- Secrets to Smoother SRSing, Part 1: The SRS Is a Servant, Not a Master
- Secrets to Smoother SRSing, Part 2: Fun
- Secrets to Smoother SRSing, Part 3: Don’t Go Looking for Items, Let Them Come Find You
- Secrets to Smoother SRSing, Part 4: Collect ‘Em to Throw Away
- Secrets to Smoother SRSing, Part 5: Timeboxing
- Secrets to Smoother SRSing, Part 6: Maintain Only the Baseline/SRS Holidays
- Secrets to Smoother SRSing, Part 7: The Place of Pre-Mined SRSing and Other Ramblings
- How To Banish Boredom from Sentence-Mining (Sentence-Picking)
- Popping Bubblewrap: Tips for Better SRS Sentence Items
- SRS Precedence Rules
- The SRS Victory Formula (SRS Formula Victoria? 😛 )
First of all, an admission of guilt.
I have misled you.
In some of my SRS item examples, I have shown some reeeeeeeearry long sentences.
Wait, hold on, Kung Fu Hustle is on, and its the final fight against the Axe Gang and the frog guy. BRB…
…I love when he kicks the guys and it makes a bell-ringing sound…
K, I’m back. Yeah, so it’s all my fault. Part of it has to do with the fact that Japanese has the structural power to handle the creation of very long sentences. Since it doesn’t require the repetition and restatement of pronouns (what one might call “subjects” in English), it can create multiple, clause-length modifiers for a single “subject”, without confusing the reader. Or something like that, I dunno — I read this in a book about Japanese (a Japanese one, of course).
So, like, at some level, I thought it would be good for me to put long sentences in the SRS. Also, I probably wanted to show off that I could handle it, you know, prove how leet I was — I don’t like doing this as much as it may seem, but this is a website about how you can get reeeeeeeearry good at Japanese, so some amount of “demonstration” is probably a necessity.
Anyway, I was wrong.
SRS sentence items. Yes they should be sentences, but you must kiss. That’s right, make out more. Get the tongue in there and…NO! I mean KISS: Keep It Short and Sweet. Sentences, yes; books, no. Break up long sentences if you must, I find that commas, pronouns, and particles/prepositions generally represent a good breaking point. If there is no clean, natural breaking point, then perhaps just break by length. Either way, you may or may not want to use ellipsis marks (…, ・・・) to mark your break. You might also consider incuding the original, full-length sentence in the answer section, for reference.
Right now (June 2008), I have an absolute hard upper limit of 10 characters on my Chinese sentence items, with most items being 6-8 characters long. It’s a bit more fluid for Japanese, but a hard upper limit 30 characters (kanji-kana mix), with most items being 10-15 characters long, seems about right. Earlier in your journey, you might want to go for even shorter Japanese sentences, in the 5-10 character range.
Remember: a long sentence is nothing but a bunch of short sentences stuck together. And even if a sentence looks simple, sometimes you need to make it even simpler for yourself.
Here are some examples, mostly from Momoko (source sentence and resultant sentence only shown):
- Source Sentence: 「マハティールとアブドラの対立は激しさを増し、マハティールは５月１９日、自分が３０年かけて作ってきたＵＭＮＯを脫退し「アブドラが辭めないかぎり復黨しない」と捨てぜりふを発した。」
- Resultant Sentence:「捨てぜりふを発した。」
- Quoted From: Tanaka News, 國父の深謀
- Source Sentence: 「中村によると、我々の現代社會は『準備社會』だ。」
- Resultant Sentence:「現代社會は『準備社會』だ。」
- Quoted From: スロー・イズ・ビューティフル―遅さとしての文化
- Source Sentence: 『「もう、今を犠牲にするのはやめよう」という彼らの感覚は、必ずしも「今さえ良ければそれでイイ」という投げ槍な剎那主義と同じではない筈だ』
- Resultant Sentence:「必ずしも・・・投げ槍な剎那主義と同じではない」
- Quoted From: スロー・イズ・ビューティフル―遅さとしての文化
- Source Sentence: 「 21世紀初期，先進機械人的發展步伐越來越快，其中日本更是機械人科技的領導者。」
- Resultant Sentence:「先進機械人的發展步伐・・・」
- Resultant Sentence:「發展步伐越來越快」
- Resultant Sentence:「其中日本更是・・・領導者。」
- Quoted From: 2077日本鎖國
- Source Sentence:「アンパンマンが島に下りて見ると、岩の割れ目の中から泣き聲が聞こえて來ます」
- Resultant Sentence:「アンパンマンが島に下りて見る」
- Resultant Sentence:「泣き聲が聞こえて來ます」
- Quoted From: アンパンマンとあおばひめ
Delete (or Edit)
Sucky sentence items. They’re different for everyone. But everyone has them. You’ll know them when you see them. You’ll feel it. The dread. I see you looking at that sentence item. Yeah, you struggled to find it. Yeah, you entered it. Yeah, it seems important to know. But you know what? You’ve gone your entire life up to now not knowing that sentence; if it really matters, it’ll come up again. Right now, all it’s doing is sucking up your time and energy. Remember, you want to get QUANTITY of repetitions here. An item that’s sucky is a weed — feeding off the nutrients intended for all the other sentences. Delete it. Edit it if you really feel like it. But if editing feels like a waste of time, and for me it often does, then deletion is definitely the way to go.
Think of deletion as pruning or weeding — cleaning out a minority of overly burdensome items so that the majority can flourish. With sentence items, utilitarianism really works: the greatest good for the greatest number.
Length is not the only reason to delete a sentence item. Sentence items you just don’t quite “get”, or that you’re afraid might be wrong or awkward, also make good candidates for deletion.
This is Supposed to be Fun
Remember, sentences is not S&M. If it hurts, then it’s bad. No means no. Doing sentences should be like…popping bubblewrap. Requiring conscious effort, while being relatively easy and SUPER satisfying. Not to mention begging for repetition in an almost addictive way (addiction’s not the problem — it’s the object of addiction that matters). Doing sentences should make you feel like doing other sentences. If it doesn’t, then be aware that the fault probably lies neither with you nor with the language in question, but in individual items causing you dread. Get rid of them like you did your ’80s clothes.