TopDog_IK wrote:Despite all of the alleged Krashen and Kaufmann hate around here, this thread is slowly convincing me that the two Steves are right about vocabulary flashcards and SRS decks being unnecessary. Kaufmann makes the obvious point: frequency vocab decks are pointless because, by definition, you will see those words frequently in your immersion, so why bother?
Have you read Paul Nation's work on how many times you need to see a word in order to remember it? e.g. here: https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/323110104.pdf It's a lot; flashcards jumpstart the process dramatically. The whole point of them, and of a frequency list, is that it makes texts understandable and readable a lot faster. As discussed already, you learn vocab a lot better if you already know 95% of words, at least (98-99% if you are doing genuine extensive reading), not to mention how slow it is to work through a text when you know less than that. Why not jumpstart the process with the efficiencies of flashcards?
Kauffman talks about truly enormous levels of repetition with his mini-stories to get those high-frequency words (among other things) in during the early stages. We don't all have the patience for that; cutting the repetitions by 3/4 or more and doing a couple of minutes of SRS a day would get similar results.
The difference between starting a new language with and without flashcards is, in my experience at least, like night and day. Sure, you can battle through and will pick up frequent words naturally; but flashcards make the process so much easier, simply because your exposures are close together and simplified. The result of good flashcard use is, in the end, that you can do more reading earlier , and thereby in the end pick up more words. Why slow down that process?