone else has tips for J.R., feel free to share 😉 .
*N.B.: Just so we’re clear, this post is about sentences. For kanji, you’re going to want to write everythaang out.